Memorial Weekend

Damn. That was a seriously productive day. After scouring fabric stores yesterday with a friend from work, I finally dragged my sewing machine out of the closet and made myself give sewing another chance.

Not quite sure what got into me, but here is what I did today between 11:00 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.:

Doing the dishes, making 2 sets of curtains (4 panels each), shopped, took Kaboom to the park and met up with Coney & the Currans, and made rhubarb cobbler. Whew.

Now I just have to complete 4 pairs of earrings and my day will be a success!!! Oh, and clean the place since my mom is coming to stay for a few days. Um...maybe I'll leave the rest for tomorrow. A pan of rhubarb & honey cobbler is calling. :)


Losing My Religion

Alice at Wonderland has put up a fabulous article on not agreeing with her church but feeling the need to be a part of something spiritual and then, what she wants to do with her children in that regard. It’s amazing that the last 2 days topics I’m mulling over in the back of my head have found their place in well-written essays on the internet.

I was raised Mormon but felt most at home in my paternal grandmother’s Methodist church. I’m not sure if it was necessarily the teachings as much as this grandmother always made me feel like home and her church was a small country church where everyone was sweet and there didn’t seem to be a hierarchy, like all the priests and high priests and brothers and sisters and shit at the Mormon church.

Being baptized Mormon at 8 years old, I know now, was more a way for me to please my mother and maternal grandparents. I never, and still don’t, fully understand just what the fuck they were trying to teach me. I always held those Sunday school classes as separate from what we’d discuss at the Methodist church. But let’s not get too dramatic here. I wasn’t a spiritual adept in my budding youth; both churches were mostly boring and I was just happy when they were over.

Then when I was 18 and had just come off a seriously fun and kinda disturbing summer filled with sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, and lighting people on fire, theMan came along and introduced me to Christianity. I’m sooooo embarrassed by how far we took it eventually though and cringe when I remember the things that would come out of my mouth. But hey, it kept me sober, I met the man I’d marry, and aren’t your early 20’s all about discovery? I just wish I would have picked something a little less guilt-ridden, like Wicca or Paganism (although very cliché for 18 years old). There was much fun I missed out on.

So now on the cusp of 30 and child-bearing (please please) my mind has been weighing my options. I’ve been resting comfortably in my agnosticism and I don’t think I could ever 100% come out of it. I cannot see a time in my life where I could confidently say “this particular God is the one true God and these teachings are the final say.” It just seems a little, I don’t know…pushy to me for a subject that is basically only proven after you slip off this mortal coil.

But like Alice, I miss the spirituality, the family you get when you join a church, the feelings that come over me in any house of worship. And god, I do not want to fuck up my kids so they turn out little bastards. I think there is something to be said for dragging your kid up at dawn on Sundays to go to a place as a family to spend a little time learning new things and thinking of others…no matter what the religion.

I have friends that recently started going to a pretty liberal church and I’m almost tempted to join them. One of my BFF’s is a very devout Christian who I respect in so many ways. Hey, if she can be friends and have civil debates with an ex-communicated Mormon, agnostic, gay loving, pro-choice girl with a mouth like a sailor, she’s an exemplary Christian in my mind. I just keep thinking that maybe I need to look past the subject matter and just go for the experience.

Hell, maybe do a big church tour. Hit all the religions, although I think I’ll leave out Mormonism. Been there, done that.


Life Hacks

While bored at work today I scoured Fark.com and found this: Life Hacks: 10 Simple Ways to Not Screw Up Your Life. My oh my how perfect is this. In a nutshell it says: Chill the hell out already, you aren't that important, but try to have some fun while you're here. Which really....totally makes me feel good inside to hear.

I cleaned out my yahoo inboxes today and deleted over 200 emails. Most of which were just replies or snippets of conversation. I found the emails from our quest to move back to HomeTownVille last year and how excited we were, and all the plans we were making. Including emails from realtors and building plans for a house we found that we wanted to buy. Reading them made me feel so naive.

Sure being back there this weekend made me miss seeing everyone all the time and going hiking and just being laid back. I didn't have to worry about people bothering us or asking for change or stealing my car if it wasn't locked. But I just can't get in the headspace again that wrote those emails. I couldn't be that far away from Coen or my sister or even our friends here, though we left dear ones behind. I get shakes thinking we'd be away from this huge glamourous city. So what happened?

I asked theMan at lunch about it and he said he knew he didn't try to make it work like he could have. I personally think it was a way for me to spend time with the loved ones that passed on while we were there. Time I wouldn't have been able to spend living here. But honestly, I don't know where those dreams and goals went. Now I don't make plans that far in advance. Sure we might buy a house next year, I don't know. Reading those emails I had it all planned out and it went directly to shit very fast.

Maybe moving there and then coming to Chicago again, finding it as our home, just made me stop trying to make so many plans. I think that's a decent life hack.

You can't plan life.


Pine Hills

I decided at the last minute to go to HomeTownVille this weekend to just drive around and do some much needed visiting with relatives. I got to spend a lot of time gossiping and eating my Gram's molasses cookies on Saturday and Sunday. I played cards, laughed and squeezed babies Saturday night. I even went hiking on Sunday with my dad and brothers.

It was nice to just drive around (thanks mom, for letting me drive the wagon) and stay as long as I wanted, or didn't want too, at people's houses and just relax. As much as I adore living in Chicago and shudder to think we ever lived back there not so many months ago, it is nice to reconnect with family.

Even if it makes me cry to see everyone getting older.


I have a craft

I'm going to use my blog to whore myself out. Although that sentence seems redundant since isn't a blog really ALL ABOUT whoring yourself? Anyways, a couple posts ago I talked about possibly selling my jewelry on Etsy, but it was sorta just rolling around in my head as an idea.

I've been posting pictures of my stuff on my Flickr page and my mom, crafty lady that she is, has been bragging to her co-workers at the hospital she works at about them (of course, in between showing off Coney Sauce, but how could you not?) and showing off the set I made her for Mother's Day. So Wednesday night I get a call wondering if I can make 3 pairs of custom earrings for her co-workers to match some clothes she just bought!!

AND her co-workers want to see my catalogue. Catalogue??? So I rushed home, uploaded everything to Etsy, made business cards, ordered boxes, made the order, and bought mailing packages and now, apparently I'm a businesswoman.

My shop is called UR Beautiful Designs because it's the name that has been rolling around in my head when I allow my cynical self to dream about doing photography full time. It's inspired by the boudoir and pregnancy photos I take of my friends because my goal for them is to look at those pictures and say "I am beautiful, aren't I?" It also came from this quote I saw while I was in California in 1997 at a Christian (I know...) conference. A lady had this written on her Bible: "Someone tell her she's already beautiful." It just kinda stuck.

Maybe there is something to dreaming? Sometimes it comes true.

So here goes: http://www.urbeautiful.etsy.com/ Wood earrings: $8.00--Glass bead earrings: $10.00. I also do custom pieces for the same price, so if you don't see a color combination you like, let me know. Check back weekly as I will be adding new pieces every Sunday.


African Violets

Mrs. T. and Sis have inspired me to start growing our own little indoor herb garden. And Target made it possible to buy 6 pots to put them all in for only $1 a piece!

However, when I scoured Home Depot (I know I know...the Farmer's Markets don't start until next weekend and I have no patience) there wasn't a huge selection so I got some organic parsley and oregano from Whole Foods/Paycheck and filled the rest of the pots with little plants. The African Violets reminded me of my grandmother's house, the rest just looked pretty. I'm not spectacular at keeping plants alive so this is a test run. If they make it, by god our house is going to look like a forest.

This week I'm finishing up sewing curtains for the bedroom and dining room and then, well, besides hanging the rest of the art I made, this place will be finished! This being the first apartment I've actually wanted to decorate, it's been a blast. I feel like Martha Stewart but on a budget and no prison record!



Again, our quest to take advantage of Chicago led us to head downtown after a nice long meal and bottle of wine at Spoon Thai with some buds. Tonight is Looptopia (I'd link to it, but the website was down...an omen we should have paid attention too) downtown from 6:00 p.m. until dawn. The only problem was everything fun happened at 6:00 p.m.

Well, unless you wanted to do a 1/2 hour course on Latina Writing at 12:30 a.m.

It was just a ton of people all walking on the sidewalks. Occasionally someone would go "WOOOOO!" or I believe there was a square with fruit arranged just so. The art was so random we thought that possibly a stack of card tables was an art installation we were supposed to ponder.

The whole time it felt like it was just a way to get people downtown so they could bomb us or something. I mean we tried to find something fun to do but the only event at 11:15 p.m. worth attending was going on at the Cultural Center with 3 million of your closest friends in what Jzn dubbed as: The Human Wall Climb. Even the restaurants and stores were mostly closed.

The quote of the evening goes to this girl yelling in disbelief "How do they not blink? They aren't even blinking?" at a group of performance artists frozen in place with their fucking eyes closed....the entire time. Um, that's how they "don't even blink."

It was Mardi Gras without the tits or alcohol. But hey, you tried Mayor Daley....next year maybe actually you know, plan fun things to do all night, instead of the first 2 hours!


I'm Etsy Bound

I've become so addicted to jewelry (costume jewelry, not the real stuff) so much so that everytime I pass the oven I think "that could hold bracelets" and Kaboom has to walk around with my excess necklaces hanging off him for lack of space anywhere else, I've decided to try my hand at making it.

Sis and I already decided we're doing an all Etsy Christmas this year, so why not make my own stuff for gifts? Then my entrepreneurial side got the best of me and I got all cocky and thought, "hey, maybe I can sell it too!" Time will tell about that. Right now I'm making a massive stockpile to see where I want to go with it.

If you are my friend and are interested in something, send me a request. I'll need practice and maybe we can trade: pictures of your cute kids or you type something for me to post to make this space somewhat entertaining again....deal?

Jewelry set on Flickr to see my progress.


Home for the Wayward Teen

Ho-hum it's Monday. Yep, that's my brilliant post for today. It's Monday and it's a perfect day for taking a walk to feed my man's pretzel addiction, for threatening to cut my dog's throat because he broke a dish, and for cuddling in for some Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Not sure if I mentioned this on here, but for a few Sundays now we've been hosting a "Home for the Wayward Teens" dinner at our house. I have no idea why I call it that, it just strikes me as being funny. We all like to think of ourselves as 18, we like to eat, and since I don't have any children to feed, I like to play mother. Yes, I realize that could be reason enough for a whole 3 hours on the doctor's couch, but eh. Sue me.

I purchased this "3-4 Ingredient Cookbook for the Minimalist Kitchen" awhile back from Borders bargain bin and when I finally cracked it open I discovered it's fabulous-I'm sorry, I don't think you got that: FABULOUS.

It's exactly how I like to cook: Complicated enough to make me feel like I'm being creative, yet easy and cheap enough (only 3-4 ingredients to buy!) to feed more than 2 people and all under 45 minutes of preparation. So I've been posting recipes and pictures in flickr in the "Wayward Teens" set.

This week I made peach pie from scratch complete with a pasta dish and Sis brought over peach bellini drinks (rum, peach schnapps, champagne & ice). We were joined by BIL, Coney Sauce, Rope and Jzn. A house full of talk, laughter, and piles of dirty dishes.

Just like I envision actual motherhood.


Miss Scarlet in the conservatory with a candlestick

This time around living in Chicago we're hoping to actually get off our asses and venture out into this fair city. This weekend we were throwing around the idea of going to a state park, but thought...wait, that isn't in the city.

So Friday we met up at a bar with my co-workers before viewing a comedy show put on by the ladies whom I photographed extremely racist-ly a few months ago. I must say
the start of the weekend was off to a bang as soon as the best burger I've ever had in my life hit my lips. Beef covered in Wisconsin cheese spread with veggies on a pretzel roll. No shit.

The comedy show was fabulous, totally racist, and hilarious. I kept forgetting she worked in Accounting!

Yesterday we ventured out to the Garfield Park Conservatory for the day. You can see the pictures in my conservatory set in Flickr. WHAT A TREASURE!? So much so that I'm taking my GWO crew back. And it was only a $5 donation. After seeing all that vegetation I wanted a salad something fierce, so we ate at Handlebar, a restaurant theMan had been wanting to try forever. And again: Fabulous!

Then to top it off I spent 6 hours babysitting the cutest baby in Illinois. The Coen-ster gave me a run for my money and it was exactly how to end a great Saturday.

Tonight is our Home For the Wayward Teens meal and the theme tonight is PEACHES. I'll post recipes and pictures tomorrow.

I love spring.


We are creators

I can't believe this, but I found inspiration in one of those women's fashion rags. The source was an interview with Salma Hayek in Marie Claire. I was given the mag to read on the train by my co-worker and thought, eh, why not. Usually these magazines make me feel like starving myself and running up my credit card debt, but today I walked away with ideas on how to wear my black blazer and an appreciation for my body.

I just acquired a new cousin today (Mrs. T's sister gave birth today at 6:05 EST and she thankfully got to experience it with her!). When lately it seems our government, the media, and people in general want to hold us ladies down, these words from a movie star can inspire us to keep our head up. Who'd a thunk it. If there is one piece of advice I could give the new little girl born today, it would be: remember you are divine.

"This is what makes us divine. Look at our bodies! If there is one thing that should make women feel like goddesses, it should be our bodies, and instead it's the one thing that makes us feel unworthy. Insecure. Obsessed. Dirty. Explain this to me."

I wish I could.