Archive | December, 2011

End of Year Check-in 2011

21 Dec

Hallelujah! This year is almost over. Can I get an amen?? A-MEN. Why am I so pumped you ask? Well, to begin with I sort of despise odd numbers in general. I like things organized and calm, and odd-numbered years cause me unneeded angst. Then there was the whole back surgery of March 2011 and the subsequent bills, debt, and harassing money issues that followed me through the summer, so, I would say I am ready for 2012 for many reasons. Plus, I already have so many exciting things set in motion for 2012. I can’t wait to start a new part-time job doing transcription work with a theatre company here in Chicago in January. I’m going to go to New York City to visit some amazing friends in February, I’m standing up as MOH in my friend’s fabulous April wedding, and once August 2012 hits, I can officially make my condo an income property and move in with my man… ring pending.

But this year wasn’t all bad, and I would say I have matured a lot in the past 12 months. This is my recap and check-in with myself (and with you):

Pain/back surgery started my year off and it was unlike anything else I’d ever experienced.
Quitting a show (due to pain/back surgery) for the first time brought me to a new depth of sadness I hadn’t known and some apathy for how I look at my art.
Traveling to the United Kingdom with my family was magical. Despite the fact that all five of us were stuck in a tiny room together we had an amazing time sight-seeing through England with my sister as our guide. And watching my parents meet my boyfriend’s parents in Scotland was a blessing and a memory I’ll never forget.
Fighting insurance company and hospitals over bills was soul-killing and the ugliest thing I’ve had to do in my life thus far.
The Scottish finding an apartment for “us” made me so happy and gave me a glimpse into my future.
Spending Labor Day weekend in North Dakota with my grandparents for their 75th and 80th birthdays filled me with joy and gratefulness at the family they’ve created.
Random ailments like a weird stress rash and pink-eye made life frustrating and humbling.
Celebrating four years with my nanny family reminded me how much life can change in a short time, and how the important people are always there for you.
Hosting my first Thanksgiving with the Scottish and friends made me feel all-grown up and ready for my own family.
And Christmas, well Christmas hasn’t come yet, and I don’t know how it will go except that visiting my old stomping grounds, my lovely family and fabulous friends means I’ll have a fantastic week.

That said, this is my last blog post of 2011. I’m taking a week and a half off to relax and enjoy the holidays. I figured my boss gave me a week off, so my other boss (being me) should follow in kind. I aim to begin posting again on Sunday the 1st!

Blog ideas you can look forward to coming in 2012:
I’m discussing joining Weight Watchers, and so far people are encouraging. But I’m still waiting to hear the phrase, “What? You don’t need to go on Weight Watchers!”
Virginity. How does society views virgins and waiting for marriage, mixed with what I deem positive things that come from waiting.* Should be pretty dope. As in cool, not referencing the drug.

*As always, my goal surrounding discussions of heavy topics is to help people understand them a little more, even if that lifestyle or choice is not for you, at least you can find something to appreciate in it. Less judgement, more compassion. I’ve either found my new motto, or my first book title… not sure yet.

Join me in the New Year and Happy Holidays readers!!! as they sign off in the UK:
XOXO,
Stephanie

Quote: “Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.” Hal Borland

You know you’re a klutz when…

18 Dec

1. You can’t turn corners. I am constantly cutting people off and tripping when I try to round the bend of a sidewalk. The Scottish says I’m notorious for walking right in front of him and cutting him off instead of widening the curve and allowing us both to pass nicely. (I feel the need to point out that I was completely unaware I was doing that.) I also tend to not really know where I’m going most of the time, especially if I’m walking AND talking (another thing klutzy people are bad at), and so a friend might say, “We are going to turn at Belmont.” Now I know where Belmont is but I’m always surprised when we reach it and sort of stumble/fall over myself trying to keep up as my friend turns the corner.

2. You can’t wrap presents. I loathe wrapping gifts almost as much as I loathe getting my haircut. The shopping part of it excites me to no end, but covering my treasures with paper and tape, ew, not for me! But alas, it must be done, and even if I have help, I still end up wrapping something every year. So because I’m a klutz I rip the paper when I try to put the corners. I use copious amounts of tape, I accidentally drop the sticker gift tag in the wrong spot so it’s all crooked and weird, and when I load the presents into my suitcase I inevitably squish one or all of them. I also make a habit of leaving them on the floor and tripping over them.

3. You can’t put your purse down on the ground without teetering a little bit and getting off-balance just enough for others to notice.

4. You can’t react fast enough to flying objects or people who steal your things as a joke. The Scottish plays this game, keep away from Stephanie, and it is pretty amusing watching me attempt to grab back my chap stick or the TV remote. I ALWAYS lose.

5. You can’t take baths. Baths are for graceful, gentle people, not for klutzes. I have taken one and only one bath in our old-style jacuzzi tub in the new apartment. Yes, it has jets, but no, it’s not that fancy. I had a really bad cold and was so excited to light some candles and take a nice steamy, and relaxing bath. First off, it takes forever to get hot water at our place, so I waited and waited until the water got really really hot before I plugged up the tub. Then when it was about half-way full I decided to figure out how the jets worked so I pushed a button that appeared to be an “on” switch. I had no idea the jets had to be submerged before you started them and water literally sprayed everywhere in the bathroom. The mirrors, the rugs, the candles, my eyes, it was like a bad movie. So I turn them off and patiently wait for the tub to fill up. At this point I’m already naked, so I just perch myself on the edge of the tub. But since it’s been 5 minutes since I’ve checked Facebook, I go and get my phone, and oh yes, I slip and fall on the very wet tiles. Miraculously I’m not hurt and I notice the tub is full, finally! I go to put my foot in but recoil quickly because I have somehow managed to make the hottest bath water ever! I love my shower water extra hot, but I couldn’t even put one toe in this, so again I perch myself on the edge of the tub and wait, thinking to myself, when does this start to be relaxing?? Eventually I do get in and it is pretty nice, but I haven’t taken one since.

6. You can’t splay sports and you can’t run. Did I even have to mention that one? I throw like a girl, no I throw like a 5 month old monkey girl, and well, I can’t run in general, and if you read my new page, Back Attack, you’ll understand why. But when I do need to catch a bus or I’m playing with my kiddos, my nanny boy Derek likes to point out to me how oddly I run. I sort of jog with my arms up near my chest and wobble back and forth, of course, tripping every so often on uneven ground. I try to consciously avoid running in public because it’s not very attractive.

Quote: “I can do everything with ease on the stage, whereas in real life I feel too big and clumsy. So I didn’t choose acting. It chose me.” Ingrid Bergman

My last post didn’t get as much traffic as usual so maybe these pictures will help

14 Dec

Hello Random blog post!!! (why, hello to you too) Here are three recent purchases that have made me super happy!

1. The Scottish and I picked out two of my Christmas presents early… here are my awesome new shoe racks:

By the door

In the closet

2. I am in love with the new heels and matching clutch I bought from Nine West. I bought them to match the dress I wore to The Scottish’s work party. Check. Next appearance for this ensemble will be Christmas Eve service in ND… gotta get my money’s worth, yo.

yum

right??

3. My fossil hat that makes me feel young. The Scottish first saw it and said, “It’s dorky but it suits you.” Whaaaa?

winter super spy

Sidebar: I met up with a friend for lunch last week (who wondered if she would be in the blog and I said no but I guess what I really meant was yes). When she first walked into the restaurant she remarked how I don’t even need to talk about my life since she already knows everything from my blog! I laughed heartily because I can ALWAYS find more to say, and I love chatting in person with my friends because you get the back and forth banter. But she made me think… I need to broaden my horizons and reach people that I don’t get to have lunch with all the time. So, loyal reader, I am asking you ever so graciously to please pass my blog on to a friend of yours that you think might like this. Male or female!! Some of my biggest fans are guys and I love it. 🙂 If your immediate reaction is, “I barely have time to read this let alone pass it on,” then no big deal. I appreciate all of you so much. Writing this blog makes me so joyful.

OH and one more thing! I have now put all the blogs that I follow into my Google Reader and it is life-changing! It’s a great way to see all your favorite blogs and who’s updated recently without searching for them or clogging up your email. And it’s included with your google account. Personally, I am obsessed with my gmail and all things google and feel like it’s my life goal to hook others up to it’s glory.

Check out one of my new favorite blogs!

Fibromy-Awesome

Clearly there is no real theme for the quote this week so how about a semi-off-color joke?

Joke: Someone asked Siri (the iphone personal assistant) to tell them a holocaust joke. Siri replied, “I don’t know any holocaust jokes, Ann Frankly I don’t find them funny.”

Holiday Relations

11 Dec

Hello Holiday Season. The best time of the year? Pretty much. Well, I would say summer is really the best time of the year, because let’s face it, if you’re in a northern/mid-western state, the cold is awful and we all rejoice once summer hits. But the holiday season is what makes the winter weather bearable. There’s music and lights, and people doing good deeds, what’s not to love? I get very busy during the holiday season because I want to enjoy it all! And since I’m trying to gear this blog more toward relationships, I want to pass on my advice for how best to enjoy your relationships during the holidays.

Friends: This can be tricky because we all have those friends we exchange gifts with and those we do not. I prefer to not give gifts to friends as I have an immediate family, extended family, and a Chicago family to shop for, but I do think friendships need to be refreshed at this time of year as well. So I make a point to see all my friends around the holiday season for dinner, coffee, a drink, shopping, a party, whatever it may be, just to check in, see how they’re doing, and wish them a happy holidays. This year my group of friends, the Sister Wives, all got dressed up and we went out for dinner and drinks and even exchanged a ten dollar gift. While we see each other a lot, the six of us aren’t always in the same place at the same time, and we rarely get dressed up just for each other, but it makes our holiday dinner that little bit more special. For years my bff and I would go shopping together and buy each other the exact same gift for Christmas. It was great because we got to exchange something without the worry and stress of choosing it. And whether it was a book, a hair straightener, or a shirt, we both liked it because we both had picked it out. I also like to act as a professional party-attender throughout November and December. I like to hit every holiday soriee or get-together because my friends put a lot of effort into them and a holiday party is always a blast. Plus, if you’re too busy going to parties then you don’t have to plan one yourself.

Family: My auntie likes to say something to the effect of, ” Drinking and family don’t mix.” And this might not make sense if your family has Irish or Italian roots but it makes sense for us. There might be wine and beer around, but when we all get together it’s usually good clean fun and nobody gets hurt. Spending time with my family around the holidays is the highest priority on my list because I was raised that way. My parents drove us three kids through blizzards and storms just to make sure we made it to Bismarck to celebrate Christmas. I’ve never spent a Christmas in Minnesota which is crazy because I lived there from age 2 1/2 to age 18. Every family has their own idea of fun, but if you think playing cards, singing together, making fun of each other, and eating a lot is fun, then we are guil-ty (said in a high-pitched gay man’s voice). We literally sing the same two songs every year for the Christmas Eve service at my grandparent’s church and we continually get RAVE reviews. It is also entirely true that people look forward to these same two songs every year. And it’s entirely true that we hold the words in our hands year after year because for some reason memorization of these same two songs is out of our reach. All kidding aside, my family is so important to me and if you can’t think of a funny or weird tradition that your family has, this is the year to make one! I believe that traditions are good for the soul and great things to pass on to future generations. Our traditions range from Grandma’s chili to singing in church to opening gifts the night before Christmas. What are yours?

Partners: This could be your spouse, your significant other, the person you are causally dating, or in some cases, your non-boyfriend boyfriend. Whatever the case or whatever the level of commitment, being in a relationship around the holidays is wonderful! The key with gift giving is making that other person feel special. A gift that shows you understand their interests and passions is infinitely better than a standard run-of-the-mill gift, but no need to get over-whelmed, you don’t have to do this alone! I am a big fan of asking family members and friends (who know that person best) what it is they want for Christmas. I also need to point out that women, all women, (even the ones that say that don’t) enjoy romantic gifts. That said, romance is different for every girl, some think it’s jewelry and flowers, some prefer you take them to a show or on a trip, some like when you cook them dinner, and some just want you to have listened enough to have purchased that one thing they’ve been hinting at since July. Speaking of gifts, I was listening to a popular radio station here in Chicago, and they were having women call in with their worst Christmas gifts ever. This one woman won, hands down, after she said that her new boyfriend of a few months gave her a 1,000 count box of TAMPONS!!! TAMPONS?!?!?! There are 80 things wrong with this gift but we’ll start with the obvious, what man purchases feminine hygiene products on his own?? And then why did he think that was OK?? And also, why 1,000?? Why? Because he wants her to have enough tampons to last her for life?? Because nothing says romance like, “I got you some plugs to help with your monthly bleeding problem. Word.”

Happy Holidays, enjoy spending time with your friends, family, and partners!!

Quote: “If all the year were playing holidays,/ To sport would be as tedious as to work.” William Shakespeare

A list for the bucket

7 Dec

This blog post is allllll about me… just the way I like it. 🙂 These are the things I would like to do before I buy the farm, push up daises, or kick the bucket. I was inspired after reading someone else’s bucket list and I felt like sharing mine with all of you. My OCD tendencies are forcing me to go to a nice round, even number. So here are the top 30 things I would like to do before I die. In no particular order.

1. Get married. (I figured I’d get that one of the way since we all know it’s sort of the elephant in the room and it doesn’t really fit, much like my ego, the Scottish likes to joke.)

2. Have 2.5 kids, at least one girl and one boy.

3. Publish a book. Or two.

4. Perform on the Steppenwolf or Goodman Stage. Ahhhhh-mazing.

5. Visit Melbourne, Australia to see if it can live up to the hype my Scottish has given it.

6. Be a guest on the Rosie O’Donnell show. (This was recently made so much easier when she started her second talk-show for the OWN network and hello, she lives in Chicago!)

7. Flip a house. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, a flip means to buy a run-down, fixer-upper, renovate and upgrade the entire house, and then sell it for a profit. Wham, bam, thank-you-Ma’am style.

8. Be a landlord.

9. Own a Dyson vacuum.

10. Discover a new hobby.

11. Lives somewhere warm.

12. Sing soprano in an opera.

13. Turn my blog into a relationship advice column of sorts.

14. Buy a home in Chicago with the Scottish.

15. Buy a vacation home. Anywhere.

16. Completely gut and replace my parent’s entire kitchen with high-end everything.

17. Pay off all of my student loan debt!!! (Someday, God willing….)

18. Have a job that requires me to wear business casual clothing.

19. Lose 20 lbs.

20. Make a difference in the education system.

21. Take my mom swimming with the dolphins.

22. Direct a full-length production.

23. Act in a full-length film.

26. Be on a TLC wedding show.

27. Visit an orphanage.

28. Take my kids to Arches National Park, Disney World, Minnesota, North Dakota, Scotland, Australia, and everywhere…

29. Laser-remove all my leg hair so I never have to shave again.

30. Expect less. Forgive more. Love always.

Quote: “Our fear of death is like our fear that summer will be short, but when we have had our swing of pleasure, our fill of fruit, and our swelter of heat, we say we have had our day.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Come join me in the Clouds

4 Dec

When did we all get so cynical? When did shopping malls and store chains become the enemy? When did the world stop believing in things they couldn’t see or understand? Am I the only person left who watches romantic comedies??

So, last night the Scottish and I had a minor disagreement. It started off as a great evening… we went to the Walnut Room for dinner at Macy’s on State street. For those of you not in Chicago, this is a fantastic restaurant on the 8th floor of the HUGE downtown Macy’s. It’s got this amazing tree in the center of the room that illuminates the entire floor and it’s just beautiful. Last year my parents were in town for the lighting of this tree in November and I found out it’s a tradition for some people to go out to breakfast at the Walnut Room and watch the tree lighting festivities. Well I’ve always wanted to go back and eat there and last night was my chance. My girlfriends and I were bumming around the Macy’s and I knew the Scottish was meeting me later so I put my name down at 6 PM, and they told me my estimated time of seating would be close to 8:30! But hey, I was in Macy’s, we all know how err, “relaxed,” it makes me to wander around Macy’s so the Scottish and I got a snack and then went browsing while we waited for our table.

The food at the Walnut Room is decent, nothing special, but you’re not there for the food. You’re there because there are fairy princesses wandering around with wands talking to all the children and it’s freakin adorable. I made a mental note to come back with my little Becca next time. Surrounded by all the spectacle and the lights, the Christmas music, and the fairy princesses, I started to float up to the clouds and I started to feel extra romantic sitting there with my love. And that is how we got on the topic of fate. I told him that I think God knew he was the one for me and guided him from Scotland to Chicago so we could meet at that bar two years ago on that fateful night. The Scottish replies with, something to the effect of, well, there could be someone else more perfect for us out there but we won’t act on it because we’re in love with each other and blah blah blah (I started to tune out in frustration).

WHAT?!?! That is the most unromantic thing I’ve ever heard. There are 6 billion people on the earth and the odds are pretty good that there is someone else that you are more compatible with? Ew. OF course I know the Scottish loves me and he’s not going anywhere. I can tell by the way he looks at me, the way he talks to me, the way he listens to me, etc. But sometimes his logical side really irks me. So I ask him to tell me what he believes in, and he says he does believe in love and in us. Whatever Mr. Rational-show-me-scientific-proof-pants. Hurmpf.

Then there’s me, do you know what I believe in? Everything!! I believe in God, Santa, the Easter bunny, Starbucks, my family, my bf, my friends, the sun, and especially that our perfect partner is picked out for us ahead of time. I just find this new age hippie-style cynicism to be somewhat obnoxious. I think it’s OK to watch movies and pretend they could happen in real life. I love supporting women’s right but I also love the old-fashioned ideas of cooking and cleaning for your man. I also believe in shopping at big name department stores but as I found out today, I stand alone on that topic as well. At my church, we hold an Alternative Giving Fair every year as a way to fight consumerism and to give back. The gifts range from homemade soups and cookies, to cards and boxes, to organic laundry detergent and cat toys. Each person makes/puts together their own gifts and you pay like 5-10 dollars for each item, all the proceeds of which go to a charity. It’s great, and you should totally come! (Dec 10, Holy Covenant United Methodist Church). But during the announcements the question was posed, “Who of you actually enjoy going Christmas shopping?” I WAS THE ONLY PERSON WITH MY HAND RAISED! How embarrassing. 🙂

I want to change the world, I do. I want world peace, an end to gun violence, clean water for everyone, but I also want to shop at Macy’s, drive my car instead of walking everywhere (it’s cold out and I don’t bike!), and I want to believe that the Scottish and I are meant to be together because some higher power decided it so.

I like to say the Scottish has his feet on the ground at all times. And I put my feet on the ground too but definitely less often. I ground myself when I look at my finances, when I’m cleaning the house, running errands, and so on. But last night I asked him to join me in the clouds because it’s so fun up here! In the clouds, love always win, you can have the wedding of your dreams, you WILL be a famous actress AND novelist, and your Scottish is a gift from up above.

Come fly with me…

Quote: “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.” Anne Frank

%d bloggers like this: