Jan 31, 2005

Today just might be the best day ever. Why?

1. I received the Most Perfect Purse Ever from the amazingly talented Cinnamon today. I love it more than anything! Cinnamon has my love and respect forever for creating this gorgeous bag for me.

2. I just found out, thanks to the Hubb, that Crate and Barrel has re-released my favorite dishes of all time, originally designed by Eva Zeisel. (I named my cat after this woman, which might tell you of my slight obsession with her ceramics.) I must must must have these dishes. I might need to get a second job in order to buy a complete set, or try to work my way into a position as a part time sales associate at C&B in order to get a discount.

Oh my god I'm in love today. I'm having product lust all over the place. Why oh why did I order a stupid sofa when I could have had 8 place settings, the serving set, sauce boat, teapot and an additional platter and serving bowl of this pattern? Why??

3. My new sofa will be arriving next week. I'll be sitting in style by Valentine's Day.

Jan 28, 2005

Ok, so the jacket is going back. Waaaay too thin for chilly Chicago winters. But I found a much nicer warmer coat on sale during lunch, at an even better deal! Today is still wildly successful. Woohoo!
I'm feeling good today.

1. It is Friday and I have a sushi date with the Hubb tonight.
2. A Poise.cc original creation (named after me!) may possibly be arriving today.
3. A new pair of boots (the one's I've lusted after all month) arrived today and they are my new favorite shoes EVER! I love them love them love them.
4. A new winter coat, drastically discounted, may possibly be arriving today.
5. I'm going to Hawaii in April, it's decided and planned.

I'm having a very very good day and am looking forward to having a very very good weekend as well.

Jan 27, 2005

I have been reviewed and I have survived. (deleted)

2005 is turning out to be the year of challenges. Financial, work-related, and now relationship challenges. Hubb and I, for the very first time, will be taking separate trips to far away places this spring. He is going to Milan the DAY AFTER OUR WEDDING ANNIVERSARY for work, which sucks hugely considering he'll also be out of town the two weekends before our wedding anniversary as well, and I CAN'T GO WITH HIM. I'm a little disappointed and annoyed and jealous, and all sorts of other emotions, which is silly but it's how I'm feeling right now so shut up. So, instead of Milan I will be going to Hawaii to celebrate my wedding anniversary. By myself. Without my husband. It's not Europe, but it's warm and my best friend in the whole wide world is there. With rum based beverages. I shouldn't be so sensitive about this, because he will be in Chicago on our actual anniversary, but as he will be leaving the very next day for a week in an incredibly fashion sensitive city, I imagine an anniversary doing laundry and packing and trips to the grocery store for toothpaste to prepare for his departure. Fun.

Somebody slap me.

So anyway...I've been doing my job incredibly well, which I am discovering once a week when results from my work are coming back. It's an amazing feeling to know that I jumped into this job with no idea what I was doing, and I figured it all out by myself and have done my very best and then some, and people's lives are going to be great because of it. I'm being incredibly vague, I know, but people's futures depend on the work I do, and things are going very well and people are happy and appreciate what I'm doing. It feels good and makes me want to cry with joy.

Last night I left work a little late and ended up standing during my bus/train rides rather than sitting and reading my current book. When I got off the train I walked into a gorgeous huge snowflake shower, and smiled through freezing clenched teeth as I made my way home. There was something meditative and uplifting about the whole experience that I can't quite put into words. And then I got home to a package from a friend of mine that I haven't spoken to in more than a year. It was a two-year late thank you gift for letting her stay with us for a couple of days back in 2003. I won't go into too much detail, but getting a handmade gift from an incredibly talented old friend made me even more euphoric. It quickly faded as I fell into the usual night-time dinner making laundry doing yoga mat bed-time routine, which was unfortunate.

I went to lunch today with four women from a combination of three offices. It was fun and girly and silly and a nice change of pace for me. It's been a while since I could be giddy and giggly and talk about sex and decorating and shopping and milkshakes openly with other females. Now I'm back at my desk, sleepy from overeating, cold, anxious and irritated for no reason. Why oh why do I have to be so hormonal?

Jan 25, 2005

There's an odd feeling in my office today...must be a full moon. Or maybe us 5 women and one gay man are feeling overly hormonal. Or anxious about our reviews. Either way, I wish I'd stayed home again today.

I'm feeling non-bloggy; sleepy and strange instead.

Lunchtime grocery shopping should cheer me up. Wild rice and brown sugar and lemons, hurrah.

I think I may pull out the yoga dvds tonight. I'm in the mood for a little stretching and toning and heart-acceleration. I'd go jogging if it weren't for the TONS and TONS of nasty salty slush on all of the sidewalks and roadways. Gross.

Jan 24, 2005

I'm sick and tired, so therefore I list:

1. People are NOT meant for snow. Period. Neither are my shoes.
2. Spamalot is the best musical EVER. Everyone should flock to New York to see it when it hits Broadway. Do it.
3. I can bake! Homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, anyone? I am so incredibly proud of myself I just might burst. (patting self on back...)
4. Miss Cinnamon, sewing machine diva, has finished producing my purse which will be arriving at my doorstep shortly. I am thrilled and honored that she finished it so quickly and I can't wait to see it!
5. In two weeks I have curbed my personal spending significantly, and to celebrate went out to buy myself a few new pairs of pants for work. I'm working on being a practical and sensible shopper. I do think there is hope.
6. It has been a challenge getting used to not using the car, as it sits on our street covered in snow with the check engine light and choppy idling just waiting for the ignition to be ignited, but we're doing it. A few temper tantrums, and I'm slowly beginning to get the hang of it. Good thing this lovely snow storm came just in time.
7. After making new rules about eating dinner (no more eating in front of the tv, no more delivery), Hubb and I immediately break them by ordering thai and watching old movies Sunday. But hey, I was sick and it was a special occasion.
8. (deleted)
9. My kitty loves me. Home sick today, she has followed me around to every room I enter, and is only content when sitting on my lap or leaning up against me. She is currently my little editor cat, sitting on my lap with her paws close enough to the keyboard to type a few letters every now and then. She's keeping me warm, inside and out.
10. I pretty much just wanted to get to 10, so that's about it. Off to the kitchen for some shrimp gumbo and caramelized cornbread-making.

P.S. - I can't believe I forgot to mention my beloved life-saving Jiffy boxed mixes in my last post. They're like 50 cents and the corn muffin mix makes the most amazing cornbread when you add a little caramelized corn and some sugar on the top. Retro, cheap, and delicious.

Jan 21, 2005

I love to cook. We all know this. I love to cook so much, that whenever I'm feeling anxious, sad, depressed, irritated, annoyed, frustrated, angry, upset, or just generally antsy, I cook. Being in the kitchen, handling food, making up recipes...it relaxes me, gives me something to center on, calms me down. I love the kitchen, and I love my pots and pans and wooden spoons and gadgets and timers and my tiny blow torch. I have a deep love for fresh ingredients, homemade stocks and soups, time-intensive complicated recipes, aprons and potholders. And I love being a snob about the kitchen, snubbing microwaveable meals and canned soup. Hypocritically, because it is in my nature to be so, every now and then I fall in love with a time saver, even though I make fun of and criticize them constantly.

So here it goes, a short list of "cheats" I can't live without:
1. I love those no-boil lasagna noodles. No boiling! One less pot to clean! No slimy starchy noodles to handle!
2. I also love 5 minute jello. It's instant dessert! Add a little banana, whipped cream, toasted almonds, and it's gourmet.
3. And I love, love, love instant rice. I'm a little more ashamed about this one, but when I'm trying to get out of the house to get to work on time a little instant rice, chicken broth, and frozen peas make a great quickly prepared lunch.

As much as I hate to admit it...I love them all and they are staples in my kitchen. I will still slave over a stove for spaghetti sauce and chicken soup, and my instant rice will never replace the other three or four varieties I always keep on hand, but it will never be absent from my cabinet, either.
Has anyone tried the limited edition Chocolate Truffle York Peppermint Patties?

To. Die. For. I'm gonna need some bigger pants.

Jan 20, 2005

I recently received an e-mail from the sister of an old friend of mine, giving me the link to tons of photos of her brand new baby girl, Leslie. The child is painfully adorable, and made me shed a tear for the simple beauty that is life, and that incredibe immeasurable happiness she has brought into the lives of her new mom and dad. One of the photos captured my old friend and her now 2 and a half year old son, who I haven't seen since he was less than 2 months old. He has turned into a real little person who walks and wears cute little pants and uses his hands and has hair! I haven't seen this old friend for almost two years when she did my hair for my wedding, and haven't spoken or heard from her in more than a year since she stood me up for a Christmastime lunch date. As I reflected on this and looked at how much both my old friend and her sister's lives have changed since I saw them last, I shed another tear, this time for friends lost. I have a fascination with change and life moving on and tend to reflect on it every couple of months or so. Seeing how fast life has changed for these two women since I've lost contact with them was just the catalyst I needed this time.

My internal clock also did a little jump and flutter as I looked at these two little people, and the happiness they have brought their families. Hubb and I are growing closer and closer to being "family-minded", catching ourselves making mom and dad-like comments, jokes and reflections more often than we ever have before. Don't worry, we still have a couple of years before we're financially ready to spawn, whether we think we're emotionally ready or not. Until then, we have the cats.

Monday marked the 6 year anniversary of the day Hubb and I met, and this Sunday marks the anniversary of our first date and the day we decided we were a couple. It's amazing how fast time has flown by, and how much fun we've had along the way. We've had our Ups and Downs just like any other couple, but recently things have been Up Up Up. We knew pretty early on that we were a pretty good match, and despite anything I've ever uttered during emotionally charged arguments and differences of opinion every now and then, I've never questioned the perfection of our relationship. We're going out to dinner Sunday to celebrate Us, and though someday we'll stop celebrating every milestone in our relationship except for our wedding date, for now it gives us a much needed chance for a date. And it's always fun to celebrate. Yay for us! Go us! Ok...sappiness over.

A couple of notes:
Last night: Solo show: Colin Meloy of the Decemberists. Going out! On a weeknight! It was a thrilling show, despite the thick cancer smoke filled air that is still making me cough today. The second act, Shelley Short, is an absolutely beautiful and amazing musician with a voice like chocolate. I actually had goosebumps at points during her set. Colin was great, funny and banter-full. I'm usually pretty skeptical of break-off solo shows, but Colin was pretty good. The paltry four and a half hours of sleep I got last night were totally worth it.
Friday: Dinner and gossip with the coworkers! Yay!
Saturday: Oh my god I can't wait...SPAMALOT!!
Sunday: Celebratory date with the Hubb. *swoon*

Jan 19, 2005

Things I love today:

1. Falling down in the hallway, spilling my coffee all over the floor and myself, scuffing my Favorite Shoes, and bruising my knee.
2. Blogger being retarded and slow and unavailable and erasing my entries before posting them.
3. Feeling all cute in my red wool wrap, only to be called the "Caped Crusader" by two different people independently.
4. Indegestion.

1. Nobody in the hall to see my tumble to the floor.
2. My new icon. (Thanks, Hubb!)
3. Still feeling all cute in my matching outfit.
4. Leftover Thai for lunch...again.
Shitcakes!!! I wrote a painfully long entry here, only to misfire my keyboard and erase the entire freaking thing. Fuck it.

I hate today.

Jan 18, 2005

Having visited my doctor four times in the past month for overdue tests, exams and shots, I have learned the following:

1. I weigh 5 pounds less in my doctor's office, fully clothed, than I do at home, buck naked. One of our scales is wrong, and I hope that it's mine.

2. My usual barely-alive blood pressure went up each visit, to an almost normal level of by visit #4. Maybe I won't be lightheaded as much if I visit my doctor more often.

3. I'm not anemic, hypoglycemic, hypothyroidic, nor do I have high cholesterol, though I may possibly be on the verge of becoming a hypochondriac.

4. When my doctor says, "You need (insert test, shot, or exam here).", she means she'll take care of it right then and there. No waiting. Which is nice.

5. Learning Spanish before my next visit might be helpful.

6. Co-pays can sure add up.

7. I may have carried some germs back from the office to my unsuspecting husband who is home sick in bed today.

Jan 17, 2005

Times, they are a changin'. It's getting colder (bitterly, painfully cold), I'm getting busier and more stressed at work, I'm honestly exercising and eating better, and really truly getting my financial act together. Really. Truly.

To prepare for future carlessness, Hubb and I walked to the grocery store on Saturday to help get into the habit. It was a nice walk...cold, but nice. It felt like we really earned our groceries as we hiked them back home through the 10 degree air. I've been working on staying warm without upping our gas bill any more than we already have, with fires, tea, blankets, and plenty of snuggling to help us through the cold and dark nights (and mornings). Nothing is warmer or nicer than snuggling. Except maybe snuggling in front of the fire with a blanket and a nice warm cup of tea. And the kitties. *sigh*

In an unusual change of habit, Hubb and I stayed in almost all weekend, preparing every meal we ate in our own kitchen. A normal weekend usually consists of eating lunch and snacks on the go in between outings, and dining out at least once for dinner. Eating every meal at home this weekend, I definitely notice a difference in the way I feel. Much healthier. Much happier. And more money in my wallet.

Part of the weekend in was devoted to discussing our financial future, scrutinizing and discussing our bills, and making adjustments where needed. We are in the process of fixing and selling our car, which will eliminate car payments and minimize insurance, we're scrimping where scrimping can be done, and have a new plan to move on and up in the world and eventually buy a home to call our very own. Someday we'll own a car again, but I'm actually really looking forward to being carless for a while. If only just to prove that prissy high maintenance emily can do it. I can do it, I tell you.

I just celebrated my 6 month anniversary at my new job last week, and will be having my review shortly. Things at work are moving up and on, and I see a big change in the way my department is run within the next 6 months. I'm gaining responsibility, which is good, but am being left to my own devices on projects that I might need a little help on, which is not so good. But I can work through it, and if I have to clock some overtime, so be it.

It's halfway through January and I have yet to attempt one of my resolutions of being more creative. I'm reading more cooking books and have successfully attempted a few new recipes in the kitchen, but the paintbrushes and beads and yarn have stayed dustily put. I need a gentle push to get me started, and I'm thinking this weekend's financial discussion might just be that push. There will be no more underwear shopping anytime soon (except for the Isabella annual sale in March...I'll eat less for weeks just to save for that one!) so I'll need something else to keep me occupied. Maybe I'll take up knitting again...if I can gather up enough patience for it.

Even though I'm not shopping I still have a wishlist, which I will share:

1. A cast iron dutch oven, skillet and chicken fryer. Still on the list. I can't believe I don't have these yet, as much as I love to cook.
2. A new bed, queen size please, so Hubb's long legs don't place his feet off the end. New sheets unfortunately accompany this wishlist item.
3. Now that I own the Nigella Lawson salt pig and am able to caress the curves and admire the shape daily, I have a total uncontrollable lust for the mixing bowls.
4. These boots. Still.
5. 180s earwarmers. Totally practical since I don't wear hats for fear of crushing my wave. I know...I know...I'm a priss.

Jan 11, 2005

Ok, so I should officially throw away my credit cards and erase my Discover card number from my head because I am a shopoholic and I can't stop buying crap that I don't need. Wait, I take that back...I do need it, just not in the basic survival sense, but the psychological desire sense. And oh my god how could I pass up Dirty Girl underwear? I mean come on! How freaking cute. It's only like my favorite bath and body line EVER. And they were on sale. Like half off. I totally had to have them, so shut up.

So I purchased some "Shredders" brand beef jerkey because it promised to be "Fun to Eat!" but instead feels and tastes much like bark mulch. For some strange reason I can't stop putting splinter after splinter into my mouth. The salty freeze dried protein slivers are addictive, and in handy bite size pieces to boot. Ok I seriously need to stop, or else I might throw up.

Speaking of snacks, I'm recently on a huge date kick. They're really really good. And they're loaded with potassium, protein and iron. Mmmm...dates.


Jan 10, 2005

Exciting Weekend Moments: A List

1. Shoveling out car (see below), spending the day out and getting the same parking spot after dinner, despite not having a folding chair to save it with. The parking gods were on our side.
2. Finally making the decision to sell the car. 2005 is the year to be car-free! (Which could mean 2006 may be the year to buy a condo!!)
3. Successful attempt at Cioppino, a fish stew. Definitely a staple in the recipe rotation.
4. Witnessing alley-snowboarding on the way home after drinks Friday night. Fully entertaining.
5. Polishing and protecting previously-deemed-ruined boots to a newly restored state.

Upsetting Weekend Moments: A List

1. Shoveling out the car while people flew down the street spraying me with salty black slush. I love the courteous people in my neighborhood. They're swell.
2. Car check engine light goes on. Then off.
3. Putting away Christmas. Now the apartment looks empty, un-festive and dull.
4. Anchorman. I'm sorry, but it sucked.
5. Discovering water damage in the storage closet on our back porch. Lovely.

Jan 7, 2005

Jan 6, 2005

1/2 day off work, freshly painted nails, a tummy full of homemade split pea soup...I feel much better now. Although coming home at lunchtime does have it's downside: fewer busses. Granted, I get a seat and don't have someone's crotch in my face the whole way home, but I had to wait 20-30 minutes in the cold pelting snow...twice. First for my bus, and the second time when I got off the bus to get on the blue line at Chicago and discovered that they were shutting down the stop due to a gas leak. So I waited a good 20 minutes for a cab or another bus, whichever came first, and it happened to be the bus. Not many cabs out that way in the middle of the day.

But I made it home to an UNSHOVELED front porch (arrgh) and had a nice relaxing afternoon watching Good Eats, snacking on leftover sweets and giving myself a french manicure. I also experimented in the kitchen with a pumpkin tiramisu of sorts...we'll see how that turns out tonight.

This snowstorm we're having has made me realize and question the fact that I don't own a pair of snow boots. I don't exactly know how I live in Chicago and don't own the proper attire. Cute shoes don't cut it when there's a foot of snow on the ground and countless slush-puddles to wade through on the way to the train. I found these this morning and fell in love: (yes, they are by Caterpillar, which makes them ever the more cool)

But alas, due to a recent overpurchasing of underwear I can't justify buying them, so instead I've ordered a pair of $20 rainboots. They're functional, just not nearly as fashionable. Or awesome. (I wear a 6-1/2 in case anyone wants to send me a late Christmas present.)

Hubb is working late, so I think I'll pamper myself some more with a bath and a nap. And more split pea soup.

I'm feeling incredibly down today. Why?

1. I'm terribly exhausted for some reason. I got up a full hour late.
2. My back hurts from shoveling stupid snow on my front porch because,
3. the people who live in my building are lazy and selfish and wait for the smallest person in the house to clear the 5 tons of snow off of the walkway.
4. I bit my cheek three days ago and it has yet to heal.
5. (deleted)
6. I think street salt may have ruined my shoes.
7. I just may be coming down with the stomach flu my entire office has had this week. My head hurts and my stomach is just a little bit off. But I might just be hungry.
8. I'm not going to Hawaii this spring anymore. Money is such a terrible thing sometimes.
9. I spent too much money at the Victoria's Secret semi-annual sale. Bad emily. Bad, bad, bad.
10. I threw away a perfectly soup-worthy turkey carcass last night, and am still racked by guilt over it.

I think I just need a couple of hours to a day of reflection and self-healing. In the form of a nap.

Jan 5, 2005

Entire islands are just gone. Vanished. An estimated 200,000 people could be dead, every one of them somebody's child, mother, father, sister, brother, best friend, husband or wife. Millions of others are displaced, nowhere to go, nowhere to sleep, not even a pair of shoes to their name. No money, no food, no possible way to begin recovery without help from strangers.

I can't even imagine the loss the survivors are feeling...people who had barely anything to begin with have lost absolutely everything: their homes, their food, their clothes, their loved ones. I can't imagine the grief and pain being felt while standing in line, waiting for a juice box sized container of water to share with the one child out of six that didn't perish in the flood, fighting malaria, not knowing when food will be available. The survivors of this disaster need all the help they can get, and even with worldwide efforts it will never be enough.

I've done enough bleeding on this screen, though I know I could go on and I feel that I should. Help in any way you can.

Jan 4, 2005

In the spirit of tradition:

My 25 Most Important Discoveries of 2004:

1. Living in the city isn't half bad. In fact, it's all good.
2. Credit cards are evil.
3. Some things are totally worth the wait.
4. I can be happy doing almost anything, as long as I am appreciated.
5. Pointy shoes are fun.
6. My hair really wants to be curly and it looks better that way.
7. Grinding your own meat is totally cool.
8. Gin.
9. It's awesome being a grown up.
10. A little love goes a long way. (same goes for sarcasm.)
11. It's hard to be the bigger person sometimes, but it's almost always worth it.
12. Good friends are hard to find, and sometimes hard to keep.
13. Busses aren't all that bad.
14. Having a boss you respect makes the job all the more bearable.
15. Sometimes it's best to keep your mouth shut.
16. It doesn't pay to be selfish. (I'm still discovering this...it's a work in progress.)
17. I can bake!! ...a little.
18. Pecan pie is very very tasty and I really should have just let myself keep thinking I didn't like it.
19. It's ok not to have an itinerary every once in a while.
20. It's easy to let things go.
21. Baggy isn't flattering.
22. Marriage is still hard work, and it's still wonderful.
23. It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks, but it's not impossible.
24. Life is more fragile than I'd like it to be.
25. Everyone is always changing, including me. And that's a good thing.

Jan 3, 2005

My Holiday summed up in song:

12 + hours driving
11 rest stops peeing
10 bags of presents
9 family members
8 hours of sleep a night
7 days away
6 stops for tolls
5 gift exchanges
4 bottles of bubbly
3 couples pot luck
2 days of recovery
after a drunken New Year's Eve

Being at home was great, seeing my immediate family, receiving my grandmother's china and crystal (yay dinner parties!), spending time with the in-laws, seeing friends...eating waaay too much ham...it all went by so quickly. We passed through some terrible snow in Ohio heading out, which extended our drive a bit, but we made it safe and sound, just $30 poorer from all of the damned tolls. Hubb finally got a burr grinder and a turntable from his ever-expanding wish list, and I got my new Better Homes and Garden's 75th anniversary cookbook, Napoleon Dynamite, and about 7 extra pounds on my midsection. Hubb and I also got matching kitty cat tee shirts, some awesome coffee and lots of wine accessories. It was a highly successful Christmas, and lots of fun was had by all.

We returned last Tuesday afternoon, to unpack and reorganize the house to hold all of our new booty, which included emptying our "china cabinet" (a 1930's armoire in our dining room) to hold my grandmother's old china and crystal that has been handed down to me. I spent the rest of the week shopping, trying not to eat, doing three hours of dishes to clean the dust off of the crystal, and preparing for our New Year's Eve party. I started in on the wine before our first guests arrived to calm my nerves, which proved to be quite a mistake. We had a few couples over for a potluck dinner which went swimmingly, then others arrived for drinking and snacking until midnight. I got a little too liberal with the gin and the champagne, and don't remember anything after about 11:30, except for falling on my ass in front of our guests and emptying my stomach on the bedroom carpet. Apparently 3 glasses of champagne at a time do not sit well for me. Hubb was an exceptional host, whisking me off into hiding before I embarrassed myself too much, entertaining our guests until the wee hours and cleaning up.

So, needless to say, I am slightly embarrassed at my over-imbibing, but am happy to hear that all present had a good time at our little get together...since I don't remember most of it. I was told I was a "cute" drunk, whatever that means...I felt real adorable when I fell on the floor, I tell ya. I think we'll definitely do it again next year, and maybe I'll go a little easier on the wine. I may be ready to drink alcohol again by then.

So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and welcome back! It actually feels nice to be back at work again today after nearly two weeks off, and I'm eager to get back into a normal life routine. My stomach is still angry at me for eating like shit for a week, eating uber healthy for a couple of days, then trying to poison it with alcohol, but hopefully it will forgive me soon. At least I'm already losing that couple of pounds I gained by eating Christmas ham for 7 days straight.