Tuesday, June 30, 2009

my long-term relationships.

i am lucky enough to still be super close to the girls i was super close with in high school. the adorable korean all the way to the left has been one of my buds since the 4th grade. she just had a baby and got married! the one next to her just got engaged and the one on the other side of me lives in germany. that awesome picture is from our band/colorguard trip to orlando to march in an easter parade our senior year. cool, right? we thought so. another h.s. bff just got back from living and traveling throughout south america for 10 months. and two others live in the city with me and i get to hang out with them often.
despite all of the different paths we've taken, fights we've had, the distance between us - we still manage to be pretty close. thanks to modern day technology we totally take advantage of keeping tabs on one another through lots of gchatting, facebooking, texting and emailing. we see each other when we can and keep each other up to date on important news and everyday happenings. i just spent some time with my friend that just returned from south america and my cheeks hurt from laughing and smiling just like when we were 16. my friend that just had the baby still jokes with me about songs we were obsessed with back in the day. we have all shared some ridiculous memories and are creating new ones everyday.
i think being part of colorguard at our high school has a lot to do with how close we became and still are today. before you put a big 'L' on your forehead, our band and colorguard were pretty damn good. in fact, we won the national championships our junior year. my friends and i spent SO much time together spinning flags, riding buses and performing throughout our high school years...it was impossible not to be close.
the bestie from germany is actually visiting home now! i get to see her tonight and i can't wait!

Friday, June 26, 2009

new year's resolution review.

i only jumped on the new year's resolution band wagon a couple of years ago. one year was to be nicer to the bf (i get really moody) and i followed through. the next year was to start volunteering - did it. this year i'm having a bit more trouble. i made several resolutions and i am failing to follow through.

my 2009 resolutions:
1. do more good (aka keep volunteering, be a good girlfriend/sister/daughter/friend, give back, etc)
2. manage finances better
3. lose a couple of pounds
4. no more gossiping

i have them on a little post-it note on my computer screen. i put them there hoping it would motivate me to actually do them. well, it doesn't seem to be working that way. i've rocked #1 - at least i think i have. i volunteer more than i ever have, with bingo and foster kitties of course and also with various other projects through chicago cares. i try to be supportive friend, helpful daughter and a loving girlfriend. i donate to different causes and non profits when i can. unfortunately the other 3 have just not happened. not even a little bit.

for #2 - my finances are always a huge challenge. when my old roomie moved to san fran i decided to live on my own. boy that was stupid. the bills definitely add up when you don't have anyone to split them with. i also decided to start saving for my future by opening a 403-b. seems smart but it takes $ out of my paycheck that i was using to pay off my student loans and credit card debt. so not smart - stupid. i also like to take a lot of vacations. stupid. and i also like to eat really well in really nice restaurants. stupid. i apparently like to pretend that i make about 10k more than i actually do.

for # 3 - last year was when i decided to get in shape for a trip to jamaica. i worked really hard and lost some weight and gained some muscle. i maintained everything for awhile until i started classes and lost a night of working out to school. i also got sick of depriving myself of some of my favorite things like cheese and dessert. so needless to say i never lost those last few pounds or toned my arms quite how i wanted. at the moment i could care less. i haven't gained any weight so who cares! i think i'll care when it's time to throw on a bathing suit...

#4 - EEK. i CANNOT keep a secret. i love being the first to have some dirt and i also have no self-control when it comes to keeping my mouth shut. literally something will fly out of my mouth with no effort or thought and then i'm sitting there thinking - wow, i'm a piece of crap. i do pretty well staying quiet if someone specifically asks me not to say something or if i know it is very very important that i shut it. however, office gossip and random news i can't help from spreading.

this review was brought on by my freak out over my finances. and i looked at that stupid little post-it on my computer screen and quickly looked away because i feel guilty for not pulling it together 6 months after i set that goal! on the upside my raise kicks in next week so maybe i won't have to feel guilty anymore!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

czech me out!

i should start this post by explaining that i'm obsessed with the czech republic. i studied abroad in prague in 2006 and have gone back once since then. i plan to go with the bf over the holidays this year. my photo on here is from my last visit this fall. i'm addicted. i'm 50% czech (bohemian, if you want to get technical) and 50% irish. my combo of irish and czech makes me the biggest beer lover ever!

anyway, due to this obsession - i randomly look for czech-related activities throughout the chicagoland area. i came across a picnic hosted by the united moravian society in my dad's old hood of brookfield, IL on father's day. perfection! i met him out there yesterday afternoon and it was quite the experience. there was a tent with potato pancakes from klas bohemian restaurant, czech pastries from vesecky's bakery, random grilled items, a beer tent with one of my fav czech beers, a table full of miscellaneous czech items and entertainment. oh and a dunk tank for some reason. it was clear that we were some of the only people there that weren't born in the CZ or Slovakia. we totally stood out. lots of people speaking czech around us, lots of beer drinking and even more unsanitary cooking and food serving. totally felt like i was back in the CZ! some of the highlights - a mean moravian lady yelled at my dad when he went the wrong way in line for the potato pancakes, the czech band only sang american songs like sweet home alabama with heavy czech accents and there were buttons for sale with ridiculous sayings like "don't bounce this czech" or "czech mate."

my dad has never really been around native czechs so it was pretty cool for him to see what it was like. it was a great thing for us to do together on father's day. there is something about czech culture that makes me smile that i can't quite put my finger on. whatever it is, i love it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

i'd rather be skiing.

growing up, i got to spend a lot of time at my late uncle carl's cottage on paw paw lake in watervliet, michigan. my aunt anne and carl would let me bring up a bunch of my best girl friends and let us attempt waterskiing, take jet ski rides and go tubing. i still can't believe how patient carl was - watching 10 year old girl after 10 year old girl fall behind the boat trying to ski. he would give pointers on what to do and would keep pulling us until we wanted to stop. i somehow managed to learn how to ski fairly well with carl's helpful tips and patience. i sort of became obsessed with water sports, boats and the lake. i felt so lucky to be able to spend time up there and to have such a cool aunt and uncle. as i got older i had to work more on the weekends and had less time to spend up there. eventually they decided to sell the cottage. sort of broke my heart.

it rained early this morning and i woke up to that wet, damp smell that reminds me of summer and the cottage. my heart ached to be up at the lake again. skiing. with my uncle. i have a few of those special places and memories that make my heart feel like it's going to burst whenever i think about it. and today it's all about the lake. the silly, neon life jackets i had to wear, the water burns i would get from bouncing on the tube, the wind in my face when we'd go fast on the jetski, my uncle......burst.

the bf and i have a lifetime goal of getting a boat and a lake house. i really hope it happens someday so that our kids and their friends can have all the special memories that i have.

Monday, June 15, 2009


i worked at a doggie boutique my last couple of years of college and still get to help out from time to time. i basically got to play with dogs all the time and help people that loved their pets. i learned a lot about pet care while working there and i also met a lot of wonderful people. one day i answered the phone and spoke to a woman named elyse who was very stressed out about finding a dogsitter she could trust - so i offered myself up for the job. her doggie is named bea and she is a beautiful bernese mountain dog (see above). before dogsitting for the first time - i went over to elyse's lincoln park town home to get a walk through of bea's routine. the town home was UNREAL. 3 levels with a rooftop deck, decked out in unbelievable modern design, walls covered in beautiful art, an in-home movie theatre and so many more amazing features.
i fell in love with bea immediately. she is so hyper and affectionate - we totally have a special connection. she squeals whenever i come near her and she lays next to me like a person when we sleep. elyse is a riot - she is so high energy, eccentric and has the funniest commentary even when i know she doesn't mean to. she is also the most generous person i have ever met. she really takes care of the people that take care of her, her fam and her dog. she pays me WAY too much and always gets me gifts for special occasions like graduation and christmas. even though i have barely spent any time with elyse in person we got to be close via email. she has opened up to me about the struggles with her divorce, bea drama, worries about her daughters and having to move out of her house into a condo. when i studied abroad in '06 she wrote me more emails than my parents did! i know SO much about her and her pooch. and i love it. she's sort of like having a rich, eccentric aunt.
when she was getting ready to move she offered to give me a ton of furniture and art that she didn't want to move into the condo. all for free. i was flabbergasted. i knew she was generous but this was ridiculous. she gave away her baby grand piano which the bfs roommate took. gave me 1 leather love seat, 1 couch, 4 chairs, a headboard for my bed, an ottoman, an onion vase, 2 end tables, a lamp, a giant mirror, a flat screen tv, an exercise bike, 4 prints and 5 paintings. i only had to pay for movers. ridiculous. she furnished my apartment! i recently had the opportunity to watch bea a couple of times in the new condo. the condo is absolutely gorgeous. it's in a great location in the gold coast in a beautiful old building. it has huge cathedral ceilings, dark wood floors, a fire place and a view. it is so beautiful. i hope i can watch bea again soon!
i'm so unbelievably lucky to have elyse and bea in my life. i have so many great memories and amazing treasures all because i was the one to pick up the phone at work one day. i'm so lucky!

Friday, June 12, 2009

gerbil update and weekly highlights

ok, so good news! heffer is a tad better. unfortunately he lost his little toenail due to the injury but the swelling has gone down and he's running around and climbing normally. he seems to be his happy little self again. i hope it keeps getting better!

so even though i had the gerbil trauma - this was still a VERY good week!

SATURDAY & SUNDAY: had the perfect weekend as mentioned in a previous post
MONDAY: found out one of my bffs is ENGAGED!!! i'm SO excited for her and her fiance! i can't wait to be part of their special day.
TUESDAY: had a great workout before gerbil trauma
WEDNESDAY: finished my final so i'm done with school till autumn, got a raise and had a romantic dinner with the bf at our FAV mexican joint
THURSDAY: hung out with the bride to be to gab about her upcoming nuptials over dinner
FRIDAY: my friend is in from NYC this weekend and i haven't seen her in about a year!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

my other furry friends.

i have a pet gerbil named hef. the picture above is of my old gerbil, ralph. he passed away about a year ago. i started this gerbil kick in college because i wanted a low maintenance pet. ralph was fantastic and full of personality but hef is WAY more cute. everything he does is freaking adorable. the way he sleeps, eats and the way he closes his eyes when he's smelling things....all super adorable. it's great to have such an easy and inexpensive pet that can entertain me so easily. he definitely makes life more enjoyable!

last night i came home and hef had gotten his foot caught in part of his cage. it was horrifying. he could have been like that for awhile and he was thrashing around so much he made it so much worse. now his foot is all mangled and swollen. ralph had injuries that he recovered from but this is SO much worse. i had/have the option of taking him to an "exotic animal" vet to have them do an xray and splint his foot but i decided that would stress him out more as they would need to restrain and sedate him. he's been running around and playing as normal. but he has avoided putting pressure on that foot. i really hope the swelling goes down and that he is not in severe pain.

this situation makes me feel like a mama. i don't like it. all i can think about is my little bud and i feel sick to my stomach thinking about him being in pain. i don't think i could handle a real life child considering how worked up i'm getting over a rodent that has a 3-6 year life expectancy.

keep my heffer in your thoughts!

Monday, June 8, 2009

perfect weekend.

i had a great weekend. it was the perfect combination of boyfriend time, friend time, chicago time and me time. after work on friday i had time for a nap before heading out which always makes life better. then the bf had a show which was also a going away party for our friends that are moving to NYC. the show was at the hideout which is totally in the middle of nowhere but they had a great beer garden. the bfs family was there and it was great to catch up with them as always.

on saturday i went to the green city market which has been on my to do list for about a year. it was fantastic. they connect local farmers/vendors with local restaurants and have a lot of natural and organic foods. i got a delic chunk of cheddar, kolachkis and some apple cider cinnamon sugar donut bites. YUM. i then walked over to the lincoln park zoo and checked out my fav animals - the penguins and ofcourse the pigmy hippo who was taking a nap. afterwards i walked to molly's cupcakes which has also been on my to do list for some time. i got a peanut butter nutella cupcake = life changing. i finally made my way home to take a short nap, cook a healthy dinner and do some studying for my upcoming final. then i went to DOC wine bar to meet up with some of my favorite ladies. i had a great time swapping stories and catching up over some delicious wine. love my bffs.

on sunday morning i had to work an event briefly but got out a perfect time to enjoy brunch with my babe. we went to an uncommon ground in my hood. bf got chilaquiles and i got a delicious cheesy roast beef sandwich. later in the day we went to the metronome fest in logan square to see our NYC bound friends off one last time while checking out ezra furman and the harpoons who our friend plays with. i'm trying to hit up at least one street fest each weekend this summer. this weekend - rib fest and and wells street art fair.

i got 3 naps in over the whole weekend, ate an absurd amount of delicious food and spent time with a bunch of my favorite people and even squeezed in some hours to myself. i love weekends like this.

Friday, June 5, 2009

weekly highlights

sunday: went to do division fest and ate yummie food, drank my fav czech beer and saw a great band
monday: bingo, duh.
tuesday: celebrated my old roomies' bday at a great bar and enjoyed cheap brews
wednesday: got my freaking group project over with!
thursday: best day ever. took a half day, did a site visit for an upcoming event and the space is stunning - can't wait!, got my free chiropractic treatment, went to the burbs for a haircut and some quality time with the rents AND was chosen as the leader spotlight for the org i volunteer with in their june newsletter!
friday: it being the start of the weekend is a highlight in itself!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

furry friends.

(kitties L - R: larue, travis, winston, maude)
this fall the band the bf was playing with went on tour throughout the UK for like 6 weeks. because i'm used to have him around ALL the time i decided i needed a project to keep my mind off missing him. i had always wanted to foster cats and since the bf is allergic the timing was perfect. i got involved with PAWS Chicago, pawschicago.org. the first one i got was winston. a teeny tiny Siamese mix that loved to knead on everyone's chest and head. he got really sick on the 2nd day i had him and my friend had to drive us to the emergency vet for some meds. i was SO stressed about the well-being of this kitty. luckily they got him some meds and we were on our way. unluckily, he hated getting the meds and punished me by pooping all over my apartment. some of the more unfortunate places included my bed and on my obama newspapers. i was happy to give that one the boot. i was not done yet. i still had a month without the bf and decided to try a different cat. i got travis. a HUGE cat that had been stuck in the intake center for months because of an eye problem, mouth infection and ring worm. they were just waiting on one last clearance before he could be sent to the adoption center so they sent him with me for some tlc. travis immediately knocked winston out of the water because he knew how to use his liter box. he was a great cat and good companion to have in my last weeks without my man. he greeted me at the door and cuddled up with me nicely when i slept. i sobbed hysterically when i had to give him back. i still miss him a lot. and he will always be my favorite.
my bf returned but i still had the urge to help more cats and somehow i convinced my man that we should foster another kitty. we got larue. larue was incredibly sickly - barely alive they informed me. underweight, low body temp and with a cold. it was pathetic. larue had to wear a little sweater and lay on hot water bag to stay warm. we had to hold the food up to his little face to get him to eat. he would sleep on my chest all night, under the covers to stay warm. he sat in the bathroom while i showered to help drain his little nose. then all of a sudden he became a total playful kitten. he got energy, gained weight and became noisy and rambunctious. the bf loved playing with him but was definitely pretty allergic. we had larue FOREVER because his little cold wouldn't go away. eventually he went back after we "brought him back to life" and my apartment was at peace again. then i got the urge again recently and we got maude. a beautiful long hair cat that had just had a liter of kittens and needed some alone time. she was beautiful and loved to get belly rubs. too bad she was in heat and screamed all night.

all of my fosters have been totally different and special in their own way. each of them drove me nuts in a different way. i honestly think i would have gone crazy without the first 2 to keep me busy while the bf was on tour. and the last 2 are special because the bf and i did it together. i know i shouldn't have a cat for keeps with my busy schedule and the bf's allergies so this is a great way to fill my furry friend need in spurts and an excellent way to help out animals in need. i'm actually ready to get another one now...get ready babe.