Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Summer Reading

Hey y’all, Jennie here again. Nikki is galavanting around the country, so I’m keeping you going over here!

Do you remember when you were little and you used to do the summer reading program at the library, and you’d get prizes if you read a certain number of books, or at the very least, stickers? Summer reading was my fave thing – whenever we were at the beach we’d read all day, and the “Beach Reads” would pile higher and higher throughout the year, yearning for long days at the ocean.

We had more time, more sunlight, and who doesn’t love reading outside?! I read all sorts of book through the summer – series that I wanted to read back to back (Wrinkle In Time, anyone?), books I found at the Book Barn that I wasn’t sure if I’d like but I could read the first 50 pages just to check, classics that I’d never had to read for school but figured I should read…the list goes on and on. Well, I think it’s high-time to bring summer reading back in full force for adults.

Seize the summer – read those books that you wouldn’t otherwise read. Here’s a list to get you started. These are just two of MANY adult summer reading programs, but here is one in Chicago, and here is one in Los Angeles for my people!

Here are a list of some summer reads I’ve loved:

* Prodigal Summer, Babara Kingsolver
* Plainsong, Ken Haruf
* Loving Frank, Nancy Horan
* Straight Man, Richard Russo
* Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert
* Dreams from My Father, Barack Obama
* The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
* Practical Magic, Alice Hoffman
* Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Rebecca Wells
* Little Earthquakes, Jennifer Weiner

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as much has been given us, much will be expected from us

Happy Thanksgiving, chickadees!

I’m thankful for all kinds of things this year, including my family, friends, health, beautiful city, lovely weather, and the day of football and food I’m about to receive.

I’m a lucky girl, chicks.

Also, I’m thankful that I had the chance to run a 5k with my family this morning to start off our day in the sunshine, and especially that I got to run with my dad for his first race.

Which we rocked in 33:50, 2 minutes and 10 seconds faster than our anticipated goal time.

I see big races in our future.

I know I’m wearing bright green. I thought it might be nice to look my brightest out there.

I’m excited for a day of literally hanging around, since we prepped almost all of our dishes last night.

And we have a lot of dishes, including soup, a million vegetable sides, and a lasagna.

We’re Italian. We eat lasagnas on every holiday. Or some other sauce-pasta-cheese combination.

We can’t help it, and honestly, we don’t really want to help it.

Sitting around the dinner table last night, we wondered if maybe we should put up a sign somewhere encouraging those with no family in town to come eat our (sort of) embarrassing amount of food.

No one should eat at a restaurant when what’s going on in our refrigerator exists.

And with that, I’m off to to do some breakfast eating, coffee drinking, and parade watching.

Happy Thanksgiving, chickens. I hope you have a wonderful, laughing-filled day with the people you love.


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Filed under Chicago, Did I really do that?, Good times, Reflections, Running, Things that are delicious

signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours.

Last night was a long night chickens.

And I will shamefully admit to you that I am just listening to President Obama’s acceptance speech right now, because despite the fact that my parents were at McCormick Place with the President, I fell asleep on the couch ten minutes before he made an appearance, exhausted by a long campaign season and possibly too many  vodkas-on-the-rocks.

It was a stressful evening, for those first couple of hours.

I was glad we knew fairly early on that Mr. Obama won the re-election, because it meant my heart palpitations could stop while I paid attention to some of the other great things that were happening.

Like Elizabeth Warren winning in Massachusetts.

And Tammy Baldwin winning in Wisconsin.

And Claire McCaskill in Missouri (although honestly, how could we have thought the “legitimate rape” guy was gonna win?).

The Senate as of January will have more women senators than it ever has in history.

That’s a big deal, chickadees.

For me last night, this win was just about as important as my President having four more years stretched in front of him.

Congratulations, Mr. President. I’m so proud of you, and I cannot wait to see what strides we make in the next four years as a country.



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Filed under Chicago, Politics, Reflections

we have been told we cannot do this.

Hey chickens, sorry I’m a little late this morning.

I took an early run to calm my nerves and center my energy, and then I headed to my polling place.


The line was a little long, but people were friendly, the volunteers were great, and exercising my right to vote is hands down one of the most important things I ever do.

So I’m hoping you’re exercising yours today, chickadees.

It’s more important than ever. As I reflect on my vote today, I’ve been thinking about a couple of things:

In just four short years since the last election, I’ve turned into a person who has a pre-existing condition (aside from being a woman). I’m 28-years old, I didn’t do something dangerous or get hooked on drugs or get into a catastrophic accident.

My cells just started fighting themselves one random day.

I’m a runner. I’m a healthy eater. I’m a young person. I’m a good person.

I’m not a pre-existing condition, and if something happens to my job, how in God’s good name do you think it makes sense that I don’t deserve health insurance?

That’s not entitlement, that’s a human right.


I have an awesome, beautiful, baby cousin named Anthony.

Anthony has Autism.

He also has a great smile.

And brown hair.

And a sweet Halloween costume.

He’s no pre-existing condition, chickadees.

He’s a delight, actually.


As a 28-year old and not a 24-year old, I have some different perspective this time around than I did in 2008. In 2008, I wanted to vote for a President who believed in equal rights because I wanted to make sure my women, minority, and gay friends were all treated with the same respect as a white man.

And I still think that.

But one day, (God willing), I’m going to have a daughter. Or a son. And I hope that if that daughter or son happens to be born gay, I can look them in the eye and tell them they can marry the person they love one day, because honestly, my friends, can you imagine how tragic it is to not be able to say that to your child?


After last week’s terrible storm- how can you not believe in climate change?

Worse, chickens, how can you vote for someone who doesn’t either?


As a woman, I  think I deserve to be the paid as a man doing the same job. End. Period. Stop.


I’ll be watching the polls all day today, chickadees, because too many people who I love count on our President being re-elected, myself included. Thanks for sticking with me during the past few months, and I look forward to chatting tomorrow.


Filed under Chicago, Politics, Reflections

heading into the home stretch.

Listen, chickens.

I was going to write about my delightful 5k with my buddies yesterday.

I’ll at least pause to show you how happy we were to be running at 7:30 in the morning on a Sunday.


But, my dear chickadees, it’s the first Monday of November, so you know what’s on my mind.

Tomorrow’s Election Day.

And so my nervous energy is sort of taking over any other activities I had planned.

My opinions are strong, and I know that.

I’ve never been sorry about it.

You can say that President Obama hasn’t fulfilled all his promises, that America’s not back on her feet four years later, and you can cast your vote based on some kind of not-quite-detailed plan to cut the deficit for white, rich American men and hope it trickles down to the rest of us.

Or you can vote for a man who believes that all Americans deserve equal rights, whether they be rich, poor, white, African-American, gay or straight.

To be honest with you, when I peel back all the layers of this election, I’m voting on the platform of human rights.

And I’m not apologizing to anyone for it.

I’m not going to whisper because I might offend someone.

This is America, chickens, and the best part about our great country is that in the name of freedom, we’re allowed to express whatever opinion we’ve got.

I saw this through a Facebook post a few weeks ago, and I think it sums up how I’ve been feeling lately.

“I wish my moderate Republican friends would simply be honest. They all say they’re voting for Romney because of his economic policies (tenuous and ill-formed as they are), and that they disagree with him on gay rights. Fine. Then look me in the eye, speak with a level clear voice, and say, ‘My taxes and take-home pay mean more than your fundamental civil rights, the sanctity of your marriage, your right to visit an ailing spouse in the hospital, your dignity as a citizen of this country, your healthcare, your right to inherit, the mental welfare and emotional well-being of your youth, and your very personhood.’ It’s like voting for George Wallace during the Civil Rights movements, and apologizing for his racism. You’re still complicit. You’re still perpetuating anti-gay legislation and cultural homophobia. You don’t get to walk away clean, because you say you “disagree” with your candidate on these issues.”

-Max von Essen
Am I oversimplifying it? Maybe, chicks. But I can’t stress how important it is to think about your neighbor this Election Day. To think about how you’d feel if it was your rights that weren’t equal to someone else’s, just because of your gender, or the color of your skin, or your sexual orientation. My suspicion is that you’d be outraged. I would be.
I am.
I know I’m not changing votes at this stage in the game- but I think it’s important to have the conversation.
At least we live in a country where that’s something we’re allowed, chicks.
Enjoy the sunshine if you’ve got it.


Filed under Chicago, Politics, Reflections

reading up and bearing down.

Morning, chicks!

And Happy Bears Day!

Or whatever team it is you cheer for.

Last night we went out, sans costumes, to celebrate Ky’s birthday.

It was serious fun.


Our plan was to feed the jukebox all our money and listen to our playlist for as long as we liked.

Except that some country music-loving patrons managed to step ahead of us and commandeer most of our awesome choices.

Luckily, Nicky Minaj still managed to make an appearance.

Otherwise, what kind of birthday party would it have been, really?


Up this morning: a pledge to take.it.easy for awhile, pulled pork bbq & fried chicken (in honor of the Bears’ opponent, the Carolina Panthers), and reading newspaper endorsements of President Obama.

Here’s the one that’s obviously closest to my heart (and my apartment, too), but I did enjoy The New York Times’ article just as well. My baby sister’s city also likes Obama for President.

And of course, an endorsement from my home state always makes me proud.

Listen, the election’s almost here, and I need sensible words from major newspapers to make me feel better about people who think that that pregnancy resulting from rape is a gift from God and also insist on making life miserable for new parents, just because they happen to be gay.

Hang with me chickadees, the end is in sight.

Until then, I have some more reading to do.





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Filed under Chicago, Good times, Politics

bear down and chin up.

Ok, chickadees, we’ve hit the start of another week, and I will admit, I am in a very upbeat mood for a Monday morning.

This could be because I started the day with a run through the sun-is-not-quite-up neighborhood.

Somehow dodging garbage trucks and hitting the pavement really does it for me.

I won’t try to explain myself.

I’m a city girl- what can I say?

However, just because I prefer sidewalks and public transportation does not mean I can’t appreciate the beauty of this time of the year on the outside.

And thus, I present you with my hipster-y-est pictures from the weekend past.


It was, as you can see, another lovely weekend in the Second City, which included hay stacks, long walks, bike rides, cooking, and all my pals.

Up tonight to round things out: the last presidential debate, which I’ll be watching late this night/early this morning, because although my love of politics and sports is neck-and-neck, it seems more prudent to take in the Bears game live.

Also, I’ve been promised chili, cornbread, and good company.

Mr. President, I promise all my cheers to win the game include you right in there.


Enjoy this one, chickens. I know I will.



Filed under Chicago, I love sports, Politics, Running, Things that are delicious

The government is us; we are the government, you and I.

Last night, it was so warm that I went for a pre-debate, head-clearing run in shorts and a t-shirt.

October- where’d you go?

Not that I’m complaining.

When I got home, I cozied up on the couch with a drink, my iPad, my phone, and debate coverage on television.

I like to have access to all corners of the internet when I’m watching political events.

Post his mid-term, this is how JW found me:


I’m dedicated to the cause, chickadees.

And I’ll be climbing on my soapbox again for a moment, so please, avert your eyes if it bothers you.

I hope you’ll stay with me, though.

I think that last night put into place a lot of the out of touch ideas that Mitt Romney actually thinks are going to work. Among the ones that disturbed me most are the following:

  • Helping the women of America means relaying a story of a time someone brought him “binders of women” as job candidates and ensuring employers provide flexibility to women so we can get home and make dinner for our families. Do I think families need flexibility at work? Yes. But guess what, that includes men. On the flip side, not all of us women have families to go home and cook for- what’s your plan for us? Helping the women of America means enforcing anti-discrimination laws and ensuring that I make the same amount as a man doing the same work. On the binder comment, I have no words. I was offended.
  • No amnesty for any illegal immigrants, and the option to self-deport. This just isn’t going to work. And quite frankly, when someone describes a group of people as “illegals” instead of “illegal immigrants” it irritates me. When you take away the noun, you’re taking away the fact that these folks are people. We’re a nation of immigrants (and honestly, not all legally). Let’s start remembering that.
  • Cutting taxes for the middle class by eliminating the tax on capital gains and dividends? Most middle class people I know (myself included) don’t have capital gains and dividends taxes to worry about- we’re middle class, Mitt. Post recession, a lot of us don’t even have a savings account.
  • I personally loved the question about AK-47s. And I’m not gonna lie- I think it’s straight up ridiculous that a population of America thinks it’s okay to own combat weapons like this. That aside, Mitt Romney turned this into a treatise on why America needs heterosexual, married, two-parent households raising children. It’s 2012, and even if your life happens to be this way, it’s certainly not the only path to success in raising well-adjusted, contributing members of society. Let’s remember that Barack Obama was raised by a single mom, and he seems to be doing just fine. 

Obviously, I lean in a certain direction. And that’s okay- in America, we all have the opportunity to hold and voice our own opinions, thank God. I’ve never been an undecided voter, and if you ask me why, this is what I’d say.

Even if (and this is 100% hypothetical, since I don’t think it to be true in the slightest), the Republican party had the magic formula to end unemployment, I couldn’t vote for them. Republican lawmakers have a record of enforcing racist edicts (you look like you might be an illegal immigrant, show me your papers), of wanting control over my body (goodbye Planned Parenthood. Goodbye, legal abortion. Goodbye, access to affordable mammograms and yearly checkups), and of stripping rights from my gay friends (this is absolutely a civil rights issue, in my mind).

Chickens, I can’t wrap my head around voting for someone who takes anyone’s rights to be expendable.

And that, I think, is why I can’t look away until I know how this thing is going to land. Call me a bleeding heart, call me overly sensitive, call me anything you want- just pay attention during this election cycle.

I’m stepping down for now- only a few more weeks to go chicks- hopefully you can stand me by then.


Filed under Chicago, Politics, Reflections, Running, This makes me crazy, Weather

like the last breath left of the air i need.

Check it out, chickens.

We made it safely past Monday.

And there’s always progress in that.

Also, it’s this beautiful time of the year.

Last night, I watched the Broncos come back to beat the Chargers in what was one of the more exciting games I’ve seen this season.

JW came home after a night of studying, watched me cheer loudly a few times, and said “Are you cheering for the Broncos? Or maybe against the Chargers?”

He’s generally amused by my random, game-long-only allegiances.

I explained to him that generally, the Chargers bore me, and I sort of like the idea of Peyton Manning making a comeback, and thus, I was cheering for the losing team.

Which turned out to be the winning team, in the end.

My love for football knows no bounds, chickadees.


Today is supposed to be unseasonably warm, which means I might take my run to the streets (if it doesn’t take 37 hours to get home- what’s with that, Chicago transit? I’ve never been so sick of waiting for three trains to pass only to stand embarrassingly close to someone on the fourth.) as I move into my third week of training with my dad.

And then, it’s debate 2.0 watching time.

There’s nothing I like more than a sanctioned, moderated argument.

I’ll say no more.

For now.

Catch you chickens on the other side.


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Filed under Chicago, I love sports, Running

just might feel like singing autumn song

Oh, chickadees.

I’m so glad to be home.


It’s been such a long journey, covering three states, two coasts, and too many beds that were not mine.

And because instead of dragging you all along with me as I schlepped around hotels (hopefully you enjoyed all my lovely guest posters), I’ve got a few things to catch up on. Bear with me. Let’s get to this.


I finished my leadership class yesterday. It lasted nine months, several team building activities, and thirty books, all with a message.

Someone, please tell me what to read next.

Make it easy, chickens.


While I was gone, I realized it had been one year since my Uncle Tom died. I thought I was holding it all together, until I found myself in the Orlando airport, huddled in a chair at a desperate point in exhaustion, and just started crying in front of the entire boarding area.

I think sometimes you’ve just gotta let the pain take you somewhere.


I tried to take a flight without the power of xanax. Supposedly, when I was “hypnotized” earlier this year at an outing, I am no longer scared of flying as part of the deal.

However, it turns out that aside from my fear of flying, I have a fear of sobbing hysterically in the Orlando boarding area, so that experiment is going to have wait for another day.


I’m equal parts loving  and hating the coverage of Mitt Romney and his 47% story. Loving it because I believe it’s showing citizens that Romney’s really not the right leader for this country, and hating it because I just cannot think that almost half of this country really will never take personal responsibility for their lives.

I also hate that someone does actually think that, and I certainly don’t think we should put someone with that kind of attitude in charge.

{exiting the political theater}


While I was gone in steamy CA and FL, summer officially ended in my own little city.

I’m not even going to pretend that I don’t love it.


Oh man, chickadees, it’s so good to be back.

Someone point me in the direction of the gym and/or my kitchen.

Enjoy the sunshine if you’ve got it.

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Filed under Chicago, Did I really do that?, Politics, Reflections, Weather