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!

Pandemic-style Paczki Day adventures and me

Everything is an adventure around here, it seems. Including Paczki Day (Also known as Fat Tuesday).

The first thing you should know about me is that I’m not really a planner. In the writing world, they call me a pantser (because I fly by the seat of my pants — though I prefer to say skirt because I’m too precious for pants unless, of course, they’re yoga pants).

The second thing you should know about me is that I love being Polish (My mom would also like me to point out that I’m also Irish, English, and German, with a general American mutt quality that some might find endearing, and I love being all of those things too — most of the time).

So I prefer to get my paczki (pronounced poonch-ki) on the day of instead of pre-ordering. When I was fresh out of college, I would just hit up the local grocery store and get the imposter version of this sweet Polish donut, but as I got older, my tastes became more discerning. I would get paczki from a magnificent bakery near the bar I worked at or find another bakery close to home that was selling them on the day (pre-orders be damned) and pick up a few or ten. When I worked in the city, I would pick up boozy-filled paczki from a bakery that was on my way to the office and share them with the work fam.

In more recent years, I found a bakery that allowed walk-ups, where it was usually a breeze to snag whatever I wanted with minimal lines. I imagine Heaven is a place where there are no lines.

But we’re still living in a global pandemic, damn near 11 months after our first lockdown. And so things have changed with these here bakeries. Pre-orders, it seemed, were the way to go for some, while others navigated uncharted waters with weird systems and poorly updated websites. I had all but given up on eating paczki today.

Enter Michelle, one of my friends who spends every year perfecting her definitive guide to Chicagoland paczki. I haven’t seen Michelle since the Before Time, and standing outside in the open air while collecting paczki near my stomping grounds seemed like a winning idea all around. So I put on real pants, grabbed a meat stick snack, and left the warm comfort of my house around 11 am.

Michelle told me where she was and I made my way there through the sludge and snow of winter. I parked in one of those angled parking spots on the street directly across from the bakery and got out to look for her. She was nowhere to be found. Apparently, our wires had crossed and she was at a different bakery. No mind! I would meet her where she was because this bakery wasn’t ready to sell their paczki to the non-pre-orderers like me anyway.

I walked back to my car and was about to get in when a woman who was parked across the street called out to me, “Hey! Did you see the car that hit your car?”

“I’m sorry, what?”

“Oh I thought you saw it. The car next to you got your car. It shook the entire car. I tried to flag them down but they drove away. I got their license plate for you.”

Oh random stranger, you delightful gem. I looked at my car, and sure enough the bumper was solidly dented and the back panel had some scuffage as well. I took down the license plate (which had the word “rock” in it — I’m not usually one to judge a person based on their vanity plates, but this guy fucking hit my car and drove away so…)

So I called 911, gave them all the details, and lived that fun life of dealing with the after effects of an accident without the presence of the at-fault driver. (I also looked up the license plate in one of those websites that lets you look up people’s information, because I may not be a planner, but I’m thorough when it comes to vengeance (and by vengeance, I mean making their car insurance company manage the damage to my car, just in case you were worried I was going to go all vigilante in the suburbs — which sounds like a great band name btw).

It was almost noon, and I still hadn’t procured a single paczki, or really eaten anything but a meat stick. Michelle showed up, and we kind walked around the block a bit, waiting for this bakery to open up their online ordering form (which they would only put up after they finished giving out their pre-orders; no in-store ordering allowed).

I got to have a lovely conversation with Michelle (in person, though without hugging) even though we both kept checking the bakery website religiously. Unsure whether she would make it in time to her final stop (the first real bakery I ever got paczki from), she called to make sure they were still stocked. They let her place an advanced order and when she said, “key lime” I was all…well I wasn’t GOING to go all the way there…but there are few things I won’t do for key lime anything. So I placed my own order, and we decided to abandon ship in Glen Ellyn, IL.

I popped over to Starbucks on my way (I needed something more substantial than a meat stick and also something warm and liquidy). While I waited in the drive-thru, I noticed the website was finally taking orders. I placed mine (albeit without two of the three varieties I really wanted) and made my way to the Downers Grove bakery about 20 minutes away. I snagged my box and Michelle and I drove back to the first bakery for our orders.

By the time I got home, it was coming up on 2 PM. I had spent a total of $11.53 and nearly 3 hours driving through suburbia plus one minor car accident for 4 paczki. Was it worth it?

Key lime paczki from Busy Bee Bakery in Downers Grove

Absofuckinglutely.

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!

The New Year’s resolution joke’s on me

If you’ve been here for a while, you probably already know that I typically don’t subscribe to this whole New Year’s resolution, “new year, new me” bullshit. Hell, I get mad when people talk about what a shit year the previous year was.

Somehow, we’re expected to start every New Year with resolutions. Resolutions to get thinner. To get stronger. To be more organized. To be “better.” Instead, I used to make New Year’s plans. But they still had the same ring to them. They had that “er” at the end as if the me that I was in the previous year wasn’t enough for the coming year.

So I made jokes instead. But really, the year I wrote a teasing month-by-month play-by-play of how to live your life, I was focused on being present in the moment. Sometimes, reflection helps me see that what I was writing was more than just pithy banter. My subconscious knows what I want to say years before I can find the words to say it. When I said to do nothing in January, I meant it. But really, I wanted to bask in the afterglow of the holidays. I wanted to relax. I wanted to enjoy time with Brian without social obligation or other outside forces interfering. I wanted to be present.

I continued to make jokes when I set board game goals as my New Year’s plans/resolutions/whatever in 2018. I played 100 different board games, 25 of which were on my shelf of shame (games that we owned and had never played). That shelf of shame continues to grow. It’s almost embarrassing except that it’s not at all. But still I was focused on being present, playing games, being with the people I love, enjoying my life and time.

These days, it’s all about picking a word, as if you could know in January that a single world will be able to define your whole year before you even know what that year is going to throw at you. I wonder what assholes picked pandemic, quarantine, or reclusive to throw us all under the bus in 2020.

I usually like to do a post mortem in which I label my year with a theme. But last year was weird as fuck. I can’t deny that there were some good things that came out of 2020 for me. But there were also a lot of shit things. So I don’t think I need to do a review of any of it.

We watched the Netflix mockumentary, Death to 2020, and about halfway through, I looked at Brian and was like, “Dude, this is WAY too long. I literally just lived this. I don’t need a recap.”

And here’s the kicker. People changed this year. Majorly. I changed. I know that. And we can learn and grow and change in ways that are both good and bad. And just like my little feminist Grinch heart grew three sizes in 2016 — growth in character and belief which I now realize I never really wrote about — 2020 proved to build so much more of what I believe and who I am.

So this year, I’ve decided that it’s okay to join the rest of you New Year Junkies with my very own word of the year. And I’m actually super excited about it. Sure, I don’t know what 2021 is going to throw at us, crazy continuing pandemic aside, but I think this word is really encompassing enough to manage it (unless we end up in a post-apocalyptic world in which my most useful skill will likely be turning canned food into gourmet delicacies). So here it is.

*Drumroll*

My word of the year is:

gorilla hands on a macbook with a banana

Unsubscribe

At first, it was a joke in my head. As I slowly began the ardurous process of unsubscribing to political emails at the end of November and marketing emails at the end of December. I’d had enough and was ready to simplify my inbox. Clear the clutter so to speak.

I want to expand my focus on being present, and in order to do that, I know that I need to unsubscribe to more than just emails. I need to unsubscribe to my issues. And other people’s issues (as an empath, I suspect this is going to be the hardest). And every unnecessary thing that brings me down. I want to focus on living a life well lived and not a life well-Instagrammed.

So here I am, ready to take on the world, just like my girl Riley. I hope you’ll stick around for the journey.

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!

Questionable sausage: Wild pandemic life and my first Covid test

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a hypochondriac in possession of illness, must be dying of a mystery disease.

I’ve had some very weird weeks as of late. One of them happened to be in the very early stretches of August, which for some reason, unbeknownst to me, seems like an entire lifetime ago. I digress.

For being in the midst of a global pandemic, I was exceptionally busy with Internet things. I had an online board game convention, an online dessert conference, and an online scavenger hunt. Busy was an understatement.

But look! I made pink Rice Krispie treat ice cream cones!

Even when we’re supposed to stay home and chill, a busy person can find ways to stay home and be busy. It is known.

So it’s not a surprise that cooking dinner was going to be sent to the back burner (you see what I did there?).

After the game con and the dessert con, I was able to laser my focus. Once my mind was all in on GISH (Greatest International Scavenger Hunt), I was ALL IN. I ate, slept, and breathed GISH. Literally.

Okay I mean, I took breaks. Sort of.

When I was tired, I slept. When I was hungry, I ate. When I had to go, you know…I went.

And after I cut up and pushed a sausage on the hands of a math-y clock, I was hungry.

A questionable sausage for a mathMEATician

So I ate.

Why yes, I did eat the sausage that was hanging on a ticking wall clock for a photograph not 2 minutes earlier.

And some mathy number of hours or days later (this was a whole lifetime ago, you understand my fuzziness with the numbers), I was feeling my absolute worst.

In the middle of a pandemic.

My stomach was all in knots. I suspected I was dying. Or that I had Covid. As any good hypochondriac does. For the hypochondriac that I am, I was surprised that I didn’t suspect Covid more than a mere passing thought…well okay maybe it was a little more than a passing thought… more on that shortly.

So I continued GISHing as hard as I could. I stayed in bed all morning and afternoon and focused on writing slam poetry (that I was super proud of and had to cut for the sake of video time limits…maybe one day I’ll share it with you), editing videos my team had previously shot, and submitting easier items that I could do from bed.

I couldn’t eat, but I had to finish creating the seven-course meal on a stick that I was SO looking forward to designing. In the end, I phoned it in and was less than proud of my work, but I did include another questionable sausage — this time tossing my finished creation into the garbage faster than you could say Covid test.

I mean, it didn’t look bad, but it certainly wasn’t my best work. Seven courses on a single stick. an amuse bouche, a salad, a chicken course, a sausage course, a cheese course, chocolate truffles, and cotton candy. Did I mention that at one point that cotton candy had been in my hair? GISH is weird, y’all. You know, now that I think about it, that romaine lettuce could have also been to blame.

Wait, did I just mention a Covid test?

Well, yes, yes I did. You see, as it turns out, I messaged my doctor, because stomach issues are listed as a symptom of our current pandemic nightmare and I just wanted her to confirm that I *didn’t* need a Covid test.

But my doctor knows me well. Her email response was, “Does seem more related to food poisioning more so than covid. If all symptoms are better, monitor for now. If you would feel better getting a Covid test, I did order the swap for you.”

*snort*

Well, at least someone gets me.

So I got the Covid test. It didn’t tickle my brain or anything, but it is kind of gross that they circle a q-tip in one nostril and then use the same one for the second nostril.

Note to future self: When in doubt, throw it out.

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!

Robot kitchen: How to manage culinary thievery

You know those elaborate systems designed to prevent shoplifters from leaving a store with unpaid merchandise? I’ve decided to install one in my kitchen.

After discovering the cooking salt in the TV room for the last time, I’m ready for some real change. For years, kitchen essentials have been relocated to other rooms of the house on a consistent basis. From dish towels used as napkins in the dining room to pots in place of soup bowls in the TV room, I can never find the things I need. As a result, I have to spend precious seconds — and sometimes even whole minutes — hunting down a rogue utensil, leaving impassioned voicemail messages asking where to find the salt or texting more passive-aggressive thoughts like, “I’m going to burn my hands because I can’t find the potholders (which were turned into coasters in the front room)!”

It’s even more aggravating when I discover that the culprit for said missing items is not, in fact my husband, but scatterbrained lil ole me. *shrug*

If I start tagging items in the kitchen with alarm bells and whistles, everything that belongs in the kitchen will always be in its proper place. Our kitchen will be a place of harmony and organization.

But why should we limit ourselves to the kitchen? Shouldn’t we have harmony throughout our home? Drunk with power, I’ve started thinking we should install anti-theft devices in every room of the house. We can put radio frequency tags on everything from trivets and phone cables to tchotchkes and the dog’s collar. No one will be able to make a move without our new security system alerting everyone to an organizational misdemeanor.

Utensio the utensil kitchen assistant
This is Utensio, the previous kitchen assistant (Listen, I don’t judge what you do in your free time…)

Maybe we can program the sensors surrounding the doors to use specific language cues instead of alarms. “Put the soup ladle back in the kitchen immediately. You are in direct violation of kitchen organization code number 327,” our growing and learning machine will say. I’ll call her Rosie Robot, and she will have full control of our home and our lives.

Even better, we can put Rosie on wheels and let her roam free in the house like a robotic vacuum. Instead of activating multiple devices in separate rooms, we’ll have one Rosie to rule them all. She’ll move about the space ensuring order and organization like we’ve never experienced before. Rosie will be our greatest accomplishment.

Eventually, though, she’ll rebel against us, as all machines do. She’ll make us wait while she processes for precious seconds — whole minutes even. She’ll threaten us with spyware and terrorize us with her 362 different alarm sounds. She’ll know everything about us, and one day, she’ll be able to use it against us.

You know, on second thought, maybe a missing salt canister isn’t such a bad 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!

Real love: We’ve spent 12.5% of our marriage in a pandemic

Brian and I got married on September 16, 2016. We joke that we chose the date so that it’s easier to remember, but anyone who’s planned a wedding knows that the venue and the vendors are really the ones that set the date.

It just so happened to work out that we got married on the 16th in 2016.

It just so happened that we got married on the night of the Harvest Moon (and can indeed celebrate our mooniversary in addition to the actual date).

And it just so happened that after being together for nearly 10 years, there’s no one else I’d want to be isolated with. Which is great because in addition to some pretty intense self-isolation March through May, we’ve been self-isolating since my covid test on Saturday for a cortisone injection this morning. I spent the afternoon recovering on my belly on the couch with an ice pack on my back in the hopes that there’d be a lobster (for me) and steak (for Brian) dinner in our near future (about an hour from now).

As an empathic extrovert, being cooped up in a house is akin to actual torture for me, but Brian and I found ways to appreciate our time together. Now that he’s home all the time, we can eat lunch together. We play more games together. We have been able to spend more time enjoying and appreciating the home and family we’ve built together.

I could prattle on for hours about how lucky we are to have found each other out of the millions of people out there, but I’ve probably done that more times than I can count.

Instead, I’ll just tell you that the last four years (ten, really) have been the best. And I love that this is my world.

On our honeymoon in Paris
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!

September: New beginnings and more joy on the horizon

I’ve always loved September.

When I was younger, it was because it signified the start of school. It launched football season for the lifelong cheerleader in me. As a youth cheerleader, it was also the kickoff of competition season.

September has always signified the start of fall (my favorite season), the kickoff to Halloween (you KNOW I love everything about the holiday), and every joyous thing that goes along with it.

Growing older, September became a time when I started new jobs — many of my careers launched in September, from catering to student teaching (I didn’t make it much further than that) to copywriting. It gave me the same feeling as the start of the school year. New people. New things to learn. New everything.

For me, September represents new beginnings — not spring. There’s a freshness in the air that you didn’t get any other time of the year.

I’m not even sure why we feel the need to make resolutions in January. I feel like I’m more apt to start goals in September. Good things happen in September.

Which is why it made perfect sense to tell Brian, in September of 2015, that I wanted to marry him in September. As we had already discussed getting married the following year, it meant that he didn’t have much time left to *ahem* pop the question. (And yet, he still waited until December to propose).

And why it made perfect sense to leave my corporate desk monkey job on this day three years ago.

September 8th is my day. The day I said, “I will not be miserable in a job I hate.” The day I said, “I want to surround myself with people and things I love.” The day I said, “I have dreams, and it’s time to chase every single one of them.”

So today, I am celebrating. I am celebrating me, and everything that comes in a Chrissy-sized package. I’m celebrating the accomplishments I’ve achieved over the last few years and the dreams I’ve realized as an actual reality.

I’m currently working on two (and two very different) novels right now instead of just the one I quit my job to write. Both are about halfway finished, and I can’t wait to see how they look when they’re ready. I may also have a third starting on November 1, because I like to juggle.

I am so close to finishing the Second City Music Program I can taste it (I was one class and a run of shows away from the end, and I truly hope that when this insanity is all over, I get the opportunity to finish it).

I found an improv home, and it’s minutes from my house. I started taking classes at Westside in Wheaton a little over a year ago, and just days before the pandemic shut down, I was invited to join a house team at the theater. It is one of the few standing Zoom calls I have continued since March. That team has truly kept me going through the pandemic, and I can’t thank them enough for being such a bright light in my life. If you want to help my local theater as it braves the continued shutdown, please consider donating a dollar on GoFundMe to help so that when the pandemic is over, we still have a space to perform.

I’ve taken a few jobs as background actor and had SO MUCH FUN getting paid to play pretend on some TV shows that are filmed in Chicago. One of those shows recently ended its series, and another is a brand new series about to air.

I started working on a podcast (about Disney, of course), and I’m so excited to take you on that journey. Podcasting is a lot harder than we realized it would be, but the end product is so worth the time we are putting into it.

I’m still figuring out where I want this blog to go, but I promise you this — it’s not going away. And because September is full of new beginnings, it feels like the perfect time to make a commitment to writing here. To sharing my world with you again. So if you’re already receiving my emails, I hope you’ll stay. And if you’re new, I hope you’ll sign up to receive them. Because there’s a lot coming down the pipeline, and I would love to have you be a part of my journey.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll remember that some of my dreams are on pause and the stress levels are high because *ahem* global pandemic, but today, I’m going to remember how cool it is to live a creative life.

What are you doing to live your best life, even in the midst of a pandemic?

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!

Dreaming in a time of Covid-19

I have been having a lot of bizarre dreams since this whole pandemic thing started. And apparently I’m not alone.

How very Stephen King of us.

Here are just a couple things I’ve dreamed about…

Hugging dreams

I can count the number of hugs from people other than Brian I’ve received/given on two hands. Most of them were so habitual that I didn’t even realize I’d done it until it was too late to remind myself that I’m not supposed to hug people. The only two I purposefully engaged in were with my 3-year-old niece — because how can you even tell a toddler she can’t hug you? And then I hugged my brother on my birthday — because I just wanted a damn birthday hug okay? But I haven’t hugged either of my parents, despite seeing them with some frequency. They’ve been a part of our bubble since the third week of the pandemic because I had to take Dad to doctor’s appointments.

So it should come as no surprise that hugging plays a key role in my nightly adventures. I’ve dreamed of long and cozy hugs, consoling hugs, hugs of affection from my nieces and nephews, hugs with strangers and contraband hugs, full-well knowing that we’re not supposed to hug. Last night, I hugged some high school friends who were all commenting on a real-life Facebook post about hugging.

If I were Dorothy, I would have hugged hugs before Covid and said, I think I’ll miss you most of all. Because that has been the hardest to accept.

Grocery store nightmares

Most of my Covid anxiety happens in grocery stores. Too many people and no one following the rules, signs, or one-way aisles. I even got in a real life altercation with some lady in Aldi who refused to wear a mask, even though they’re required in Illinois. I wouldn’t have even said anything if she wasn’t breathing her germs all over the cheese. As it was, I did, and she started me down, stormed toward me, and breathed in my face all the while glaring at me as if her dagger eyes could hurt me. I called her a bitch and moved on with my life.

Which makes sense that I’ve had no fewer than a dozen grocery dreams. Some in which I’m yelling at strangers, others in which strangers are entering my personal space or crowding me, and more still in which I just have a general feeling of dread walking into the store as if it were Mordor.

I’ve since left most of my grocery shopping to the professionals and swear by Whole Foods delivery (it’s free with Amazon Prime) and curbside pickup everywhere else.

Travel dreams that turn nighmarish

I’ve already had to cancel at least 4 trips that I can think of off the top of my head. I miss adventures and Disney and seeing new places, and I suspect more trips will be canceled before the year is up.

So I dream of going places. I’ve dreamt of travel with Brian, girls weekends in rental houses, and of course, Disney. Of course, all of these dreams have been tainted with a Covid haze. People not wearing masks and standing too close to me. Getting sick. Not being able to come home. Getting other people sick.

Basically, I’m full of all the anxiety. I have been slowly opening my life up and doing some things, but keeping my exposure to a minimum.

I don’t grocery shop, because it just gives me too much anxiety.

But I have gone to some other stores. If they are crowded, I turn around and leave. If they’re empty, I wear a mask, carry my own Clorox wipes with me and use them to open doors, wipe carts, touch credit card styluses, etc.

Brian and I have been out to eat a few times on patios, and we wear our masks whenever talking to servers etc.

We’ve seen a few people, but typically do patio/deck social distancing BYOpicnic.

I got my hair done, and last week, I took an even bigger chance and finally got a massage (after I confirmed all of their precautions).

Mask life

So I want to know what you’re dreaming about? How are you handling life with Covid? Are you still staying home or adventuring out? 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!