Nov 24, 2004

I will be off shortly to finish packing for my Virginia/Maryland/New Jersey/New York/Massachusetts Thanksgiving Adventure (said in a booming monster truck show announcer voice) and with the exception of a possible sporadic post between now and the end of my trip, will resume talk of shopping, wine and work related woes when I return.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

5 Things I am thankful for this Holiday:

1. My wonderfully thoughtful and loving husband.
2. My large, eclectic and incredibly generous families.
3. My kitty children, Eva and Stella.
4. Holiday sales.
5. Mini Twix bars.
How does one narrow down one's shoe collection enough to pack for 10 days and still fit clothes in the little tiny carry on suitcase? This is one of the most difficult decisions I've had to make in a long time. So many choices, so little space!

As I'm packing I realize that almost all of my clothes are black, white, and red. At least I've introduced the red to my black black black wardrobe. I don't always look like I'm dressed for a funeral anymore...

This year Thanksgiving it at my parents' house, and I'm super excited. Last year was the first year I've ever been away from my family on Thanksgiving, and it threw me into a tiny little frump because Thanksgiving went on without me. The Hubb's family was more than welcoming, my mom-in-law even letting me make the mashed potatoes and apple pie for dessert, but I missed my blood (and non-blood) relatives back at home. My family is huge, so Thanksgiving is always on Thursday, and I'm wondering this year if Hubb's family will wait to have the big meal until we arrive on Saturday since they are a small group. I kind of hope that they do, so we can have the family celebration and the turkey and the gravy twice. I'm really lucky to have such a huge extended awesome family.

My boss has announced that we can all leave early today! So I'm off at 3:00 to finish packing, try to find something green or blue to add to my suitcase, and "cook" dinner via the telephone and a carry out menu. In a rush to clean out the fridge, we're left with nothing for dinner tonight. Oh well, start the gluttony early, I say.

Nov 23, 2004

I had a panic attack last night as we planned a small leg of our journey: our 24-hour NYC stay. I was freaking out at the complicated and unfriendly tangle of a structure that is the New York City Subway System, the extensive list of sights we would like to see, and the limited amount of time we have to see them. Hubb and I are basically on the same page with our priorities, but I, always the pessimist and always the planner, want to put down ground rules and equations for how to handle differences of opinion while in the big city. I really need to work on being more flexible. I'm also having trouble realizing that our vacation is going to be expensive. It IS our big holiday splurge, meaning we aren't going to be shopping for ourselves while we are on this trip. No shopping. Oh my god.

I woke up late today, fiddled with my hair for 40 minutes, did my makeup in 3, changed at least a dozen times, and still arrived to work on time. I lifted myself out of the terrible mood I was in by drinking two cups of coffee and e-mailing my two girlfriends who will be part of our Thanksgiving journey. I miss having girlfriends like them around. I have Chicago girlfriends, but not girlfriends I can talk so openly to and laugh at bad jokes with. I don't have a Chicago girlfriend I can be totally unselfconscious with, sitting around in our underwear drinking ciders and Arbor Mist while we talk about sex. A girlfriend I can eat fried cheese sticks with while we talk about how we're watching our weight. I miss that.

I'm getting a touch of the winter holiday blues this week, as I prepare to see my family and my in-law family and my friends and introduce myself to a few new places. Every holiday season I go through a period of feeling down, missing people I probably won't see, anxious about people I will see, worrying if I will get the chance to see other people, and reflecting on people I fear I will never see again. I guess I'm at a stage in my life where friends and extended family are growing apart, going their separate ways, living their own lives as I am doing here. This slight depression always goes away, but as it sits in my head, my heart, and my stomach I just want to stay in bed and cry both in happiness for the people in my life and sadness for the people who have left me.

5 People and a dog I'm seeing this Holiday, and what I miss the most about them:

1. My dad. I miss the way he tightly hugs me at random moments and sighs deeply so I know that he misses me terribly. It always makes me feel incredibly guilty, but I miss it anyway.
2. My brother. He's about to be finished with his first semester at my alma mater, and I couldn't be more proud. He's changed so much in the past year, I feel like I don't know the real him anymore, but I miss being around him learning about his life and who he is. Even though I don't know a lot of the simple things about him, I know he's turning into an amazing person.
3. My mom. I miss her. Period.
4. My friend, Alex. I miss the way he makes Hubb and I feel like we're the most wonderfully amazing couple ever. I will always feel indebted to him for introducing us, and I miss his witty debates.
5. My two girlfriends from college. I wish I was seeing them together instead of a day apart, and without our men, because I miss the way we get drunk together and laugh at silly lesbian jokes.

The dog. My 12 year old dog, Chester. He will always be my dog, even though he lives with my dad and step-mom. My old bed is the only one he's allowed to sleep on in their house and he always falls asleep with me when I'm home. If the door is shut, he sleeps outside of it if he knows I'm in there. I love my Chester dog and I miss him and his hyper Addison's medication induced personality painfully.

Nov 22, 2004

For work I participated in a Myers-Briggs type indicator test, to discover I am an INFJ (Introverted Intuitive Feeling Judging personality type): INFJs "seek meaning and connection in ideas and relationships, and material possessions. Want to understand what motivates people and are insightful about others. Conscientious and committed to their firm values. Develop a clear vision about how best to serve the common good. Organized and decisive in implementing their vision." It was interesting to learn all of my co-worker's personality types, most of whom I had previously correctly pegged, and unsurprisingly enough, my two favorites are INFJs, too. INFJs rule! So I get to sit here for the rest of the day, trying not to make and continuously revise lists of what clothes I need to pack for our upcoming trip, and reflect on my "vision" and "meaningful material possessions". Like shoes.

Hubb and I put away the pumpkins and decorated the house with stars and red and green and wreaths this weekend. Although there is definitely a holiday feel about our apartment, we didn't exactly go all out on the holiday decoration front this year. We are sticking to the basics this time around, preferring minimal handcrafted "holiday" decorations to glittered and bejeweled Santa/reindeer/angel "Christmas" ornaments. We aren't even putting a tree up, not even the 8-inch midget tree complete with itty bitty tiny ornaments that graced our mantle in 2003. Considering we will be out of town for at least half of December this year, I think we did good.

I am getting more and more into the holiday spirit, especially as we put together our always huge Christmas list. This year a large part of my family is participating in a group charity gift instead of buying each other things we don't need, and that makes me happy. First of all, that's less that I have to shop for. Secondly, we'll make someone very very happy. Thirdly, it makes me feel darned good. And isn't the holiday supposed to revolve around good will and happiness anyway? For everyone else on our list we're working on gift baskets, which I absolutely adore putting together. It makes a little bit more work for us as we calculate and shop and plan what will match each person the best, but it's so much fun. I like complicated gifts.

Two of my coworkers are sick, just in time for me to catch something terrible before I leave on Thursday morning. I'm downing vitamin C like candy, and I think I'll have some chicken soup for lunch just in case. Please think healthy thoughts and send those vibes my way this week. I've been sick every Thanksgiving for the past 5 years. I desperately want to break that cycle.

I'm proud to report that this weekend was free of any shoe purchases. (patting myself on the back) In fact, it was free of any clothing purchases at all! This is a big step for me, no matter how pathetic it looks. I need to find a way other than shopping to celebrate. Wine will do.

Nov 19, 2004

I'm ashamed to admit it, but I've been lying for the past two and a half years. I always say that I can't sleep if Hubb isn't lying next to me, but I was totally wrong. Last night Hubb was gone and I slept like a baby. I slept for 8 hours straight, only waking once for a sip of water, and I haven't felt this refreshed in ages. It felt great, and I'm feeling slightly guilty and ashamed for admitting it. Not that it has made me miss him any less...I'm still thrilled that I'll have a warm body next to me again tonight. Other than the cats. They don't spoon so well.

I am also ashamed and upset to admit that I can't stop buying shoes. It is an addiction that I just can't seem to shake, and I fear that Hubb will stage in intervention once he gets back tonight to find that I am two pairs of shoes richer than I was when he left. But they were on sale! They were a great deal! They're so cute! I don't own other pairs like them! I'm totally busted, as I have run out of room in my shoe tree for my new footwear, and the new shoes have no home other than the middle of my closet. I think I need to start snorting coke to help me kick this shoe habit. It's getting really bad. But I have new pink ballet-style comfy work shoes and an adorable pair of rust colored moccasins. Hubb specifically said no more "pointy" shoes, so I didn't deviate from the ultimatum all that much...

I was thrilled to be asked by a coworker this week to help plan a dinner party, and as we visited the gourmet grocer today and my coworker asked me a million questions about the proposed menu and purchased every item I recommended, my day was totally made. My ego was being stroked every which way and I absolutely loved it. And as we walked away from the meat counter I was complimented on my new pink shoes. I nearly swooned into the olive oil display, which would have had terrible consequences had I knocked the gold-plated bottle of extra-virgin-holy-grail-fountain-of-youth olive oil onto the floor. I think they would have arrested me on the spot or cut my arm off to pay for it. Seriously, who needs a $200 bottle of olive oil? Not I. Despite my repeated coaxings, the coworker didn't think he needed it, either.

I'm obsessed with reading the lists on McSweeney's lately, and keep laughing out loud as everyone looks at my inquisitively or asks "What you laughing at?" all accusatorily like. My favorite: Pork and the High-Anxiety Alphabet.

Nov 18, 2004

The sofa, she is mine, all mine!! Well, she will be all mine in about 10 weeks when she's finished being upholstered. So much for having a grown-up living room in time for New Year's, but at least I'll be quietly lounging in style come Valentine's day sans crappy futon-esque creaking. Woohoo!

Today Hubb is away and I'm leaving work at 1:00 to let the fix-it man in to repair water damage in our bathroom and a few holes in the livingroom wall. It will be nice to have a few hours of down time at home this afternoon, but I wish my Hubb could be there with me. I act like he's gone for months and months when he'll be back by dinner tomorrow night. I guess that's what happens when you're madly in love. Today is the same as any other day, but knowing that he's on an airplane makes me miss him terribly. I don't know how military wives stay sane.

While getting dressed and made up this morning I was appalled at the terribly noticeable bags and dark circles under my eyes. I was prompted to inspect them by a coworker telling me that I either looked like I didn't feel good or was tired for the past week. And by George, I sure do look both. I guess it's the change in season and the business of work finally catching up with me. It's kind of sad, but I'm a little bit excited that the Hubb is away and I can go to sleep at 8 tonight. Hopefully my eyes will thank me.


Nov 17, 2004

Yeah, so, once upon a time I was young and pre-hormonal and only moody when I was tired or hungry. Then I grew up and became a "woman" and get to be moody when I'm tired, hungry, alone, with a group of people, shopping, cooking, getting ready in the morning, naked, clothed, at work, at home, and on vacations. And sometimes just because it's Wednesday. And now I get to live through days at a time when I can't stop eating even though I have no appetite, and when I can't decide if I want to cry, laugh, scream or kick someone, and suffer through all kinds of other nonsensical oxymorons of emotion. No, I'm not pregnant. I'm actually quite frightened to see what emotional stability will be left of me once I'm with child.

Fail-safe methods of pulling me out of a funk:

1. Shopping for underwear
2. Andes mints
3. A tall glass of wine
4. Flowers
5. Leave me alone in my kitchen with a recipe book and a fridge full of food

Nov 15, 2004

I became totally distracted this weekend by the overwhelming desire for a real, sturdy, solid couch instead of the futon we pretend is a couch, so I'm on a mission: save enough money in the next month in order to purchase a couch before a possible New Year's get-together. I may need to adopt a second job, sell my body, or have a GIANT bake sale to make this happen...or I can just stop buying shoes. Which will be difficult. But dammit, I want a new couch. I want it I want it I want it! I want this one. But not red. "Doe," a soft beigy grey.

I already have throw pillows for it. And lots of love. Lots and lots of love. I think I would look fabulous sitting on this baby. Simply fabulous.

Especially in my new LittleBlackDress and AdorableShoe holiday party outfit. I love these puppies.

Yeah, so I had my sofa epiphany AFTER I bought the shoes, so shut up. Starting today, I'm putting the shoe buying on hold. I swear.

Nov 12, 2004

Why I'm smiling today:

1. I got paid today. Woohoo!
2. I have a dinner date with the Hubb tonight. I'm more than ready for a little weekend romance.
3. Tomorrow is the DIY Trunkshow. Everyone should go and buy lots of things and support our local craftspeople.
4. I'm wearing Jeans! At Work!
5. I'm also wearing sassy black stockings with my high heeled shoes. I feel a little slutty.
6. Despite waking up uber late, I arrived to work on time. A few minutes early, in fact.
7. A "Hey pretty girl..." from a bike messenger on the way to the train this morning. Totally made my day.
8. Talking smack with a coworker A about coworker B, and realizing that we are both thinking the exact same things. I don't feel like such an ass anymore.
9. I'm wearing my favorite pair of underwear.
10. It's finally Friday!

Nov 11, 2004

I'm just looking for a nut...cracker.
It's Thursday and the office is quiet and my boss is gone again until Monday and I want to go home. I am feeling guilty because of my lack of energy at work lately, which I attribute to the change in the weather, the coming of winter with its wind and cold and darkness, dry skin and nosebleeds. Things have calmed down to a dull roar, and I'm finding myself with more and more free time, which is hard to mask when you sit in a room all day with two other people. So I schedule, type, organize and timeline my upcoming Thanksgiving Adventure. I also make lists. I also keep tabs on the number of bottles of water I drink a day. I take lots of trips to the women's lounge. I do all of these things while trying not to shop. It is very difficult. I'm not very successful.

Kitchen items I need: (in no particular order)

1. A meat grinder. I don't trust pre-ground beef, and I'm itching to experiment with making my own sausage.
2. A dutch oven. Preferably this one (note the free 2-1/2 quart oven with purchase), but I'd be willing to settle for one that's not as fashionable.
3. A nut cracker. I recently purchased a huge bag of mixed nuts only to discover I have no way to get into them without banging up the kitchen counters with a hammer.
4. More silicone bakeware. This stuff is amazing and makes me want to be a better baker.
5. A soup tureen. I don't have one, and I feel like it would be a neat thing to have.
6. These mixing bowls that I am totally in love with.
7. A bigger wine rack. I like to stock up in case we get snowed in for several weeks at a time.
8. New chairs for the kitchen table. I'm leaning towards these, though they don't appear to come in black anymore. Fluorescent lime and orange don't exactly match my kitchen.
9. New dishes. I'm bored.
10. An oven that holds a consistent temperature.

I nearly got blown down this morning as I got off the bus, and again as I left for my lunch break. Working right on the lake is definitely going to work on me this winter. Eh.

Nov 8, 2004

I had a dream last night that I was married to a friend from my past who was enlisted in the military, somewhere, somehow, and I wanted to find him so I could divorce him and marry my ex-boyfriend instead. For some odd reason much of this dream involved sneaking in and out of houses in affluent neighborhoods with the ex, attempting to procure a red bell pepper. During the entire episode, as is always the case when I dream of liking/marrying/kissing/etc. anyone other than the hubb, I was racked by terrible anxiety and guilt, and woke up with a sick ball in the pit of my stomach. I think there are probably a slew of unresolved issues floating around in there. I don't know how a bell pepper plays into that, but there you go. Dreams are odd.

I've been pretty successful on the weekend front lately, and seem to top each weekend's comfort, fun and adventure with the next. This last weekend consisted of a few extraordinary events/discoveries of note:

- buying a dvd of 8 Gumby episodes for $1. Yes, one dollar! Granted, the menu sucked, the packaging was cheap, and the entire dvd lasted only about 30 minutes, but I have no regrets for my one buck splurge. Hubb and I remembered Gumby making more sense when we were kids, and decided that the claymation skits would probably be quite amazing when one's thought process and senses are enhanced from smoking drugs of some sort.

- finally breaking down and purchasing two wonderful beauty products: 1. Benefit's Benetint. I adore Benefit's image, and had been intimidated and intrigued for some time by the dark red liquid. I finally gathered the courage to let the Benefit vixen at Marshall Field's try some out on me, and I'm totally hooked. 2. Origin's Cocoa Therapy Instant Chocolate Fix. Yum. I want to lick my wrists raw when I roll this stuff on. I promise it is an instant uplift, no matter how bummed and tired you may be. I'm a big fan of the whole line, and highly recommend it for a calorie-free chocolate bar replacement.

- lazy Sunday lounging, which we don't get to take part in very often. Hubb and I almost always book up our weekends with plans, but were able to take some time to sit around in our pyjamas, drink coffee and play with the cats for a couple of hours. It was incredibly refreshing and relaxing.

Despite going to bed before 10pm last night, I way over slept this morning and was almost 45 minutes late to work. With very little makeup and a no-time-to-do-my-hair-quick-pigtail-buns-updo, I have already received more compliments than I ever have when I have the full time to get myself ready in the morning. Either they're lying or I normally try way to hard.

I am consistently forgetting that I own a digital camera, and have nearly stopped bringing it with me on outings. I need to work on that so I have something more interesting to put here than accounts of my shopping sprees. Stay tuned.

Nov 5, 2004

I took a much needed half day yesterday, with every intention of taking a nap at home, but ended up shopping and cooking for 7 hours, sitting down only to drive the car in between stores. Nevertheless, it relaxed me, and though still quite sleepy, I feel a lot better. Things are calming down at work, I'm less nauseous and frightened when I think about the next four years (although that could be due to lots of wine and lack of sleep), and I have a new purse. Life is pretty damned good.

I had forgotten how wonderful roasting a chicken can be. It's no secret that I love to cook, but I love it even more when it's something traditionally comforting and delicious. I think that is one of the many reasons I adore the fall and winter months, because it is a time to tackle soups and stews, warm and heavy dishes, foods that always seem to fill my home with the most amazing smells. I envision many a night with bowls of chili and plates of cornbread in front of the fire this winter. And wine. Lots of wine.

This weekend is going to be a good one, with a full 5 hours of planned girl time! I haven't had real live girl time in quite a while, and I am bursting at the seams I am so excited. Girls girls girls! Shopping and lunch and a beauty event! We can pretend to not eat much in front of each other, pretend we have enough money to shop the way we will be, and be massaged and pampered and seduced into buying lots of makeup and body products! Yay! Let's hear it for the girls!

I'll also be attending a party, which I am pretty excited about despite the possibility of knowing a grand total of only two people there. I am sometimes a social retard when it comes to big get-togethers, but it will be nice to get out and drink in someone's home for a couple of hours.

Nov 3, 2004

Nov 1, 2004

I'm still hungover from the excitement and busy busy fun of the weekend, therefore I list:

1. (Friday) Skipping dinner + drinking = sleeping like a baby. Excellent.

2. (Saturday) Hubb and I visited Lynfred Winery in Roselle, Illinois for a tour and tasting of some local wine. It was incredibly educational, extremely enjoyable and highly intoxicating. I secretly hope to become a wine snob.

3. (Saturday, part 2) Hubb approved the purchase of a pair of fun birthday shoes. Pointy moccasins. I can't wait to post a photo.

4. (Saturday, part 3) After being turned away from my intended birthday restaurant by a 2 hour wait, Hubb and I enjoyed a fabulous dinner at the Adobo Grill. Tableside guacamole is the only way to go.

5. (Sunday) The recommendation from GB, a gorgeous sunny halloween day and lack of afternoon plans brought us to the Graceland Cemetery for an incredible walking tour. Graceland is the who's who of Chicago graveyards, housing for eternity such names as Wacker, Pullman, Marshall Field, Mies van Der Rohe, Burnham and Root, and Louis Sullivan, to name a few. I even remembered the camera:

6. (Sunday, part 2) Dessert with friends at the Four Seasons Hotel. Deliciously snooty and incredibly fattening. Key lime cheesecake = best birthday cake EVER! A perfectly sweet ending to a super great and wonderful weekend.