I should probably start seeing a therapist for this…

I'm getting rid of my scale

I removed the scale from my bedroom this week. There’s nothing helpful or healing to weighing myself every day, sometimes multiple times a day. It creates an obsession with arbitrary numbers instead of an understanding of how I feel, emotionally and physically. I have struggled with disordered eating for more of my life than even I realized. I knew I was not well during the phase of my life when I was binging and purging, but it took me a long time to realize that there were more parts to disordered eating than just those years.

In sixth grade, when I weighed myself every day and ate sparingly at school. Sure I hated that I was sitting at a lunch table by myself and I claimed I was hoarding my lunch money for other uses, but there was more to it than that. I was obsessed with not gaining even a pound to add to my round belly. Encouraged by the adults in my life who were always dieting, I learned that it was okay to be hyperfocused on my size and always trying to shrink, despite the fact that I was still a growing child who hadn’t even hit puberty yet.

This is the body I have. I only get one. I don’t always love it. And that’s okay. My body does a lot of wonderful things. It also does a lot of dickish things (especially for not actually having a dick. Rude). And I can spend my time trying to change my body, mold it to unrealistic beauty standards set forth by the corporations trying to make money off the images they deem worth — or I can spend my time honoring that body.

I know that I function better on days that I walk more. But I also know that sometimes, I don’t have the physical or emotional ability to walk 10,000 steps in a day. And that’s okay. I’m allowed to have both types of days, and I know that I’m doing what I can when I can with the body that I have. And I don’t have to qualify my abilities or inabilities to anyone.

I know that I function better when I eat a lot of protein and whole grains and fresh produce. But I also know that sometimes, I want the physical and emotional comfort of a Cheryl’s cookie (which, yes, are always in my freezer). And that’s okay. Allergies, triggers, and intolerances aside, food is not something that should be allowed or acceptable. Food is fuel. Even the carbiest cookies and fastest food.

And so I take baby steps to remove decades of hurtful behaviors and mindsets. I am eliminating and minimizing diet culture language in my vocabulary (healthy vs unhealthy, good vs bad, etc). I quit Weight Watchers for good. I decided I would never enter another DietBet or Biggest Loser competition among friends. I removed the scale. 

If you dig into the archives of this blog, you’re sure to find iterations of all these things. I won’t remove them, but I may eventually update them with thoughts and reflections in my present to acknowledge and honor my past, while also healing myself moving forward. 

Chrissy with neon rainbow and pink hair, wearing a neon rainbow crop top and turquoise underwear

This is me. This is my body. It is only a fraction of the person that I am. I celebrate and honor my body with boudoir photography. Photo by Sarah Jane Boudoir

If I lose weight, that’s okay. If I gain weight, that’s okay too. And if I stay the same, that’s just as okay as either of the other two. (It’s a lot easier to type these words than to feel or believe them in my bones, but I’m trying. Remember that behind every Instagram photo, every confident blog post, every story is a real live person with insecurities and fears that likely mirror your own).

I am not any more or less worthy of love when I am a different size than I am right now. And my appearance? Is the least interesting thing about me.

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!

It takes a special kind of a$$hole to create ransomware

Gorilla hands typing on a computer with a banana snack
Photo courtesy of Gratisography

My dad has Covid. This in and of itself sucks. He’s vaccinated and has done all the right things. But he still managed to get Covid. The doctors did not immediately suspect Covid, and so weeks (and several doctor appointments) went by without so much as a test to check it. The Delta variant is sneaky, and many of us (the ones who cared in the first place, anyways) have let our guards down. It took an urgent care visit, ambulance ride, and hospital stay for the Covid diagnosis (paired with pneumonia) to rear its ugly head.

While none of the rest of our vaccinated family has been symptomatic, we all felt it was the right and responsible call to get ourselves tested, and here’s where my adventure begins.

I knew from my Tuesday physical therapy appointment (in which my PT had to handwrite her notes and pull from memory the exercises and therapies I was supposed to do) that all systems were down across my entire medical organization. It’s the largest medical provider in the state of Illinois, spanning several suburban counties outside of Chicago. And I’m pretty sure they’ve been hacked and are being held ransom by some douchebag (or collection of douchebags) with a knack for out-teching the tech protectors. Because it is now Friday, and the systems are STILL down. They haven’t done more than apologize for the inconvenience and blah blah blah.

So on Wednesday, when we found out Papa Bear had Covid, Brian, Mom, and I tried to call our doctors to get test orders…to no avail. All systems, including the phone and scheduling systems, were down. Mom asked me if she should just go over to the testing site and yell at them until they give her a test. Having attempted it last December (yes, I did yell at medical practitioners in the midst of a pandemic and I already feel guilty as hell about it so you can withhold your judgment please and thank you), I was able to gently inform her that that particular tactic would not work, and it would expend significantly more energy than necessary without yielding any results.

So she did the only thing she could think to do. She drove over to her doctor’s office to get some answers. She talked to the nurses at check-in, patiently (I think) reminding them that we were in this situation for their failure to provide a single covid test a few weeks earlier, and she wasn’t leaving without orders for a test. They sent her back to her car and said they’d call when they were ready. A few minutes later, she had a paper order for a covid test, went upstairs to the lab, and got it done.

That was when she called me. “Great!” I said, “I’m on my way over to do the same.”

Brian and I climbed into the car, drove the 15 minutes or so to Mom’s doctor’s office (ours is a bit further, actually, and this office was familiar with the situation, and as they’re all a part of the same organization, it’s all kind of the same anyway). I went in, explained who we were, and the nurses at reception were like, “great, got it. We’ll call you when we’re ready for you.”

So I went back to the car and waited with Brian. When they called us, they handed out paper orders and sent us upstairs to the lab. We waited again. When the lab called us back, they were like, “Oh hey, we’re out of tests. You have to go to this other location. It’s only like 10 minutes away.”

Frustrated, we clambered back into the car, and drove to the other lab — where they proceeded to ask, “uh what doctor ordered this? Because we don’t know, and we need to know.”

I shrugged and made one of those sounds that sort of implies I don’t know while also physically admitting total and utter ignorance.

“Did you see a doctor at Lombard?”

“No.”

“So how did you get the order?”

*Repeat full story for the eleventy-billionth time*

“Okay, well, I have the manager of Lombard on the phone and they have no idea what’s happening.”

“Well, that clearly can’t be true.”

“Who did you talk to at the front desk?”

“All four people sitting there.”

“Okay well…uh…be right back.”

A few minutes later, someone else comes to stick cotton swabs up our noses.

“Did you get it figured out?”

“Yeah.”

“Who was the doctor.”

“[Insert the name of Mom and Dad’s doctor, who I actually adore, and kind of should have suspected and named all along].”

“Oh. Duh. That makes sense.”

Three days later, we still can’t call or follow up, Mom still hasn’t gotten her results back, my brother, niece, Brian, and I are all negative, and Dad is finally home from the hospital.

And I can’t stop thinking about the “all systems down” portion of this story. The fact that we can’t contact our doctors or make appointments or get prescription refills or anything without physically walking into the doctor’s office like it’s the dark ages or the 80s and 90s or something is baffling. Our doctors can’t access our medical histories or charts. And it’s all because of money-grubbing hackers. Ransomware is terrifying because it’s not like negotiating with terrorists. These motherfuckers get their money. And move on to the next system they can get their grubby hands on. Earlier this month, it looks like a lot of the hospitals in the area fell into the same situation. I want to have faith in people and believe in the good and all that, but this whole concept is some fucking bullshit. And to mess with people’s medical information and needs is just the worst.

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!

I will not book out my entire summer before summer begins

Sunset on Marco Island

The first day of summer has only just passed, and this year, I’ve made a promise to myself. In the Before Times, everything in my life was booked out weeks, if not months in advance. That left very little time for spontaneity, relaxation, or self-assessment.

Kristen Bell said in a recent speaking engagement with BlogHer, “The only thing you can’t purchase or get back is time.” As we weave our way toward the After Times, I vow to cherish the time that I am given and treat it like the precious piece of my world that it is. 

June 20 marked the first official day of summer, and in May, I made the decision that I would refuse to have every weekend of the entire season booked out before it began. That’s only 13 weekends. 26 full weekend days (plus Labor Day and the Fourth of July).

Between weddings and showers and birthdays and anniversaries and graduations, our weekends get eaten up quickly like Cheetos at a slumber party. But not this year. And for those of you who invite me to your parties and events and whatnot: I hope I can make it. I do. I love seeing you and celebrating with you. And if I can’t make it to your party, I hope we can go out for dinner or lunch or play games and actually catch up after this wild (yeah, wild. Let’s run with that, for now, but make sure we recognize that awful doesn’t even begin to describe it for the majority of people) year.

I love my friends and family. But I need to start setting boundaries for the sake of myself and Brian. So henceforth, unless it is something that requires a firm RSVP (like a wedding) or advanced planning (major travel), I am only opening my calendar up two weeks out. I even developed some language to use as I start engaging with friends about making plans.

“Would it be okay if we touch base in a couple of weeks to confirm?”

Okay, fine, I’ll probably add a few apologies and “hi I’m a giant weirdo,” but I feel really good about this decision and my language. And I’ll work on being less apologetic about it later. I suppose that comes with time. 

I have a lot of things I need to prioritize, and seeing a full calendar of social engagements and obligations will only stress me out about not having time to focus or take a break or just spend time with my extremely introverted husband.

Does this mean there might be times when I don’t have plans and my extroverted self really wants to do something? Yes. But that leaves room for spur-of-the-moment date nights, or summer evenings with my neighbors and a few bottles of wine. It leaves us open to possibilities of something new and different. Or sitting at home with a board game or movie just the two of us. And there’s no one I’d rather be just the two of us with than Brian. 

Have you changed the way you manage your time as you start to emerge from pandemic life? What are you doing to improve your stress levels and resume a new normal instead of going back to The Before Times? Tell me everything!

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!

Things I learned hiding out in a HomeGoods apartment

HomeGoods Hideout Chicago Bedroom

I will love HomeGoods forever and not just because they supported a majority of my addictions (cheese, shopping, eating fancy food, hot bubble baths, and people watching, among others) for 5 days last week.

DIY Macrame Kit

I fell in love with HomeGoods in 2014, shortly after buying our house. I had always had an affinity for home shopping (and been a huge Marshalls fan since I was a teenager), but I hadn’t really explored all there was to offer in that HGTV world until I had an entire house to furnish and decorate. Seven years later, I still have no idea what I’m doing, but HomeGoods has absolutely made our house a home.

In May, I found out that I won the Homegoods Hideout, a 4-night stay in a fancy Chicago apartment, completely furnished by Homegoods with decor, stocked with snacks (And OMG do I love me the Homegoods snack aisle, my dudes), fun activities, and a Magic Buddy available 19 hours a day via a Magic Phone with a Magic Budget for all my additional needs. At the end of the stay? A Magic Takeout Box the size of my trunk arrived via Magic Buddy for me to fill with souvenirs of my home away from home.

Last week, I moved into the swankest apartment I’ve ever been in for a long weekend. I spent the first hour just taking it all in. Noticing the details and opening every cabinet and drawer just to see all the things. I spent the next four days unwinding myself from myself (an old friend used to say I was wound tighter than an 8-day clock), reading, writing, and plotting. It was magnificent. 

Relax with a book and a bath

Here are some of the things I learned this past weekend:

  • Enter the contest. Someone has to win, and one day it could be you (or several days. We all know I’m a professional contest winner at heart).
  • Take more baths. They feel good, and they are good for your body.
  • Use the candles. It was kind of amazing reading in a bedroom with a lit candle. The aroma of relaxation is magical.
  • Notice the details. Take your time. Slow down. Breathe it all in. 
  • Run the dishwasher every night.
  • Make your bed every morning.
  • Decorate with plants.
  • Clear the clutter. You don’t need it all. Seriously.
  • Read more joy. Books are a way to learn, to escape, to fall in love, to try something new. But also, joyful books are just good for your soul. ESPECIALLY if you’re an empath.
  • Social media less. When your mind isn’t constantly “on,” you can do so much more.
  • Try something new. I learned how to macrame (hello, new hobby) and tried some new delicious smoothies. I also learned that making sugar and salt scrubs is an art form that is not for me. But I’m glad I tried. 
  • There’s no place like home (even if home is a clusterfuck of clutter and distraction).
  • And finally, you can fit A LOT of home goods from HomeGoods in a 2-ft cubed moving box.

HomeGoods Hideout Takeout Box

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!

Venus fly traps aren’t all that dangerous

So there I was, minding my own business, trying to remain polite and calm on the phone with customer service. I had ordered a pair of plants online that I couldn’t find in the store and needed for my vegetable garden (I’ll be looking in another store later today thank you very much). I read the reviews, did my due diligence. Recent reviews said things along the lines of, “I was shocked at how fast they arrived and in such great condition” so I assumed that would remain the case for my order.

I was wrong.

My plants arrived 3 days after being shipped (and bounced around UPS). They were dry, wilting, and in overall bad condition. I had paid double the in-store price for them, and I would not have paid the in-store price for the wilting mess that arrived.

No worries. I thought. I’ll call and get my money back.

So I called. And got my new favorite customer service representative. At first, I was annoyed. He kept saying I had two names and then using my first and last name. And I’m like, “yeah. That’s my name. That’s exactly what I said my name was.” It was super bizarre.

But this guy wasn’t done yet.

While processing my return, he decided to keep the conversation alive and thriving.

“Ma’am?”

“Yes?”

“You ever seen a venus fly trap in real life?”

I almost choked on my La Croix. Was this guy serious?

“Uhh…yes.” I had. I’ve seen them at the store. I’ve almost bought one for Brian. And I vaguely remember one of the people at one of my old jobs had one (though I’m not entirely sure I remember who or which work *shrug*).

“Are they real big?”

“No, they’re actually pretty small.”

“So not like the movies, huh?”

“Nope.”

“Guess they aren’t really dangerous then.”

“They’re only dangerous to flies.”

“Oh yeah, that makes sense. Well, I’ve gone ahead and processed your return. You’ll get an email with the details.”

Someone give this guy a raise.

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!

I get my nerdiness from my dad’s side

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My mom has always been a cool girl. She’s bright and vivacious and everyone adores her for her un and friendly nature.  

My dad was quieter (just as lovable once you know him, obvi, but quieter), happy to let Mom have the spotlight while he would throw the occasion (okay, fine, frequent) dad joke in for laughs. 
 
From Mom, I inherited the lucky horseshoe in my ass (I win a surprising number of giveaways), my keen fashion sense (even if mine is wildly different than hers), and really great hair.
 
From Dad, I inherited my sense of humor, my ability to hold my liquor, and my love of really nerdy things.
 
I mean, there’s a lot more I get from both of them, but this is a blog post, not an autobiography. 
 
So Dad is the reason I celebrate Star Wars Day like a champ and knew that R2D2 and C3PO (or 3PPO, as I called him in my toddler days) were my favorite characters ever before I was old enough to read. He’s also my musical theater buddy, a fellow Hallmark romance fan, and occasionally gets the memo to twin with me. 

Chrissy and Dad wearing matchy outfits
Unintentional twinning a couple Father's Days ago.

I have also introduced Dad to a fair share of nerdoms to thank him for my love of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings and crossword puzzles. He didn’t even know what he was missing until I introduced him to the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe by making him watch all 22 (we didn’t watch Hulk. Don’t hate) movies last spring. We even made a thing of it for Avengers Endgame with Brian and my brother joining us for the epic finale to the Infinity Saga.
 
It was kind of the best thing about the combination of lockdown and Dad’s broken ankle. He couldn’t go anywhere, so he was stuck with me when I put on each movie. (I’m joking, friends. He totally agreed to watch them with me…even if he didn’t know what he was signing up for when he said okay). 
 
And what better way to thank dad for exploring the weird and wonderful world of nerd culture than some fandom wearables from my friends at TV Store Online?
 
If you know anything about me, it’s that I LOVE a good deal. And right now, TVSO has THE BEST score for nerdwear I’ve pretty much seen. Through Father’s Day on June 20 (or while supplies last), you can get nerd tees and even some hoodies in a Buy 1 tee get 2 free deal. Run, don’t walk, to this Father’s Day tee-shirt promo, friends.  Whether you’re shopping for your dad, another dad in your life, or…you know…yourself. This deal is a winner all around. Just use the code Buy1Get2 on the checkout page. The gallery below has just a few of the sweet shirts you can snag from the sale (get while the getting is good, my friends, because they will sell out and fast).

And I mean, with buy 1, get 2 free, you can get one or two for yourself and STILL get a gift for someone else. It’s a winning situation. 

That being said, keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram account for a chance to win $50 in credit to TV Store Online later this week.

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!

I digress: germ-killing robots and my BFF, Jenny Lawson

I locked myself out of my blog. I want to say it was for weeks, which is why I am so bad at posting things at regular intervals like I used to do when I was young and carefree and involuntarily unemployed.

But it was actually just for a day. 16 hours or so, honestly. I made the major mistake of logging out to see if maybe, turning my blog off and then turning it back on again might fix some issues I’ve been having. (Spoiler alert: it didn’t — and as I wrote this sentence the “Updating failed. The response is not a valid JSON response.” error message popped up in a big red pop-up that likes to annoy me regularly — no idea what it means. I tried Googling and it felt like I was reading another language, and my blog still works, albeit badly at times, so I just kinda go with it).

I digress (I don’t actually know what that means, but I like to say it because it sounds fancy. This often results in me saying stupid stuff that doesn’t make sense. Like I really want to use the word swarthy to describe myself because in my head it means awkward [because that’s how Tula referred to herself as a child in My Big Fat Greek Wedding], but in reality, it means dark complexion or weathered by the sun. And I am none of those things).

So I logged out of my blog to fix a thing I didn’t fix, and then couldn’t remember the password to get back in. Never fear, I thought: I’ll just order a fresh password like I always do (and let me tell you, if you do this enough, you can eventually come back to the first password you forgot forever ago and never forget your bank password again). So I said, “hey WordPress, email me a link to a temporary password or something” — I just clicked a button, so most of that was implied. And the email never came.

And then I came across a different email and fell down a random rabbit hole of I don’t remember what, and then my laptop was running out of battery, so I had to go plug it back in. And my phone was running out of battery, and I had to go plug that in. And then my back was running out of battery, so I had to go lay down on it and recharge. And while I did that, I went back to read a few more chapters of Jenny Lawson’s latest book about being broken, and while I am not the same kind of broken, it really resonated because I am also broken in the best possible way and I feel a kinship to her (and also, we’re best friends, and she said I could say this on Twitter, so I will say it whenever I darn well feel) even though I am a devout extrovert and she is a fully practicing introvert and we are of two completely different minds in the religion of socialization. But I collect introverts, as you may already know, and we’re best friends on the internet, which [I think] is Jenny’s favorite type of best friend. And so I was laughing so hard that Brian came in later, looked at what I was reading, and was all, “Oh. Got it. That’s why you were laughing like a damn hyena.” He remembers the time I read Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (and he does not pretend it never happened, by the way).

My brain is running faster than I can type this morning, so bear (bare?) with me here.

[20 minutes of a Google rabbit hole later] Oh hey! The logging out DID fix one of my issues. I can use Elementor again (I realize that means very little to a majority of you. It means very little to me except that it allows me to put those cute little recommended post links at the bottom of this post and makes it easier to edit my blog posts and see what I’m doing and how terribly I’m rambling today). So, you know, there’s something to be said for that. 

I swear I have a point, but at this point, I’m not sure it’s even worth getting to, because it was all about the journey, and this morning’s [afternoon’s] rambles have been a motherfucking journey if I don’t say so myself. But I did, so you don’t have to worry about saying so yourself.  

Basically, I never received the email from WordPress to reset my password. I remember thinking to look in my spam folder, but then I promptly forgot about it and never wrote the blog post that was in my head yesterday. Maybe I can punch that one out next. 

So I requested another password reset email and this time, I was on the ball and went straight to my spam. But of course, I couldn’t just snag the email and go. I had to linger in the spam folder and peruse what Google thinks is garbage. And I found gold. 

I received an email from Mike with the subject: “germ killing robots” and obviously, I was intrigued and like, well that can’t be spam, because germ-killing robots sound awesome. 

Good Day,chrissy @ quirkychrissy . com (I added spaces, but I did not remove spaces or change capitalizations here. Do with that knowledge as you will).

germ killing robots
cleaning robot
UV Robots
Intelligent Sterilization Robot
ultraviolet machine
Disinfection robot

Please reply us email.
we will send you more information

Best and regards!
Mike

I have replied to Mike and am awaiting more information. Well played, Mike. Well played.

I also (clearly) was able to reset my password — even though WordPress was all, “Hey dummy, that is too easy of a password, click here to confirm that you know it’s an easy password.” And I clicked there because  a not-easy password was what got us here in the first place. 

TL;DR I think I should probably talk to a medical professional about my undiagnosed ADHD. Also, how can I get my hands on some germ-killing robots? Asking for a friend.

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!

Dog perspective: I’m afraid we killed the easter bunnies

Easter Bunny Out of Work

Hi there! This is Nia! Mom said I could tell you the epawic story of my run-in with the Easter bunnies this week. Mom says the story is sad, so if you’re not into that sort of thing, you might not want to read this. If you don’t mind a little sad, I had quite the pupventure right in my own backyard, and I’d love to tell you apawt it.

It all began on Thursday night. Mom and Dad were doing their regular nighttime things — looking at the little lights they hold in their hands all the time while the big moving picture window kept moving and moving and moving. I tried to get the things in the window, but my snoot kept hitting the glass. Mom says they were chess pieces. I don’t know what that means but I wanted it anyways.

So then I woofed some — you know to let them know I was bored with the little lights and the moving window. I wanted to play. So they let me go play outside. They even left the door open so I could come and go as I pawleased.

I went outside and found a whole bunch of furiends playing hide and seek, just waiting fur me to find them! They were super tiny, just like my sharks that I play hide and seek with in the ship. They were hiding real good, but I got them all out. Don’t worry, though. I was real gentle with them. I didn’t want to hurt them!

They looked real cold, so I brought the first one inside and pawt him right in front of the fireplace. That’s where it gets real warm sometimes, so I thought it might be a good pawlace fur him. Once I was inside, Mom closed the door, so I couldn’t go get the rest of my new furiends.

I was very sad, so I kept trying to tell them I wanted to go get my furiends. I don’t think they understood me, so I finally just laid down next to dad and fell asleep.

When I woke up, all the lights were out in the house. I think Mom and Dad went to bed and furgot to wake me up so I could snuggle them. It was okay because I remembered my new furiend. I went to check on him and he was still asleep by the fireplace. I decided that Mom and Dad would be okay fur a night without me, and I curled up on the couch near my furiend so he wouldn’t be lonely.

Sometime when it was still dark, I woke up again and, having furgotten about my furiend, I made my way upstairs to my cozy dog bed. Befur the morning sound went off, I heard my Uncle Thomases on Mom’s phone. She started moving around and I knew I was gonna get to go outside fur my morning security detail, so I started woofing a whole lot. Mom let me outside and I checked the pawrimeter.

I heard Mom scream inside, but who knows what THAT was about. Then Dad came outside to play! I saw him walk over by my furiends’ hiding spot, but he quickly realized that I already found them all and he didn’t have to worry about it. I always find them all!

Then Mom came out and started looking all over. I think she wanted to pawt my furiends back so I could find them again. That’s what she does with the sharks. She cried every time she saw one and then Dad came back and picked them all up. He didn’t pawt them back in the right place though. He took them away. I guess they didn’t want to play with me anymore.

I then remembered my inside furiend, but when I went back in, he was gone too. I hope my furiends come back. I miss them already.

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 day of lasts: At the beginning of the pandemic

Forgive me, as today begins the long list of memories that are about to flood my social media accounts.

One year ago today, I took my last in-person improv class. I stayed until midnight for the optional student jam to get one last class in. We played a game called elbows and wrists, in which we could only touch our peers using elbows and wrists, a way to “acclimate” to new touching procedures that may be implemented.

One year ago today, I hugged the last stranger I’d ever hug. She was a friend of my nephew, and I’m a hugger. We were at my aunt’s new house, celebrating her move home.

One year ago today, I ate inside a restaurant for the last time. I met my friend, Kristen for dinner before my class. We only talked briefly about the pandemic in hypothetical terms and not in a we’re living in the end times way. We both knew something was coming and a lockdown was inevitable, but we weren’t sure what, when, or how.

One year ago today, I got dressed in one of my favorite Disneybounds to date, a gorgeous belted dress/top ensemble with a baller accessory game.

Chrissy Disneybounding as EVie from The Descendents wearing a blue dress and belt with black leggings and an evil queen purse.

I didn’t wear a mask. I didn’t carry hand sanitizer or Clorox wipes in my purse. The phrase, “social distancing” was only just starting to rear its ugly head. Hand sanitizer was made available, and I knew that even if we had an in-person class the following week, I wouldn’t be there.

I was already nervous, worried more about my family than myself, and preparing for my own personal lockdown. Much of the last year has been an introspective journey for me, and I know that I’ve learned a lot about who I am, and who I want to be.

But I wish I could bottle that last night in a jar, take it out and consume its essence. It was representative of everything my life was in the Before Times. Performance and play, dress-up, friendships, restaurant meet-ups, and family. Sure, all of those are still a part of my life, though some in a vastly different capacity. I knew it was going to be a long time before the world resumed as it had been, but I never realized the little things I would miss, or the memories, tiny bright sides, and glimmers of hope I would cling to in the darkest moments of the year.

The day I got in my car, drove to a parking lot nearby and sobbed for an hour. I finally called my mom, and she told me to come over. I played with my toddler niece and felt that rush of joy I had been missing.

Toddler niece surrounded by toys in a backyard patio

The Easter Brian and I spent alone, the first and hopefully only holiday we ever spend without family, brightened by the nicest bottle of bubbles we had in our wine rack and a feast for 10, for 2.

Easter dinner with lamb roast, vegetables, rolls, salad, sweet potato casserole, and champagne.

The two weeks we should have spent in Italy, spent instead trying out local Italian patios and take out orders and relaxing waterside in my blow-up kiddie pool.

Chrissy twirling in front of a mural in downtown Naperville with the caption "twirls in 'Italy' (Naperville)"

The Halloween without our annual party, made just a little more festive by the small single household of friends who came for an outdoor fire.

The Christmas not spent surrounded our extended and immediate families, made a bit lighter by getting drunk with my parents while watching White Christmas and eating mostly carbs.

Brian and Chrissy masked and drunk on Christmas

All the while planning, dreaming, and hoping. Learning what I’m not willing to give up and what it’s time I say goodbye to. It’s been the longest year, and it’s been shitty at the best times.

2.63 million people have died. We can’t change that. There’s no positives to that. Millions of families have lost loved ones to the virus. That doesn’t have a bright side.

But we have a vaccine. We have hope. And we have a future.

It’s okay to find a bright side, as long as you remember that your bright side might not be the same as someone else’s. And it’s okay to be depressed and negative. And it’s okay to mourn your past life. It’s okay to feel all the feels. But it’s not okay to negate the feelings of others.

So feel how you feel, and try to remember to have some compassion for people whose experiences are different than yours. Your empathy might save someone’s life.

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!

I hate it when nightmares become reality

Listen, I can’t help that I’m a bit of a psychic, I was just born that way. As a kid and well into college, I honed my skills for good. I lost a necklace or a bracelet once. It wasn’t terribly expensive, but it was a gift from my grandfather. I searched everywhere for it. Under my bed, in my closet, in all the piles of stuff laying around my bedroom…to no avail.

One night I dreamed about said jewelry, and I dreamed it was under my bed. I woke up, reached under my bed, and BOOM. That motherfucker was in my hands so fast. I was baffled.

In college, my boyfriend lost his fancy money clip. It was like gold and a family heirloom or something. Why he was carrying it around a college town, while he was likely quite in toxicated was beyond me, but it was a big deal that he had lost it. It was the onset of winter and a proper midwest snowstorm was in progress. He was never going to find that money clip. We searched the parking lots, our apartments, and the cars we had ridden in that night. Nothing.

That night I had a dream that it was on the sidewalk outside our apartment. Woke up, went down and out, and BOOM. There was a shiny piece of gold twinkling in the snow 30 feet from our door.

I’ve dreamed of break-ups and reunions. Finding lost items and other silly little things.

And at the start of this month, I had my typical anxiety nightmares about my upcoming lumbar surgery (I’m having a microdiscectomy — in which they remove the herniated part of my disc in an effort to relive some if not all of my chronic pain). In my dream, I was at the hospital for the surgery, and I realized that I hadn’t stopped taking medications I was supposed to stop taking. I hadn’t washedthe surgical site with the antiseptic soap for five days prior to the surgery. I hadn’t taken the acetaminophen I was supposed to take 4 hours prior to the surgery, and I hadn’t drunk the Gatorade I was supposed to drink. I was fucked in all senses.

The dream continued with a lot of other weirdness (waiting in the parking lot in a hospital gown with my brother, eating cheeseburgers and salads, a weird science art wing of the hospital devoted to science art research, and some other odd tidbits that made perfect sense in the dream, but none in real life).

So I thought I was just having anxiety dreams, because I was 2 weeks out from my surgery when I dreamed the dream. And we all know how well I heed warnings…I didn’t realize that my dream was saying, hey dummy, quit taking turmeric today. I didn’t realize that my dream was saying, hey dummy maybe you should check the email with all the details of your varying prescriptions to ensure you do the things right.

And then it was Monday. Almost a week before my procedure. When I got a migraine and thought to check whether I was allowed to take an anti-inflamatory. And realized that I had taken not one, but two of the prescriptions/herbal supplements that I was supposed to have quit days prior.

Obviously, I called the nurse in a panic.

“Hi um, I’m sure that I’m probably just a hypochondriac, and this is all fine, but I took these medications and my surgery is next week. Did I fuck everything up?”

Yes, I said fuck to the nurse. We’re both grown-ups. It’s fine. Nurses love me. I make them laugh.

Anyways, she was all, yeah, you’re fine. We’re not idiots. We plan for fools like you. Thanks for at least paying attention a week early. Just you know. Stop taking them now.

So I stopped. And then yesterday, I managed to score an appointment for a Covid vaccine (insert cheers and confetti here) for tomorrow. So I had to call them again.

“Hey so like I know I’m not supposed to take a whole bunch of stuff, but am I allowed to get the vaccine on Thursday?”

And she was all, “Look dude, we WANT you to be vaccinated, so if you got yourself an appointment, go forth and fight the spread of Covid-19. Kthxbye.”

And then I was like “Waaaait! Can I also take a gummy if I’m not allowed to have pain medicine? Because my back hurts like a mofo…”

“Yeah, sure. Just like. Don’t take it the day of your surgery, dummy.”

And I was like *phew*. (I’m probably still not going to take one, but I wanted to know whether the option was available to me.

Anyways, so to recap: Surgery is next week. I’m a hypochondriac. And also a bit of an idiot. And hopefully, 6 years of back pain is ending soonish. And also, I get a vaccine tomorrow. OH! And please go watch/like/comment/share my vaccine video in all the places you social media (YouTube is here, IGTV is here and Tiktok is here). Because I’m really proud of it.

Thanks for being the best people ever. Love you, friends!

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!