On Fear and (self)Loathing
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Upon deciding to move forward with a long-desired project, I realized recently that it was one of the first things I'd ever done truly because *I* wanted to. (jams own index finger into sternum) Gut decisions are not exactly my forte - I prefer to go through a protracted period of listmaking and hyperanalysis before making any decisions. Analysis paralysis is one my more charming attributes.

Why are we so afraid to trust ourselves? Why is it that I am JUST NOW, at thirty years of age, telling other people to F themselves and do what I want anyway? After all this time, has being compliant really gotten me anywhere? I don't know.

It feels like a lot of people in my life have recently started to tell me what they think of me and my decisions. (For the most part, they merely echo what has already bounced through my own mind, which makes for a very annoying Greek chorus) I concede I've brought it upon myself because I am very open with my feelings and thoughts. How do I take my privacy back? You can't unring a bell, as they say.

Honestly, I welcome some of it - the logical, non-judgmental stuff. As for the rest, all I feel is this unrelenting pressure, like a 50-lb. anvil of expectations weighing down on my lungs. I am having trouble drawing a line in the sand. GAH - the assvice - it is everywhere. Is there a polite way of telling someone to stuff it? I could use some advice on THAT.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The first Sedgwick came to Charlestown, Massachusetts, in 1635. His sons cleared the New England forest, and sent their grandsons into Washington's army to create a new nation, and into the first government to establish its politics. And ever since, Sedgwick descendants have fought in the country's wars, served in its administrations, and more. Despite fits of derangement, and worse, they have helped create national fashions, set off national tempests, well through the rebellious sixties and into the present. It was here that I needed to look, if only because it was here where I could see. For the Sedgwick story is the story of America.

Photo credit: Harper Collins

I Can Think of 30 Reasons to Put Off Writing This
Monday, October 19, 2009
So...um, yeah. I turned thirty awhile back and since that happened, my life has been a whirlwind. This past summer has been so crazy that I completely forgot to tell you the best part about my birthday - two best things, actually.

Great Thing the First:

YES. THAT IS RIGHT, BEEYOTCHES. Sean bought seats so that I could see the chaos LIVE and IN PERSON. Our seats were amazing, the show was really good (I love me some "Thunderstruck"), and even though I was very much incorrectly dressed for the occasion, it was unforgettable. It was also like a greatest hits album, with a side of leather-clad craziness. Awesome.

Great Thing the Second:

I got to work with Beluga Whales! Can you believe it?!

The Shedd announced recently that it was going to offer interactive stuff like "Be the Trainer" and "Befriend a Beluga" experiences - where you can go and work with the dolphins or beluga whales. Having gone through a whale phase in junior high, I knew IMMEDIATELY that I *had* to do the Beluga thing. I promptly mentioned it to Sean - about 5 months early - and got to do it for my birthday! He was with me, of course, and we were part of a 6 person group. During the time we were in the water, we worked with a beluga who was a new mother, so her toddler was being trained in the same small pool we were in. The whales were huge and friendly, and I may or may not have had to stand on my tiptoes the entire time to avoid letting 55-degree water down my into my pants. (I wouldn't have cared) It was totally memorable.

Best birthday ever. Who knows what the next thirty might hold?

Deep Thoughts
Friday, October 16, 2009
I had an epiphany this morning. Not the kind that blows your mind, of course, like suddenly conceiving of the cure for cancer, or a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but something equally as interesting (at least to me).

This is it: I think my favorite Michael Jackson song is "Jam." I've decided this after (literally) a lifetime of listening to his work.

What do I love the most about that song? Not the frequent "haeyyaaee hee" noises from Michael himself, but rather, the back-up cameo vocals by Heavy D. His part in the song is like a little aural surprise to the detail-oriented listener.

In the song, he raps "it ain't so hard for me to jam," and each time he says it, I think to myself, "You know. I think that's a lie, Mr. D. You're a big guy. Watching you dance would make ME break a sweat." I adore Heavy D, I do - in fact, I've got nuttin' but love for him. But I cannot imagine him easily "jamming" per his claims. Swagger, maybe. Not jam.

You see what I'm sayin'? At best, I can picture a clunky, lopsided running man.

That's all. Just a thought to think over while you enjoy your weekend.

First they came for Strawberry Shortcake and we said nothing. Then they came for the Care Bears and we said nothing. But now they've come for Rainbow Brite, and this means war.

...and also...

Florida's Polk County school district recently placed a ban on all sexually suggestive dancing, claiming that "booty dancing" was inappropriate on school grounds, which led me to reminisce about the hilariously inappropriate songs played at my middle school dances.

Haa Haaahahahahaaaaaaa!

After Which I Put On A Scarf. Indoors.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Dear Greece,

I miss you.


P.S. If you could not be quite so windy next time I take a photo like this, I'd appreciate it. I'm not pregnant, nor do I wish to appear...fecund. Efharisto.

Further Evidence of How Easily Confused I Am
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I've been sucked into the crime procedural Castle on ABC. There. I said it.

In my hasty defense, it's on immediately after DWTS and frankly, I haven't watched any Law & Order in more than a year. A YEAR. I was jonesing for some cop lingo, what of it?

So imagine my befuddled reaction when I noticed a woman on the train reading "Heat Wave" by Richard Castle and was completely confused. I had thought he was fictional (even though real crime writers are featured with in-show cameos)...and so goes the mental hamster wheel. (Dude. It was 6:35 am, and I was uncaffeinated. Slack, please?)

Turns out, it's a literary tie-in created by ABC to market the show. It's also, apparently, a campaign to make me doubt my own sanity.

Postcards from Suburbia
Monday, October 12, 2009
I'm going to be honest with you - I am really glad I moved to the suburbs. (gasp!) I needed to get out of the city, to get to a place (literal, metaphorical, whatever) where stress wasn't lurking around every corner, like a trenchcoat-clad flasher. It's quiet out here. I can hit 5 grocery stores and stop for buffalo wings in between, if I want. I can watch the leaves change. I can run errands efficiently, and without wanting to punch someone's teeth in. IT'S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE! That said, this past weekend was the first non-scheduled weekend I've had since...June? It was glorious. Here's what I got done:

1. Painted pumpkins with the niece, nephew, and new-phew. Niece made a two-faced pumpkin with black eyeballs, nephew gave his pumpkin black blusher and glitter hair, and new-phew slept, fussed, worked hard at being adorable, and gave us all whiffs of baby smell.

2. Started something I've been meaning to do for a long, long time.

3. Reached 50% completion on the whole "seasonal clothing transfer." Yikes. Every year, I pull out my favorite Abercrombie sweaters from high school/college and wonder to myself, "Will this even fit me anymore?" And then I pour myself a glass of wine and have a good cry.

4. Spiffed up my desk, and bought post-its! I LOVE POST-ITS. They come lined, big or small, and even in the shape of an arrow! What's not to love?!

5. Saw Fame with my sister. My thoughts? Not nearly as intense or in-your-face raunchy as the original, but there were 3 specific parts that were so good, a literal chill ran up my spine and made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Anyone who understands and appreciates the amount of effort that goes into the fine arts will enjoy this film.

6. Made my favorite slow-cooker chili. No cornbread (we've got some diets up in the hizzouse) but still tasty with oyster crackers, onions, and cheese.

7. Hit the outlet mall with my mom. Scored: black stiletto booties (buttery leather...mmm) at Nine West, a new pair of PJ pants (to replace a pair I sadly had to toss after 10+ years of service), and black trouser socks. YES. I AM BORING.

8. Laundry.

9. Shrieked loudly in the entrance of the grocery store at an enormous, fuzzy spider decoration lying around an empty corner. Soothed myself by splurging on 4 autumnal magazines promising hearty recipes for fall. (at least it was magazines this time, and not booze, am I right?) Family Circle, represent!

10. Saw Kathy Griffin live at the Chicago Theatre! LOVE LOVE LOVE HER.

What did YOU do this weekend?

On Considering Others
Friday, October 09, 2009
There is something about a cold and rainy day that I absolutely love - even if I have to spend it in a cube and not curled up in fuzzy socks, under the covers with a book. This morning found me burrowed into my down vest, pensive. This has been sort of a rough year - not just for me, but also for my closest friends - the J's and the K's. I can confidently speak for all five of us when I say that no tears will be shed when 2009 passes into 2010. Good riddance, 2009. Smell ya later.

I overheard someone say something profound in the grocery store (talking on their cell phone while staring absently at the marshmellows and baking chocolate) and it has been rolling around in my head ever since. She said "don't ever forget, that everyone you meet is fighting a battle." I have no idea with whom she was speaking, and it doesn't matter because she's so right. Since then, I've found myself wondering about people in my life, people I see on the street, people I get really angry with and want to kick in the teeth - they are all fighting something. Someone.

Everyone, at some point, has to trudge uphill.

Two songs popped up on my iPod shuffle this morning - in eerie succession, no less...and there I was, thinking again of my friends. They are the closest friends I have (of the people who are not my blood relations, that is) - they are the best parts of myself. And they/we are all walking uphill. We are all fighting something -- waking up every day and drawing on reserves of steel and hope that spring from a hidden place within ourselves. Waking up to the suffering of loved ones. Waking up to the pressure of the unknown. Waking up to unrest and illness.

The songs It's Alright (Indigo Girls), and River Constantine (Jars of Clay) put everything into perspective for me today.

Look around you and you'll find that ALL of us are in need of a little more love from someone, a little more support, a little more time, understanding, patience. May we all remember that as we mindlessly live out our daily lives, thinking we're the only ones that have problems. As Patty Griffin wrote, "How hard would it have been to say some kinder words instead?"

Kindness and compassion, when given sincerely, is wasted on no one.

This entry dedicated to the only people in the world that could cause me to burst into random tears (and truly not care who saw) on the 8:00am Chicago Water Taxi. PMS anyone?

Thursday, October 08, 2009
Still lazy this week, but I promise you OH DO I EVER PROMISE YOU that this website will make your day. A work friend of mine sent it along to me this afternoon and I nearly pissed my desk chair. It's just SO BRILLIANT!

She got off most of the old cheese, so that’s good. It only smells a little like a bum’s nutsack. Oh sure, it’s not perfect, but you try cleaning a cheese grater with a cigarette.

And it gets better! Go and read it for yourself!

**Update - currently the home page is NSFW. Don't say I didn't warn ya, friends.**

Phoning It In
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Maybe this is just me, but you know when you eat a Starburst and mid-chew, realize (courtesy of an awkward slip or pull in your mouth) that you failed to remove ALL of the wrapper?

And then you continue chewing...because, really, who cares?

THAT is the kind of week I've been having.

Because This? THIS I Know.
Sunday, October 04, 2009
Today was one of those gorgeous, clear, sunshiny days - the kind that forces a person to reevaluate their life. (In my case, maybe just a *leetle* bit of my life) I took the time to romp around the backyard with the dog - who didn't run away! I gave a silent thanks for my thoughtful, handy, funny boyfriend - who, as it turns out, carves a mean pumpkin. I took the time for a much-needed manicure, during which I am certain the nail techs were cursing my cuticles in rapid-fire Vietnamese. I laughed. I ate bacon. I fondled my dog's ridiculously soft ears, and had an appetizer for dinner. It was a good day.

I still don't know everything, but I'm learning how to set it all aside and just enjoy the here and now. I hope that I never have it all figured out, because what fun would that be?

For the record, I still don't know why:
- I can't resist watching airings of The Wedding Date
- The caged bird sings.
- I tend to learn things the hard way.
- So many people like capers.