stringing thoughts into one.

You guys, it’s tough to keep it all together this summer but it’s only because it’s full of so many activities, all of which are a Pretty Good Time.

Currently, my main objective is keeping Boo from being one huge bruise (spoiler alert: I’m failing, he just tripped over a truck into a table) and wondering what it says about my parenting skills if I send him to daycare with coffee stains on his shirt (he likes a sip of black coffee: it’s adorable, and also, it can’t be worse than soda or kool-aid).

Aside from that, JW and I are finishing up The Good Wife, Frankie & Grace, and I’ve accumulated a small library on my nightstand.

After reading approximately 1000 books on various wars, I’ve decided to take a quick break so that I stop crying on the train in the morning.

It’s not a good look, chickadees.

Up this weekend: farm marketing it, especially after JW has cleared up the matter of whether or not he likes rainbow chard, and hitting up All the Festivals, because that’s the time of the year it is.

And with that, I’m off to explain to my toddler why it’s important to wash your face and also why he doesn’t need to assist me in completing my morning blog entry.

Enjoy the sunshine if you’ve got it, chickens!

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Filed under Chicago, Good times

reading into it.

Ok, so it looks like I’m not getting that much better about making time for this little corner of my world, but you guys, I do the best I can.

Luckily, I get a new shot at it every day, and so today, I win.

I’m blogging over at GMS today (about pork chops, so please, check it out- they’re delicious).

Other things I need to talk to you about:

I’m on a big fat reading streak right now, and I love it. Did you guys ever join the library summer reading clubs (says the girl who last week admitted to her coworkers that she once attended math camp. Let’s talk about that another time, though.)?

I did, obviously, until I was too old and they likely kicked me out, but I loved nothing more than the paper cut outs with my book count that were taped to the walls of the library.

So this summer, since Theo’s over one, and so I’m feeling like a normal human again (I am warning you chickens, you are crazy the first year of your child’s life, and I mean that in the best possible way), I’m picking up SO MANY BOOKS and I’m loving every second. It feels nostalgic, and so I’m sharing with all of you. Here’s what I’ve got, in scatterbrained categories that likely don’t make sense.

France and WWII (Otherwise known as great stories that depress me)

All the Light We Cannot See- This was excellent, and despite being rather long, I got through it in about a week. It’s about a blind girl and her family, and how she tries to navigate a dark time in history despite all the despair surrounding her. This one was very, very hard on me, but the writing was beautiful and there is something very interesting about trying to picture the world through the eyes of a blind girl.

The Paris Architect- This one made me feel slightly better about humanity, but was still a little rough. I mean, it’s occupied France in WWII, and so you just have to roll with what happened. Spoiler Alert: It wasn’t good. This one’s about an architect who finds himself entangled in a dangerous plot to save Jews. He’s no hero- far from it. Instead, he’s thinking only of the business he’ll bring in from the Germans and the money he stands to make as a result of his risk. Unsurprisingly, things get complicated and he gets involved emotionally. This one’s a thriller, and it was also a page turner.

The Nightingale- I’m only a hundred pages into this one, but it’s about two sisters and their attempt to survive in their French village during WWII. Their relationship is tenuous at best, and they struggle to see eye to eye about the best way to keep themselves and their family safe during the war. I like this one because the writing’s easy (it’s summer, remember?) and I like when seemingly simple situations present themselves as grayer upon inspection. I’ll be finished with this by Friday, I know it.

The Neapolitan Novels

There are three of these (with one on the way), and I’m only through two, but I love them. Set in the 50s and 60s in Naples, they’re basically well written soap operas about a girl named Elena, her friend Lina, and their various adventures in and out of “the neighborhood.” These books cover love, fighting (nothing like a fist fight to solve some problems), scandals, pride, and coming of age, all in the best possible way. They’re glimpses into what it was like to live in poor Southern Italy during the post WWII era, which was very different from most of the depictions of the time I’ve read about (probably because mine have been mostly shiny and Eisenhower-y). My dear friend CM recommended them, seconded by my pal MC, and now I’m on a campaign to get everyone to read them. They’ll hold you, I promise.

My Brilliant Friend

The Story of a New Name

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay

Other Things I’m Sniffing Out

Not into them yet, but here are some other highly recommended things I have on my nightstand: The Boys in the Boat, Dead Wake, Greatand The House of the Spirits.

Find a corner and curl up, chickens, there’s a lot of reading to do. Anyone else have something I should get on my list?

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Filed under Good Reads

five good things: let freedom ring edition

Ok chickens, I had a slight snafu earlier this week in which I let Boo hang in my desk chair and my computer suddenly stopped working, but we’re back on track and so here I am. And because it’s Friday after my first full week in the office in a very, very long time, I think it might be a good idea to chat through five.good.things before we hit the weekend.

1. We woke up this morning to the news that the Supreme Court has made it legal in all fifty states to get married, regardless of your sexual orientation, which is both so, so, amazing and also sort of embarrassing because it hadn’t happened yet. In any case,fantastic news on a Friday morning!

yes

2. This weekend, my bffs, my parents and I are headed to Ravinia (you may recall this is my favorite spot in the world) to check out Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett. I have a feeling this will be an interesting experience including lots of alcohol and crowds, but bring it on. It’s been all business so far this summer, I’m ready for a little fun!

3. JW and I are both very nearly over our colds, which means there is the distinct possibility we will be able to do something aside from laying on the couch watching Orange is the New Black over the next two days (not that I’m knocking that, chickens- it’s a totally acceptable way to spend a weeknight). Here’s to our health, chickens!

4. I’m currently reading 99 Days which happens to be by my life role model and baby sister’s BFF Katie, and after two very intense (and good, you guys, they were good) books about the French Occupation during WWII, this is like the very thing I needed. It’s about teenagers and summer and angst and bad decisions and good decisions and I’m loving it so very, very much. Please trust me and go get it (or if you’re nice I’ll let you borrow my copy).

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5. Boo has sort of given up his, I’m going to scream all night until you’re afraid our neighbors will kill us and so you’re forced to bring me into your bed, which means that my family has gotten to sleep all night two evenings in a row. If you have a baby, you know how good of a thing that is, and if you don’t, just think of the best thing and then it’s just a tiny bit above that. Here’s to a weekend of sleeping in (until 6 am).

And with that, chickadees, I’m off to hit the ground running at the office and then to enjoy a few days of rest and fun. Enjoy the sunshine if you’ve got it!

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Filed under Uncategorized

shut up and dance with me.

Good God, you guys, that was intense.

I know I’ve been sporadic, but this month was a crazier-than-usual version of it.

I just got back from two back-to-back trips in Las Vegas and Denver, with one quick trip home to squeeze Boo in the middle.

Immediately upon getting back on Thursday, I came down with a cold and climbed into bed basically until this morning, when I forced myself to shower and remember how to commute to the office.

Ahh, a break, I thought.

And then remembered my one last trip to New Orleans for a couple days next week.

It never ends, chickadees.

But it’s always interesting.

A couple things you missed in June:

1. Two totally kick ass conferences pulled off by teammates much, much smarter than me. I got to laugh through a trip to Las Vegas, and then kicked it in Denver with Joe Theismann, Blues Traveler, and Hey Jimmy, my very favorite dancing cover band of all time. I am so lucky to be surrounded with people who make work seem not.too.hard.at.all, and I also was lucky enough to get my favorite piece of onsite wisdom from JT:

“It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.” Good reminder, there.

JT

2. The realization that hot yoga is a legitimate way to deal with onsite stress. Unfortunately, it does not cure colds.

3.The additional realization that cocktails are also a legitimate way to deal with onsite stress.

4. Leaving your baby for essentially two weeks makes for a fairly irritated toddler when you finally show back up. Not that I can blame him. You can have as much ice cream as you want this summer, Boo.

5. In addition to hanging with all my very favorite volunteer-friends (yes, that’s a thing), I also got a chance to see my baby sister, my grandma, and my high school BFF LB and her husband NB this month. It was all awesome, and it all went too fast. So many fantastic people in the world, chickens.

6. Hawks win the Stanley Cup! Man oh man I loved watching them win with my whole team and dancing around to Chelsea Dagger all night in Denver. What I did not like: my boss capturing my sweet “Raise the Roof” moves on video while celebrating. I can’t control my love of the game.

And with that, I’m off to start this one up. I promise to make more than guest appearances in my own life this summer- it’s like a mid-year resolution. Enjoy the sunshine if you’ve got it!

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Filed under Did I really do that?

rapid fire

A couple quick things on this morning, since Boo is desperate to be on my lap reconfiguring my computer:

1. Yesterday Theo and I spent the morning together, since he had a checkup (that lasted all of ten minutes- star patient, over here). This interruption in routine caused him to run to the door at 7:30, turning the knob and yelling “Bye bye!” as loud as he could, until finally, I decided we should go for a walk to try and placate him. So I was the only mom taking her baby for a long walk in the 45 degree weather on the first day of June.

He’s a mover and a shaker, chickadees, and as soon as we made it to daycare he took off without a glance in my direction.

I totally get it.

2. I just watched a clip on Sesame Street that featured a Macaroni-saurus that was tamed by a giant meatball. It was followed up by a video featuring the different kinds of macaroni shapes. I feel like as an Italian-American I should be slightly offended, but instead, I loved every second of it.

3. It’s supposed to be over 60 degrees at some point today- c’mon summer, I know you’re in there somewhere.

And now it’s off to make the commute, and try and find a parking space among the dreaded Street Parking restrictions. Pray for me, chickens, that I don’t back into too many cars out of frustration (and mediocre driving skills, of course).

Enjoy it!

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Filed under Near Disaster

cutting right through it.

Listen, Linda (if you don’t know about Listen Linda, please click here).

It was a lovely weekend even though it rained because the Hawks won (Yesssss!!!) and Theo did downward dog and we got to hang out with our family and I played in a soccer game.

And then JW told me that Beau Biden died and I got really sad, because it is really sad, and he was 46 and had babies (listen, Linda, all kids are babies, even when they’re teenagers), and man, hasn’t Joe Biden had enough sadness, no matter what you might think of him (for the record, I think anyone who can smile that wide is awesome).

I clicked around Twitter for awhile, trying to find something that made sense about all of it, but of course it doesn’t make sense and so I found nothing. Except this article, which is about what Joe Biden has to say about grief.

And you guys, he’s totally right. In this insane world where it’s considered noble to be so busy you can’t think straight and you’re judged as admirable if you put your job before everything else, it’s important to remember that it’s all pretty much bullshit to really believe that, I think.

You don’t have to agree with me. But when you read that article and you think about what’s fleeting (which is everything, guys) and you think about what’s important, I dare you to come to any other conclusion.

This man, who’s lost a son, a daughter, and a wife, he gets it.

The fact that he can smile at all is really a miracle in and of itself, if you ask me.

So this week, before I head into the belly of the beast, I’m focused on what’s important and how watching Boo laugh his tiny head off is better than anything that’s happened at work, ever.

Enjoy this one, chickadees, I know I will.

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Filed under Reflections

five good things: it’s the anticipation edition

Morning, chickens.

And let us all breathe a big sigh of relief because we have successfully made it to Friday, (mostly) in one piece.

That’s definitely something.

And because I don’t know about you but for me this was a really long, sort of tough one to get through, I could probably use a few good things, and there are plenty to go around, let me tell you that.

Here goes:

1. Since it’s about to be double conference day around here, I’ve been dedicated (ahem, obsessed) with my FitBit. My RA is touch and go, but something I can almost always do is put one foot in front of the other, and so it’s been my goal to hit 10,000 steps a day every day between now and the end of my conferences (easy in a giant convention center). Last night I realized I was going to miss the mark, and so instead of flipping to another episode of the Sopranos (yes, I’m pretending it’s 2006 here), I threw my sneakers on and took a quiet, cool walk through my neighborhood in the dark.

It was lovely, and I have another notch in my steps record.

2. I have this entire weekend before I even have to start thinking about the fact that I leave next weekend. This means two free days to get my act together, play with Boo, and hang with JW before wondering what I’ve gotten myself into, again, and whether or not I have the appropriate amount of clothes to get me through my trips without pausing for laundry.

3. Yesterday I wrote my sister that I was having something of an “Alexander” month over here, which is a reference to one of our favorite books, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, and is code for things aren’t going so hot, please tell me a joke. Fast forward to today and because Theo expects several stories before retiring to his crib, I pulled out my own copy of Alexander and made myself feel much better reading about how we’re all vulnerable to occasional string of bad luck.

My mom says some days are like that.

Amen, sister.

I’m just glad I didn’t get gum stuck in my hair.

4. Things Boo does this week that he didn’t last week (also known as: Babies are Crazy): Speak Spanish, Climb backwards down stairs, hug Longfellow Tiger (not just stomp on his face) and turn doorknobs.

I wish my learning aptitude was set at Baby Speed.

5. Today’s a day with almost zero meetings, which means plenty of potential to get.things.done, chat with funny people, walk outside away from my cubicle, and hit an early happy hour with my team in preparation with what I’m sure will be another kick ass conference.

I hope you’ve got as much good spilling into these next few days as I do, chickens! Enjoy this one!

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Filed under Five Good Things