Category Archives: Reflections

racking up wins and good advice

You guys, I am so sick of the cold and the rain hanging around in Chicago this week.

Can we please, please move on to summer, right now please?

Thank you for your consideration, weather gods.

This week I’ve had the following parenting wins: I reasoned with Boo to eat one more bite of dinner in exchange for dessert and it worked, I think I have almost taught him to excuse himself from the table instead of just shouting “THEO DONE!” and launching himself from his chair whilst covered in crumbs, and while we were accidentally co-sleeping the other night, he asked me for a pillow while still mostly asleep and mumbled thank you mama when I gave it to him.

He also has screamed into my belly (I imagine trying to rile up his sister), insisted on reading the same book 87 times in a row, and demanded to use very specific cutlery in order to eat his dinner, but you guys, it’s all give and take, I think.

*****

In other news, I’m reading Cory Booker’s United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good and obviously I love it because I love him and his attitude and his dedication to service and that he really is always helping people, but my favorite parts so far are when he passes on advice from his dad.

Thanks for sharing your dad, Senator.

My very favorite quote so far is this one:

“No matter what the circumstances, you exercise your power, you demonstrate your worth when you decide how to react, how to act in the face of it all. If the world punches you in the gut that doesn’t define you; what you do next, that speaks your truth.”

Man, I could use that one to fall back on about 37 times a day.

Good thing I’ve got it now.

Enjoy this one chickens- let’s all hope for a little sunshine!

 

 

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let’s talk about feminists.

Morning, chickens!

And welcome to another week!

Today is a post about feminism.

Or like, maybe just choosing your choices.

Last Friday, I threw up this video, in which Lin-Manuel Miranda (master of my heart) so effortlessly answers “yes, of course” when Emma Watson asks him if he’s a feminist.

I loved it, obviously.

Then I read this article, coincidentally on the same day, and then I had all these thoughts that you know I have to share with you because I never can help it.

I hate when people hesitate when they’re asked if they’re feminists. Like, you know they want to say they are, but you know they’re a little afraid to say “yes,” like they might get judged.

I shamefully admit that this is how I felt when people asked if I thought gay people were okay when I was fifteen in rural Michigan.

I mean, obviously I thought that gay people were more than okay, but also, someone was about to snicker at me or roll their eyes, or maybe even be outraged.

Luckily I’ve grown to like being an outrage.

So anyway, I get why people want to pause.

I’ve been a pauser.

Or they say, “yeah, I believe men and women are equal, but I’m not a feminist.”

Yes, ma’am (or sir!), you sure are.

I know that there is a group of people that think feminism means that you think men are the worst (that’s called misandry, I know, we don’t hear that word very often), or that women who do certain things are wrong, but it’s not true.

I promise.

I also hate when I see women walking around, being judgmental about other women’s choices, because that’s not feminism. It’s actually just being shitty.

And there are people who aren’t paying enough attention and are gonna pick up on that and assume that’s the feminist message.

So here’s what feminism is, you guys:

It means I think men and women are equal. And it means that I believe, really, really hard, in your choice to do whatever makes you happy. If you want to stay at home and raise 20 babies and hang with your husband or wife, yes! If you want to ditch all relationships, run a huge business, and maybe just own a cat or dog or just yourself, yes! 

If you want to try and do both, awesome! Share your secrets, please!

Anyway, the article I cited above bothered me because essentially that woman is a feminist, she just doesn’t understand the definition (which is okay, we’re all here to learn). If you are given the opportunity to truly choose your choices and that’s what you want for other people, men and women, you’re a feminist.

There are extremists everywhere, chickens, and so next time you see someone who’s judging, or guilty of misandry, try and remember that’s what it is.

It’s not feminism.

I got to thinking about this because I’ve been thinking about bringing a lady baby into the world a lot lately (which is good, since she’s due to show up in 11 weeks), and I realized in my thought process that I think it’s just as important that Theo considers him a feminist as it is that my daughter considers herself one.

We’re all gonna be feminists in my house.

Feminists mean we’re psyched that Mama goes to work every day, because that’s what she loves, but if she didn’t, we’d be good with that too.

It means we’re cool with me keeping my last name because I love it, but that if took your husband’s name because you loved that, I think it’s awesome too. I don’t think any of it will confuse our kids, because they’re smarter than us, like a million times.

It means if Dad wants to stay home and we can afford it, cool- go for it (well really, let’s maybe talk because we have a true professional helping us to raise our babies and I’m not about to give her up, but…you get what I’m saying).

I think what it all comes down to is that we want people to have the freedom to pursue what makes them happy, and we want society to back that notion.

I want everyone to say “yes” to the question of feminism as easily as Lin does.

And with that, I’m off to choose some more life choices this morning. Enjoy it, chickens!

 

 

 

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in the greatest city in the world

I went to NYC last week and it was everything I dreamed of and more, because I ate bagels and met up with friends to have delicious dinners (a food theme, always) and got to spend a day with my sorella, AND SAW HAMILTON WHICH WAS AMAZING AND THE BEST THING EVER, and hung out with two of my favorite kids and learned about “dabbin” and also famous YouTube people,  and just enjoyed being in the vibe of NYC in general, because despite knowing I can never have you New York, I love you just the same.

Two funny-ish things:

  1. I woke up in a panic the first night I was in NYC because I thought I had bed bugs, but it turned out that I was rolling around in pretzel salt, because I am a pregnant lady with a lot of carb needs, and apparently I’m a messy pretzel eater. It was terrifying, until it was hysterical.
  2. One of the best things about being in NYC and staying in a hotel was that I had cable on Super Tuesday, which meant that I got to lay in bed and watch Chris Christie look uncomfortable behind Donald Trump for 20 minutes on live television after eating a delicious meal in Brooklyn.

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It was an awesome, awesome trip. Seriously, should you live in an area where Hamilton is coming, I order you to see it, because it is the best. Totally worth a whirlwind, mid-week trip, and even worth sitting in the middle seat on the plane home next to a giant man who hogged the armrests and kept sighing like I was taking up too much room.

Enjoy this one, chickens. Chicago’s heating up and I can feel spring coming, I promise!

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soapboxes and playing nice(r)

I would like to climb on my soapbox for a second and say a few things that have been building up.

You don’t have to agree with me, which is great. It’s the whole point of this beautiful country.

So a few things, in the thick of primary season.

Full disclosure, I’m the kind of liberal who’s socially liberal, and fiscally liberal. I’m all the liberal, but I also don’t think you’re foolish if you’re not (unless it’s the socially liberal piece you have a problem with, that’s harder for me, and I admit it).

  1. I kind of feel badly for Jeb Bush. He reminds me of Prince John in the cartoon version of Robin Hood, like he’s probably sucking his thumb somewhere wishing he was his brother.
  2. If I hear one more person talking about how so-and-so is purposely trying to ruin America, I’m gonna lose it. Nobody’s trying to do that. Everyone has opinions about how to make America the best it can be. I don’t agree with everyone’s opinions, at all (Don’t let Muslims into the country? Insane, to me.), but I cannot believe that anyone is really, on-purpose, trying to make us worse. This seems like common sense to me, but maybe it’s just me.
  3. If you run around calling people who disagree with you losers and stupid in public, you shouldn’t get to be President. Are we 11? I just think that should be a rule. Some people like this, because they think we’ve gotten too politically correct, but to me, being politically correct does not mean you don’t get to be honest, it just means, don’t be a dick, friends. You don’t get to say racist things and then claim that people are too sensitive. You’re being a dick, Donald Trump.
  4. Ted Cruz is scarier to me than Donald Trump. It’s just my own truth. I think it’s because I get the sneaking suspicion that Donald Trump doesn’t believe everything he says (also, I heard you Donald, talking about how you think Planned Parenthood does great things) and I think Ted Cruz really does. Yikes, Yikes, Yikes. Also, anyone who sees Barack Obama as an extreme leftist isn’t doing his research.
  5. I’m not going to pretend that I’m really ever going to be an undecided voter, but here are my thoughts. I absolutely cannot vote for a candidate who thinks gay people don’t deserve equal rights or that abortion should be illegal. I can’t do it. I have kids, and one day, if one of them comes to me and says “Hey Mom, I think I’m gay,” I want them to know I supported them before they were even born. I don’t want to have to rationalize to myself or anyone else as to why I voted how I did. And the same on abortion- I’m not saying I would have an abortion (although, to be perfectly honest, I have the huge luxury of never, ever, having had to have been in the position to worry about it, and that has nothing to do with any moral decisions I’ve ever made. It’s luck), but man if it’s none of my business how many guns you have, then it’s none of your business what’s going on inside my body. GTFO, you guys. Not to mention I think there are 100 other things (contraceptives, health care, a better welfare system) that we could work on that would actually lower the abortion rate (win all around) without dictating what women are allowed to do with their bodies.
  6. I am not moving to another country, even if the Grimace from McDonald’s becomes the President. For some reason this proposed solution drives me crazy, because it’s not problem solving to me. People who I don’t like have won elections before–it happens. Here’s the deal. It’s my country and it’s our democratic process, and if you really think our country is so great (and in so many ways, it is), then you don’t leave because you lose. You continue to fight for the things you think are important. If people really did this, we’d have half the population emigrating every few years, and what a mess that would be.

You guys, I think so many more things but that’s all I have for now. I am not hateful toward people who disagree with me, and I don’t think that my position is the obvious one and yours is dumb if it doesn’t jive with mine. I think in America it takes all kinds and all positions and that’s what makes us great (please recall, I named my first born son after a Republican, after all), but I also think we need to wake up as human citizens of the world and not give in to the easy play to be divisive and angry and hateful. I just think we’re all better than that.

<climbs off of soapbox>

Oh, wait, one more thing.

Please, dear God, just vote, okay? Otherwise none of this even matters.

 

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cycling round again

Oh hi, guys!

Today’s my birthday. I’m 32 years old, and I promise, I’m good with it.

I’m finding that spending most of the first few years of my 30s pregnant is a really helpful distraction from the aging process.

I recommend it, actually.

So this has been another big year, and among my key accomplishments have been the following:

  1. Keeping Theo alive for 12 more months. This continues to be my best and most challenging work, on a daily basis.
  2. Getting ready to bring another baby into this world. Even better, fulfilling Boo’s wishes for a little sister.
  3. Taking a new job! After almost ten years and countless experiences (and happy hours) at SB, it was time to move up and on, and most importantly, to just try something new. So far, it’s been fun and different, and I never wake up in the middle of the night feeling a panic attack coming on, which is worth more than I thought it would be.
  4. JW got a new job-okay, so I had nothing to do with that, but it’s still awesome and I’m proud of him and we live in the same house, so it counts.
  5. My baby nephew G was born. And even though he’s not my baby, he counts as partially mine according to the Rules of Friendship, and he’s perfect.
  6. My pals M & M got married. I love all the love, and I love that my friends have awesome partners-in-life.

Obviously there were a million other moments that counted during 31, but those are among my favorites. I know that 32 has more in front of it, including bringing in a lady baby, going to see Hamilton (yes, this is on the list!), welcoming my baby sister to her 30s, accepting that my red-headed nephew will graduate from high school and go to college (where I’ll likely stalk him) and watching my friends expand their families (and so also mine!) with new spouses and babies and pets.

And with that, there’s no time to waste. I’m already hours into this new trip around the sun, and I’ve got things to do.

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giving in and giving up

So I know yesterday I wrote about maybe not worrying too much about giving something up, and I still believe that, but I also thought about it a little bit and decided that I have a clear contender for something that it’s about time I worked on eliminating.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am strangely attached to my phone, really for no reason at all. I’m pretty much obsessed with scrolling through the Internet, looking at really nothing of importance, and so this Lent, while I can’t ditch the little screen all together, I’m going to work on cutting down. Here are my self-imposed rules:

  1. When I get home from work, the phone goes down until Boo does. Facebook drama can wait, I’m pretty sure. So can adorable Instagram posts. I trialed this the other night, and it meant I could get in on a game on Farm before bed.
  2. No phone when I’m with my pals. I mean, if I’m with my pals, who am I even talking to? My circle is not that wide, trust me.
  3. I can check my e-mail before I get to work one time. Not sixteen. Who am I, the President?

I’m open for suggestions (and I’m sure JW has some additional ones). Listen, technology is the best. It means I can text my friends across the country whenever I want and play games like fruit ninja, so I fully understand its importance, but I’m hoping a quick break in the action means a permanent ramp down in the screen action.

Wish me luck, chickadees, this will likely be my undoing.

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to dust you shall return

Listen chickens.

I’m not a particularly religious person these days. Boo was baptized in the Catholic church and JW and I were married there, but I suspect that for me, that’s more cultural than anything else, and because I find comfort in rituals.

When I lived in Italy, I loved sliding into pews for Mass because no matter where you are, Catholic mass is the same. The rhythm, the smell, the kneeling and sitting and standing, it’s the same no matter where you are and that’s immensely comforting when you’re nineteen and thousands of miles from home.

Plus I’m really into the whole crowd of saints that hangs out in the belief system of the Catholic Church. Trust me, you guys, I need all the help I can get, and having a patron saint for just about everything is useful.

We obviously also all know that there are unsavory things about religion and church and I don’t pretend that it’s not there. I have a lot of feelings about it. I especially have a lot of feelings about it after I watched Spotlight with JW a couple weeks ago and just generally felt like, gross, after.

So these days I subscribe to good energy and being open and listening to my Mom, who has always said that you don’t need religion to just be nice to people, and she’s right, obviously, because she usually is.

Today is Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Lent. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, that Ash Wednesday is my favorite part of the Catholic calendar because I like nothing more than when the priest outlines a cross on my forehead and reminds me that you were made from dust and from dust you shall return.

Morbid, I know.

But for me, it’s like someone singing the Circle of Life, or reminding me that everything is cyclical.

It’s a relief really, and a reminder to not take any of this too seriously.

I’m probably reading it wrong, but it’s my right to do that too, I think.

Despite not being a fully-believing Catholic these days, I am into Pope Francis, because I believe he’s got the right idea on a lot of things, and he’s reminding us this Lenten season that “Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience.”

So basically the Pope and my Mom agree on this one- if you’re gonna use the next forty days and nights to do anything, use it to be nice, chickens.

And if you don’t believe in any of it, just be nice anyway.

It won’t cost you anything, I promise.

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What’s shaking.

Thanks, chickens, for all your congratulations on our addition to our little family.

We’re so excited for Lady (baby) to join us soon-ish, and Theo has decided that either Abby or Mommy are acceptable names, so thank God we’ve got that taken care of already.

I’m just hoping she chooses to be a tomboy, because otherwise JW’s going to have to learn how to french braid and apply make-up, as surely we all know I’m doomed in those departments.

My dad has been known to call me his only son, you guys. I can’t help who I am.

However, who I am has not kept me from purchasing floral onesies and pink leggings in advance, because honestly, I can’t look at another pair of overalls.

Even though Boo, you are very cute in overalls.

Other things going on around here:

  1. I managed to finish Three Wishes (another Liane Moriarty title) and The Wright Brothers (David McCullough at his shortest, which was great, since I could tote the book on the el with me) last week, which was productive and keeping me on track to continue 2016 as the Year of Literacy.
    I’m trying to front load my reading because during my last maternity leave, I basically became illiterate, I think because my brain needed every single cell for keeping my baby alive, and so just in case that happens again and I find myself watching Roseanne and I Love Lucy exclusively for 12 weeks, all the books need to happen now.

    It’s a survival tactic.

  2. I’m turning 32 this week, which is amazing and funny and not at all as terrifying as I thought it would be.

    I had one scary moment in which I decided that I was nearly 40, but then I remembered how much happened between 22 and 30, and realized I’ve got all kinds of time for cool things and disasters to occur before I hit 40.

    Also, my thirties have been really rather fun and eventful so far, so I’ll just run with them. I’m not someone who ever had (or has) great expectations about how everything’s supposed to unfold, so it makes it pretty easy for me to just take things as they come at me.

  3. Jen and I have still been at the yoga, albeit a beginners’ class because sometimes you have to be willing to start over. This week our delightful and quirky teacher told J “You’re really flexible, actually” and looked surprised when I hopped up into an inversion, and so I’m hoping that we’ve actually convinced her that we were yogis, once upon a time and we’re not just liars on the mat.

And with that, chickadees, I’m off to get this one started. Enjoy Mardi Gras, and please, eat some packzis for me (as I was remiss and didn’t locate any in time- lady baby, please forgive me)!

 

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in it for the long haul

I’m totally unreliable around here and not willing to apologize for it, but today is an exciting day for me.

Twenty years ago exactly, I moved to Clinton, CT, a little shore town where I would only end up living for less than four years. I lived there through middle school and the beginning of high school, and as we all know, these are probably the most awkward, painful, funny, and formative years of your childhood.

When I moved away to Michigan a few years later, I was pretty much sure that my parents had ruined my only chances at me keeping my very best friends. I remember dramatically wishing that I would have the opportunity to have lifelong pals, and knowing that my chances had just been shot because how are fifteen-year olds supposed to stay friends 1,000 miles away?

We didn’t even have Facebook, you guys.

TWENTY (HOW HAS IT BEEN TWENTY YEARS!?) later, my BFF Ky lives literally down the street from me in Chicago. I just got back from a trip to stand next to my beautiful friend Laura while she was married to her husband, and I spent the morning after the wedding watching Boo play with my funny, crazy pal Kristen’s first daughter, Koralyn.

We did it, you guys.

I’m sorry (again), Mom & Dad.

20 years is a long time, you guys. It’s like college x five, or Boo’s life x 10ish, or like 1 million episodes of Dawson’s Creek. It’s enough time to watch hundreds of movies, laugh until we’re crying for hours on end, or play flashlight tag a few dozen times. These ladies and I can talk for hours after not seeing each other for a year, and it a) doesn’t matter, no one’s keeping score of who called who last and b) doesn’t change a thing about how much we love each other.

We have watched each other graduate high school and college, get new jobs, get more education, fall down and screw up, do really awesome things, meet amazing people, meet terrible people, hold each other up when things are awful, and be proud of each other when things are great.

We’re pretty amazing, you guys.

So on this anniversary of friendship, I’d just like to say that I’m proud of us for knowing what’s important. For summer trips to Connecticut and Michigan, for visits to Chicago and Boston, for knowing that cell phone long distance in the early 2000s was free after 9:00PM and on weekends, and for being my friends despite my 20 full years of being the weirdest person you guys know.

I can’t wait to see what we do next, you guys. Here’s hoping the next two decades are as interesting as the last (spoiler alert: of course they will be).

lmeswedding

P.S. The traditional gift for one’s 20th anniversary is China. In lieu of being normal people, Ky and I will be having Chinese food to celebrate. xoxo.

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commenting on the commentary.

You guys, you guys, you guys.

On Monday in Irving, Texas, they arrested a 14-year old wearing a NASA shirt because he brought in a clock that he made for a project and the school thought it was a bomb.

So, even after he explained, hey guys, it’s a clock, they arrested him. And were considering pressing charges for bringing in a “hoax bomb.”

wtf.

And now, because it’s unfair and likely racist (his name? Ahmed Mohamed. His background? Muslim.), it’s all over the place.

President Obama and Mark Zuckerberg both invited Ahmed to the White House and Facebook, respectively, to show them his creation.

BECAUSE SCIENCE IS COOL.

Anyway, I think that all of you good people probably agree with me that this is likely indicative of the very real struggle Americans still have with race and religion, despite us desperately thinking that if we say it’s not so, it’s not so.

It’s so, chickens.

And if you rebut by telling me the White Christian Man is persecuted, I’m gonna lose it. I’m going to 100%, yes-I-have-a-minor-in-gender-studies, no-feminists-don’t-think-they’re-better-than-men, gonna lose it on you.

If you are a White Christian Man of middle class or better means in America and you can’t get ahead, take some accountability, and I don’t want to hear about it.

End of rant.

ANYWAY.

The main thing that struck me yesterday was that I was reading some comments about the whole debacle (reading comments after an article is the worst. It is, conversely, also the best), and someone was praying for everyone because she was concerned that we as a people didn’t understand that President Obama’s underlying intent in life is to destroy America.

I don’t get it, you guys.

Call me naive. I can’t stand Donald Trump (although I am currently obsessed with him). Scott Walker makes me want to pack up my stuff and go elsewhere.

Don’t get me started on the Koch brothers.

But I honestly don’t think that American politicians on either side generally really sit around with their hands pressed together trying to figure out how best to destroy America.

I think that some people’s assessment on how to make America great is misguided, and I think that some people have the wrong idea.

I know that some people are uncaring and unjust and racist.

But let’s cut the dramatics, fellow citizens.

Let’s not get as dramatic in the comment section as we do when a Muslin kid brings a clock to school and we’re scared because we don’t understand.

We can do better, America. Not realizing that and trying harder, that’s what’s gonna destroy America.

Now will someone please teach me how to build a clock?

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