Saturday, November 10, 2012


Tonight (per Zach's request. I'll blame him) we conducted an experiment: It was Hamburger Helper.  With Morningstar crumblers of course. I thought there was a chance it could be ok.  I mean, we're good friends with kraft mac & cheese and that's along the same vein, right?  Zach had never had Hamburger Helper.  I don't know if I have either but now I'm feeling like I would've remembered this.  Because it was terrible.  I mean, So. Bad.  Noodle-like food product in salt sauce.  I'm feeling like I might be scarred by this.  I can't believe Americans eat this.  Seriously?  This is from Betty Crocker.  I'm really depressed.

Maybe I can make things right soon with the new casserole dish I just bought.  A casserole dish is one thing I kind of expected to get for our wedding but didn't.  And now I'm feeling glad, because this meant I got to dig around on ebay for a happy looking one that evokes some memories.  Look at the box it came in!

Also, I just got this 1977 JC Penny Xmas catalog.  

I know I'll get $10 worth of entertainment out of it, but dang, ebay is dangerous.

Oh no.  I just wrote a blog about Hamburger Helper, casserole dishes & JC Penny catalogs.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Excited for holidays.  Wanting comfort.  Like new socks and sweaters kinds of comfort.  And snow.  I'm really excited for snow.

Wishing I could teleport everyone to one location for Thanksgiving.   It's not working out that way.  Why does everyone have to be so dang far apart?    Why don't I have 5 bedrooms to put everyone up in?  Oh yeah.  Those reasons.   All my decisions.  I get it.  Still time to change if I'm not living the way I want to.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Every once in a while I feel like I'm doing actual science at work.   Most of the time I feel like I'm faking it.  Repeating science jargon.  But other times I realize that I'm actually facilitating the work and I'm pulling real solutions out of info from real lab analyses done at a molecular level.   And that's kind of cool.  If you're gonna be a nerd you may as well be a real one.   It makes me feel useful.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Today was a crap day.   Sleep quality affects so much.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sad phone

I've been walking around with my phone like this for a while now.  It's the result of one drop on a concrete factory floor.  I should know better than to take this out to a plant floor while trying to carry other things.   Anyhow, it's functioning ok and I'm kind of getting used to it.  But right after it happened Zach ordered a do-it-yourself repair kit online.   That kit arrived in the mail today and among the tiny screwdrivers and magnetic tools & special adhesives -  there's a guitar pick.  Um, wha?  I can't wait to follow along with the youtube DIY videos to learn where the guitar pick comes into play.

Maybe I should do some back ups before we go to town, right?  I mean, I do know better...

Sunday, August 12, 2012


I feel REALLY emo about this. But I feel even worse about owning two cars... so it goes. Mom said I should never name my cars.   But Paco, I feel like I'm betraying you.  You've been so good to me.  Whah...   I hope he gets a nice new home.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Oh my God that was totally not bad.  She didn't make me run.  She didn't make me move fast.  We didn't even use any weights.  Just big bands & rubber balls.  I thought we were warming up the whole time, thinking "When is she gonna make me run?  When do I have to run?"   And just like that, it was over.   I'll probably be sore tomorrow.  I know I worked hard but I didn't even notice it happening.  Success.  I did it.  I am no longer afraid of personal trainers.

That has been on my to do list for so many years. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Busy doing stuff

Hello.   I'm still here.  I haven't been a super good blogger but I guess that's just because I'm focusing more on doing stuff than thinking about doing it.  Maybe?  See when Zach and I were on vacation this Spring he brought up a really good point.  As we were kayaking in the ocean he said "I wish we did more of this stuff in real life."  Duh!  He's totally right.  We have so much fun on vacation.  We do stuff.  Why don't we do stuff at home?  Lots of people come to Chicago to do stuff.  Who says we have to resign ourselves to working, commuting & sitting on our asses watching the Soup at night?

So I signed us up for some stuff (I just wrote the word stuff a lot!).

This week we did THIS.  It was pretty great if you could look past the garbage floating past you in the River.  I totally recommend it.

NEXT I have to schedule our segue tour downtown. Yeah I'm just gonna own that.  I bought 2 tickets through Groupon, so we're committed.  I have to fully recognize that I'm beyond the point of ever being cool like Fonzie in this lifetime.

Just ride the damn segue.  If you happen to see someone you know, waive.

AND we joined a gym.  Monday I have my first appointment with a trainer and I'm terrified.  Maybe it will be helpful for me to think this through for a sec to identify exactly what I'm afraid of...   I guess it's a few things:
  1. Looking like a fool.  I am super uncoordinated.  Phys Ed was always just horribly humiliating for me and I don't want to go back to that dark place.  I'm afraid she's going to make me run.  I run like a retard.  I'm sure of it.  There will be people around who will see me.   This is going to be horrible.   
  2. My legs itch when I run. It's unbearable. I can't get past that. Can I?
  3. I'm afraid I'm going to knock my teeth out.  I don't know how but it could happen.  Especially since I'm uncoordinated.  I would find a way.   My shoelace will get caught in the treadmill.  Or my feet will slip off of some lever on a resistance machine.  I could easily knock my teeth out.
  4. I'm afraid she's actually gonna make me work hard.   I go to the gym because it's fun.  I stretch myself a little and I get sweaty, then I get clean and feel self righteous.  There's a threshold where fun becomes not fun.  And I have a pretty low tolerance for ...oh I guess anything.  I'm super lazy.  Lifting heavy stuff until you are shaking is not my idea of fun.  How can I psych myself up to think this is fun? Any advice is appreciated.

And tomorrow morning we are going to the Chinatown Fair!   10am baby contest!  I cannot wait to see a baby contest in Chinatown!  Wtf is a baby contest anyhow?!  Whatever it is I'm so excited.

So, you know, I see I still have some areas for improvement.  But I'm putting myself outside that comfort zone and that's a start.  A few years back I bought an old wooden wall hanging at a thrift store that reads "May you live... all the days of your life."   I like that idea.  I'm not totally there yet but I'm making an effort.  

I hope you're having a good & engaging summer as well.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

2 doggies chillaxing in the sunshine.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

stop. look at things.

Last weekend we went to the greenhouse in Michigan with Mothra (mother in law) to pick out her flowers for the season.   It was seriously so beautiful and peaceful.  People pay for entry to see things like this in other circumstances.  I have to remember this.  Greenhouses.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dude, it's done already

I'm drafting my first condo association annual budget letter as Treasurer and I'm totally over thinking it.  I feel like my life is a constant struggle to find balance between "good organized" and "embarrassingly anal."  

This year I learned that I have a form of ADD which tends to manifest itself in Rainman-like bouts of hyper-focus.   And, I guess in certain situations is pretty useful even if it can come off as weird and obsessive.  If you want something done and you don't want anything to fall through the cracks, give it to me and rest easy.  But for your own sanity, never EVER pick me as a partner if you just want to plan a birthday party.

Friday, April 20, 2012

I get to see some family tomorrow and I like that.  Even if we're only to get together for a memorial service.   It's nice with new extended family there.

Need to take a break.  A reality check.  Because all I do is work these days.  Really.  It's not right.  And I feel like I'll fail if I stop.   There's got to be better ways to do this.

I need to get back on that bucket list.   Where can I find a baby pig to hold?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Remember the first phone cameras?

Zach's new iphone takes nice pictures.   And I'm kind of jealous of that.

Technology has come so far in the past decade.  The newer version of my current phone takes videos in 3D.  Not that I have a use for that, but it just has me wondering what's going to be available in another 10 years.  I hope they figure out how to transmit smells.  THAT would be useful.

Man I am so lazy this Saturday.  This is supposed to be the time when I get everything done.  But all I can seem to do is lay around reading car blogs.

I need to tame my new car fever.  I absolutely don't need a new car right now.  I might need a brake job, but NOT a new car.  Paco is fine.  He's definitely getting up there in miles, but he's paid for.  I need to..   but...  all this new technology.  The new versions of Paco have bluetooth & backup cameras & dual climate control....    And, okay okay I honestly don't need any of that crap either.  

Ugh.  I feel so ashamed when I get caught up in consumerism.  I need to go camping in the woods or something.  I need to remember to keep it real.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

That sounds jerky.  All people are important.  It's just that most people... I know I'm not truly that important to them.   And so it was cool to not be bothered by them and a barage of  empty birthday greetings.  Surprisingly cool.    Narrowing down my pool of contacts from quantity to quality has been nicer than I'd expected.  Not being on facebook has been way nicer than expected.  So it goes...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

This was a pretty good birthday.   Really only heard from people who are important to me and that made things feel more sincere.

I can't believe I'm 34 now.  This is the first time I've ever felt panic about my age.   It's silly.  I hope I get over that soon.  If all goes right I have plenty of time left.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Hoppy Easter

Good Friday is about the only day of the year that I have off work that Zach does not.  Usually I hang out at home with the dog.   Sometimes we go visit Zach at work.   This year I walked around the neighborhood a little and went to get falafil.  It's weird to see what the world does during the day when you're at work.  

2 years ago I took a picture pretty much exactly like this of Fannie.  My little Good Friday lamb.   I can't seem to find that picture now.  It's probably locked up in my old facebook account.  This reminds me I need to organize & back up files & pictures.  Or some day I'll regret it.

Look what I made this morning:
Horseradish & black pepper deviled eggs for the annual potluck at Dawns.   Fancy!

Also, my brother mailed me a Cadbury Egg.   Another sort of tradition...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The big news

Again, thanks Oprah.  I'm gonna need some reminding now and then, so I'm glad you're on my google home page everyday saying things like this.

I got a new job.   Well, a promotion to go do different things, but technically at the same "job" with the same company.  Some of the same people.  Lots of new people.  It feels... I can't tell you with 100% confidence how I feel about it.  I'm excited to finally be doing something new, even if it isn't my dream job.   But this could be a step to get there.  When ever I figure out what said dream job is.  This will keep me plenty busy until that day.

And I'm terrified.   New things are always scary.  Can't wait to get in and understand what the heck I'm going to be doing.  And what I even have to be afraid of.  Or not.

I never thought this day would come.

Now I have 30 days of support from my predecessor, and 60 days to cut the umbilical cord on my successor.   And keep the plates spinning in the right direction.

I have a feeling March & April are going to be a blur of nothing but work.   

But... by the time that's done, it will be time to start planting flowers on my deck.   This year I say we go back to yellow flowers.  I've missed them. This will be a year of yellow & purple impatients.  And veggie grilling on the back deck on Fridays with friends.  It will. You'll see.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I rode a horse yesterday and I braided his hair.   It's not easy.   Real horse hair is like straw.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I'm really scattered, you guys

I have to retract something I said about Drake a couple months back.  I still don't think he's a genius, but I like one of his songs. The Motto with Lil Wayne & Tyga is my jam this week.  Actually, Drake is the worst part of that song.  I don't know what the appeal is here, honestly.  Lil Wayne & Tyga are pretty funny.  But maybe it's only the fact that the backing track sounds exactly like what I would make in Reason. If someone separated it & told me "hey andrea I took this track you made six years ago and rapped over it."  I might be confused enough to believe it for a minute. It's nothing special.  It's just my personal aesthetic.  Like it's real close to my fingerprints.  The first time I heard it on 107.5 I took my hands off the steering wheel to clap like a seal.  And that's like the whitest most incorrect thing you can do in reaction to a song like that.   And it's one of those frustrating songs that half disappears if you don't listen to it on substantial speakers, because the low end is sooo low and it's key.  Trust me, on computer speakers or crappy headphones it just sounds like hand claps, so forget it.  You need to be in a car to hear it.

Ok, anyway, now that I've thoroughly confused my only 3 readers (mother, mother-in-law & sister-in-law) I'm going on vacation now.  Tomorrow I'm going to drive around an island on the wrong side of the road listening to that song.  And it's going to be weird.  And awesome.  I also downloaded some old grateful dead songs.  I'm having a midlife crisis or something.

I have some good news to report when we get back.  No, we're not having a baby.  It's not that.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

It's February, but the sky is blue like September

 : )

living in the diaspora

I try not to get caught up in the gross obsession when celebrities die.   TMZ & the sort get a little ill with their news reports.  For example, they posted exclusive photos of the roomservice food & chicken sandwich that Whitney Houston ordered but never got around to eating.   People are sick. 

But from all the weirdo coverage I did gather that Whitney Houston had family members with her on the weekend she died.   Her daughter was staying in the hotel with her and apparently just before she passed, Whitney's aunt had come in and laid out her dress for the grammy party the next day.  Her cousin, Dionne Warwick had talked to her on the phone earlier.  And that really touched me. 

I applaud the independence in my family & extended family, but inside, I do wish I belonged to something like that.  I can't imagine having close relationships like that with family.   I can't imagine a cousin calling me on a regular basis.  Or an aunt helping me get ready for a party.  I can't imagine traveling with people who have known me all my life.  I can't imagine having those people fully ingrained in the fabric of my life.  And, if we can, suspend disbelief for a minute and imagine these people don't drive you crazy.  You enjoy their company.  They are your best friends.

Growing up, my best friend had a big family.  There were four kids in a small house, and that house was always open with even more visitors stopping by.  We never rode in cars with less than 2 people.  Every day felt a little like a party.  Yes there was chaos.  And yes it was always a little bit of a mess, but it was good and I always felt like I belonged.

These days we're very solitary.   Sometimes I want to blame the internet.   Sometimes I blame it on white people.  But I realize I did this to myself by leaving home at 18 & never moving back.  There are people who see me every day - Who I can go to for advice.  But of those people, the one who's known me longest has only known me for seven years.  It's different.

I would love to be able to stop by to see my mom or dad after work on a Tuesday.   And then leave just before dinner is ready.  I'd love to be able to drop off my dog for a day so that she could lay in the grass in their yard.   I'd love to have a weekly standing routine.  i.e. on Sunday everyone goes over to uncle Pete's for lunch & card games or something.  Like in the book Middlesex.  You stand in the kitchen & dry dishes with your sister in law.  You pick up your conversation where you left off last week.  You know how they feel about things.

I think of the family I'll start some day.   Zach suggested having just one kid in our house.  But I don't think I could do that to a child.  Especially since we still live far away from the rest of our family.  I've seen the contrast of living in a pack vs. being alone, and I feel the difference. 

If I could change one thing about my life I'd be sure I belonged to a community of some sort again.   I think I need it badly but I don't know how to get there.

Office helpers & the push toward the finish line

I worked all night Friday and all day Saturday.  Getting everything in order before vacation.  We leave Thursday morning, but I have to start the wrap up now.  My neck is stiff from leaning over the laptop, but I feel better about leaving town.  

And it's nice to have cute office mates.  Willie is in town, and he and Toni sometimes work together to keep both sides of me warm.

Sometimes when I'm working I forget that there's an island vacation coming up.  It really is easy to get used to staring at a lit up screen in a windowless office.   Adjusting to sunlight and movement and fresh air is going to be amazing and weird and mildly sad, I anticipate.  I know it's going to be hard for me to downshift, so I'm planning on scheduling my activities within the first couple days.  Ride horses, kayak river tour, etc.  Because I know from experience that I'll be miserable sitting still and not thinking at first.  I think that'll be a good tactic to ease me in to lower gears.  By day 3 I should be better able to calm down and not feel like I'm supposed to be doing something.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A burrito commercial just flooded me with emotions.  So beautiful. 

People will always eat meat.  I know this.  But there's a better way.
Sadly, the 2 and a half minutes when this commercial aired during the grammys is probably the most collective attention the issue of factory farming will ever garner.   

Also, Willie Nelson. I love him for using his celebrity to bring attention to all of his hippie causes. Remember bio Willie? I hope he lives forever and never stops trying.

And maybe some day everything will blow up and we'll start over doing everything the right way.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Thank GOD.

Monday, February 6, 2012

dog prozac

Last week Toni destroyed the plastic bottom in her crate.  Then we put her bed in there, and she tore that up.  Now she has to sit on metal wires inside the crate.   That didn't seem nice, so we went to Kmart yesterday & got her a nice tall baby gate thinking maybe she could just chill in the hallway.  But that's not what happened.  Instead she jumped the gate, tore up the garbage, knocked everything off the night stand & peed on our bed.

It's a good thing she's really cute.  If it weren't for the pee on the bed I'd just think today's destruction was cute.

Hooray.  We are experts in dog separation anxiety.  Why the hell wouldn't we end up with another one?

Did I mention she's really cute?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

It's like parting your hair on the other side

Look!  My blog is now backwards.  I like it better this way.  Somehow just seems ...different.
HTML can be fun.

And amazingly, do you know what else can be fun?  The DENTIST!   I just went to a new dentist and the place was so fancy and the people were so nice and personable that I didn't even care that they had to do a deep cleaning.  They just numbed me up and gave me the tv remote and I turned on the Daily Show and let them do their thing.  My last dentist wouldn't have given me the option of anesthetic, and she would've berated me for having unhappy gums & would've sent me to a specialist, telling me that my jaws are deteriorating and my teeth are going to all fall out (True story.  Not a correct diagnosis, obviously, because I still have all my teeth, but she sure did find ways to waste my time & money & keep me awake at night).  Now, with this new place, I'm actually kind of looking forward to going back in a couple weeks to get the other half of my mouth done.

I've learned something in the past 15 years I've been out on my own:

It pays to shop around.
For hair cutters, seamstresses, car salesmen, dog rescue ladies, and dentists.  Life doesn't really have to be a constant letdown.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thanks Oprah.  I think there's some truth to this.  Mine is definitely a good one and I've seen enough to recognize it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dog dreams

I don't think I have ever heard Toni bark yet.  Except for in her sleep, when she lets out a mixture of muffled wwwfffffs and guinea pig-like noises.   Nope.  She's not a barker.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

clocking out

Whaaah....  Just finished working.  And it's past my bedtime.  I don't think I walked more than half a block today.  Sure I'm feeling a little sorry for myself but I can't feel too bad, because Zach's got it worse.  He's probably not even gonna go to bed tonight.  

And everything is relative.  At least our jobs just consist of typing things & moving boxes around on screens. And the jobs could potentially get better if people act more intelligently.  I could look around & point out 60 other jobs that are worse than these.  Like the traffic directors standing in the middle of the busy, icy intersections during rush hour today.  Or the people on farms who have to artificially inseminate cows.  You know what I mean.

Oh oh!  We booked a vacation for the end of February.  We're going to St. Croix, where there are no telephones or computers or snow.  I almost can't believe it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I think this is my favorite picture of all time.  Actually, maybe it's tied with my all time favorite fuzzy mouse.

Just saying...

I have so much work I should be doing right now. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

haha very funny m*******

Apparently the battery in the clock on my desk at work died at 4:30 today.  I didn't realize this.  No, it's not 4:30.  It's now 6:30.   I should have gone home a long time ago.  I wonder how long I would've kept it up.  No wonder the dang place is a ghost town.  There's not even anyone here to laugh at me.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

special treatment

Saturday morning post surgery.  Gets to hang out on mommy's bed.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Well that wasn't so bad this morning.   Everyone in the vet's office was very sweet & oohed and aahd about how silly and cute Toni is.  I agree.  That made me feel better.  Going to pick her up and bring her home in another hour or so.  

This picture also made me feel better:

It's cute.

Tonight she gets to lay on the couch with a blanket.  Well, really all weekend.   Well...  I guess that isn't much different than any other weekend...

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Tomorrow morning I take Toni in to get spayed.   The last time I took a dog to the hospital it went badly.  I think that Toni will be okay, but I'm worried about the flood of memories and emotions I'm bound to experience in the next few days.   Putting my faith in the doctors, leaving without her, tending to her at home while she's getting over anesthesia, administering wet food, carrying her up and down all the stairs five times a day, celebrating when her tail wags again...  And of course we've just been hit by a massive snow storm.  Not nearly as bad as the one last February when Fannie was in the hospital, but once again I'm gonna be navigating drifts with a sick pup in a sweater.   : (   

Really nervous.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

congo bongo

This was one of our favorite video games as kids.  We used to play this on our Commodore 64 with Atari joysticks that had seen so much action that the black rubber cover had come off the stick, leaving basically a white plastic straw for us to steer with. 

So lifelike! The graphics are astounding. Puts todays games to shame.
I can't believe I still remember the "song."

Friday, January 6, 2012

My horoscope has been optimistic lately

Aries Jan 3 2012
You don't have to accept the joy, the serenity, and the many opportunities that are waiting for you in this new year. You could choose, instead, to cling to your old melancholy, your stress, and your sense of being stuck. But you aren't so addicted to drama and tragedy that you would do such a thing, are you? Of course you're not. That's why you're going to put a smile on your face, start thinking about all the wonderful possibilities that are out there waiting, and open your heart to a wonderful new beginning.

Aries Jan 4 2012
Are you ready for all the changes that are about to begin taking place in 2012? If not, it doesn't really matter. Because, like magic, as changes begin you will suddenly feel ready, willing, and able. If you are already feeling lucky, there is a very good reason for that. Your intuition is telling you that this will be a really good year. Projects that were stalled or stuck will start moving again. Relationships that were fraught with conflict will become easier. And goals for success that once seemed unattainable will finally be within your reach. Get ready for a very good year.

And I think I'll choose to believe it, because it does feel like I might finally be exiting a long dark period.

Hello 2012.  Pleased to meet you.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Dear friends, if you think you need a new winter coat, you should go to Macys within the next couple days. As they are every January, all the winter coats are on super sale. A sea of coats and coats and coats, all at least 50% off. It's really exciting. I've been without a long puffy down coat for a while now, since my last one committed zipper suicide on the train that one time. But today I finally got a new one. For $100. The original price was $300! That makes all the difference to me when I find things on sale - the original sticker price. I love to think of what I would have had to pay for the thing if I'd gone shopping back in October.

Anyhow, I find that good winter gear makes life so much better. I'm gonna go test out my new coat with dog walking duty.