Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Slowly going the way of the buffalo.

Today is the last day of the fall program at Norwood Park. I remember hating high school more than I could have ever thought. The majority of it was spent wandering the halls, daydreaming, and being angry. It just wasn't for me.

The kids I teach seem to have some of the same feelings, but not exactly. They seem to be fairly happy overall, although there's been a lot of deaths in families lately. It's been an experience I'll definitely carry with me, working with the different kids. I think teaching in the future might be something I would like to do.

Yesterday we got outside for awhile, and when the workday was done, Simone, Colin and I continued the outdoor adventures running errands on foot, and playing in the snow. We had a snowball fight, and Simone made snow angels.

It was one of those snowfalls that only happens maybe two or three times a year. It wasn't really cold, and the thick layer of heavy snow blanketed everything, quieting the night to just a hush of a few slowly passing cars. It was crunchy underfoot, heavy packing snow that clung to the tree branches and fences and windows of parked cars. I was content to just be outside walking and looking, although I couldn't resist making snowballs and throwing them every few minutes.

Right now, Colin is doing his morning/afternoon run. I'm waiting for cupcakes to finish baking for our pizza party at work today. I've just watered the Christmas tree, and it's snowing outside again.

I'm not opposed to this winter at all.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What's going on?

Rather than making up for lost time by trying to write about everything that's been going on, I'm just going to ignore most things and hit on the important ones.

Thanksgiving was fun. It was really good to be home and see family that I haven't seen in what feels like a long, long time. Wednesday night I went out in Joliet with my brother for the first time in years. The two of us met up with K. O., Tia, and Al, among others at a classy joint called Senor Tequila's. I had a margarita the size of my head, and had some laughs with my brother. We decided it would have been a $40 drink in Chicago.

Afterward, we went to a huge overly-lit bar where they have drink specials for a buck and serve things in plastic. Not my choice, and I'd like to clarify that, technically, this place was not in Joliet. Here, I ran into a few people from high school, and it got bizarre. That awkwardness of both parties realizing that you used to be friends, and you used to have things in common, but now the only thing you share is the location you chose to drink that night.

The rest of Thanksgiving went well. Half of my cousins are Italian, so in addition to the traditional turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, etc., my uncle cooked Italian sausages, meatballs, marinara, mosteccioli, and antipasto. Everyone ate, and talked, and laughed, and ate some more. Then we loosened our belts and sleepily watched football.

The Palmer Hall potluck was great. Everyone contributed food and expertise, drinks and stories. Hopefully it will be a yearly event.

Orange-cranberry muffins.

Simone working her magic on the pumpkin pie.

Sweet-potato home fries, and Kate making some amazing gravy.

Ladies, try to contain your excitement.

The buffet really makes the place shine. It even has sconces.

I don't remember what was being said here, but it seems like the perfect opportunity for people to invent their own captions.

After everyone was full of food and alcohol, we decided to cut Nate's hair. This should also become part of an annual tradition.


Saturday, November 10, 2007


Simone's car, the Dodge Colt Vista, lovingly referred to as the DCV, has two glove compartments. I found this fascinating. And I think there are gloves in there.

Fall and the el.

Marty stayed with us for a couple days. We fell back into the hangout routine almost without skipping a beat.

I like to make breakfast. Broiled tomatoes, cottage cheese, toast and coffee.

Last Saturday, I went on a date to Cafe Iberico. It was pretty cool. What?
Oh, thanks. The blazer is pretty sweet.

Here at Casa del Awesome, when we're bored we tend to bake things late at night. And drink cheap wine. Usually something good happens.

Sometimes, something great happens. Superbad roomies.

Colin, manning his usual evening post.

Me, fulfilling my roommate duties as well.

An obviously very serious conversation between Colin and Colyn, which Cassie finds amusing.

Caleb, after shouting "You want a piece of me?" and just before smashing a folding chair across someone's forehead.

All in all, the past few weeks have been going pretty well. I let Colin keep me updated on all the current events, i.e. politics and celebrity gossip, and we go back and forth about how our programs are going. We've been throwing around the old pigskin in preparation for Ice Bowl 2007, and our slant routes and option plays are looking pretty wicked. Peyton Manning, eat your heart out.

And my latest Netflix dvd, which I've yet to watch, is entitled, "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension." Here's the synopsis:

Peter Weller stars as the titular hero, who makes his living as a physicist, neurosurgeon, secret agent and rock star traveling through a comic-book universe with his band of assistants and background musicians. Buckaroo's interdimensional experiments with his new invention, the Operation Overthruster, throw Earth into an alien war, and he finds himself with scant hours to save the world in director W.D. Richter's offbeat film.

It also stars Jeff Goldblum, John Lithgow, and Christopher Lloyd. I'm speechless.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


When I was in Australia I met a guy named Jonathan, from Canada. We worked together on one of the strawberry farms, joking back and forth, trudging through the mud, trying to get the others to sing ridiculous songs.

Whenever we all went out, people thought Jon and I were brothers. I didn't think we really looked all that similar, but I guess I was wrong. Course, I think he's got a few pounds on me here, but still.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Halloween was fun.

Instead of our normal program of nature, debates, and science, our Earth Team helped run the show at Norwood Park for all the neighborhood little kids. We did a haunted maze, set up from gym mats, props, and a smoke machine. The students did a good job of being surprising but not too scary. At first the little kids started crying, so we had to tone it down a notch.

There were all kinds of bean bag games, ring toss, and Bozo buckets that the kids were in charge of, plus face painting, activity tables, and we even had full-on Winnie the Pooh and Tigger costumes. I'll get those pictures up soon. Cuz they're that good, but Jeannette has them.

That night Colin, Susan, Colyn, Steph, me, and Jeanette all went to the Burlington for fun. My brother also came, and we met up with Alison and Eric too.

Apparently Colin just put some of these up too. Deal with it.

I have three favorites. This is one of them.


Colin being all, "Oh snap."

My broham and Jeannette singing Fugazi.

Lots of people named Colin.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

selective attention.

It's been a semi-busy, but not really past couple of weeks. We've been hanging with the Bearski for the past week, and he's made his temporary home on our couches and my bed.

Last Wednesday night's work duo trio became sort of a non-work game night and we played Apples to Apples and Celebrities. I think Celebrities won. Jeannette brought some friends who look less than thrilled here, but were really just overwhelmed by the awesomeness of the whole experience. Kimber started to come into her own, and threw down during apples to apples. Steph and I could only muster looks of shame and confusion.

The Horny Buck Hunting Party was fun, and the props were pretty amazing. Hunting rifles and shotguns, ducks, rabbits, and deer all cut from cardboard and mounted. Yeah, I did.
Most everyone got into the hunting theme, and Jess and Becca went all out, donning vests, hats, camouflage adult size onesies, and boots that clearly used to have a pulse. Cletus would've been proud. And Nate assumed the Nate position.

The next day I went thrift store shopping with Rachel, and one of our friends, Sara. We had hopes of finding costume ideas for Halloween, or some fun clothes at least. I did find a blazer, which is fun, but Sara beat us all when she found the customer service vest from when the Yeti worked at Natural Wonders in the mall.

And Wicked Awesome had a nameworthy turnout on Sunday. We played three games, secured our first win of the season (through forfeit,) and lost one to the Gianormous D-Bags. But it was a great day to be outside, nonetheless.

The rest of the week has been pretty standard. ly. awesome.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Last night's hang here was great with the Super Team and other friends. There was a cupcake cake with candles courtesy of Simone, and we all sang happy birthday to Colin. Then Alison and Simone smashed cupcakes on his face. It was hilarious. A dance party ensued, and I was thoroughly impressed by Alison's dancing/domestic skills. As Jeannette's camera has become the go-to recorder of events, I'm going to have to get ahold of it to post photos soon.

This week has felt a lot like the anticipation leading up to something great. Fall is officially here, and it seems like it has been a long time coming. I love the crisp in the air, the sound of the leaves on the ground, and the constant breeze washing through everything.

I woke up this morning to the sound of the trees swaying in the wind mixed with the quiet roar of the el going by in the background. Somewhere in there, I felt like I was waking up on the beach with the ocean in the background steadily crumbling on the shore. It's a good thing to wake up to. Much better than the freakin dog next door.

Another thing about fall is that it's just perfect for impromptu walks.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I've been thinking about this question off and on for the past few weeks. I haven't started a career yet, but I've got a cool job for now. I'm not in a relationship with a long-time girlfriend, so there isn't any "we" planning. I guess there's long term goals that everyone has to think about at some point, but is that something that we've already started? The cliche is that life is what happens while you're busy making other plans. So what are those other plans?

I want to travel more. I've never been west of the Mississippi. It would be fun to see some of those landmark U.S. vacation spots. And the weird little places you stop off at while on a road trip. Maybe do some camping. It's more fun than I thought it would be. I'd like to go to Europe for a while someday, cuz why not, right?

Supposedly, fall is on its way, but summer giving its last reluctant fight this week. Small yellow leaves are already falling off the trees in the park in front. Some people are wearing scarves in the evening, and I found myself throwing on a sweatshirt a few times this week. In the short term, my goals are going to include running and biking more, grilling outside with friends and roommates, being an awesome teacher, reading a few books, and stopping to imagine what the roses smell like.

Bring it.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ethan Embry and Jennifer Love Hewitt make me want to be a hopeless romantic.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.

Sitting in the kitchen with the roomies after several mugs of boxed "chillable red wine" and a heaping helping of stir-fried yellow curry that was awesome. It was my first-ever experience enjoying curry, and I have to say I'm a huge fan. It's a spicy sweet that doesn't linger too much, but is packed with flavor. Awesome.

Recruiting was good today. Lots of good kids signed up for interviews today, and some of them even showed up for the interview. Most of them just stayed after school and hung out for the interview. One of the last kids came in after we were about to go home. He went home to change into his navy pants, dress shirt and shoes, and a tie. He was a freshman, and the cuteness made Jeanette giddy.

I'm excited about teaching. It's a level of responsibility that I haven't had to handle before, and the kids actually seem interested in the program, even enthusiastic. I was never in clubs or extracurriculars of any kind in high school, so this will be a fun look into what those might have been like. Oh, and the Improv Group's flyers were full of grammatical and punctuational errors. Pshh.

I should take some pictures. I like adding photos to blogs. It's more fun.

I haven't taken any recently, so I googled "photo," and this was the first one that came up. You see, dogs and babies are cute.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Red Ribbons.

In case you haven't already noticed, we're running into the end of the most gorgeous week ever. The weather has been amazing, and the events of the week have been great. Hung out with people at the Burlington, got a job with the FOTP Cronies, got to see Martha for a while, and Colin and I invented a new drink.

While it's no Thankstini, the Red Ribbon is quite good.

1 part V8 (or bloody mary mix)
2 parts PBR
1 wedge of lime
garnish as you see fit

I'm hoping to turn the week of amazing into a weekend of awesomeness.

Monday, September 10, 2007

There are no judgements here, just pizza.

Busy weekend. Went out with some school friends on Saturday night, in Forest Park. It was really nice to see some of these people I hadn't seen in a while, and we had a pretty good time. There's lots of people in Forest Park who are like the decently-dressed, hillbilly/jock townies that I've successfully avoided since high school. It was ok, since they're not much on talking, and the trade off for being in that specific suburb was $3 draft Stellas and Guinness.

Sunday was a sweet softball victory of the moral variety. I made some boneheaded plays which provided comic relief, but made a couple good ones as well. We stuck around to loan some Wicked Awesomers to another team, and afterwards we went to Bar Louie for some amazing grub.

Later that afternoon I got to hang out with the roomies, and Brian and Liz. I'd like to harness whatever it is that makes their dog, Bear, live like he's been guzzling Energizer batteries. He's 7, and acts like a four-month old.

It was great to hang out with them, and Brian is officially going to be known as "The Grillmaster." Kabobs and burgers with corn on the cob, and vanilla bean ice cream with farmers market peaches for desert. Yep. I love food.

Hey look, a segue.

Tonight, we made some more stellar BALTs and in addition to homemade soups, pot roasts, and grilled foods, they are going to become a staple of this autumn's awesome dinners. It rained today, but it was quite possibly the best weather day of the year. It should be beautiful all week, so get out there. For true though.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

There was a fire in the neighborhood last night. Nate had just left, called us and said it was just up the street on Milwaukee. We strolled over, and the Discount Mega Mall was enveloped in smoke and flames. There was about 20 firetrucks and tons of other fire/police vehicles. They had blocked off about four square blocks to access the different areas of the building, and shut down the El line that went right nearby.

Apparently the building had ridiculous amounts of city violations, and should have been closed.

This is crappy video, and you can't really see the amount of smoke that was pouring out of the roof, but there's the story and good video here:


Support the memory of your local indoor mexican flea market!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Watching you through my rear-view mirror.

I went home to hang out with my mom this weekend, after recovering a bit Saturday afternoon. She got a new dog, Gracie, a couple months ago and this was the first time I got to see it. And now you get to, because everyone loves pictures of dogs.

I'm not a huge fan of tiny dogs, but she's pretty darn cute and she doesn't bark or yip. That little blur behind the side of her head is her wagging tail. How friggin adorable.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

I heart Chicago.

Thursday night Simone and I were bored. After consulting the internets we decided to bake blueberry muffins from scratch. We took an Igo car to the store to pick up baking soda, vanilla, a basting brush, and some wine. We had fresh blueberries and everything else already.

They're awesome. Fresh blueberry muffins with streusel topping.

Saturday Nate moved into the Texas Ballroom on Archer. Apparently after waiting two-and-a-half hours in the morning to get his truck, they told him it was reserved for another day. Meltdown ensues including multiple profanities and kicking a can in frustration. They finally find another truck.

After we get everything packed up and ready to go around lunchtime, Cassie, Caleb, and Brian (Nate's brother) had to leave. I got to drive Nate's car down to the Ballroom because he was driving the truck.

It was the first time I drove on Lake Shore Drive in a long time. I'd almost forgotten how gorgeous this city is. Traffic was moving slow and it was fun to soak it all in again. The different views of the skyline, hundreds of sailboats on the lake taking advantage of the beautiful day, the lakefront path, and just the mass of the city itself. Nice.

Moving into the Texas Ballroom was not nice.
Three flights of stairs. Me, Nate, and his dad. Everything Nate owned and whatever Tyler left behind. It was almost 8pm when we got finished, and we weren't slacking. Feeling it today.

Had a blast at Libby and Kate's afterwards for their pizza and champagne housewarming/Libby's birthday party. It was mostly theatre people we didn't know, but they were all really friendly and we had a great time. Then I hid Nate's shoe in the fridge.

I need to get a phone.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Functional Alcoholics.

At 27 years old, I would think that I've grown past teen dramas. Damn you, Megan and Marty, and Dave and Mendy. And anyone else who's fallen under their influence.

I've stumbled into the end of the first season of Felicity, and I sit here wondering why, and how, the trials and tribulations of a television college freshman girl can still apply to a 27 year-old guy. Damn you Londoners. Or ites. Whichever you prefer.

But at least I've got the next few weeks of my nights planned out.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Due to popular demand, I am revising the photo of my morning routine. Apparently, it is not entirely historically accurate. I have been told that some details have been misrepresented, especially in the striking looks of my roomates.

The following photo is how they usually look in the rough and just-awoken morning. Enjoy.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Home again.

It's been a few days of falling back into routine. Morning coffee, walks in the neighborhood, lots of beer at night, and seeing friendly faces.

Had a great night with Colin, Brian, and Liz the other night, and Brian rehashed memories of his own trip to Australia. Brian and Liz cooked a fantastic dinner, and I visited their new apartment for the first time. It's really nice, and Liz did a good job disguising the fact that Brian lives there.

Yesterday I went to the zoo with Simone, and later at the apartment we hosted a small birthday party on the back patio for Jess. I manned the grill, desperately trying to fill Ryan's shoes, and pulled off cooking various meats fairly well.

Going home today for a short visit, and I have to figure out what's going on for the rest of the week. Ratatouille, Bourne Ultimatum, and Transformers are all playing at the Logan, so I think that's on the list.