Monday, February 22, 2010

Super Bowl Sunday

Saints vs. Colts 2010

They're a rowdy bunch.

Gina's 24th: An Exercise in Aging

My Kid Sister, Gina, turned 24 earlier this month. That number really pains me. She's in her mid-20s now, which is striking, but it also means I'll be turning 26 in May. TWENTY-SIX. Let me say that again. TWENTY. SIX. GAH!!!!!! For this first time in my life I'll be on the bad side of 25. I had always thought 25 was the perfect age. It says, 'youthful' but with a touch of maturity and class that isn't found at 21 or 23. Not that 26 doesn't say those things, but it means I only have 4 more years to be fun and hip before I lock myself away in a dark closet and drink for a week. But, I digress. This is about Gina.

Notice how I make all my Gina posts about me? I think this goes back to me becoming an older sister. I must not have liked sharing the attention at all. Imagine if I was an only child?! ::shudder::

But, like I said twice already: Gina. She's 24 now. That's just weird. She's still Kid Sister to me, though she's always been without the blond hair, blue eyes, and creep stare that came with those Kid Sister/My Buddy dolls from the late 1980s. And for that, I'm truly thankful. We celebrated her birthday by going to Rock Bottom in Orland Park. It was a decent time, and like always, I took photos. Why? Because "everything must be documented."

First, I said hello to everyone, thrust a bag into her lap and demanded she opened her gifts. Why? Because I'm damn impatient.

Luckily, she likes Nicholas Sparks. ::pause for a moment, I need to roll my eyes::

(I hope she knows the inner strength it took for me to purchase that!)

We also got her a Chicago Cubs hoodie. Surprisingly enough, she didn't have one. Dad was slightly more interested in it than Gina. Sorry Pops, baby blue just isn't your color.

To keep things interesting, I gave her a few more books. She's found that she enjoys reading a little more than she used to, so I'm trying to help foster her new-found hobby. This is a much better strategy than when I was 8 and shoved a book in her face and shouted, "SUBMIT!"

Because I'm still a child and I'm pretty sure I have Adult ADD, I took a picture of my beer. It was really good, and had hints of banana. It sounds weird, but it was surprisingly delicious.

Family shots!



In case you missed it above, Gina is wearing the hoodie we gave her. See? I got good taste, ya'll.

All in all, it was a good birthday. Gina enjoyed herself, and as The Birthday Girl, I'm glad she did. It's always a good time when the family gets together.

Tick, tock, hurry up clock!

I've got a phone date with Abi in roughly 90 minutes. Can't wait to talk and catch up, man.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

::hack, hack, cough, hack::

Ever hear the joke about the vampire's casket gone wild? He crashes into a drug store and says, "Do you have anything to stop this coffin?"

::rimshot::

Thus is my life. I've been coughing pretty frequently over the last week, and by now it's just ridiculous. Here it is, Sunday night, and instead of being appropriately lazy, I'm appropriately miserable. My chest is wicked pissed about all the coughing, and I'm starting to think my throat is going on strike. Body, don't fail me now!

I worked from home both Thursday and Friday. It was definitely a good thing, as walking into the building probably would have destroyed what's left of my immune system. I definitely feel better, but not great. If whatever is currently residing in my bronchioles would head on out, that would be suuuuuuuuuuuuper.

Graham's been watching Olympic curling all. weekend. long. It's not nearly as thrilling as the commentators want you to believe. But, everyone needs an Olympic sport, right? I've got rough n' tumble hockey, Graham has curling. Such is my life.

Last night, we packed up our wintery decorations and pulled out the St. Pat's stuff. It's more for my mental and emotional well-being more than anything else, but I've never liked the last 2 weeks of February. I find them completely unnecessary. If we could find a way to skip from February 14th to March 1st, I'd be a happier woman. I think we'd all be a little more emotionally stable, don't you? Spring starts showing up in March (it's supposed to, anyway), and the entire month revolves around St. Patrick's Day! What's not to love? Green beer, green clothes, more green beer, and corned beef! Gotta love St. Paddy's Day.

However, we realized that we have a pathetic number of decorations for St. Patrick's Day. Why so pathetic? We're both obnoxiously Irish! I want to get a flag pole bracket mounted somewhere outside the front of the house so we can fly the Irish flag. I figure that's the best way of annoucing our heritage to the new neighbors, don't you? Either that, or drunkenly stumble up and down Archer on March 14th and bemoan the loss of the South Side Irish parade. Klassy, no?

So....that's been the weekend. Completely uneventful and boring. I'm in the 83rd set of pajamas I've worn since Wednesday night, and I'm not-so-patiently waiting for U.S. vs. Canada hockey to take over my tv set. I'm thinking about another mug of tea, and my nukkas are warming my toes (which is fab, as my feet are perpetually cold this week).

Hopefully the Mucinex and Robitussen will start working their magic soon. I have professional development tomorrow at Marian Catholic HS, unless the snow decides otherwise. I could use another day to rest up, but I'm not counting on it. Snow days almost never happen in my world!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!


We're not very sappy, gushy people. We're pretty chill, I like to think.

Valentine's Day has never been a holiday we "celebrated", but we always exchange cards and a small gift. Some years I neglected the gift all together, but Graham always got me something. One year I got personalized M&Ms, which was totally cool. I ate them for months afterwards.

One year, I got him a shirt, tie, and sweater he could wear to work. I'm so romantical.

This year we agreed to exchange cards and order in some chinese food from a local place. I ended up getting Graham two cards because I misplaced the first card I got him and found it later. Whoops!

A few weeks ago, I picked up a t-shirt for him. It's a blue Chicago Cubs shirt, and there's an outline of a ribcage on the shirt, and behind the bones in place of the heart is a red cubby bear. It's a cute shirt, and it's one I've seen around. It really defines Graham's attitude about the Cubs, even when they play poorly.

He felt bad that he didn't have anything for me, even though the shirt wasn't for Valentine's Day, just because. In retrospect, I should have saved it for opening day or something. ::facepalm:: Anyway, he ordered two "care and keeping of cat" books for me off of Amazon. I'm super excited to plow through them. Once those are finished, I'll be closer than ever to realizing my dream of becoming a cat owner! I asked Santa for a kitten every year.....sadly, I think my parents got to Santa before I did.....

He also picked up a box of pixies for me from Fannie May! They are my favorite candy in the whole world. When I was a kid and someone gave our family a box of Fannie May for Christmas or Easter or Mother's Day or just cuz, I used to convince my sister that she hated the "turtles".

"Oh Gina! Wait! Don't eat those! You hate them, remember?"
"Wait....I do??"
"YEAH! Don't you remember how you spit it out last time?"
"No......"
"Well, you did. Trust me. I'm just looking out for you."
"I guess..."
"Here! Try this one!"
"Ew. Are you sure I don't like turtles?"
"YES! Don't try it! You'll spit it out! It's a WASTE OF FOOD! You don't want Mom to yell at you again."
"Good point. Okay. You can have them if I don't like them"

Le sigh. It was literally taking candy from a baby. They were right---it's really easy to do that.

Unfortunately, my powers of persuasion eventually wore off and my sister realized I was full of crap. It was a sad day.

However, turtles/pixies have always been my favorite. I think it's partially because my dad's mom used to pull them out of her boxes of candy and save them for us. I haven't had them in a long time, and Graham was nice enough to run out to a candy store and pick up a nice sized box for me.

Oh Hubby, how I love you!

::pause for the rest of you to swallow what you just spit up::

Aaaaaaaaaaaand, we're back! I went to the grocery store last Valentine's Day because it was Sunday, and I always do my shopping on Sunday. When I returned....I found these waiting for me:

I've always said he had good taste in women. He has good taste in flowers, too. They're gorgeous, and they're doing well a week later. All in all, we had a good Valentine's Day. We stayed in, ordered chinese, watched some Olympic ice skating, and just enjoyed one another's company and the long weekend. It was a good one, and once again, I was reminded of how spoiled I am.

Anticipation

Clearly, I have issues.





Graham goes on intersession break in a few weeks, and last weekend after a stop at Lowe's, I couldn't resist. I've been desperate to paint our bedroom since before we moved in, and I couldn't take it anymore. I picked up a number of little paint cards and taped them to the wall. Why? Because I kind of know what color I want to see on the bedroom walls, but I'm a visual person, so it's better for me to see it on the walls.

When we were in Jacksonville last August for Brian & Robyn's wedding, I fell in love with the paint in the bathroom of the hair salon. The woman who did all our hair runs a studio out of her home, and she has a special entrance and bathroom for all her clients. I needed to wash my hands after eating, and I went into the bathroom and the paint color was a gorgeous blue-gray that I couldn't stop staring at. (Again, I have issues.)

Once we started packing and talking about moving, I kept that paint color in mind. It's been driving me bonkers looking at the neon green walls everyday, and I'm really looking forward to painting and finally putting our stamp on the house. I really want to be able to paint and hang pictures on the walls. I think it's a little dumb to hang pictures and then have to take them down because we have to paint.

Part of me is really looking forward to the painting in a few weeks, because I'll finally feel like I'm sleeping in my bedroom, not some old lady's room. The other part of me is wishing I'd pitched enough of a fit in December to at least have ripped out the carpet in our bedroom and the dining room, because that's going to suck a hell of a lot. Had I thrown a fit and gotten my way (or just done it on my own -- I had a sneaking suspicion that if I did it on my own, there was nothing that could be done about it once it was already done, right?) at least the carpets would be ripped up and we wouldn't have to move furniture around.

Oh well. What's done is done, and what's not done is not done. I'm still really looking forward to painting.

After taping the paint samples to the wall and seeing them in the photos, I've ruled out a few colors already. Graham hasn't really said one way or the other about paint. I keep asking, "Are you cool with this?" and he says he is, so I hope that holds true once the paint is up and on the walls! After more than 2 months of ugly green and old lady curtains, I'm not going to prime and paint again. I'm going to focus my attention elsewhere....on everything else that needs to get painted!

For all my meatless Fridays buddies...

At the request of my sister, I updated my blog with links to my favorite seafood recipes. It's a good jumping off point for anyone wondering what to cook up for the next 5 Fridays!

Linky: http://cookingwithfrazzoo.blogspot.com/2009/01/shrimp-orzo-skillet-dinner.html

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cue The Church Lady: "Well, isn't that special!"

Is it terrible that I channel Dana Carvey's Church Lady everytime something somewhat less than lovely happens to me? It's both a blessing and a curse.

Last year on Valentine's Day, I came down with a horrible fever and spent the day in bed. Graham was wonderful, but it pretty much killed the weekend. I always get sick around January and February, but last year it was intense.

This year, I've been surprisingly proud of myself all year. I've had a few hits with sickness here and there, but nothing that lasted too long. However, I've been coughing since last week and, after attending med school at Google University, Wikipedia State, and WebMD U., I decided that I most likely have bronchitis. Boooooooo!

Since I just had a doctor's appointment, and I hate being "that patient" who shows up more than once a month unless it's absolutely medically necessary, I've decided that I'm going to home medicate for the time being. And Mom? The phones have been unplugged, so don't try calling. :-)

I've been coughing a lot over the last few days, and today I felt like absolute crap. All day. It was really hard for me to keep up my energy for my last class. Hell, I'd completely forgotten about them! One of the kids stepped into my office while I was working on the alumni newsletter, and it took me a good 4 seconds before I figured out while I was looking at her. ::shakes fist at cough medicine::

My day at work was just long. Loooooooooooooooong. I hate to say it because it makes it sound like I don't enjoy my job, but today was the kind of day where I was looking at the clocking and saying, "It's only 11:30???" I couldn't shake the idea of going home and taking a nap.

Angie = sad.

I decided to work from home tomorrow, and perhaps even Friday. I just feel so tired, and it'll really be a Thursday night decision as to whether I go in on Friday or stay on my couch and write press releases while I keep one eye on the Olympic coverage.

So for tonight, it's me on the couch in my favorite pajamas with my blanket and my pillow, a few hundred glasses of water, and a bottle of Mucinex, coupled with some Bob Costas, Shaun White, Lindsey Vonn, and the interwebs.

Clearly, I milk this "sick" thing for all it's worth!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tugging at my heart strings.

I'm watching pairs skating--long program--on television tonight as part of the Olympic coverage. One of the pairs from Canada is skating to "The Way We Were" which is one of my favorite songs, for a number or reasons. This particular pair used to be a couple and the announcer said that this was the only song they wanted to skate to in Vancouver.

Oh gosh. Their lines, their in-synchness, their facial expressions--the pain! the sadness!--everything is just gripping me and keeping my eyes totally focused on the screen.

You can tell that this resonates with them on a personal level.

Figure skating is supposed to be perfect. It's all about perfection. The skaters are focused on lines and tricks and height and scores. Sometimes I watch skating and the skater's expression is fierce, and you just know s/he's thinking about winning and getting the score they want. This....this was all about emotion.

Sure, it's the Olympics. They're hoping for a medal and they're hoping for high scores. But this was so much more than that. I found beauty in their mistakes and falls--it was like watching their relationship play out on ice for four minutes. You saw their initial passion and attraction for one another. You saw them grow together and find their footing with one another. And you saw their faults in their stumbles and spills, but they got up, figured it out, and eventually parted ways.



Beautiful.




I just loved everything about this, I really did. It was exquisite.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Things I Love

Because it's Valentine's Day, and we all love something.

Graham.

Sleeping!

My God.

Hockey.

Wine.

A clean house.

Not doing laundry.

Hugs.

Beer.

Baseball.

New cookbooks.

Kit-kat bars.

Blizzards (from inside).

Rain.

New shoes.

Being warm.

Margaret Atwood novels.

Friday evening.

Sunday morning.

A good bra.

Perfume.

Family.

The Art Institute.

My favorite pair of jeans.

Old photos.

A good blog.

New friends.

Old friends.

Penguins.

Coffee.

Tea.

Chicago.

Summer.

Sunsets.

Bike riding.

Waking up, nice and warm.

New socks.

Hearing "I love you."

Mountains.

Gone With The Wind.

Talking.

Silence.

Napping.

My Fair Lady.

Classic movies.

My sisters.

Lady Gaga.

White wine.

White Sox.

Going out.

Staying in.

Singing.

Dancing.

Furry friends.

Good jokes.

Good stories.

Butterflies.

Mental Floss.

Hawaii.

American History.

Old hymns.

My grandmothers.

Yoga pants.

Christmas Eve.

Halloween.

Autumn.

Burning leaves.

Smores.

Camping.

Norah Jones songs.

Creamed spinach.

Jane Austen.

Early morning.

Late night.

Conan O'Brien.

Vivien Leigh.

Glee.

Josh Groban.

A good ponytail.

Blogging.

Mascara.

Ice cream.

Roses.

Planting flowers.

Milk.

Silvia Plath.

Shakespeare.

Romanticism.

MacMurray College.

Robert Seufert.

Jeannie Zeck.

The Chronicles of Narnia.

People watching.

Traveling.

Ireland.

The color green.

Grocery shopping.

Long car trips.

Candles.

Chinese food.

Cheese.

Audrey Hepburn.

Christian Bale in Little Women.

Christian Bale. :-)

The Secret Garden.

Traditions.

Simple Gifts.

Being lazy.

Being productive.

Cooking.

Cinnamon rolls.

Claddaghs.

Miracle.

The Producers.

Sex and the City.

My favorite sweater.

Boots.

Postsecret.

Glittens.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chrismukkah 2010: Babies Edition

A few years ago, I met some women who are now very dear friends on a message board. We were all in the middle of planning our weddings and we'd go back and forth with questions like, "How should I word this on the program?" and "Does anyone recommend a good South Side bakery?" It's a little silly to think about it now, but while our friendships were formed initally on the foundation of flower choices and program templates, post-wedding madness we bonded over the usual and unusual, and sometimes downright unfair ups and downs life throws at us all.

While this particular group of friends has grown a little smaller over the past year or so, I'm exceptionally glad to have THIS particular group of women in my life! For one, they're all so alarmingly similar and different, all at the same time. For another, they all tend to have ridiculously cute offspring, and they've set the bar pretty damn high. And most importantly, they're all really, really talented in their own way, and they've been my friends for nearly 2 years and have helped me along some really frustrating roads, and they've also listened to me whine and complain about things that are annoying or just really, really bad luck. They're good people.

For the last two years, this group of friends has come together for "Chrismukkah", our holiday celebration. Because we all come from different backgrounds and walks of faith, it's only right to keep the celebration as inclusive as possible. While last year's Chrismukkah was loud and full of "single ladies" (sans hubs), this year we had the addition of some smallish ones. It was a little weird looking around and knowing that some of them were still incubating people this time last year, but it was also pretty cool to see former fetuses interacting with everyone. And, because I'm me, I had my camera out to capture it all. I'm a creep like that.

This is PJ, Lisa O'G's first child. He's obnoxiously cute.

He's definitely not sure of this sippy cup thing.

"Mommy? Where's Mommy?"

The hot chick in yellow is Christina G. She's preggers. Isn't she adorable? Once again, the bar has been set pretty high. I think I'll hide out in a cave for 9 months so no one can see me in all my fatness if I ever get knocked up.

(I've got such a klassy way with language.)

"Mom? Mommy??? MOM?????"

This is Courtney. She's Greek and she's smokin'! She's also got this adorable little monkey named Bennett.

I just love his fuzzy chicken hair! He's too cute. I really love those chubby cheeks of his!

This is Amy A. She and her husband attended the same Pre-Cana session as Graham and I back in July 2007. We all agree that the session was a little "eh" and that the softball couple may be divorced by now. Amy and I still wonder about them and like to ponder what happened after Pre-Cana.

Lisa ("LOG"), Amy A., and PJ. They're all really hot.

PJ just loves his Aunt Angie!

No really! He totally does! Even if he looks a little scared here. I promise. We're total besties.

This is Christina B. She was around 36 weeks pregnant here. A few weeks later, her little love bucket, Sabrina, was born!

Sabrina modeled some clothes for us. We're impatient ladies.


Then it was time for presents! Christina G. was super excited about her Secret Santa present!

This one loves her Yankee Candles.


I really just love everything about this picture.

However, I'm now looking for some new friends, because these three have clicked the "Defriend" button on Facebook. I'm a good person and a great friend! I take lots of random photos and post them online! Really....it's not that bad.

But then, it was Carolyn's turn!

I don't remember exactly what Carolyn got, but it was from Amy P., so I know it was nice.

Then it was Courtney's turn. While Mom opened her gift, Bennett got to hang on Auntie LOG.

I wonder what's inside....?

Woo hoo! Baby food! It's the gift that keeps on giving.

That's Erica on the left and Ali on the right. They're pretty, aren't they? They always look so freakin' cute. They're also both from the South! Erica is from Tennessee, and Ali is from Kentucky! And by Kentucky, I mean Joliet. I drew Erica in the Secret Santa. And because I'm an amazing, caring friend, I bought her gift that morning, approximately 15 minutes before this shindig started.

Geez....no wonder they all clicked "Defriend"!

Well, next it was Heather's turn! Heather is also from the South. South Carolina, specifically. She says things like "ya'll" and it makes me smile inside.

She had some trouble getting her box open (Ali is a taping master!), so she had to use her knife.

Aahhh....I have taught her well.


Woo hoo! Candles!

Then LOG got to open her gift.

She loves Christmas ornaments.

Next was Sarah. She was wearing hot boots that day. We were all pretty jealous.

YES...booze. A girl after my own heart.

Next it was Lisa's turn. No, not LOG Lisa. Lisa Z. Lisa. This Lisa, actually.

Sad to say, but she's basically my token Jewish friend. I don't see many of my other Jewish friends anymore. ::sad face:: BUT ::happy face:: Lisa's gift was from Kelly, and it was a super bag of Hannukah goodies!

Everyone loves Hannukah-colored gloves!


She has a little dreidl....it was made in China.

Amy P. Got ramekins! Amy P. is my neighbor. She lives on the other side of the tracks. Literally. She's good times, and she turned me on to Joe & Frank and their Polish sausages. ;-)

Kelly's turn!



Kelly's obsession with The Wizard of Oz comes in second only to my mother.


It was almost time to go. Here, Christina gets to chill with Courtney and Bennett and enjoy a last meal out before becoming a Mom.




So to recap: there's a Lisa, another Lisa, a Christina, another Christina, an Amy, another Amy, a Kelly, a Carolyn, a Sarah, an Ali, an Erica, a Courtney, a Heather, an Angie, and some hot babies. There's also a Katie, but she was off taking pictures of another cute baby that day, so we can't fault her too much.

Then, it was time for the obligatory group shot.


Oops! Zoom out! Zoom out!

There, that's better.

This time next year, there will be at least 2 new babies in that picture, maybe even more! It's exciting to have friends who are moms, and it's exciting to watch their kids grow. I'm so lucky to have a group of friends in the city, and I'm really lucky to be an honorary aunt to all their precious kids. Life is sweet.