The pain will subside if we stand together

I’ve often been asked by people who know me professionally if I have an “off” button. If I’m ever not cheerful, happy, and positive. Yesterday, some of them saw the darkness that lies within me. Yesterday felt like one of the worst days.

The only way I can adequately put my feelings into words is by comparing it to other experiences. Few times in my life I have felt this numb exhaustion.

The first was in high school, when my first boyfriend broke up with me. I didn’t understand the feeling, and my mom compared it to the death of someone you love. Heartbreak is often the death of a relationship, and your body mourns that death. I barely slept. I couldn’t eat. And I found solace in a summer nanny job that kept my mind occupied and my body busy. Children have healing powers. But even then, I took to writing in order to work through my feelings.

A year later, September 11, 2001 happened. Three weeks into my freshman year at Bradley University and the world felt like it was crumbling. we collectively sat glued to our TVs, terrified, unsure, sad, and angry. We went to candlelight vigils and mass en mass. We prayed. And we cried.

The next time I felt that empty sadness was the first time (of three) my college boyfriend broke up with me. It was an old friend enveloping me in a dark cloud, and I truly wondered if I’d ever smile again. I lived inside my journal. Writing  the same thoughts and feelings over and over in every way I could.

And then, a real and painful death shattered me. My grandfather died. My grandfather, who had lived in our home for ten years. And the raw pain I felt was guttural. I trampled across campus, tears streaming down my face, coating my boyfriend’s pajama pants in mud to find him in the engineering lab because I didn’t now what else to do. I just knew I couldn’t be alone. For months, I’d start thinking of him and just cry. I would think, I’m okay. And then I’d hear a song on the radio or someone would say something that reminded me of him. And I’d burst into tears. My body and mind exhausted from crying, from thinking, from worry. I felt the pain physically.

It has happened several more times since then, but every time I experienced that exhausting, empty sadness, I came out of it, alive. Stronger. With kindness, courage, and resolve.

This week, it truly feels like someone died. Maybe it was democracy, but only time will tell. I have to have hope. And faith. And belief that this is not the end of the world, but the start of a revolution. I have to do what I can, and I hope you will, too, to continue to fight for women, racial minorities, non-Christian religious or non-religious people, the LGBT community, refugees, and any people looking for the American dream.

Bay City, Wisconsin

Bay City, Wisconsin

 

Yesterday, we mourned. Today, we rise.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Even the Pink Fucking Monkey Gets a Vote

Yesterday was Election Day. We has a pretty big race here in Illinois, and I don’t even want to talk about it.

Instead, I’ll talk about the very serious vote in our house (holy crap, I can say house) last night.

So Brian has picked up this strange habit of not putting the toilet seat down. Which would be less strange if he had been doing it as long as I’ve known him. But it’s a recent development.

Obviously, this new development isn’t on my list of favorites, OCD tendencies and all…so I brought it up to him. I was in bed, and he was standing up. Our bed still isn’t on a frame, so it’s pretty low to the ground, too. It felt like I was a foot tall and he was a giant beast (in, like, not a bad way).

His response? “Maybe, that’s how it’s supposed to be.”

“No.”

“Okay…let’s vote! Everyone who thinks the toilet seat should stay up, raise your hands!” He raised both hands high towards the ceiling.

Then, I said, “All in favor of the toilet seat staying down, raise your hands.” I raised both of my hands.

He decided he needed another vote, he looked around the room, and then he grabbed The Octopod, raising all eight of his tentacles.

The Octopod

The Octopod was the only stuffed creature that Brian brought to our relationship.

I told him The Octopod does NOT count, or so help me, I would get out of bed and every other stuffed animal and doll would be on Team Seat Down.

“You wouldn’t be able to hold all their hands up!”

“Oh yes I would. Rufus. Samantha. Teddy. Staley. Kermit. Even the Pink Fucking Monkey.”

Stuffed animals

Some of the stuffed creatures. Okay, so I got Kermit for Brian for Christmas one year (he named his car Kermit after completely disregarding my option to name him Charlie)

Rufus

Rufus the dog was Brian’s Valentine’s Day gift to me a few years ago…he said, “I got you a dog.” Last night, I said, “My dog’s got votes.”

“That’s his name? Not the fucking pink monkey? The Pink Fucking Monkey? Really?”

“Yep. I mean. He didn’t have a name…but now he does.”

And that, my friends, is how I won the toilet seat debate.

Do you have a toilet seat struggle in your home? How do you solve debates? What are your thoughts on the whole toilet seat thing?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Rocking the Vote and (MOSTLY) a Shameless Plug

So today is Rock the Vote Day here in Illinois. It’s the primaries, and we all know how I feel about rocking the vote. So I’ll be heading to my polling place after work today, because I think the primaries are important too.

Of course, I couldn’t let the rock the vote opportunity just fade away when you, too, can rock a vote.

image

On that note, blog friends…I have to tell you something RIDICULOUSLY exciting…I haven’t mentioned it yet, and I feel kinda like a jerk for not telling you, because it’s a result of your awesomeness…

I’m a finalist in not one, not two, but THREE categories in The 2014 Weblog Awards. Best Writing, Most Humorous, and Weblog of the Year.

Last year, I was a finalist in Best Writing of a Weblog. And THE BLOGGESS offered to share her invisible trophy with me.

TheBloggess (TheBloggess) on Twitter 2013-05-22 22-54-19

I would LOVE for you to go and take a second to vote for me in the 2014 Bloggies. Several of my blogging besties have also been nominated, so if you would like to help them out with a vote, I know they’d appreciate it too!

Voting ends this weekend, so vote early, vote often!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Rock the Vote; Don’t Waste It

I came in and edited this morning. All edits have been typed in pink.

We still have no internet. And our fridge doesn’t work right (I had to *gasp* throw away cheese. Though I considered eating it anyways…I thought better of it when I realized that I did not want my favorite thing ever to become my demise. Food poisoning scares me. A lot. I have an unnatural fear of botulism. Un. natural. fear. I won’t eat reheated grilled onions. ever. A can or jar that seems ‘splodey? No thank you.) And there are still many boxes to deal with. And we have no couch.

But we have a bed and a clean bedroom. And in-unit laundry. And beer. And cupcakes from our un-freakin-believably-adorbs new neighbors (3 and 5 year old girls). Sunday night they waited outside their door to give us cuppy cakes. Happiest girl ever! Funfetti!

Cupcakes from new neighbors

Too cute right?

So we brought them upstairs and went back to carrying stuff in from the car. I raced upstairs with a small shelfy thing as Brian was pulling out the heavy stuff and I snagged a bite of the delish treat and ran back down. Immediately upon returning to the apartment, Brian noticed the missing piece and he told me that the rest of the cupcakes were his…I threatened to bite his nose off…so I got both of my cupcakes. One for dinner and one for breakfast.

And I fixed our fridge. Sort of. I figured out the problem (the light wouldn’t turn off…so it heated my cheese. And ruined it.) But we rigged it up so that it will turn off. And not destroy anything else.

Oh. Right. It’s election day. I got off track. Because obviously, I’m not writing this on election day. Due to the fact that we have no freakin’ internet. And I’m freezing at my parents’ house as I’m writing this. Yesterday. (My tenses are confusing me.) Moving right along…

So I believe that it is important, even though many of my close friends will not participate, to vote. Do some research, because uneducated voting is pretty shitty. If you’ve only been paying attention to the presidential election race, and don’t know…or don’t understand something else on the ballot, ask the election judge…or skip it. Don’t just fill in bubbles like you would on a standardized test.

I woke up this morning, and it felt like Christmas. I showered. Got dressed in my sweet Rock the Vote tee shirt. Reheated some leftover pumpkin cheesecake pancakes and drank some Oberweis milk (I support the dairy products, not the politics. Dropped Brian off at the train. Visited Mom at work (where I got a lecture as to how I should be unpacking…UM HELLO!? Election day, Ma. Relax, I got it covered. Let’s just call it my union break. If in a week, we’re still not unpacked…I’ve got a secret weapon: The Easy Button-Anything still in boxes is getting thrown away.) Edited blog (now) and will soon be on my way to participate in my legal privilege to vote for the leader of the free world.

Just a quick photo shoot: I bought this shirt on clearance right after the ’08 election. I’ve worn it it on every voting day since, but I’ve been waiting patiently for four years to wear it on the big election day.

Rock the vote, don't waste it

Rock the vote

It’s especially nice that I now only live 15 minutes from my polling place instead of 30. By the next election, I’ll be settled into another home…and this time I’ll be registered to vote there. And it will be wonderful. Life is good. All the pink print I just typed cheered me up. I feel better already. It’s amazing what writing can do for your soul.

What are you waiting for? Go vote!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

A Born Fanatic

Thank God my mother raised me right.

(Preface: If you’re not into Jesus or politics, keep reading–I promise I have a point)
 

I was *NOT* born to be a religious fanatic

My parents instilled a strong belief in God, but more importantly they allowed me to believe (as I did and do) that good people who lead strong, genuine, and caring lives will be rewarded, regardless of their faith. While I believe that there is a God (and a forgiving, loving God, at that), it is not my place to push Him on others. It is not my place to HATE others for believing in something different than what I believe.

As a child, I had heard in various adult conversations that only Catholics shall go to Heaven. But as many children, I questioned in honor of my pals. But what about my friends who aren’t Catholic? I thought to myself, that if they are good people, they will be okay. You know why? BECAUSE GOD LOVES US. /end Jesus talk.

Don’t get upset, Mom, it’s a real bible verse!

I was *NOT* born to be a political fanatic

I have tendencies for both sides of the main court. I suppose that makes me an independent. I was educated by my parents to watch, listen, and learn, but also to see what was going on behind the scenes. Politics is heavily swayed by the media, so it is my duty as a voting citizen to do my own research.

Whether or not someone says one thing, they may very well do another. To be the most informed voter that I can be, and remain as unbiased as I can be, is the only way that I know to do my part. I truly believe that in our current society that I am more often than not voting for the lesser of two evils, and not for the better leader.

 

Anyone? Anyone? *Crickets*

I was, on the other hand, born to be a sports fanatic

When I was a baby, Mom would whisper in my ear, “You love the White Sox. You hate the Cubs.” and the all-important, “You love the Bears. You hate the Packers.”

This picture is the sole reason that I believe it is perfectly acceptable for little girls under the age of 2 to wear sports gear in pink as opposed to in team colors. I asked if this was my brother. Mom told me “no.” Until I pulled the picture out of an album and looked at the back that said, “Christine 1984,” I didn’t quite believe her.

You think I’m making this shit up, but I’m not. At all. I come from a family of sports-crazed chicks. My grandmother (Dad’s mom, one of my namesakes, who I never had the joy of meeting) Regina (Jean) jumped on the White Sox bus with a ball and made every player on the bus sign the ball before she got off. What a spitfire!

My mom, a die-hard, White Sox loving, Bears loving lady, has a list a mile long of her exploits in the sports world. From kissing baseball players to stalking football players, my mom’s done it.

In fact, when I asked her for her wild sports stories, she e-mailed me this (I literally cut and pasted for entertainment value–OK with a few modifications…my mom has little regard for typing quotations and doesn’t quite get the difference between all caps and normal type–sorry Mom! I love you! Really folks, Mom’s got impeccable grammar–she’s defo one of the reasons I’m such a grammar Nazi… it’s just the typing thing):

#54 Tom Hicks Bears…1980…I was working at the phone company, and answered the phone,
“This is Miss Nudd, how can I help you?”
The man on the phone says to me, “Hi Patti, this is Tom Hicks”
I almost died and had to put him on hold and said, “Tom Hicks knows my first name!” He had gone to the same high school as me, and knew my sister; I knew his little brother.
Scott Fletcher White Sox Winning ugly playoff team 1983…Working at phone company again…
“This is Mrs. Woj, how can I help you?”
“I’d like to install a new phone.”
“Ok..what is you name”
“Scott Flectcher”
“Uhmmm Scott, you play baseball?”
“Yea..you a fan?”
“Oh boy! Am I?!…I stayed out all night pregnant* for playoff tickets.”
I then proceeded to install his phone.
 

*For the record, friends, she was preggo with yours truly.

White Sox 1988?…White Sox playing Yankees. Dad and I were waiting after game near the Sox player parking lot…I saw George Steinbrenner (Owner of the Yankees.) About 15 people were standing with us…I yelled
“Mr. Steinbrenner!”
He walked over and talked baseball and signed autographs for 10 minutes..great guy..bad reputation.
 
Derek Jeter: Another Yankee…Great rep…bad guy
Dad and I were on the field after winning a contest with Old Kent Bank. It was Derek Jeter’s birthday.
He walks by I say” Hey Jeter…Happy Birthday”…he gave a me a nasty glare and without a word, walked away.
many more will continue in an hour or so.

Mom never finished, but I figure that’s plenty of tales, considering the list goes on and on and on… so you can see why I feel it is absolutely necessary to continue the tradition of training die-hard sports fans… I give you exhibits A and B: my niece, Princess B, and my godson, Little A.

Baby sports fan in the making. My niece at 2. For all intents and purposes, we’ll call her, Princess B. Note the pink Chucks on her feet.

My only claims to fame (other than the childhood encounters that my parents got us into because they owned a bar-and I have pictures of me with a bunch of White Sox greats whilst wearing a New Kids on the Block tee-shirt) are a couple of slightly embarrassing encounters and one awesome wave. Getting hammered with my pal Marissa behind home base (in Scout Seating), I yelled over to Ozzie Guillen, “Hey Ozzie!” waving frantically in order to grab his attention. Drunk Chrissy was convinced that mom would have done the same thing. Of course, we were losing at the time, and he looked at me, annoyed, and gave a little half wave back.

“Hey Ozzie!!!!!”

Then there was my first Bear. To this date, I have only met one Bear. The newish punter, Adam Podlesh, was at the Chicago Auto Show in February, and I was determined to meet him. Cletus and I had planned a lovely afternoon downtown to check out the zoom zooms and more. Podlesh was at the Toyota display taking pictures and signing autographs. I walked up there with my picture to sign and Cletus with the camera ready…and the only language my brain could muster was a dulled, awkward, starry-eyed “hiiiii.” He looked at me a little funny and asked if I wanted to take a picture first or sign an autograph first. “um…surrrre” I said. Wow, quite the verbal mastermind, I was that day…So we took the picture. It was awesome. Then he asked if he should sign the autograph to someone, I said, “Um to um Chrissy. *awkward pause* Um. That’s me. *awkward smile*” He smiled at me like I was a little goofy, but hopefully endearing… “Thanks, uh duh *grin*” I told him. Then I asked if I could hug him. And he said it was okay. So I hugged a football player. I like to think that I made his day by being a crazed and dazed fan…

But the best time was when I was at training camp in Bourbonnais, and Robbie Gould waved at me. No, seriously, he waved at me. I yelled out, “Hey Robbie!” and I was planning to snap a picture. When I clicked the snap button, I quickly realized that WHAM! I was video taping it!

 

That’s right. Famous.

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Olympic Games & the Presidential Election

As the Olympic Games draw nearer and the 2012 United States Elections a short distance behind them, I am reminded of a time that I thought I was the most clever writer. So much so, that my pal Debbie and I believed we could become famous with a pseudonym-ed blog. We called ourselves Quinn Sanders, and we were brilliant. Well, we thought we were anyways.

The idea was Debbie’s brainchild, and she brought me into the mix a month after Quinn’s inception. We shamelessly plugged the shit out of Quinn, telling all of our friends that it was our new favorite blog. Of course, we were writing every word of it…so clearly it was pure genius in our minds.

Quinn gave advice to readers, rocked out her MySpace page, and she may have even had a Facebook for a brief time. She often conversed with her fans through MySpace, and gained a small following among anyone that would add “us” as friends on MySpace.

She was more than just a pseudonym. Quinn was a character that we created. She had a job (she was a freelance journalist). She had favorites. She was something of a nationalist. She loved to travel. She loved to write and speak at workshops & seminars. Quinn was not us. Quinn was what Debbie and I wished we were at 23 and 25 respectively.

To this day, I am still quite proud of several pieces that I wrote for Quinn’s blog, and I’ve taken the liberty of cutting (and mildly editing) my Olympics Election Connection post, as I believe this is the perfect time to bring back my comparison to these oh-so-important events in our country. Let Freedom Ring and all that jazz.

Olympic Games Followed by the Presidential Election: Coincidence or By Design?

~Quinn Sanders

Every four years, in August, our country unites. We stand together and cheer for the United States, land of the free, home of the brave, etc. We glue ourselves to NBC and obsess about the athletes from our home country as the compete against China, Romania, and Russia, among hundreds of other countries.

We put a lot of stock into our young athletes to prove we’re better than any other country out there. We spend billions of dollars to view, endorse, and sometimes even exploit these people, some of whom are still just children. But together, we find joy in supporting Team USA.

Then, a few weeks after this united front, we divide, quickly and bitterly, just like clockwork. Because the Summer Olympics occur just a few short months before our big presidential election. We fight, argue, and debate(yes, I believe those are 3 different things entirely). We take every possible controversy and turn it against our opposing political side, whichever side we choose–if we even choose.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that there are millions of people who could care less about the Olympics, and there’s millions of people who don’t “rock the vote.” But I personally love the Olympics and rock the vote. Maybe it’s the journalist in me that feels the need to be informed and know EVERYTHING of any importance, but I dig it.

But it seems as though we don’t play well with others–world athletic competitions, wars, economics, you name it. And when there are no others around…we don’t play well with ourselves–athletic competitions, politics, economics, religion (yes, freedom of religion doesn’t mean we’re not going to fight about it) even wars… And it all comes out during election time. “He never fought in a war!” “She doesn’t believe in a woman’s right to choose.” “He has no experience.” “He won’t end the war.”

When does it end? Why does it have to be all about witty jabs and verbal punches? A few weeks ago we were raving about how great our country is, and now we’re tearing each other apart.

Well, my dear readers, I hope you do your research, stay informed and please…. ROCK THE VOTE! No matter who you choose, keep in mind that our country isn’t too bad. We are able to decide who runs our country every four years. No dynasties, no dictators, Take that, China!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!