Saturday, December 30, 2006

Year in review...

I'm quickly going to go through my 26 of 2006 and see what I accomplished. Strikethrough means I did it completely. Notes follow each item in italics.
  1. Go on at least 3 dates (with 3 different people). Definitely accomplished. None very good. One involved green teeth.
  2. Learn how to html, and therefore revolutionize my blog. I didn't take the time to revolutionize the blog. It wasn't high on the priority list and I've been spending most of my free time knitting.
  3. Exercise fairly regularly. And if not that, then at least sometimes. Um, yeah, failed at this one. I did OK for part of the summer.
  4. Move my square of city exploration out a bit more - some places I'd like to explore are Wicker Park, Boystown, even just Lakeview. Toss up. I did a bit better.
  5. Cook a meal at least once a week. Even if it is tacos every other week. No way did I accomplish this.
  6. Go see the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and a ballet somewhere. I actually saw the symphony twice. And I saw Cinderella (ballet) which I wasn't all that impressed with. Ballet not for me. But I do enjoy the symphony and already have tickets for the 2007 season.
  7. Convince my sister and S to move to the city. They're here. But I didn't have much to do with it.
  8. Have a friend (make a friend?) in the city (sister does not count). Sadly, still friendless. But things are looking up for summer 2007...
  9. Buy another Frank Lloyd Wright cross-stitch, finish it and frame it to help with #10. Found knitting. Cross-stitch a thing of the past...
  10. Put more items up on the walls - blank walls = boring walls. I definitely have more on my walls. And more planned to go up in the next few months.
  11. Visit somewhere I've never been.. Vegas.
  12. Be better with letter writing. I was not up to my usual high volumes of mail. I'd like to send something to someone about every other day. For the greater part of the year I was OK. For the end of the year (the past 3 months+) I was a really, really terrible correspondent.
  13. Thorough spring cleaning. Mmm, I can't remember it ever being completely organized or clean here.
  14. Watch 3 new movies a week (this is highly improbable, but I would like to do it). Highly improbable was right. Didn't do it.
  15. Try the Salt & Pepper diner, Sweet Mandy B's, that pancake house on Clark, just try some new food places. I cannot believe we've only been eating Sweet Mandy B's for a year. It feels like I've loved Sweet Mandy for all of my life.
  16. Get an assistantship (this will have to be late 2006). I got a job instead (student internship). Does that count?
  17. Have a high GPA - but NOT be insanely stressed. My GPA is kicking ass right now. And I do get stressed, but I haven't been insane just yet.
  18. Lose holiday weight and keep it other words, stay true to the points. I have been OK with the points this year. I'm not as heavy as I was, but I'm not as thin as I have been.
  19. Go to another hockey game or two. Nope
  20. Pay more attention to politics/world news. I'm doing much better!
  21. Start taking vitamins. It's hard for me to remember, but I try really hard.
  22. Visit the Mooj more since my brother is going to be leaving for college (SCARY). I think I was at the Mom's more than ever this year
  23. I'll build on #22 and say: see each family member at least once each month. Although the brother might be too hard... And I definitely accomplished this, even with the brother.
  24. Think before I speak (a little more) or tone down the brutality of my honesty. I've been watching myself more and I think I'm a little "softer".
  25. Fall in love (please?). Didn't happen for me.
  26. Keep on top of the clutter/stay organized. I'm better...bookshelf helps. But there's still shit everywhere. It's my curse.
My stats: 12/26. Not even 50%. Not good.

For me, there will be no 27 for 2007. Let me explain why...

For some reason, maybe it started at Christmas, I have a really bad feeling about next year. I have this heavy stone in my stomach. A pile of premonition. I'm hoping, hoping I'm wrong. But I've never felt this before. It's weird. Really weird.

So for all 27 of my numbers, I just want everyone I love to stay alive, healthy and happy.

Happy New Year all!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Is it convenient yet? Any time now...

My stomach plummets.

I imagine Florida, New York, India...all under water.

How many more kicks in the ass must we take before we do something about this?



Red hot box o' questions, card 1...

Let's give this a try...
would you rather live by the beach or in the mountains? I thought the questions were going to be more profound. But actually, I'm kind of glad it's going to be a mix of profound and superficial. Obviously this one falls into the category of superficial.

I have never lived in the mountains. But being that I'm afraid of heights, I can't imagine driving up and down a mountain everyday to get to where I want to be. I think it might be nice to live near the have a lovely backdrop to look at everyday. As far as the beach goes...I do live near a beach. A lake beach, but a beach nonetheless. And I really don't take much advantage of it. I like the beach when on a relaxing vacation, but I find it hard to integrate in to my every day life. I do like the view when I drive on Lake Shore Drive once again, it's all about the view.

I guess I'm just not the kind of girl to take advantage of nature....

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry hangover...

Not of the alcoholic kind...of the Christmas, apartment organizing kind.

I hope you all had a wonderful, happy, nearly stress-less holiday. Mine went by quickly and still didn't feel much like Christmas. I wonder why...

I would like to ask your advice on my second idea for a weekly, non-complaining blog entry. It is bordering on bad idea in my mind or maybe pretentious? highfalutin(did you know this was one word? I did not)? who would want to hear this crap?...that kind of thing. I know not many of you make your presence known (although I know I have between 25-30 regular readers)...but if you are a regular reader, now is your chance to influence the content of this blog.

I have this little box of "table topics" conversation ideas. And I thought every week or so I could pull a card and "discuss". And maybe some of you out there with blogs who like the topic could discuss as well.

I'm uncertain about the quality of the idea...

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Christmas!

Dear Santa,

Yes. I know. No Santa. Fine, fine. But let's pretend shall we?

This year for Christmas I would like (besides all of the material things):
  • Family harmony.
  • To successfully leave my winter funk behind.
  • To better get along with my sister (and at times, with my brother). This is technically an extension of the first bullet - but different.
  • More time with my friends.
  • For Boku to continue to grow to love and trust humans. Maybe for her to request love/attention from a stranger?
  • A new president?
Good luck on your travels Santer, and if you need some good cookies, stop by my Mom's house.


Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Letter numero uno...

Dear Mona,

I have underestimated you, my stupid little cat. I assumed you had no cleverness in you...that you were more like a silly dog (falling in the toilet? attacking the humidifier? licking the wall?) than a cat. But oh how you surprised me today.

I knew you liked your newest toy, the pipe cleaner. I didn't realize that pipe cleaners must be some sort of cat drug. That you couldn't get enough. That you would go to any length (or depth) to get another. And another. And another.

Imagine my surprise when I went over to where all of my craft items are stored and found 10-15 pipe cleaners scattered on the ground (used up? All their druggy goodness gone?). I thought that keeping the pipe cleaners in a bag, in a bin, under my bookcase was quite a hiding place.

What I didn't realize was that the slightest catty glimpse of that bag could be had through the handle of said bin. And that you would stick your paw in the handle and move the bag around. And stick your head between shelf and bin (choking..literally) to pull out a new, and more euphoria inducing than the last, pipe cleaner.

Ah cat, you amuse me. Continue stealing pipe cleaners all you like. But no overdosing (or choking to death) please.



Christmas buttons! (there will be one up tonight, if I have to beat Picasa2 into submission. Slight delay for now, but I imagine most of you are checking in the morning...if so, the button is there!)

(my Mom just said, FINALLY!)

Also announcing, my first idea for non-complainer posts:
Weekly letters.

No specific day. No specific topic. No specific length.

See above.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Holiday busy-ness...

Because business is not the correct word but looks like it should be the correct spelling.

It seems like when I don't have to blog (ie no NaBloPoMo), I end up only blogging on days when I'm upset or angry or grumpy or sad. I guess I'm just using this blog as a place to vent which is not what I wanted it to come to. So, in an effort to stop that from occurring (and to keep the blog going since if all I do is vent I'd rather just have no blog at all) I am going to come up with one or two ideas that I will blog on a certain day each week. A great example: a lot of people do work-in-progress Fridays, where they show the world the state of each or some craft projects on Fridays.

I have some ideas (not going to throw them out in public just yet) but I wouldn't mind any suggestions. Anybody have any?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Well. This entry is useless...

I've been feeling sort of fevery all day (you know, hot face, heavy head, total fatigue). Not fun. And yet despite all that, I had a fairly cheerful day. I had a few moments of wondering how long I could handle being a student intern (having all the responsibility of an...."adult" worker but none of the pay and none of the perks. My department went out to lunch and none of the interns were invited...and I just felt like a really old 25 with all of the freshmen/sophomores that work around me). Other than that it went well. Both of my supervisors (both of whom I like) gave me gifts. It was just cheerful.

Then news went around the office - someone had jumped the tracks and the red line was re-routed. Red, Brown and Purple were going to be seriously delayed. And all around my office people were groaning and griping - and all I could think, hello? Someone's dead you assholes. So your commute is messed up. Suck it up you whiners. That sort of ruined my festive cheer (as did the graphic descriptions by some man in my office that floated to my ears - talking about flattened human etc. Awful).

Long ass commute. Hot face. Heavy head and eyes.

Get home, cook warm food. Play a tivo'd show. Eat. Need to fast forward through commercials. Hit the button. Time to stop the fast forward. Stop isn't working. Must make it I hurried to stand up. And I somehow ripped the top half of my big-toe toenail right off. Yeah. Serious pain. Semi-nauseous. All that warm food? Cold after the hopping around moaning and huffing and the nursing and blood catching. And even if it was warm...didn't feel much like eating anymore.

Now I feel like I'd rather be in bed than awake. I'm supposed to be calling my friends and all I can think is "Toe. Throbbing. Tired." Calls put off one more day...

I wonder if I'm going to be able to comfortably wear a sock tomorrow....

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

So really I'd better scurry...

Today I saw the mysterious and illusive CTA Holiday Train. I only saw the very back end of the very last car. From the inside of the grocery store. Yeah - not the best sighting, but a sighting nonetheless. The train is nearly impossible to ride (at least for me, in terms of my daily train usage and even my shopping trip usage). Maybe sometime in the future I'll have to try to make a special trip just to ride around on the holiday train. Oh the lovely scene that's unfolding in this little idle mind:

The city is covered in a blanket of snow. Big fat flakes are falling. I'm riding the holiday train towards the loop at night. The view is spectacular (as is the train). Sigh. Lovely picture.

And now, to jolt myself out of my stupid winter/holiday funk, I'm going to try to be cheerful for this holiday meme (friends that are awaiting return calls from me...I'm planning on using the phone tomorrow. Al if you're really busy we should be able to connect Friday):

  1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate. With marshmallows. And whipped cream (but only if it's real - I am a whipped cream snob).
  2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Possibly one of my favorite parts of present giving is the wrapping of said presents. I usually get made fun of for my elaborate bows and such. But that's just jealousy...
  3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? I grew up with colored and am loyal to colored. I can imagine a day far off in the future where I will fill my gorgeous brownstone with not one, but two trees. And on that day, I will possibly have an "elegant" tree of white lights. But as of now, it's all colored all the time.
  4. Do you hang mistletoe? No. I can't even remember a time when anyone in my family did. But it is something I'd like to do eventually...
  5. When do you put your decorations up? I'll probably end up doing it the weekend after Thanksgiving every year from now on...
  6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? How can you exclude dessert? That's dessertism. Or something. I don't know, I like stuffing. But I like the Italian Beef too.
  7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Christmas Eves at Tootsie's. That year we couldn't go anywhere due to a snowstorm and ending up eating homemade pizza and watching movies.
  8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I don't know the answer to this. I vaguely remember finding out at the same time my sister did. But I have no idea when or how.
  9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? From the greater extended family, yes.
  10. What kind of cookies does Santa get set out for him? Santa has not been getting cookies for years and years and years. But when he did? I don't know, I have no memory. Jingles? Chocolate Chip?
  11. Snow! Love it or dread it? I love it and I dread it. I dread it when I have to get somewhere (even walking...). I love it when I can just watch it fall and be white and glistening and smile...
  12. Can you ice skate? Yes. Although I'm not the biggest fan. One of my childhood memories involves my cousin's toepick being stuck in my thigh (still have a scar). Here's the most interesting part though: I remember falling on the ice all tangled up with her (I'm sure we were doing tricks). The fall smarted. I got up and kept skating. A little later I went to the bathroom and found a gash on my thigh with quite a lot of blood. I guess I was cold, my thigh was numb...toepick pain was dulled. My scar is still present...I do remember it used to even have jagged edges like a toepick...
  13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Um, no. I've received a lot of good stuff over the years. I like a lot of my gifts still.
  14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Spending time with my family. Giving well-liked gifts. Seeing the friends.
  15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? I really like rainbow jello. And who doesn't like Christmas cookies? And that chocolatey frozen pie.
  16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Extended family all getting together on Christmas Eve.
  17. What tops your tree? A delightful feathery star. One of my best IKEA purchases ever.
  18. Which do you prefer Giving or Receiving? Well I love getting gifts (if you say otherwise you're almost certainly lying). But I also like the joy of seeing someone genuinely like their gift - and I know it's hard sometimes, but I like when they genuinely like their surprise gift, one they didn't know they were getting.
  19. What is your favorite Christmas Carol? Mmm, Nutcracker Suite maybe? Or...does that song, Baby It's Cold Outside count?
  20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? Yum! But really only the classic tasting ones.
I'd love to see you all do this meme! Even those of you who never blog....give all your readers a happy little Christmas present/blog post....

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hormonal hijinks...

I don't know what is going on with me lately - my moods are all roller-coastery. I'm happy one minute and sad the next. Maybe I should start worrying about some kind of serious winter the moment though I really think it's the combination of endless boring work hours and holiday stress. Either way, I'm totally unpredictable. And so will this post be...

I watched last night's Daily Show this evening...and for some reason Lincoln Chaffee (did any of you see the show?) really tugged my heartstrings. I really liked the guy (shock: he's a republican). And I sort of felt bad that he'd lost. He was so....sad and...pathetic. He seemed like a decent guy. After the show was over I "wikipedia'd" him and found out that he's not so much a republican as...a rebel republican. His voting record seems pretty stellar. Am I just hard-wired to only sympathize with/like liberals? Creepy.

Book quest news: I finished Time Travelers Wife and enjoyed it. I think that's all I'll say about it. Now I'm reading Possession:A Romance. I need to make a confession in regards to the book. Warning to M and A: this might contain some spoiling info...but seeing as I'm not even halfway through the book I can't ruin it too much for you. However, if you don't want to know anything about the book, stop reading now.

My confession: I keep skipping large passages in the book. In total I've probably skipped 10 pages. I know, it seems like a lot. The book is a literary mystery. The plot revolves around academic geeks who are researching two poets. Of the made-up variety. Anyway, a lot of the research is actually part of the book and a lot of that research is in the form of poems. Epic poems. I keep skipping large chunks of poetry. I never signed up to read poetry. And I confess that I don't really understand or enjoy poetry. The poetry in this particular book is probably fairly important or "deep" but at the same time, I can get the big picture of the book without reading all of the poetry.

A thought that keeps popping up when I'm reading the book is that written correspondence is a lost art. I like to pretend at times to be a letter writer (although not recently, sorry all you distant friends). But the true enjoyment and delight of letters has been lost. A casualty of technology?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Crafty Sunday...

I declare today, the second Sunday in December, Crafty Sunday! Besides going to the grocery store, pretty much all I've done for the 6 hours I've been awake is craft. Not even knit, but craft.

I am attempting to create a cutest of cute Wee Bunny(c/o Hillary at Wee Wonderfuls, which is a delightful blog that you should visit constantly). I have crafted my first prototype. Please consider the fact that I have never sewn anything before (or not since Home Ec in 7th grade) before you judge.

Now, please look at how cute these wee bunnies are supposed to be:
Here and Here (note on the second link: this is a photo gallery of normal people (read: not extraordinarily gifted crafters) who made the Wee Bunnies themselves. So, some of them look very similar to my prototype...while some of them look close to professional).

And then there is mine. It turned out WAY better than I imagined my first try would. The ears especially. Although I must admit I have about 5 dead ears laying on my kitchen/crafting table (damn zig zag stitch). And, it was easier to make it one piece/a stuffed animal than I expected. BUT, it is not rounded and curvy and wee. It's got sharp corners and pointy top of head/back of head. So, I am sure my next try will be much, much better. I'm hoping my Mom can give me some advice on why my perfectly rounded stitching turns out pointy. I hope she (and her friend A) are happy about the immediate use of the lent sewing machine. I am lucky enough to have a really nice sewing machine on loan to try this crazy crafting project...

Katie's Wee Bunny Prototype front:

I didn't craft a face or finish/sew on the bottom (since the bottom is all round sewing I thought maybe advice first would be good). I decided to just stop where I was and fill it to see what would happen. Good thing I did, cause look at this pointy cone head:

That's the side view. Cute fabric, huh?

I probably will not try again this week - crafting after work is tiring business. We'll see though. I might get inspired one day...

I promised you all buttons but at the moment I'm feeling sort of crafted out. Hopefully later tonight...if not, there might not be buttons as soon as tomorrow....

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Christmas time is here... cheer is marginally back. I've pretty much finished my Christmas shopping. I have a lot of wrapping to do (which I actually enjoy!) and some crafting to do (my first stab at sewing, should be interesting!) and then I can spend my break relaxing. And I only have two more weeks of full days of work (although I do have Fridays off. As a student employee I'm only allowed to work 35 hours over break...and there is really NO WAY I'd travel down to the loop for 3 hours of mind-numbing work on Friday. Plus, the supervisors didn't seem to want me to be working all 35 hours).

I have finished bedecking my apartment with Christmas lights.

And I just got two more bras that will hopefully be comfortable and make my boobs look fabulous.

So, I'm trying to quash my frustration with people. I think it's a winter + full time work + holiday thing. And I know it's stupid and silly. But you can tell yourself one thing and feel another way....

Jingles seemed to help (how weird is it that I hate anise but love Jingles?). Christmas lights help. Hoping that a nice dinner out tonight will help and I will be back to 100% merry....

And of course my tree makes me happy all the time (I'm no photographer so apologies)....

Without flash to see the lovely lights:

With flash to get a better idea of the ornament content:

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Holiday cheer has deserted me...

I was full of holiday cheer. And now I'm not. Beware.

I hope to get my cheer back by the end of this week.

I'm just tired of people. That's quite a blanket statement but it pretty much applies everywhere. I'm tired of being underestimated or misunderstood. It seems like such a whiner thing to say, but sometimes it gets so frustrating and insulting - too much to keep it all inside. And my plan to stave away the bitter is to not bottle this stuff up.

That is all. I'd stay out of contact with me until my holiday cheer comes back - I'll announce that on this here blog.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Time to be merry...

My Christmas tree is here...and while I'm sure I didn't "fluff" my branches enough, I really like it. There are 2 things I will miss about a real tree:
  1. The imperfection of the shape of the tree. I like that imperfection - this tree, like all artificial trees, is artificially triangular. All I can hope is that some day fake trees will be artificially imperfect (which will happen on the same day that tinsel becomes digestible for the cats)
  2. The lovely, amazing smell of fresh pine.
There are 3 things I will not miss:
  1. Crawling under the tree every day to water it...pain in the ass.
  2. Getting the real tree safely to the apartment (saw a casualty on the way home the other day - three cars had pulled over on the shoulder on the tollway and they were all looking back at their Christmas tree - in the middle of the right lane of traffic. Two problems there: do you walk into traffic to save the tree? When the tree is saved, clearly the lines that were holding the tree to the roof have snapped - so how do you get it tied back on the roof/on its way?).
  3. Getting the tree out of the apartment (this one counts 8 times more than the others- the biggest PAIN IN THE ASS EVER.)
But, my tree looks lovely. I have pictures to post, but Picasa is giving me a weird error and blogger is frozen trying to post the pic. Oh well. You'll have to wait a few days for the pics. I had one ornament casualty and it's pretty damn sad. I didn't even drop it (shocking) - I was holding it to put it on the tree and the string snapped - ornament plummets to the ground, breaks into two pieces. The saddest part is that I got the ornament from a family (cousin) ornament exchange just last year. It had only had a few days on my tree last year...

On another note, I am going to keep blogging. It may be useless. It may be sporadic. Although I have sort of an interesting idea for a once a week blog. If I wasn't semi-hungover I'd be able to come up with some clever name for my idea (Deep Thought Thursday doesn't work, Question Tuesday...see the brain is LAME today). What the idea is: I got a birthday present I forgot about. It is basically a pretty little clear box of questions (ex: should generosity come from self-interest or obligation?). That little box would have come in handy during NaBloPoMo. But I think it could make for interesting blog posts....just something I'm toying with...