Confession Friday: I Have a Planning Problem

In the last several weeks, we’ve been browsing house after house after house looking for OUR house. From hundreds of houses online to dozens of showings, we’ve/I’ve spent countless hours looking for just the right house.

Several times in the last few weeks, we’ve even thought to ourselves is this our home? And truly meant it. So we plan. We plan what we would need to do to it to make it ours and often…it’s too much.

Well, we’d have to knock out that wall.

We’d want to add on an entire section to make that room fit for a grown adult and not a gnome.

We should refinish those kitchen cabinets.

We need to remodel the entire kitchen.

Why don’t we just MAKE that room part of the kitchen?

That bathroom needs a nice tub.

I veto the claustrophobic shower.

We need wood trim throughout the house.

Oh dear God! Why would they paint that beautiful trim?

The list of random suburban home planning goes on. We realized that none of those houses were our house. We need a mix of old house bones and charm wirh modern conveniences like air conditioning for hot Chicago summers and a large kitchen for all the parties I can’t wait to host.

I also plan for parties. How we would decorate for Halloween and Christmas. Because I want to host Christmas. And you already know how I feel about Halloween.

The other day, Brian tried to rein in my Christmas tree problem by telling me that we couldn’t get a new tree if we end up with vaulted ceilings…which is ridiculous because I’ve already planned for the giant ass Christmas tree I’m going to put in whatever giant ass room I can.

So I have a planning problem. Because right now, I’m sitting here with a notebook and a pen…writing a list…drawing diagrams…planning.

For a house we haven’t bought.

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!

Sometimes, I have the Most Interesting Life

When I was in my early twenties, I was obsessed with Carrie Bradshaw and Sex and the City. I wanted to be Carrie. I thought that I WAS Carrie.

I mean, of my group of college girlfriends, I was most likely to become a writer. I was the most broke and most in debt. And still I was a shopaholic. And I wore very bizarre style combinations that really…stood out.  Of course, I was also the most neurotic when it came to relationships, and I often screwed everything up with my neurosis.

I spent the first half of my twenties with my own real life Big, on and off; back and forth…except that other than our slight difference in age, he wasn’t Mr. Big. But he did make me bat shit crazy. And I did a lot of stupid shit that I’m not quite ready to admit. But I bordered on Carrie Bradshaw’s world of crazy.

Everytime Big and I broke up, I would watch through all six seasons of SATC…and I’d feel lost, then empowered, and then I’d miss him again. And then we’d get back together.

Until one day I realized…that Carrie was bat shit crazy. And it was at least partially her fault that she and Big never worked out the first several times. And it was her fault that she and Aiden never worked out. And the string of other dudes. She was neurotic.

I was neurotic.

And I was done.

Sometime after my 25th birthday (my quarter life crisis, which happened to be the same day the first SATC movie came out) I realized that I needed to break the cycle.

And I gave up on MY Big. And I gave up on Carrie. I haven’t watched an episode of the show since.

But the other day, I started thinking about where I am now and the really cool shit that I get to do as a writer. I am living the part of Carrie Bradshaw’s life that I wanted.

I’m a writer.
I get invited to amazing parties and events and interviews.
And I get to write about my life as I see it.

As Sandra Bullock once said, “Life doesn’t always turn out the way we plan.”

Sometimes, it’s way better.

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!

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

The other day my morning progressed in the following fashion:

7:00 AM: Woke up. Late.

Got dressed. In the dark.

Packed some snacks for work and yogurt for breakfast.

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

Gave Brian my gigantic umbrella. Used a tiny substitute.

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

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

8:25 AM Got to the city.

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

Got to the elevator.

Thought to self, If the ‘vator is empty…

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

Realized I didn’t push the 13.

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

Pushed 13. Flipped shirt outside in.

Elevator opened.

8:45 AM Got to desk.

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

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

And the day pretty much continued like that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

Can Someone Come Over and Pack My Shit?

Hey Blog Friends.

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

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

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

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

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

Can someone please come over and pack my shit stuff?

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 was an Irish Princess

For the first 25 years of my life, my parents owned a bar. Not just any bar. To us, it was THE bar. All of our important coming of age shit was celebrated in the bar. First communions, graduations, birthdays, even some holidays…and most especially, St. Patrick’s Day.

You learn a lot when your parents own a bar. You learn how to mix drinks, of course, non alcoholic drinks…like the Chrissy Cocktail I invented when I was 9–seven up, squirt, grenadine, pineapple juice and orange juice (when I grew up, I added vodka). You tell your kindergarten teacher that you want to be a bartender when you grow up. You play waitress in your best friends’ basement (but you add roller skates, because when you own the bar, everyone is going to wear roller skates). You go to a lot of wakes and funerals because you know a lot of people (and a lot of alcoholic). You decide that you DON’T want to be an alcoholic, because you spent your impressionable years watching them. But you drink like a fucking fish in your twenties, anyway.

And then, one day, the bar is gone. And all you have are these AMAZING memories. And that’s okay. It brought you to where you are. It shaped your existence. It gave you all those AMAZING memories.

You try for a few years to go out to other Irish bars on St. Patrick’s Day. You run around town like the Eurotrash of the suburban town where you once held court. Fallen royalty without a kingdom. And then you realize that a bottle of Jamo, a bottle of Bailey’s, and a 6-pack of Guinness are way cheaper than a few shots and a couple of warm green beers at an overcrowded pub. And your dad taught you to make the best corned beef and cabbage on the planet anyway.

But you still deck yourself out like a motherfucking leprechaun and roll into work. Because that’s just what you do. And you wear a green jacket with the name of the bar and the year of your birth like a boss. And you live every day. With your memories and your plans for the future.

Because THAT is what makes life happen.

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!

We Remember

I didn’t know anyone in a tower.
I didn’t know any anyone on a plane.
But I know where I was. I know where my family and friends were. I know I will never forget.
On September 11, 2001, our worlds collided, fell, and were changed forever.
~Quirky Chrissy
New York, 2015

New York, 2015

For just a moment, take a break from your daily life and consider all that has happened since September 11, 2001.Maybe you graduated from high school/college/etc, got married, had kids, got divorced, or lost someone important to you. Maybe you’ve changed boyfriends or girlfriends. Maybe somewhere in there, you grew up. I know I did.

For twelve years, the United States has been fighting in a war against an idea. Our global economy has fallen lower than anyone ever would have expected. We have worked together as a country to provide disaster relief to victims of terrorist attacks, tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, famine, and so much more.

We all have one goal in mind: a better, safer, existent tomorrow. So remember. Remember the victims. Remember the heroes. Remember the families. And if you have just a few seconds left in your moment, remember the goal. And forget about the fighting.

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’s Friday, I’m in LOVE

OK, it’s everyday I’m in love…with cheese. I mean Brian. I mean…both.

Details aside. It’s FRIDAY. FINALLY.

Why am I more excited that it’s Friday today instead of other Fridays?

My BOSS has been galavanting in Europe for almost 2 weeks. As the girl who was recently promoted to “second in command” guess who had to pretend to be him for almost 2 weeks?

Yeah. That. So I’ve been busy freaking out all over the place. Because he does a lot of things that I didn’t really realize he did. And now I see why he mutters curse words under his breath a lot.

BUT today…TODAY…TODAY! is the last day before his return. I’ll be celebrating by bringing in cheese for my co-workers. Because that’s what I do.

So I’m off to cut the cheese (stop that. Stop thinking that right now. Okay, go ahead and laugh.)

Sloth FridaySaw that…and then I needed to post a sloth for you.

sloth and flowers

Have a GREAT Friday!

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!

Eating Gluten-Free at a Conference (Or How I was SO Hungry at BlogHer13, that I Thought About Eating Katie)

I promise there are only a few more BlogHer13 posts left. I’m saving Dr. Travis for next week. I know that you are anxiously anticipating my afternoon with the real life McDreamy…but you must wait. PATIENCE is a VIRTUE, bitches.

It is now Thursday. My eating/digestive schedule is STILL off kilter. Why? You may ask?

Over the weekend at BlogHer, food things were tricky.

It is very annoying to have to ask about EVERY. PIECE. OF. FOOD. That enters my mouth. When I cook at home, I know what I’m eating. When we go to restaurants, they tell me what I can eat. When I go to a conference, a little sign might be there. Or a little sign might not be there. But you have to ask. About EVERYTHING.

Here are my notes for the BlogHer team on the food. Hopefully next year, I’ll be back to eating gluten.

1. I am not a vegan. I am not a vegetarian. I am a meat and cheese eating girl TESTING out a gluten-free lifestyle. Meat. Cheese. I want those. I don’t want your fake chorizo and weird scrambled tofu.

2. If you tell someone a food line is “gluten-free,” It’s best to keep the FLOUR tortillas off the line…especially when you have labeled them CORN TORTILLAS. It’s best not to have GLUTEN in the vegan stuff. Or you should have a separate line for those items. Or be VERY CLEAR that it contains gluten. I saved some girl from having a giant attack of glutening because the lady in charge of the line told me that the vegan food had gluten in it. (When I asked if I could eat eggs and meat off of the normal food line).

3. If you invite a girl to a secret special lunch, and she asks if there is gluten free food, do not wait an hour and 10 minutes into the presentation to say, “Oh, by the way…you can’t eat the main courses.” She will then leave to meet with the hot doctor and be very. very. very. hungry. And crabby. If I had known, I would have left and gone to the regular food line…

BlogHer13 Food

This does not a lunch make.

BlogHer13 Food

I could eat 1 item on this plate.

BlogHer13 Food

Sauces do not a lunch make. I wouldn’t let them take the plate until I consumed all of the nuts, the pepper and most of the rosemary. I almost bit someone’s arm off to keep it.

4. If you have an important everyone-must-go-to-this-event at dinner time. Fucking serve up some dinner. If you don’t want to serve dinner, fine. CHANGE THE TIME OF THE ALL-IMPORTANT-EVENT. ESPECIALLY…if the emcee is going to be an hour late and the event is going to run over even longer…making the end time an hour and a half later than expected. (I’m talking about Voices of the Year. And I’m talking about Queen Latifah. I was hungry and cranky. Forgive me.)

5. If someone is starving enough, they’ll eat anything. Consequences be damned. Did I ask about gluten in the sausages? The cheese fries? No. Did I care? No. Was I totally sick in the middle of the night, resulting in the very bizarre Best Buy drama day on Saturday? Yes. Do I blame gluten or grease? I don’t. Know. (Seriously, though, I slammed 4 sausages while I was in line for cheese fries, which were gone before I could even grab a glass of wine. Which was good, because then I had 2 hands for the calming effects of wine and water–by water I mean the Chicago River, which Katie and I snuggled on a bench in front of with our beverages.)

6. A gluten free line with deli meat that is not labeled as gluten free frightens me after I was told that there was gluten on the same line the day before. So I did not eat lunch. I was sick anyways, so that was a moot point anyway. I skipped the keynote in order to eat food. I felt a lot better.

While I’m still feeling the effects of this weekend’s weird food schedule, I’ve come to the conclusion that I may not need a gluten-free diet. I thought that I felt better, but it could just be the fact that I was eating much healthier…we’ll see. I’m giving it 2 more months (So October 1, I’ll be enjoying some type of gluten to discover the results.)

Did you go to BlogHer? Tell me about your food experiences?

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 Made Pictures in My Mind to Remember You

Caution: This post may make you cry. But it may not. It made me cry writing it. So read at your own risk that you may or may not cry. And I promise I tried to put some humor in it. Whether or not you laugh is up to you. So really, you could laugh AND cry. Or neither. The choice is yours, really.

You may have been wondering why I disappeared for a week of guest posters in March. Or why I’ve not been quite as socially active. Or why my posts are lacking that special oomph that makes me me. This is why.

In August of last year, we received a devastating blow. Brian’s mom, who was the nicest and most wonderful lady in the whole world, without a mean bone in her body, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. In layman’s terms, she had a non-smoker’s lung cancer that had already spread.

Until February, she fought and fought and fought. And we both (she and I) believed that she would fight it, kill it, and stomp on its grave. That stupid cancer. We spent a lot of time talking about how she was going to make this cancer wish it had never paid her a visit. She was strong. But February came, and reality set it.

The cancer was taking over.

Cancer. Was. Taking. Over.

On March 23, the world lost a fine lady, and Heaven gained an angel. It sucks. Cancer sucks.

But I am lucky. Lucky that I knew her. Lucky that I spent as much time as I did with her. For a while we were spending most of our weekends with Mom. And while there may not be a lot of photographic evidence, I have pictures in my mind. Lots of them. Sweet ones and funny ones. And those will live on forever. I am lucky.

But I’m still sad. And while she wasn’t my own mom, she was family. And I loved her.

One of the best pictures, though, is not a picture in my mind. It’s a real picture. After surgery, she couldn’t walk very well, but I promised to take her to the grocery store. I promised to teach her how to ride the driving cart at the store. Surprised that I knew how to maneuver it so well (Thanks to my Mom, my Gram, and my own silly injuries), she became less reluctant to try it out (Because she didn’t see me almost get hit by a car on my way into the parking lot) and she was ready for it. If I could do it, so could she.

So we had a grocery adventure, Brian’s mom and I. Just the two of us.

Driving like a rock star. She had a great teacher, you know...

And then we had more driving cart adventures. Because we could. But those are all brain pictures. And not real pictures. Lucky for me, I’ve got a pretty colorful brain.

Blog Friends, tell us about someone you love. Tell us a memory. Tell us about a picture in your brain.

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!

Because Writer’s Block Sucks

Thank God for Lily from It’s a Dome Life. Every post I’ve sat down to write today has been…either not suitable for publishing or needs a little more work. But then Lily went and tagged me in her chain blog survey (which I promise not to tag you if you don’t want to be tagged), and answered a prayer.

Remember when these used to go out in mass e-mails to all of your best friends? I had a girlfriend in high school who would create her own…100+ questions of pure survey joy. In multicolor. This was also the days of shared notebooks that got passed around with notes back and forth to each other. Do kids still do that? Inquiring minds and all that shit…

Without further ado, here is the delightful survey of 25 questions regarding yours truly. Enjoy. I did.

1. Where were you born? I was born in the suburbs of Chicago. It is cold here. But then it gets super hot. And then cold again. If you don’t like the weather in Chicago, wait five minutes. Seriously. I’d love to move to Florida, or somewhere else that is warm and delightful. Unfortunately, I have this huge family here, and would never want to leave them. Which makes Brian ask the question, “So if you were born in Siberia, would you just…stay in Siberia your whole life?” Probably. But my plan is to get famous and travel. A lot. Especially in the winter time.

2. Were you named after someone? Yep. Mom has told me that she wanted to name me Brandy (such a FINE girl) or Annabelle Lee (hello morbid Poe poem much?) Luckily, Dad named me after his favorite cousin, Christine, and his mom, Regina.

3. How many children do you have? None. But I make an excellent Auntie Chrissy.

4. How many pets do you have? Well, unless you count Rufus, none. But one day, we’re going to have a pet sloth and name him Ebenezer. And maybe a pet baby penguin. Which I will give to Katie when he grows up and loses the fluffy appeal.

Rufus the stuffed dog

Last Valentine’s Day, out of sheer pressure from the outside world to get me something, Brian got me a dog. Albeit, he’s a stuffed dog, but he’s lovable.

5. Your worst injury. HA! I have so many injuries that I can’t even think about which was the worst. But probably the knee sprain. That shit was painful. And still hurts sometimes, even though it was 10 years ago.

6. Do you have a special talent? Does injuring ones’ self count? I think I’m a pretty talented writer. I mean…not to toot my own horn (OK, yes I’m tooting my own horn, here), but I’m pretty good at it.

7. Favorite thing to bake. I like to bake cookies that come out of a package. And then I eat half the cookie dough. One for me, one for the pan. One for me…and then the ones that I bake are warm and fresh and delicious. And I eat those too. With lots of milk.

8. Favorite Fast Food. Portillo’s. Oh man I love Portillo’s. But not for the hot dogs. Nope. While they are delicious, they just aren’t as delicious as a beef and cheddar croissant with hot peppers. Which I had for breakfast. Which cleared my sinuses long enough for the Pseudophedrine to kick in. And the cheese fries. Best. Cheese fries. Ever. And I don’t even LIKE french fries. They are merely the edible spoon with which to eat the cheese (That’s a direct quote from Katie, btw).

9. Would you bungee jump? Hell no. But you know why? Because they hold you by your ankles. And I have weak ankles. Skydiving, on the other hand. I’m in. That shit is on my bucket list. I love the feeling of a free fall.

10. What is the first thing you notice about people? Honestly, I’m not sure. And I think it depends on the person. So maybe it’s whatever stands out about the person. When I met Brian, it was his eyes. When I met Katie it was her smile.

11. When was the last time you cried? Yesterday. Don’t ask.

12. Any current worries. I’ve been known to worry more than some. I’ve got several things on my mind, but believe it or not, Blog Friends, there are some things that I just don’t want public.

13. Name 3 drinks you drink regularly. Coffee, water, tea. God, I love my Keurig.

14. What’s your favorite book? Pride and Prejudice

15. Would you like to be a pirate? Yes. I have a treasure hunt obsession. McDonald’s Monopoly. Disney Pin Trading. Seashell hunting. It can get bad.  And then I would swim with the dolphins when I wasn’t busy pirating.

16. Favorite Smells. I love this question. I also love the following smells in no particular order: Hallmark (except the overly candled shops…too much of a good thing ruins the fresh card and wrapping paper smell. Seriously). Old books. New books. Lemon. Cookies. Burning leaves. Spring. Lilacs.

17. Why do you blog? Fame, fortune, and free stuff. No, seriously, I blog because I love to write, and there is this amazing online community of people who not only support my writing, they inspire it. Reading blogs and commenting on blogs inspires me to write new blog posts, to challenge myself, and to explore writing beyond any realm I’ve ever dreamed of.

18. What song do you want played at your funeral? Green Day. Basket Case JOKING! I mean Time of Your Life. And then a whole lot of party pop. Because who doesn’t love party pop? I’m Polish and Irish. We celebrate the shit out of someone’s life. So you better damn well celebrate the shit out of mine. In 100 years when I die of extreme age.

19. What is your least favorite thing about yourself. Tough call. I think it’s my innate ability to apologize for everything, even when I haven’t done anything wrong. This bothers Brian to no end, and I don’t even know why I do it. I’m going to go ahead and blame Mom for this one. (Sorry, Mom!) See what I did there?

20. Favorite hobby. Writing. Definitely writing. And cooking. Definitely cooking. But I also enjoy pretending I’m going to do things that I find on Pinterest.

21. Name something you’ve done, you never thought you would do? This is the toughest question of the bunch. And I’m really not entirely sure. I mean, my life plan didn’t exactly work out the way that I thought it would. But that was me not doing things I thought I would do. I’m going to go ahead and skip this question.

22. What do you look for in a friend. I like my friends to be overall awesome in nature. They should have a great sense of humor, positive attitudes, and think I’m just as fantastic as I think they are. They also need to be pretty smart. I get bored when people who can’t carry on an interesting conversation. Does that make me an asshole?

23. Favorite Fun things to do? Being silly with Brian. Sometimes we’ll just laugh for hours with no clue as to how we started or what we were laughing about. He’s the best.

24. Pet peeves. Oh God, I have so many pet peeves. That guy in the movie theater whose phone rings…and then he answers it…or worse ignores it, but fails to turn the sound off and it happens again and again and again. That’s a huge one. I’ve also experienced this in a church. Not cool, dude. Not cool.

25. Whats the last thing that made you laugh? There were some pretty excellent comments on my Facebook post this morning. I laughed pretty hard at those. (Oh yes, I’m going to make you go and check them out.)

So now I’m tagging ANYONE who is reading this and wants to post the answers on their own blog. Because I love all of you. 🙂

OH! And while you’re at it…feel free to go and vote for the Bloggies (fancy People’s Choice Style Blog Awards)! I’m a finalist (Along with my blog friends, Katie from Words for Worms, Joules from Pocketful of Joules, and April from First Time Mom and Dad).

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!