Decorating my Dream House

My new Crate & Barrel catalog came in the mail this week. I could have gotten a pony and I wouldn't have been happier.

While I rarely buy anything from it (except for presents and small kitchen gadgets), I LOVE flipping through every page. I imagine what my future home will look like and what I would buy for it. I even circle everything I want. (This decoration game assumes that I have an endless amount of money and my dream home, of course. What kind of a game would it be otherwise?)

I do this endlessly. When I'm done with the catalog, I put it away and forget about it for a while. Then, a couple weeks or months later, I take it back out and do it all over again. My taste in decor rearely changes, but it's fun nonetheless.


Shopping is Tough

It's my best friend's birthday this Saturday. I've been shopping for her gift for a while now and, although I'm finding a ton of things she would like, I can't find something special enough to say how much she means to me.

We've been best friends for 12 years and, for my age, that is a significant amount of time. We used to talk about being partners in class and now we talk about being maids of honor. Though many things have changed with time, our friendship has been one of the the most consistent, strongest parts of my life. And there's the problem, how do I buy something that shows that??


I Refer to My Teams as 'We'

I often get made fun of for my sports superstitions.

If I turn on the Packer game and Aaron Rodgers throws an interception, I turn it off immediately. He was doing better before I started watching. That was probably the reason for the interception.

If I put on my hoodie and Carlos Zambrano gives up a home run, the sweatshirt comes off immediately, I don't care how cold it is.

I wore my Blackhawks shirt the first two games of the series against Calgary and they won. I forgot to wear it for the next two games and they lost them. I remembered it for the next two games; they won. Both.

I know it sounds weird, but I am convinced that I can affect the outcomes of games.

Six Strings and Sports

I just found out that one of my favorite athletes plays the guitar. WOW. For me, playing sports and playing guitar are two of the most attractive hobbies a man can have.

Ever wonder why women seem to be so attracted to guitar players? (I can tell you it's not a bad boy thing.) I don't know why, but I am... and I am definitely not alone.

Can't Stop Singing It

Do you ever get a song stuck in your head for days at a time? I've had ZZTops 'Sharp Dressed Man' stuck in my head for weeks.

Usually when I have a song stuck in my head, there's no reason for it whatsoever. At least with this song, I know it's from watching too much hockey. (Whenever forward Patrick Sharp scores, they play the song.)

I don't understand how it happens usually though. Why would a song that I haven't heard in a long time suddenly take over my mind during consciousness? I once had a song from Little Mermaid in my head... and I hadn't seen the movie in years! No idea where that came from.

I'm going to listen to the most sing-a-long-worthy songs until I get those bearded men out of my head.


180 Degree Tour of U.S. Cellular

I created a photosynth of U.S. Cellular with pictures I took Friday night. I think it turned out kind of neat.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

I went to a baseball game Friday night with friends. While I’m not a fan of either team, I still had a great time. It’s a baseball game, how could you not have a great time?! I think baseball has to be one of the best parts of summer. Nothing else matters when you’re at a baseball game.

I am a huge Cubs fan, but unfortunately, Cubs tickets can be hard to come by now-a-days, so I often find myself at Miller Park watching the Brewers play. (On great days, I get to see them play the Cubs, too.) I really like Miller Park, it is definitely fan friendly. I’ve watched games from almost every section of the stadium and I can honestly say there isn’t a bad seat in the place.

But the best part about Miller Park- hands down- is the expansive parking lot filled with smoking grills, flying bean bags, food-covered folding tables, packed coolers and baseball fans having a good time.

We didn’t get to tailgate at U.S. Cellular on Friday night; I don’t think it’s really that kind of a park, too bad for Sox fans. I know tailgating isn’t the most important part of the game, but it’s fun.


No More Hildy

I sat in on a meeting yesterday about 'disruptive innovation' and the changing news media. It made me sad.

I understand that newspapers are fading, online journalism is exploding and my only choice is to adapt or be left behind, but it still makes me sad. I grew up thinking that all journalists were like Hildy Johnson in 'His Girl Friday,' brass, bold and dogged in the pursuit of stories.

I suppose they still are, let's hope that never changes, but story presentation certainly has.


Photos of a Beautiful Bride

I found this photo essay by Romain Blanquart on the Cup of Jo blog. I thought it was so amazing that everyone should see it. Go to the site for the complete essay.

Happy Earth Day

I think Chicago decided to honor Earth Day with beautiful weather.

While I am the first to admit that I am not particularly an outdoorsy person, I decided a while ago that I would try to be more "green." I don't drive, I take public transportation or carpool whenever I can; I recycle at home and if I'm in public with no recycle bin, I bring the bottle home; I take reusable bags to all stores with me... I know these sound like little efforts but I think it really will make a difference.

I even recently bought a new laptop that is Energy Star certified. When I have my own home, I will definitely make sure all of my appliances also have the Energy Star label. Green is my favorite color, I might as well "Go Green" too.


Stuck in the Middle

I just read a blog post on the Glamour site: "Did You Ever Wonder If Your Parents Had a Secret Favorite?" It made me think. Overall, my parents did a great job making my two sisters and I just as loved as the other ones.

But growing up, I think my sisters (one older, one younger) got more attention than I did. I blame the fact that I was always the responsible, quiet one that always did well in school and never got in trouble.

I'm glad that I am more independent than my sisters but it's sad that it seemed like I had to get in trouble to get more attention. Birth order is supposed to say a lot about the person you are. My old roommate wrote a report in college on birth order and the middle of three girls is supposed to be the hardest.



I've been reading CraigsList a lot lately. No reason really. Don't you wish you could just fill out Wanted Ad for everything in life?

WANTED A fantastic career as an interactive web producer for a major metropolitan newspaper, preferably in a warm climate.

WANTED A nice boyfriend. Tall. Dark. Handsome.


I Heart My Big Family

I have a big family. A very big family. I love it.

On my mom's side, I have 9 aunts and uncles and 11 cousins; on my dad's side, I have one uncle; on my stepdad's side, I have 15 aunts and uncles and 23 cousins; and I'm pretty close with all of my parents' cousins and their kids. Like I said, LARGE family.

I think having a big family is great, I always had someone to play with growing up. Some of my best memories are of playing kickball or hanging out at family parties. I grew up with some of my cousins as my best friends, and some still are.

The only bad part about a big family is how hard it can be to keep up with everyone, especially since I have family on both coasts and everywhere in between. But I'd rather spend hours on the phone and sending emails than have a small family.


Easter Eggs and Family Parties

I had a great Easter weekend with family, it was great to get almost everyone together. I have such a big family that can get tough.

I brought my new camera to take pictures of family. My favorite photo is of my cousin Maxwell playing with binoculars outside.


Charming Titles

I love how eloquent it sounds when you refer to people by title... Mr., Miss, Ms., Mrs. Do you have to be a teacher to do that?

I think I'm going to start doing that on a daily basis.

Le Vin Rouge

I’ve been listening to French music lately when I write. I really enjoy it, I feel that it makes ideas flow more, but it makes me crave a glass of wine. I started drinking wine about a year ago. So far I’ve mostly stuck with White Zinfandels or Pinot Noirs but I recently tried a couple Merlots and a Cabernet Sauvignons that I really like. Wine also makes me feel more sophisticated, don’t hate that.

{photo via Flickr Arlo Bates}


Baseball Season's Underway...

... Well you better get ready for a brand new day. Hey, Chicago, what do you say?? The Cubs are gonna win today!

Baseball has to be my favorite sport ever, and the Cubs my favorite team. I always get antsy for the season to start and so excited when it finally does. I just don't think that there are many things that can top baseball in the summer.

Go, Cubs Go!


A Memory

We probably should have brought Charlie to the doctor, but my aunt, being the head nurse at an emergency room in Kenosha, decided there was not enough blood to cause much concern. There never was.

Somewhere in her thirty years at the hospital she lost compassion for minor injuries.

Looking back, I’m pretty sure if they were third-degree burns, we would have taken him to the doctor.

Family vacations on Washington Island revolved around fireworks. We would relax until it was time to light fireworks, then after the fireworks we’d sit back and relax until it was time to light them again.

From sparklers and bottle rockets, to fountains and Roman Candles, to large rockets and mortars; we lit them all.

People from across the small island would come to Jackson Harbor to watch our fireworks displays, eliciting more excitement than the island’s civic show.

Every year was different. Some of our shows were brighter, some more colorful, some more exciting, and some more dangerous.

The darkness settled around us, our reflections no longer visible on the lake. It was time. This is what I waited impatiently for all year.

The fuse fizzled and ignited the fireworks sending sparks upward, creating an echoing boom as the mortar exploded like nearby thunder following colorful lightening.

Charlie grinned at the crowds approving cheers.

As the cinders and ash faded and drifted to the ground, Charlie leapt to the makeshift altar of rocks to light his prized piece, which was to be the climax of the night. A mammoth firework eight inches in diameter, ten inches in height, wrapped in colorful paper with a dozen connecting fuses that could be felt through the tissue-like paper.

He almost needed help carrying the explosive to the rocks, its weight rivaling that of a small child, a sign that it would not disappoint.

“Hey, the fuse on your big fancy firework went out. What a dud,” snidely remarked Andy, Charlie’s slightly younger sibling, brotherly rivalry making yet another appearance.

“So what, I’ll just relight it,” Charlie answered.

The screams from his throat were almost as explosive as the sparks shooting from the enormous mortar on the beach.

The fuse hadn’t gone out. It erupted as Charlie stepped closer to investigate and showered his arms with beautifully colored glowing embers. Which, by the sound of Charlie’s piercing screams, were much more painful than beautiful.

“Oh come over here, let me look at that,” said my Auntie Dee, or Auntie Sparkles as my younger sister called her due to her love of fireworks. I think I’m related to pyromaniacs, but that’s fine by me.

“Oh, that doesn’t seem very serious to me,” she assessed with less concern as a mother than a trained nurse.

“It hurts, it hurts,” said Charlie as he waved his arm in the air as though hoping the pain would fly away with the ash.

“Put some ice on it and sit down, it will be fine. I’ve seen much worse,” said Auntie Dee.

“Well,” said my Uncle Mike sarcastically. “In thirty years in an emergency room, you’re bound to see something worse.” True, which is probably why anything less than bone jutting through torn flesh was considered a “minor accident” to my aunt.

Auntie Dee bandaged his arm with the meticulousness of a baker decorating a wedding cake and sat back down to watch the rest of the fireworks display.

Charlie reluctantly grabbed a cold pop, rested it on his bandaged arm and sat down on a bench, a little farther from the fireworks than the rest of us. His nervousness showing through the smile he managed to fake as we questioned his condition.

We all knew he was done with lighting fireworks, at least for the night.


My Kind of Fashion

I was just looking at Vogue.com's latest '10 Best Dressed' for the week and I disagree with most of the choices, as usual. I don't know if I have a terrible sense of fashion or what, but most of the dresses strutting down the red carpet I wouldn't wear around my house.

Here are some of the ladies on my best-dressed list (ball gowns or sweats): Reese Witherspoon, Mandy Moore, Diane Keaton, Zoey Deschanel, Carrie Underwood and Anne Hathaway.

Most of these ladies have a very classy, yet funky style that I love AND suprise, suprise... these are all women that I really like too.
photo via people.com
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