Archive | April, 2012

I’m a church-crier and other embarrassing confessions from this weekend

29 Apr

I took out a five-year-old. At work on Friday, I was taking little Becca to a Spanish camp placement visit in Oak Park (a suburb very close to the city). I printed out directions (despite having lived in Oak Park for a full year) and followed them, which was my first mistake, because they took me through downtown which was miserable with traffic. I should have taken the freeway, but soon it was too late to switch routes and we were running LATE. I called the place and said we’d be there soon but I really, really hate being late, so I wanted to get there as soon as possible. After we’d parked and paid the meter, Becca and I crossed the street and I suggested we run. We rarely run, because running is stupid and Becca prefers to run at recess, not when being asked. But she knew we were late so she agreed. We started running and the stupid uneven sidewalk paired with my inherent klutzy-ness caused me to trip and fall to the ground taking poor Becca down with me! We were holding hands and there was no escaping our double-fall. She started to cry, and we examined our wounds while the homeless guy down at the corner shouted to us, “Are you OK?” I replied that yes, we were fine while attempting to soothe a teary-eyed Becca, getting her laugh it off and suggested that Nini had learned her lesson, no running in Oak Park!! We brushed ourselves off and got back to it, this time, walking briskly but not running. We passed the homeless guy who started to say, “Ma’am, would you—,” I cut him off saying “Sorry, we’re in a hurry Mister.” He says, “Yea you in hurry, that’s why you tripped.” Well played homeless man, well played.

lovely (older) photo of Becca and I

I pissed off my neighbor. In my condo building lives this sweet older woman across the hall. Her name is Fran. When she first saw me moving in back in 2009 she assumed I was another renter because the condo was getting renovated at the time. Nope, that was all me! I bought it! Fran was happy to learn this because she did not like having renters moving in and out year after year (the previous owner had used my junior one bedroom as a rental property.) Over the last three years, Fran and I have exchanged Christmas cookies and causal conversation. I’m kind of an excellent tenant, if I do say so myself. My idea of hosting a party is having girls over for wine and girl talk. The last few months I’ve barely been home because I’ve been nesting with the Scottish in our apartment on the other side of the city. Well, as the Scottish and I were clearing out my place yesterday we ran into Fran, still in her dressing gown at 2 PM I might add, and we started chatting with her. She asked what we were doing and I said I’m moving in with the Scottish because we got engaged! Yay! She was excited and happy for us! Then she asks, “So are you going to sell the place?” I say, “Nope, we’re going to get a renter in here sometime in August.” Cut to the most crestfallen woman I’ve ever seen. It was like she’d be told her dog died. A RENTER!?!??! HOW AWFUL!!! She recovered with, “Well, much happiness to you both, and then promptly shut the door. Awkward city. So I’m currently seeking really nice, super quiet and perhaps even boring, squeaky clean person who is hardly ever home to rent my condo and keep elderly neighbor happy at the same time… sigh.

AFTER

I cried in church. I’m a church-crier, it’s true. I feel like I’ve shared this little nugget on “Drama Happens” once before but I’ll share it again. I realize I’m quite the obnoxious over-sharer and but this specific confession really brings everyone’s judgy-eyes out. “You cry in church? But… why?!!?!?” It is weird. I tend to cry at about 90% of the sermons I hear and I don’t even know why! I guess it’s triggered by a sweet personal story, or a quote or phrase that makes me think, or when something reminds me of one the relationships in my life. Whatever the reason, if I feel intense emotion (good or bad) my eyes start to fill up. I’ve gotten quite good at blinking the tears away or letting them pool until I can get a good swipe of my hand up to my face to wipe them away all at once. Still, it gets tricky. And it’s just a very public place in a very quiet room and suddenly I feel like all eyes are on me and public display of emotion. If anything, it gives the Scottish more comedic material. Aren’t I the nicest?

Does anyone else do something really embarrassing that is kind of odd?

Quote: “But I learned that there’s a certain character that can be built from embarrassing yourself endlessly. If you can sit happy with embarrassment, there’s not much else that can really get to ya.” Christian Bale

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How do you get a man to sell his first car?

25 Apr

This is a very serious question to a very serious problem. My lovely fiancΓ©, the Scottish, has a car back in Scotland, and myself, his parents, and everyone else on earth thinks he should sell it. While the Scottish says he will sell it, he is dragging his feet so badly that I’m starting to doubt if he ever will. I mean, he says things like, “But it’ll be paid off in a year,” and “It’s my first car!” What bothers me is that my Scottish is one of the smartest people I know, so he must realize how stupid it is to pay monthly car payments and insurance on a car that doesn’t get driven! He’s been doing this for over three years, since he bought it back in 2009, and since it doesn’t appear he’s going to be living in Scotland anytime soon (thank you 2 year visa extension), I’ve decided it’s high time he stop procrastinating and sell the damn thing. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let me tell you how it all began… BTW, this is a very sad “white people problems” story, so prepare yourself accordingly.

When my beloved first signed up to work for his current company he was fresh out of University and excited to be hired by the first job he applied for! He was asked if he would be willing to travel internationally, and the Scottish eagerly replied with a “Yes,” which is good because a “NO” is a sure way to NOT get hired by this company. So within his first few months working of for them the Scottish was sent to Australia and that’s where he fell in love with my greatest rival, the beautiful Melbourne. The Scottish LOVES Melbourne and would happily move back there in a hot second. Unfortunately for him, when we fell in love, the only place I agreed to travel internationally to was Scotland. Just kidding, I really want to visit Australia and we were thinking about it for the honeymoon, but it’s just too expensive so we’re looking into other options.

photo courtesy of http://www.tripadvisor.com

Back to my story, the Scottish was supposed to be in Australia for a few months, but his stay was extended to almost a full year. Once he was back in his home country of Scotland he was considering buying a car, but kept putting it off in case he was sent somewhere else. Eventually, he caved and bought himself a used black Volkswagen Golf S with 1.9 TDI. (Whatever that means, NOTE: It’s obvious I’ve asked the Scottish for specific information which in turn means he knows about this post and isn’t upset by it. The Scottish supports my writing and doesn’t mind being the topic of humorous conversation! I feel the need to point that out because people occasionally ask me how he feels having his life out for everyone to read, which is a great question BTW!)

The Scottish was trying to put off buying a car because he was certain the minute he bought one he would be sent somewhere for work. And that’s exactly what happened! The Scottish purchased his car in February of 2009 and he was sent to America in February of 2009, which means he got to drive his car for roughly 2.5 weeks before he had to leave. At the time they told him he would be in Chicago for three weeks only. Well, three weeks turned into three months, which turned into a two year contract which turned into indefinitely after meeting and proposing to one sexy blonde.

See, what a sad story about a guy and his first car.

photo courtesy of http://www.friday-ad.co.uk

The Scottish LOVES his car and does not want to part with it, and I totally understand why, but it’s hard for me to justify the monthly payments. Mom Scottish is nice enough to drive the car once in a while to make sure the engine still starts, and Dad Scottish appears to be taking care of all the mail and maintenance relating to the car, but still, IT JUST SITS THERE, in the driveway, doing NOTHING for most of the year! The only time the Scottish gets to drive his baby is when he is home for a few weeks at a time.

He thought about having it sent over to the US, but only briefly because the cost to ship a vehicle overseas is about the same as just buying a new used car. Plus, the steering wheel is the WRONG side for us in the states, and finally, future Mrs. Scottish (me) cannot drive a stick shift car, and surely that would pose a problem down the road. My Dad tried to teach me back in high school, but I just never got the hang of it.

In conclusion, I feel stuck. I need help convincing the man I love to sell the car he loves, and not just because we’re planning a wedding, or because he could use the money to pay off his little bit of student loan debt left in the UK, or because we are saving to buy a house someday. I’m most upset because I hate watching money be thrown down the toilet! I am not the best person with money (duh) but I always pay off my credit card each month because I hate paying extra for something I’ve already bought! At least when I get a pedicure I see the fruits of that money for weeks! We rarely see his car and I’ve already promised him that he can have final say over the next car we purchase together. Hopefully that isn’t soon because I’m sure he’s going to want something amazing (aka expensive). And I know I’ll be pretty sad when my little silver Hyundai croaks because I love her… after all she’s my first car. πŸ™‚

personal photo

Quote: “A guy knows he’s in love when he loses interest in his car for a few days.” Tim Allen

I was in a wedding this weekend!

23 Apr

On Saturday I was the Maid of Honor in my friend’s wedding. My friend, AKA the BRIDE, looked absolutely BEAUTIFUL. It was such a special day and I’m so glad I was there to see all the hard work come to fruition.

The days leading up to the wedding were kind of hectic, mostly for the bride and her mother (who did all her flowers and might do my flowers next March if I’m so lucky), but as MOH, I got to join in some of the hectic fun too! Two days before the wedding, the bride and I were meeting to get our nails done, and what happens? My friend got a flat tire and we have to call AAA. Luckily, they quickly put on a spare and we moved on to other errands and lunch. The day before that she had to drop her almost-husband off at work because HIS car broke down. They say it’s good luck to have bad luck before the wedding, right? Luckily, my friend was quite the pro at keeping her cool and just kept laughing stuff off. The night before the wedding the bride, myself, and her friend from out-of-town spent the night in a king-sized bed, trying to get sleep before THE BIG DAY.

And at the spunky hour of 6 AM, her designer/seamstress/friend arrived with her gorgeous wedding dress (having worked all night on some last minute hiccups). She tried it on and it fit! We rejoiced and started to get ready. Around 10 AM, she decided to look at all her wedding jewelry and noticed that her custom-made bracelet had broken. NOT GOOD. We had lunch/family/bouquets coming at 11 and the hair stylist coming at noon! The three of us made a mad dash to the mall and bought a few new strands, and after some jewelry surgery, she had a beautiful new bracelet to wear. πŸ™‚

Then everyone started to arrive and her hotel room was bustling. We all got pretty, steamed our dresses, put on our jewels, and by 4:30 we were waiting in the lobby for our transportation to the church.

The ceremony was a Catholic mass and while that’s not my normal cup of tea, it was still very lovely and the priest was great. The aisle was quite long but I made it up the whole way without tripping! I did not, however, make it through the whole service without crying, but that was to be expected. πŸ™‚

The reception was a blast because their families really know how to party and dance, and they had hired a fantastic band! I wish I could describe how beautiful my friend looked, but let’s just say she was stunning and leave it at that. (Her husband looked adorable too but no one outshines the bride!) The day went by just as they had imagined it, and I know they are still trying to let it sink in that they are officially married! I’m so excited for them and so relieved I made it through my toast (which got quite a few compliments I might add). The party went on well into the early morning and everyone had an amazing time! Plus, I totally maxed out the sweet table. Yum!

Soon it was Sunday. And exhaustion hits. After the Scottish and I left the hotel we stopped at Old Country Buffet. EPIC FAIL. I was in a daze, clearly, and the Scottish had never been to one. I guess I had these great memories of going there as a kid because you can get whatever you want and fill up your plate as many times as you’d like and there’s DESSERT, lots of DESSERT! As an adult, OCB is just sad and gross. I mean, the food is processed and weird, and it’s not the cleanest of restaurants, I mean, a Denny’s would have been 5 steps up but no, we had to go to the buffet. Sigh.

Sunday included a nap (I never nap), but it did not include a shower (I always shower). Crazy, right? Sometimes it’s good to take a break from life and do nothing. So that’s what I did. Even if it was hard. Yes, you heard that right, it’s DIFFICULT for me to relax. (Again, thank you mother.)

Anyway, want to see a picture of my bouquet… isn’t it lovely?? Her mom did an excellent job.

Quote: “To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.” David Viscott

I flew across the pond all by myself!

14 Apr

Beautiful Edinburgh.

Having just traveled to Scotland and back, ALONE, I can confidently say that I am still one of the worst travelers ever. Remember when I shared my travel anxiety with you all? I fear it is time to work on said anxiety and improve myself in preparation for years to come of traveling abroad. While some of you out there are saying, “Man, she is sooo lucky!” I say, “Maybe that guy from the Big Bang Theory will be smart enough to figure out teleportation before my next flight.”

Despite my lack of desire to become a better traveler, I think out of necessity, I am going to do my best and transform into the easy breezy beautiful jet-setter that I know I can be.

Let’s assess my most recent trip and using a random point system, determine my success.
We’ll call them Travel VIP Points and once I get to a certain amount I can start flying first class!! HA. NOT.
Let’s say:
10 points or below = Travel Newbie
10-20 points = Travel Ace
20-30 points = Travel Veteran
30-40 points = Travel Superstar

Incident One: Packed a small bag of *refreshers aka deodorant, make-up, and toothbrush, to avoid traveling ugly. The Scottish was quite pleased with my appearance upon arrival and therefore, success. +5 points
*made up word by author of this post

Incident Two: Threw a minor fit (to myself) over lack of a good seat. -2 points

Incident Three: While in the airplane I only went to the bathroom when the person next to me went to the bathroom. This took real concentration and mental calming as one of my biggest fears is not having access to a toilet at all times. +8 points

Incident Four: During the flight I asked the guy next to me for the current time on his watch thus engaging someone I don’t already know in conversation. +3 points

Incident Five: Denied further conversation after same guy attempted to ask questions about where I was flying to and where I was from by not returning the same questions. -6 points

Incident Six: Finding my way from one large terminal to another large terminal in Heathrow airport… twice! +10 points

Incident Seven: Prematurely using my Kate Spade passport cover that says “MRS” on it and confusing someone at security when she thought I was already married. Oops. I couldn’t help it, it’s so beautiful and it’s not like I need my passport to go to MN, I just had to use it!! Still, sigh. -5 points

Incident Eight: Moving to a different seat for a group of three that wanted to sit together. +4 points

Incident Nine: Through this move of generosity I secured an aisle seat. +3 points

Incident Ten: Inadvertently glaring at all those who dared to sneeze nearby whilst we were all stuck breathing the same air for over 8 hours. -6 points

SIDENOTE: I dislike hearing/seeing others sneeze. I find it alarming and quite frankly, gross. The worst offenders I know are Sister and The Scottish. Sister sneezes every time the sun comes up, which (for those of you who are still half-asleep) is DAILY! And the Scottish makes the weirdest noise I’ve ever heard that boarders somewhere between a sneeze and a cough, and I call them “cough-sneezes” of course. They come four at a time and in rapid succession and usually interrupt what I’m saying thus forcing me to wait and wonder, “is that a sneeze or a cough? I can’t tell! It’s a cough-sneeze!!” (For the record I personally enjoy sneezing. Yep, I’m terrible).

Alrighty, let me do the math… with a calculator… and we have a grand total of 14 Travel VIP points!!
Wow. At least I’m a Travel Ace (whatever that means). I see there is plenty of room for improvement. And I swear I didn’t plan this low score, I just put down the first number that came to head after I wrote each incident. Bizarre.

Quote: “Living on earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun every year.” Unknown

It’s official, my Groom has something to wear!

11 Apr

BIG, VERY EXCITING NEWS… our tartan has been designed AND ordered.
(insert applause and sigh of relief here)

One of the main wedding-oriented tasks we wanted to accomplish on our trip to Scotland was the making of this tartan. After much encouragement from American family and friends, I was surprised when the Scottish’s friends were the ones who thought it was a little unnecessary and over-the-top. I guess it makes sense, their culture doesn’t buy into the crazy, big weddings that we do on this side of the pond and while they are all so excited to come to the wedding, they are just being practical and I totally understand that.

But since making a family tartan was deemed “top of the list important” to the Scottish and I, on the day after my arrival the Scottish and I sat down at a website that not only let us pick our colors but also arrange each color at different widths. We decided to follow a pattern we liked so that our tartan had a good chance of looking somewhat normal. Our colors were taken from the wedding theme and I’m thrilled with the result.

Once the kilt was designed, the Scottish went online to register it. We recently found out that we can’t use just the Scottish’s surname because your clan/family name would have to be registered by the the Court of the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh and that is usually reserved for historic family clans that already have tartans. And I totally get that, plus we can’t just make a kilt for every person with that last name, but we CAN make it specific to our branch of the Scottish’s last name. The woman at the Scottish Register of Tartans suggested we use both of our last names with a hyphen in between. So not only will my new last name be associated with the kilt but also my maiden name, pretty cool right?

We have to wait about a month and a half before it arrives but I can promise you there will be a follow-up post with more details.

For now, I am really excited and here’s why:
1) It’s the Scottish’s first kilt!! He’s never worn one before and I’m happy to announce that he’ll be wearing his personalized kilt for the first time on our wedding day.

2) We now have a family tartan!! For those of you who’ve read about my kilt woes then you understand how much I wanted this special element of his culture to be incorporated into the wedding. I picture us passing down the tartan from generation to generation, and it’s my way of embracing his country and it’s traditions (which isn’t always easy with us living in the US).

3) This is one more thing we can check off the wedding to-do list! Usually it’s the bride who orders her dress first because of the time it takes to get in and altered, but in our case, the Scottish got to join in the joys of formal-wear-ordering-fun.

Before I unveil the design, here are a few tartans we looked at for inspiration.

Rangers Tartan

Colhoun Tartan

Those are both lovely but it’s time for the big reveal and without further ado, HERE IS OUR NEW FAMILY TARTAN:

(insert last name here) Tartan

Unfortunately it’s a small photo and it’s nearly impossible to see all the different lines of color, but the majority of the tartan alternates between plum and a forest green. I’m sooo curious to see how the colors look in person!

Finally, I know it’s not good etiquette to talk about money and budget when pertaining to the wedding but I pride myself on the honesty of this blog and I like to express gratitude when it’s due. The Scottish and I are grateful to his parents for helping with the monetary expenses of buying a custom-designed kilt, and want them and everyone to know how special they are to us.

Quote: “KILT, n. A costume sometimes worn by Scotchmen in America and Americans in Scotland.” Ambrose Bierce

THE HUNGER GAMES in SCOTLAND

7 Apr

I’m on holiday, escaping away across the pond to see the Scottish and his family. I’ve been enjoying the company of my future-in-laws in this beautiful country (despite crappy weather). I have been taking the train into Glasgow with the Scottish to meet friends for dinner and drinks, I’ve gone shopping, and I have read all three Hunger Games books in succession. It’s a marathon, not a sprint!!

I will share updates on the kilt and other things when I’m back in Chicago but for now, all I can think about is Katniss and the others. I have been extra emotional and frightened this week due to reading the books AND seeing the first film of the series. I need the light on when I walk to the bathroom and I’m constantly hearing weird noises in the house, clearly they must be pods ready to detonate on me. Most people can separate books from reality but not me. Yet another side effect of my crazy brain.

(Note to self: go back to reading Amish love stories, they will not break you.)

Looking forward to my return but not rushing my week of relaxing! Until then friends!!! πŸ™‚

Quote: “May the odds be ever in your favor.” The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

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