Thursday, June 28, 2007

giving thanks

I'm feeling one of those blogs that is filled with unanswerable questions coming on. How can the world be so wonderful and yet so chaotic at the same time? And how is it that the chaos makes it wonderful? In the last week we've seen two different father's kill their children and wives (and in one case themselves), we've seen a little girl get shot and killed while playing on the swings, we've seen wild fires in California and flooding in Texas and Oklahoma. These are not things that make it a wonderful world. Yet somehow, inside myself, I have a feeling of immense calm. Maybe it's all the yoga and exercising. Maybe it's the eating healthy and nice weather. Maybe I'm in a place that I can balance the atrocities of the world with the goodness that I have in my life. I am thankful for that.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

School Days

Each day I sit at my desk trying to decide what work to do, trying to decide what news to pay attention to, trying to decide what to write in my blog.

This morning on NPR there was a story about an African family that are living as refugees in Wilmette. The couple had 12 or 13 children, and the oldest four are of high school age but don't have the education to attend regular classes at New Trier. So NT, being the school that it is, hired a tutor for these four children. On one hand it was a story of hope to a family that had survived a civil war and are struggling to make a better life for themselves. On the other hand, it just pointed out the gross disparity between our classes in this country. Less that 20 miles apart are two neighborhoods so wildly different it's unreal. In Wilmette they have the resources to send 12 children to public schools and hire a tutor for them so they can learn the language and get up to speed in their other studies. In my neighborhood (which is by no means the poorest neighborhood in the city), the public schools struggle to stay afloat and graduate students who will go on to college. I'm not saying that those who live in Wilmette, or any other affluent community, shouldn't have the right to give their children an exemplary education. I just have a hard time reconciling that with the children in the cities and poor communities who barely have a chance at any sort of education. I guess I see why people move to the suburbs when they have kids.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Things I discovered this weekend:

  • The bar/restaurant La Rosetta on Madison has a great Happy Hour buffet that's free if you spend at least $10 on drinks
  • Making plans to get up and go to the farmer's market, then a 5-year-old's birthday party, then another party later that day is bound to fail
  • Sitting around reading and drinking coffee with your husband is an excellent way to start a Sunday
  • If you think the nail salon didn't understand that you wanted an appointment for four at 1 p.m. on Sunday, then they probably didn't
  • The only real way to eat healthy while going out is to order only vegetables, and even then, they tend to put some sort of dressing or sauce on it to make it unhealthy
And one thing I've discovered thus far today:
If you come to work motivated and ready to work, invariably your computer will not work and you'll end up doing stupid busy work like you're filing that's been piling up rather than actually doing real work and by the time you can do real work because they've figured out what's wrong with your network connection, you're no longer motivated.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Knocked Up

Last night Mr. H and I saw Knocked Up. It's a romantic comedy (which means it's a funny love story, which means it'll probably be sappy and, if most romantic comedies are any indication, not that funny) about a woman and a man who have a one-night stand, a misunderstanding about the condom and then she gets pregnant (I would have said, "they" get pregnant, but Mr. H. has forbade me to ever refer to couples both being pregnant as only the woman is pregnant). Normally, Mr. H. doesn't like to attend romantic comedies. First, he's not one for sappy stuff. Second, as mentioned before, they aren't usually that funny. But, yesterday he was being especially nice to me as I had had a "medical procedure" earlier that day and so was doing whatever I wanted to do. So when we decided to go to a movie, and he was presented with the choices of Hostile 2 or Knocked Up, he probably picked the later because he knew I'd enjoy it more than the former. That isn't to say he didn't want to see Knocked Up. We'd heard that it actually was pretty funny. And it was pretty funny.

Of course, this couple isn't right for each other. Alison's a pretty, blond, budding on-screen personality on E! Ben's a pot-smoking unemployed Jew who spends time with his friends building a web site that outlines all of the tits and ass shots in your favorite movies. She's tall and thin, he's short and fat. Pretty basic movie ploys. When she gets pregnant, we see her struggle with the decision to acknowledge it, then struggle with the decision to tell him, then struggle with the decision to keep the baby (though I read a review that knocked the movie for never once uttering the word "abortion." Which is true, it didn't. But it deal with the issue. Her mother tells her to "have it taken care of." Most of his friends say that she should "have it taken care of." True, not the advancements in women's rights we'd like since Roe v. Wade, but hey, this is Hollywood, at least they alluded to a woman's right to choose in a big-budget romantic comedy.). And choose she did. She chose to keep the baby and try to make things work with the father. She also chooses to not tell her boss about it until she's about eight months pregnant and he confronts her (OK, one step back for women's rights).

Overall the movie was funny, but, as a lot of romantic comedies, not that memorable. The relationship between Ben and his friends reminds you of the stoner friends from college that just never seem to move on. Paul Rudd continues he sidekick career as the sister's husband who is disillusioned with marriage and family and who's only outlet is his fantasy baseball league that he hides from his wife. His budding friendship with Ben (and their trip to Vegas to blow off steam) brings some good laughs. Katherine Heigl is funny and cute, but the movie leaves most of the comedy to the guys (though Katherine and Leslie Mann have a good moment together as sister's trying to get into a club even though one's too old and the other's too pregnant).

I'd rate this a 3 out of 5 - a good date movie that the men will like because there's enough funny drugs and sex humor to tide them over the girl crying. Oh, I almost forgot, when Allison's in labor and pushing the baby out, there's a pretty explicit shot of the baby crowning. Actually, there are two shots of it. So two steps forward for women's rights!

Friday, June 15, 2007

My Morning Soundtrack

This morning, the music on my iPod seemed to match my mood perfectly. There was Crosby, Stills and Nash's "Our House" and Edie Brickell and the New Bohemian's "She." There was a Jewel and Simon and Garfunkel and Erasure. I'm in a happy, relaxed, warm mood. It's nice. Maybe it's the Yoga at lunch, maybe it's that I got a good night's sleep last night, maybe it's the pretty dress I'm wearing. Who knows, I don't want to question it too much, just enjoy it.

But now that I think about it, it makes me wanna grab all of my friends, my sister and my mom, everyone that means something to me and let them know how much they mean to me. Let them know that I appreciate them and that they are loved. I guess it's a bit of a sappy mood too.

Oh well, nothing wrong with being sappy. I hope you all are having a sappy, wonderful Friday too.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Family Tree

As you can see from the image, my family tree is a little complicated. As I like to say, members in my family like to get married, have some kids, and then get divorced. This has left me with 12 aunts and uncles (two of which are younger than me) and seven grandparents. Obviously, those aren't all my "real" grandparents. One of my "real" grandparents I don't even know. And one of my "not real" grandparents is the one I grew up closer to than the rest. It's a complicated family.

My paternal grandfather, Aaron, has been married three times, producing six children. His second wife, Mary Kay, the mother of three of my uncles but not my dad, she is the one who I grew up very close to. My dad calls her mom and my sister and I call her grandma. Her husband, who we called Roy or Papa recently passed away. I loved Roy, he was always good to my grandma and the extended family that he married into, and so I feel quite guilty that I can't make it to Oklahoma for his funeral. My dad says he understands, and I'm sure my grandma understands. But I'm torn about all of this. It's all family, regardless of how we got to be family. But, also, when there is so much of it, and when I've been away from it for so long (having moved North when I was 11 or 12) family becomes complicated.

My sister and I were planing (are planning?) on going to Oklahoma to visit our "roots" and scope out the different apartments we lived in and schools we attended. Even though I haven't lived there in more than 20 years (more than half of my life) there is still this pull to this place called "home." My answer to the innocent question of where I am from changes depending on the mood I am in. And if someone is unfortunate enough to hear the whole story, from Oklahoma to Texas to Minneapolis to Chicago to Cleveland back to Chicago, their first assumption is that we were "army brats." Oh if it were that easy. Because then we'd have an excuse, a socially acceptable reason. But no, we don't. I just say we were nomadic. Which I guess we were - we just don't know why.

Just like I don't know why our family is so disjointed. If you know me, you know I like structure and order. My family history is probably a big reason why. It's probably a big reason why I waited until I was 35 to get married (that and I was waiting for Mr. H.). But this family is also part of the reason I am who I am. And I can't say that I ever lacked for family to love me. So our family tree is colorful. I guess that makes it more fun.

Monday, June 11, 2007

My weekend

One of my many sister-in-laws visited us this weekend. She's loads of fun, but, as always, it's kinda a hassle to have someone in your house. Of course, we told her she could move in with us at the end of the summer because she wants to move to Chicago to go to Law school and I believe in the whole pay it forward thing, and my sister and brother-in-law let me stay with them for six months after I graduated college so it's the least I can do right?

Other than that, not much else going on. I bought a pretty new wallet this weekend. The SIL, her friend, my mom and I went to the Printer's Row Book Fair (where Mr. H. was working) on Saturday and had a good ole time walking around downtown. It was good to hang out with my mom, I don't really see her that much.

I talked to my dad on Sunday. He told me that my grandmother's husband is in the hospital and isn't doing too well. It doesn't look like he's going to make it much longer, but they're not saying how long. The sis and I were planning a trip down to OK in September to "get in touch with our roots" but now it might be moved up. She's saying she's going to pack up her kids and drive down there for a week later this month. I wish I had the time and money to do things like that. Of course, spending 12 hours in the car with three kids doesn't really sound like a whole lot of fun.

The office is dead today because there is a big financial event in town that most of my coworkers are at. So I'm busy updating my blog and reading the paper. Probably should do some work...

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

the end

that time of the month – on the rag – period – menstruation – monthlies – the curse – Aunt Flow – riding the cotton pony – surfing the crimson wave – monthly bill

Being a woman isn't all fun and games. And once a month, for most of us, it's down right annoying. Over the years I have tried to come to terms with my menstrual cycle, but the legions of stained sheets and underwear, the cramps and bloating, the days spent feeling just plain uncomfortable has hindered this process.

It all began back in 1984 when I was 13. Like many girls, I knew about my period, knew it was normal and nothing to be ashamed or afraid of, but, like many girls, I was ashamed and afraid. I hid it from my mom for several days, using little wads of toilet paper, but eventually she noticed the tell-tell sign of blood on my panties (being the first time, it wasn't much). She came to me and asked me if I had started my period. She was kind and understanding. She showed me how to use a tampon. Maybe it'll be all right, and this isn't going to be such a big deal I thought. But the next morning, I forgot (or maybe was afraid) to take the tampon out. I went to school and proceeded to get freak out. Would everyone know? What if this tampon never came out? What if I bled all over? I started crying and couldn't stop. I just wanted to go home.

Before they could send me home, I had to tell the secretary what was wrong. But of course, that's what was wrong - I didn't want anyone to know what was wrong. She asked me to come into the filing room with her, where she proceeded to pretend she was looking for something while I mustered up the courage to tell her. When I finally stammered out that I was having my period, that's all she needed to hear. She magically found her file, and we walked back to her desk where she called my mom.

I remember a feeling of immense relief going home. I knew I’d be able to start the day over, which was what I needed. I took a shower, removed the offending tampon, and my mom took me shopping at The Gap – a stereo-typical female response, but it worked in this instance, at least for the time being.

That was 23 years ago. Along the way, I’ve gone through many changes that have directly affected my menstrual cycle and changes because of my menstrual cycle. I learned that I will never wear white pants again after a leakage accident at school. I started the pill in 1989 because my cramps were getting so bad and my flow was so heavy that I actually passed out once. I was on the pill for more than 15 years before deciding that while controlling my period with hormones is great for the way I feel maybe it’s not the best for me overall. I’ve changed from bleached whitened tampons to natural cotton ones, and even toyed with the idea of using one of those cups (though I haven’t brought myself to buy one yet).

But, like I said, I’m still trying to come to terms with this monthly process. There are days when I just want to have it all taken out and get it over with. When I’m having my period, I still worry about spotting, because (now that I’m no longer on the pill) my period is quite heavy again. I don’t cramp like I used to, but I’m also much more physically active than I was back then. Of course, now that I’m in my mid 30’s, my period has taken on a new meaning – the one it has always supposed to have – conception.

I don’t have any children, my husband and I are discussing it. But obviously, after 23 years of my body going through the cycle (that's roughly 276 times by-the-way), I suspect my ovaries and uterus are almost as sick of it as I am. Let’s just hope we can end this period in my life on a more positive note than we started it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Crazy Blogs

There are some crazy blogs out there. You could, if you were so inclined, spend your entire life rifling through all the stuff people put out on the Web. I'm sure there's a job that would pay me to do that, of course, sometimes, that's what I get paid for now, my employer just doesn't know it.

Anyway, here are some of the more interesting blogs I've found recently, they all have a common thread of people pointing out something and then others responding and sending in their own examples.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Happy Friday

Yesterday's post was kinda a downer (though I tried to end on an up note). Today, I have added a Summer Goings On section. Each summer there are so many festivals, events, markets...and while it's impossible to get to all of them, I rarely get to any of them. But that's not to say I won't try yet once again. So, to help you (an myself) out, I've started a listing on the right hand side of events that are coming up. This weekend we have the Wonder Girl 5k (which I've already mentioned) as well as the Logan Square Farmer's Market starting up. A little plug for Mr. H's place of employment: next weekend is the Poetry Center Friendraiser - won't you be a friend and come? Poetry Center will also be at the upcoming Printer's Row Book Fair.

If you have an event you're participating in, know about, want to add to the list, whatever, let me know. I know that my loyal four readers (I've gained one since last month) are always saying that we need to get together more often and do these types of things. So lets make this the summer we really try.

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