Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Holidays Keep Me Busy

Well, it’s been that kind of holiday season and I’ve been busy doing all sorts of “real life” things that keep me away from my blog, such as:

-making lots of truffles that I could not eat alone
-buying and wrapping and also unwrapping gifts
-watching some opera at the opera (Porgy and Bess at the Lyric)
-watching some ballet on the TV (Nutcracker on PBS)
-breaking a car’s door
-subsequently crawling through the passenger side and over the console in order to drive said car
-driving to and from Ohio
-getting lots of cat hair on my clothing
-attending the somethingth annual G. family Christmas mass held both at the Vatican and on our living room TV
-seeing friends for half-hour periods
-searching in vain for a don pablos
-celebrating my mom’s birthday
-traveling to Kentucky (kind of)
-saving my boss five hundred bucks
-planning a New Year’s Eve party
-subsequently canceling said party due to winning a night to a hotel party downtown and room at said hotel

For now, I’m off to that hotel to check in and hopefully get ready for a fun evening. Happy New Year’s to you all!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Just another day in Chicago

Where snow and ice immobilize the city, da mayor sings rather than salts or plows, our governor is about to be impeached, rats and rodents make the top of the page, and children are allowed to lick fire hydrants in the suburbs. Yup. Seems about right.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Another Year

So today is my 24th birthday. (There, I dated myself. I may be younger or older than you thought, who knows.)

What I realized is especially great about your 24th birthday is that there are 24 hours in the day to celebrate turning 24. Of course, I realized this at 12:55 AM last night, so I had kind of a late start and didn't really have any concrete ideas of what to do with my discovery. John and I briefly toyed with the idea that I should take a picture of myself every hour of my 24th birthday, but I wanted to sleep well, so that idea was scrapped.

Instead, I've been thinking each hour about when I turned the age of the hour's number and what stands out most to me about that year in my life. Like at 9 AM I remembered how at age 9, I had my Niner Diner Birthday Party, sock hop and all. At 1 PM, (13:00 military time) I recalled the irony of being in a car accident on my 13th birthday, almost to the exact moment I was born (7:26 CDT, if you're keeping score at home.). I'm about to hit the 4 o'clock hour, which would be age 16. Immediately jumping to mind is the watercolor painting I was given in a park for my birthday, the mono I caught that year and then recovered from (only to be bogged down by scarlet fever a few days later), and the end of an era as 9/11 and other events changed my life forever.

Anyway, it's been an interesting experiment so far--a kind of This is Your Life, Brought to You By Yourself. And hopefully by the end of the night tonight, I'll have a fresh story for the start of age 24. :)

PICTURED: Post-birthday party, age 4, picking up boys and being awesome.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

I'm Dreaming of a Long-Haired, Head-Banging, Synth-Fueled Christmas

How do I know it’s the holidays? Because last night, on local PBS station WTTW’s fantastic phoneathon primetime feature, I had the pleasure of watching a good 20 minutes of The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, starring the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and featuring Jewel. Yes, Jewel. You may remember her incredibly mediocre poetry or perhaps her hands? (They are small, she knows. But they are not yours, they are her own.)

I searched in vain for an embeddable version of the opening scene where a runaway finds refuge in some theatre and some guy who apparently is a ghost makes the Trans-Siberian Orchestra come to life, but alas and alack, I can only link to it. I highly recommend you watch.

Please note: Just because I am linking to the TSO does not mean they have surpassed my deep, undying love for Mannheim Steamroller. See: A Very Merry Fresh Aire Christmas, for proof.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Keeping in Mind

You know how some memories from your childhood live so vividly in your mind, but with absolutely no context? Like you’re looking through a kaleidoscope with bright shapes, colors and memories bouncing about, surrounded by blackness? Fortunately, we can peer back in whenever we like and relive this moment again and again.

One of the stronger moments I have like that (again, with absolutely no context of year or age, I was maybe six or so) is of running around in my backyard. It was summer, the light fading into sherbet-colored pastels and I was jumping over my mom’s lavender hedge waiting for the fireflies to come out and play.

I had asked someone (my parents, maybe) to come run and chase me. Whoever it was said they would in a minute, but they were a little bit tired. We had just eaten dinner, too. There was time needed, as adults say, to let their dinners settle and relax.

I could not, for the life of me, understand this. The night was especially warm and there was running that absolutely, positively needed to be done. Didn’t they know how important this running was, how fun it was, or how great it felt? I satisfied myself with tearing around the lavender hedge again, totally content. And then I realized that one day I’d grow up too, and I’d be sitting at the table with a cup of coffee in my hand and tell someone like me, “In a minute. I’m a little bit tired. I’ve just eaten dinner. I just need to let my food settle and relax.”

It seems a little contrived and ridiculous that I’d have this revelation while in mid-jump over flowers on a summer evening of my childhood, but that’s how it happened. And I filed the moment away in my memory, somewhere between Bittersweet Moments and Unadulterated Joy.

It’s tough when you’re an adult to have these moments of Unadulterated Joy. You might even argue that the word “UN-ADULTerated” strictly forbids you from them. We’re all too much aware of the world around us to really sink into the bliss of the moment and bask in it. So when they do come along, and we truly enjoy them, they’re even more precious.

Like when over Thanksgiving leftovers, you accidentally teach your 2 ½-year old cousin that hippos make the sound “RAWR,” and she spends a good part of fifteen minutes pressing a tiny plastic hippo against your nose and rawring her little heart out.

Or when for no good reason other exhaustion, the thought of vomiting in front of a quaint Nordic pie shop in Wisconsin makes you giggle so hard that your eyes water from trying to keep from bursting at the seams.

Or even when while rinsing with mouthwash alone in your bathroom, your “vigorous swishing” gets a little too vigorous and you inadvertently squirt peppermint mouthwash out of the corner of your mouth, dowsing your mirror and wall with a hefty portion of the blue liquid and leaving you struggling to control your amusement until you give up and spit the rest out in a blast of side-splitting laughs.

I’ve been lucky to have quite a few of these total joy moments in the last few weeks. They may or may not survive in my memory in a context, and they very well may end up in that bright kaleidoscope where I think, "Remember that time..." But they’re little blessings—unplanned, unexpected and, most of all, unadulterated.