Monday, July 9, 2012

on friend town and grown ups.

We spent the weekend in Cleveland for a wedding with some of my best best best friends from college.  A lot of our downtime was preoccupied with discussion of locating and deciding upon a friend town; a not-as-expensive-as-Chicago smaller city, with decent public schools and excellent entertainment and cultural offerings where we could all move together and happily raise our eventual families. Cleveland? Minneapolis? St. Louis? Can we bring back Detroit? (A: No, we are not that noble.)

A lot of our downtime was also preoccupied with discussion we euphemistically titled "Real Talk," soundtracked by Taylor Swift, which proved that the older we get the more like children we become. P.S. Oh god, our 28+ year old bodies are not as forgiving of fun as they were 6 or 7 years ago. Awful.

Anyways, being with those people is like therapy and Prozac liquified and injected directly into my veins. Procter and Gamble, can you get on this?

Also, I caught (read: nabbed) the bride's bouquet for the first time ever! I returned to our table, and in my most gracious and ladylike voice I announced, SUCK IT KEVIN.

His number is up. One step closer to a life like this...

(but really picture tears streaming down my face and my shirt covered in spaghetti sauce and the baby laughing at my grave misfortune... and add a gajillion pounds. Are they on me? Or did I have a gigantic superbaby? You decide, it's your mental image. Personally, I'm going with Godzilla baby).

Anyways... pictures of mothers doin' it right, from The Glow, where I go when my brain is like, hey, you haven't been jealous of anything in a few minutes... let's fix that:

All photos by Kelly Stuart for The Glow.

P.S. There's an excellent blog series on NYT right now called simply "Anxiety." I can't explain exactly why but there's a complicated reassurance in the knowledge that OTHER PEOPLE DO THIS TOO. Here's one of my favorite passages, from an essay titled "Toasted," by Thaddeus Rutkowski:

Bottom line: If my neighbors don’t set a fire, our child will. Our daughter doesn’t know how to work the “Toast” and “Heat” buttons on the toaster oven. She thinks that once the timer stops ticking, the oven is off. But if the control knob is still turned to high heat, the oven is on. I picture the toaster switched off while the oven is set to 450 degrees. That’s hot enough to ignite anything burnable.

A solution, of course, would be to clean the toaster oven and move it away from the wall. That way, there would be nothing to burn. But these steps are beyond me, mainly because I never think of them while I’m in the apartment. I think of them only as I walk away from the building that will shortly become a cinder.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


A list of things a week of freedom hath brought:
-relearning to sleep in
-watching the first season of Game of Thrones (OH MY GOD HAVE YOU SEEN THIS?)
-a ladies day of manicures and magazines in Andersonville
-lunch with my grandparents
-the time to read two books (I'm on a nonfiction murder kick, heaven help me)
-a new morning iced tea ritual
-a girls' night with friends from work
-a considerable drop in my weekly output of tears

We spent our lazy Sunday afternoon strolling through our neighborhood and into the tiny stop-and-go streets of Old Town Triangle, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and tc-ing our respective b. His is interview prep for tomorrow morning (fingers crossed times a million), and mine was hammering away at this old bedroom situation of ours. We painted the walls flat black last spring, and with the new wall color came a shift in ideas of what the room should look like. With the addition of a new bed bench we picked up at Brownstone Antiques this weekend, the layout of the middle of the room is very much like this:
Since it is a huge whopper of a room, we have ample space (both wall space & floor) on either side of the bed. One side has a Chippendale style 60s or 70s buffet that we found at the Brown Elephant a month or so ago. We're using it as a dresser/ vanity. I don't have pictures of it yet as she's having some hardware issues. The other side of the bed is empty save for an Ikea chair I'm trying to offload on Craigslist and a little Chippendale side table.

A few months ago we were running errands at Home Depot and I dragged Kevin into the Home Decorators shop inside the store. BAM. Chesterfield. I had seen it in the catalog, but it looked so much cooler in person. Bonus points? Kevin walked straight to it and sat down. Not even 'cause I told him to! He thought it would be great for that empty space in the bedroom.

It's made of "recycled leather," (an interesting article about which you can read on Furniture Today), so it's at a lower price point than many other Chesterfields on the market. Even so, we've been laying low and biding our time, but I noticed that delivery on all seating is free this weekend, so I did it. As of this week, this shall be ours:

Gordon Tufted Loveseat from Home Decorators
After we settle on the rest of the artwork and get things up on the walls, we'll (finally!) be done. For now.

P.S. Would you rather....




Just askin'... (left from Laurie Sarah Designs, right by Adzia)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


"Yea" would be pronounced (YAY).

"Ya" is (YAAAH).

"Yeah" is the spelling of the term of agreement you're looking for. 

Ann M. Martin taught me that at a tender young age. Texters, take note.

on tunes and rooms. yeah, i made it rhyme.

My pretty girl is back again! Listen to the whole thing here

Fiona Apple photo by Dan Monick for NPR

In other news:

Graduation & job hunting for him,

The portfolio cover I came up with for Kevin (last name artfully blurred).

 New bedroom ideas for her,
Less orange-y reds. Too garish with the black paint. More coral and sleeker, contrasting bedside lamps.The pillows that look white are actually an off-white, the same color as the headboard and coverlet.
and the realization that I really, really need to buy Photoshop this summer. 

P.S. Here's how my ideas for our bedroom have evolved over the years:

2012; painted walls black (Martha Stewart's Francesca)

2011; painted walls navy

2010; all over the place trying to make things more "manly" by adding nautical shazz and blue. Did not work. 

 ...and for kicks, my 2008 bedroom/entire apartment (325 square feet; no Kevin). Look past the Easter dress. It's the only picture of the bed I could find.

Super twee, super late aughts decor8 inspired. First generation West Elm pintuck bedding what WHAT.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

in and out.

Witnessed one of these in real life today, and it was brilliant:

Printer's Row Lit Fest weekend is the harbinger of summer. Last year, it was the harbinger of a summer of mystery stress-related rashes that led my dermatologist to suggest I see a hypnotist.

This year, let it just be the harbinger of summer.

Shall I say it some more? Harbinger, harbinger, harbinger.

Occupying my time lately:

Photo from Kate Spade.


Pointe by '13 or bust. From here.

I decided I needed more hobbies outside of looking at other people's houses on the internet and feeling unsatisfied and poor. See also: F Your Noguchi Coffee Table. Brilliant.

Monday, May 21, 2012

two things.

Oh GOD, I'm on a mood roller coaster lately. I broke out in stress hives last night! Attractive!

Anyways, here are two additional things (aside from all of the other things) that are making me emote today.

One. HappySad: a very sweet farewell combining Kirsten Wiig, Win and Règine Butler, Mick Jagger and Amy Poehler...

Two. SadSad: Indian Boundary's field house burned down yesterday.

Photo from
Half of my childhood memories take place in and around this building. My mom and I would feed bits of stale bread to the ducks at the pond there. We used to save up the pieces in a bag in the freezer. (Do NOT feed the ducks bread. Incredibly bad for them).

I went to preschool in that building. And art class. And Chicago Children's Choir rehearsals. I remember being in one of its rooms diligently practicing number writing, not understanding why a nine had to face a certain direction.

A: Because otherwise it's a P, dummy!

I was still very young when the clunky rusted-metal equipment on the playground got replaced by a wooden maze the neighborhood pitched in to build. Is there anything better as a kid than tepees and secret passages and hideouts? There is not. The entire playlot was like the best treehouse in the biggest tree.

Photo from A Chicago Sojourn
The field house was a beautiful old 1920's Tudor style building that had landmark status. I know people will work tirelessly to restore it, but today it feels like a loss. I wish I would have gone back into the building at least once since I grew up.

Photo from the Chicago Park District

I grew up.

How strange that feels.

P.S. Additional disheartening Chicago news: a walk around our neighborhood yesterday revealed that some IDIOT tagger defaced two of my fave Lincoln Park landmarks: the Wrigley Mansion and the statue of William Shakespeare. IDIOT.

(I pledge to be more positive the next time I post. Probably because it will be summer by then.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

you're doing it wrong: obama edition.

So, I don't have an "About Me" page because a) the three people that check this know me, and b) I can't come up with anything to write that doesn't make me feel like a weirdo.

But here's some background necessary for the rest of this post.  I'm twenty-seven years old. I've lived in Chicago my entire life, except four years just north of the border at Northwestern. Until college, I was educated exclusively at public schools. I stood in Grant Park on the night of November 4, 2008, electrified with hope and pride. I have a Masters degree in Elementary Education, and my philosophy on teaching and children would be categorized as progressive.  When I felt called to this profession (and honestly, maybe I felt more called to children than I did to a teaching "career"), I knew with certainty that I would only work in the Chicago Public Schools. It was where I came from, and it always feels nice to go home.

I've been a teacher for three years. They have been, without doubt, the hardest years of my life-- and this is coming from someone who lived with an unmedicated & violent bipolar parent, has had depression since childhood,  and dealt with eating disorders for seven years. Not complaining, just facts. "About Me," remember?

I expected them to be hard; to teach well is hard. But this school year has gone above and beyond on the difficulty factor. I'm a sensitive person by nature. I take things personally and feel things deeply.  And to see elected officials in this city-- people I once admired-- spin and politicize and posture almost daily in the media about what the teachers are doing wrong makes me sick. Literally.

This fall, I had so many panic attacks that I went from taking one type of medication to taking three just to function. The work-related anxiety and pressure I felt were through the roof. There were serious conversations in this apartment about a quick city hall marriage (not at all what we have envisioned for our wedding) so that I could quit mid-year and keep Kevin's benefits. I did not know what to do. I didn't think I would make it.

I've made it. But almost every day I read or hear something about how teachers are lazy, with their fat pensions and summers off and bloated salaries. I have no doubt that some teachers are lazy, with fat pensions, who take their summers off and collect a tidy little sum. But I don't know any of those people. They're not at my school; they're not the people I went to grad school with.  The people I know work 7 to 5, just like me. They spend several weeks of the summer planning and preparing and organizing. They work through lunches and work at home and on weekends.

So every time I see that generalization being made, I feel a little more devalued, a little more less than. Everything I do feels a little more futile.

To be quite frank, there is a small part of me that is angry that I didn't know better. My whole life, I've been successful when it comes to traditional schooling. I was the first person in my family to go to college. I was supposed to be "successful" when I grew up. So how did I screw up so royally when it came to choosing a profession? Why are people I went to school with who work the same hours I do making salaries that are tens of thousands more than mine? Why am I working so hard when people don't respect what I doI should be more successful, I tell myself. I shouldn't be in this situation. 

But I am. And even with all of the garbage swirling around teaching right now, there are still those moments that make it worth it. My students walked in on Monday morning with a huge vase of flowers and dozens of ridiculous and sparkly handmade cards. Someone made me the Emerald City out of Play-Doh. Why? Two reasons. One, my kids are super cute and two, it's National Teacher Appreciation Week. I had no idea. 

For that morning, I felt better about what I do again. I remembered why I do it.

This morning, I learned that the President issued a proclamation on Monday. It was to declare this week-- this week-- National Charter School Week.  If you're not familiar with education, the move to charter (basically to privatize) education is a very political, divisive issue.  The President made a political statement that was a slap in the face to  to many at a time when teachers are being blamed for a NATION'S failure... on the one week that was supposed to be about celebrating all teachers, regardless of what school you're teaching in.

Obama? You're doing it wrong. 

*Obama's daughters attended an expensive progressive private school while they lived in the city, not a public charter school. The Mayor sends his children to the same private school; one that emphasizes learning over test scores. The latter is the Mayor's main concern for Chicago's school district-- as long as it's not his children that are affected by it.