Thursday, December 31, 2009

should old acquaintance be forgot

2009 is in its last few hours... this year has been rough. but it certainly has been a year of growth. here are the significant memories that time (and photo uploads) will allow.

the new year began at the cook's house!
our good friends from college, where we will also be spending new year's eve this year :)

we actually spent a lot of time on weekends hanging out with
tammi, chad, and their two kids: hannah & zeke.

betsy came to visit - several times, in fact!

i did a lot of cooking in our nice but tiny apartment.

chris & i went to see wicked. it was an incredible production!

we moved into a new apartment with a living room, dining room, and two bedrooms!

we celebrated our 3 year anniversary at sola this year. yummy yummy.

jen graduated!

chris threw me a birthday party. here are the ladies :)

chris & i took a biking adventure weekend in wisconsin.

dad ran the marathon!

we took a road trip to visit leslie!

we took a day trip to st. joseph, michigan.

i wore lots of vests...

my grandfather died in october.
here's a photo of all of the grandchildren, spouses, fiances, and great-grandchildren.

we hosted thanksgiving at our apartment this year. the turkey was fabulous!

our new addition! added in november, our puppy, lennon.

lots of sister time was had in 2009!

here's to 2010, which will surely bring its share of trials and joy.
i look forward to beginning fresh again with the promise of new goals, hopes, and fulfilling dreams.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

it's coming on christmas

i've always loved christmastime: lights, great food, and gift-giving. it's such a great season! this year i waited until the absolute last minute to pick out gifts, but i think my family & friends will love their presents (at least i hope they do!). i handmade christmas cards again this year, and my hubby contributed by assisting with the design & adding snowflakes to each one :) so cute. i also made winter bark & peppermint-chocolate cookies to give as gifts. i purchased star tins at target, and printed labels to attach to each tin, lined them with parchment paper, and tucked the goodies inside.

[this is a terrible photo, but you get the idea]

both were really easy to make:
peppermint-chocolate cookies and winter bark.

i finished the semester with a 4.0! i am ecstatic! i balanced 3 classes, tons of homework, three days at my internship, and 30 hours of work, not to mention my personal life... i'm so thankful for my family & my hubby for supporting me throughout the semester.
one more semester to go!

Friday, November 27, 2009

nothing to do, nowhere to be

it was our first thanksgiving hosting family at our apartment!a few years ago, my sister visited with us for thanksgiving, and instead of a turkey i made lasagna: that doesn't count. this year, i was responsible for cooking the turkey; i scoured my favorite recipes for the perfect turkey. alas: martha stewart living november 2007 delivered! i got a full turkey from trader joe's (they had a very helpful sales
associate assisting people with selecting the right pounds for the amount of people). gagging slightly, i removed the neck & the gizzards from the inside of the turkey, brined it for 24 hours, and then roasted it basting twice an hour. it turned out absolutely perfect! it did not dry out, and it was perfectly well done.
i also was in charge of the cranberry sauce and green beans. both of which were a breeze. as i was cooking (and making quite a mess) i acquired a pile of empty tin cans. so what did i do with them?
i re-purposed them to make place cards/vases. here are some photos of the table, the turkey, and the family.

(mom congratulating me on a job well done)

(getting ready to carve)

(we actually referenced how to cook everything to figure out the correct way to carve)


(place settings)

(i loved these flowers, so festive)

all in all: i am so thankful for life, for family, and for love.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

everybody says time heals everything

the last two weeks have been insane.
nothing like some live music to make it better.
i've been to two amazing shows!

ray lamontagne (solo)

(imogen heap)

both were incredible performers. neither of them needed
studio enhancements to sound like perfection. just their voices.
also, imogen is really innovative with her performance style:
adding ambient effects & really sweet set design to add to the artistic experience.
ray is very awkward, but clearly a brilliant singer/songwriter.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


today we drove to meet the breeder to
pick up the newest member of our family!
the whole trip ended up being close to 6 hours,
but it was totally worth it.
lennon curled up on my lap, and didn't budge
for the 3 hour trek back to the city.

a few photos:

now let the "parenting" begin...

Thursday, November 05, 2009


today was my grandfather's funeral. i am the eldest grandchild, so i was chosen to give "a granddaughter's tribute". it was probably the most difficult thing i've ever had to do. but i made it through. sharing meaningful memories to represent all of the grandchildren wasn't easy.
my grandfather was a man who loved his family: his wife, his children, their children, and his great grandchildren very much. a man who would wake up before the rest of the household and make buttered toast and hot chocolate with mini-marshmallows for the grandchildren. he taught us that the red wings were the only hockey team worth rooting for, diet coke was the only acceptable soft drink beverage, and that chocolate could cure any heartache. he'd dress up as chief woki-konza and teach us about native american culture and convinced us that we were part native (which is completely false). he wore the best smelling cologne, and when we parted after hugs, the scent was with us. he told us stories of the war, of adventures of the sea. he had a sword collection that we weren't allowed to touch without permission. his favorite music genre was german polka. he collected coins & obscure turquoise jewelry. my memories are vivid; i know that they will fade.
grief is a strange thing, patterned in waves of emotion that overwhelm and comfort.
i miss my grandfather. i miss the sound of his voice and his laugh and his smile.

Monday, November 02, 2009

dream dog

so for the past year chris & i have been talking about getting a puppy. we finally moved in to a place that allows dogs, and we just got the approval of our building manager to get one. for the last few months we've been doing extensive research on temperaments, breeding, pedigree, etc. we figure if we're going to have this dog for 10-12 years, we want to know that it's going to be the best breed for us. well, we finally decided on...a wheaten terrier. we both cannot stand having a shedding pet. wheatens are considered to be one of the best for allergies & dander control.
we've started talking to breeders, and will hopefully be adding to our family in the next couple of months.

to tide me over, i'm obsessed with scouring google for cute wheaten photos. here are my favorite images:

(the babies)

(the adults)

Sunday, November 01, 2009


people experience loss every day. i'm always losing my keys. usually they turn up in a couple of minutes at the bottom of the bag that i forgot i put them in. i can handle this.
loss of relationship, of people, of expectations, those are a lot more difficult for me to face. throw a combination of two of them into a 5 day frame, and you get one brutal week (and one emotionally exhausted pilar).
my grandfather died on saturday. he was an important part of my family: practically living with us for the past 7 years. i'm still in shock that i will never see him on this earth again. i know that he's no longer in pain, that he left his earth feeling loved. i've got 26 years of hilarious memories to lean on, and i find comfort in this.
i also experienced the loss of a relationship this week; a loss that i can't explain, that is out of my control. it involved a violation of trust, an intrusion into a very intimate part of my life. this loss leaves me feeling so disillusioned.

this week has also been filled with so much love and support from my closest friends and family. despite so much animosity, i am blessed to know that i am loved.

Thursday, October 01, 2009


autumn is here in chicago. it's brisk and lovely! the leaves are turning and there is a crisp scent in the air. i love this season. autumn and summer are my two favorite seasons. if the weather consisted only of two seasons, i would be content with these two. well, you get the point. i love autumn, and even more: i've always loved october in chicago.

this season brings with it some incredible
food: apples, squash, pumpkins, and one of my most favorite things to make from scratch: chili
events: the chicago marathon. my dad is running again this year, and i'm so thrilled to be able to be here to support him
activities: apple picking

i'm well into my internship, classes, and work schedule now. i'm starting to feel the exhaustion from being pulled in so many different directions. i am so thankful for my family and my hubby who are so helpful in keeping me sane. and as much as i feel behind on the "starting a family" front, i am thankful that we're not there yet. i've started a little research about phd programs, but i'm pretty sure i don't want it to be in social work. because i want to be a professor, i'm thinking education. but i can't get ahead of myself. first, i've got to get my msw.

it's the here & now that i need to worry about...right?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


exciting things are happening in my world...

i'm officially an intern...again. my placement is at children's memorial hospital - which is ranked as the #1 children's hospital in illinois. they have a top-notch graduate student internship program for social work. i'm in a cohort of four students (all women, naturally) that were accepted into the program. i know that they interviewed a lot of students, so i feel really honored to have been selected.

my first week has been packed with informational meetings, orientations, hospital tours, and meeting a ton of people whose names i won't remember.'s going to be a great year. my field supervisor is really cool. i'm assigned to the NICU service - neonatal intensive care unit (think really really tiny babies that have been born pre-term).

yesterday we had a welcome breakfast & met a lot of the social workers for the inpatient & outpatient units. everyone is so nice; they genuinely make interns feel like part of the team.

i want to work there already. seriously.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


this past year i've been on a path of "health" discovery. learning the best way to take care of my body: to let my body heal itself & build strength.

since march i've lightened my body by twenty pounds. (i realize that in the world of nutrition, training, and weight loss this isn't an incredible amount of body fat loss. but for me it's a significant milestone!) for the first time i feel empowered to change my body and my lifestyle. and i've discovered a few things...
there's no magical potion for weight loss.
there is no cure for self confidence.
you can work really hard at both and feel like you're making no progress. at all.
but in the end: your body begins to show subtle changes (a loose pant here, a compliment there), your habits change (no processed foods for me, please), and you realize that it really is worth all of the injury, sweat, and tears.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


each year growing up, my parents took us on a "family vacation". mostly visiting family & friends in various places across the united states. there was generally a theme. the "east coast" vacation to cape cod via pennsylvania's amish country; the "capital" vacation to washington d.c. and new york city, ellis island, statue of liberty; the "southern" vacation to arkansas via kentucky, tennessee, missouri; the "western" trip to estes park, denver, and then north to the dakotas to see the corn palace. a "florida" vacation to relax during spring break, and the ultimate finale while i was in college: a christmas cruise that included touring the mayan ruins in mexico, rafting a river in jamaica, and swimming with stingrays. if anything, my parents wanted to show us that the world is so much bigger than it feels.

even though i complained about everything..."we're not flying, we're going to drive?!?!", "i don't want to eat lobster in maine, i hate lobster", "if i have to listen to garrison keiller one more time...", there was this excitement about visiting a new place, seeing different parts of the country, wondering if i'd want to live there someday. it was thrilling. it sparked a desire in me to want to experience life in different places.

during college i visited australia: swam in the great barrier reef, froze in the outback, and discovered the slower pace of life. in africa: saw poverty and the unequal distribution of wealth. in central america: tried to surf for the first (and only) time in my life, ate mangoes, and toured the panama canal.

the smells & sounds & sights are further away now. sometimes i forget to remember them.

Monday, August 17, 2009

on the route

i've always thought my twenties would be the years of self discovery. i would figure out what i wanted to do with my life (career), where i want to live, who i want to live with, generally discovering personalities that i can and cannot tolerate. i would fall in love, get married, launch an incredible career, and travel. maybe towards the end of that decade of life i'd start having children.

well, i'm twenty six now, and i can't say that i feel any closer to figuring myself out than i was six years ago. there are some things of course: i love living in a big city; i love my amazing husband; i want to finish my masters' before i'm thirty.

the last few years i've found myself on a continued path of self-discovery. like the "me" of my early twenties was just a copy of the people that i was living/studying/living with at the time. on my own, it's time to figure out who i really am. it's time to fall in love with myself, the inexplicable quirks & vices.

i heard someone describing the life process within the context of personal style & fashion: young women in their twenties are discovering the colors, textures, patterns, and fits that work (and don't work). they decide what trends they want to follow or dismiss. by the time the thirties roll around, they have discovered their sense of style has evolved into their outward expression of self.

now back to my twenty-something self i say: get your ass into the fitting room & start trying on some clothes.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


here's to a new blog.

first, i've got to get this thing figured out...