16 December 2010

A Thank You to Joe and Chicago's Finest

Oh yesterday.

Yesterday was not a good day to me.  By the time I finally crawled under the covers, I just wanted to forget yesterday ever happened.  

Was it the worst day ever?  Not hardly.  But still. 

I woke up after an awful night of restless sleep, of crying out in the middle of the night from pain, of dreaming of slurpees and ways to freezing my aching throat, of desperately seeking water.  When I woke up and thought about it, I realized my sore throat was worse and in no way should've woken me up....nevermind as much as it did. 

So I got dressed and took some time to head to Walgreen's Take Care Clinic.  Which was a neat discovery in of itself - a little clinic inside select Walgreen's to handle minor health issues for relatively cheap.  And they're covered by insurance.  And then I found out my cold was a bad enough cold to warrant nose medication and my poor sore throat was strep throat. 


See?  Sick enough to whine.  No fun for anyone. 

But Joe...Joe is finally starting to feel better.  And after two weeks at home, we were both a bit stir-crazy and a bit anxious about not getting our Christmas shopping started.  

So after I finished work for the day, we headed downtown to Water Tower Place for some holiday shopping.    Given that we're both on meds, should we have been out?  Probably not.  But we both felt okay to handle a few hours of shopping.  

Turns out, rush hour on a random Wednesday is a great time to do your Christmas shopping.  Hardly anyone was in the mall and we were able to knock off most of our list fairly easily. 

But when I was looking at something in one store, I set down a bag in front of my feet and threw my jacket and a few probable purchases on top of it.  My purse, which is one of those little clutches you wear around your wrist, was most likely tossed on top of the pile.  I really don't remember.  I thought it was okay because it was between my feet and a display.  But two women knocked over my bag as they were looking at something, which I didn't think much of at the time.  Until three minutes later when we went to pay.  

Annoying?  For sure.  Bad timing?  Absolutely.  But no one was hurt.  Joe and I called and cancelled everything in my purse before we left the mall.  And Chicago's finest gave us a ride home after I filed a police report (just in case there's identity theft issues later on).  

So lesson learned kiddos.  Even when you think you're being smart and safe, be smarter and safer!  And always, always cancel your cards immediately.  You can retroactively cancel your cell phone if you can tell them your last authorized call.  File a police report - it will help speed up the ID/card replacements and will help if your identity is also stolen.  

But a big thank you to Joe for being calm and helping handle all the logistical issues.  And a big thank you to Chicago's finest for their prompt response and politeness and for being nice enough to give us a ride home last night.  

And thankfully, Joe's present is already wrapped and under the tree!

15 December 2010

Sick House Indeed

So, walking pneumonia for Joe, and Katie has a cold and strep throat.  

Maybe I should just ask Santa to bring us health for Christmas instead....

Wednesday Wisdom: Meaning of Life

"Because that’s what life is about. It’s about the time when you lay in the grass next to those you love. It’s about the color of the sky. It’s about a roaring fire on a winters evening. You’ve got to realize that everybody bleeds, and that everybody hurts. Everybody laughs, and everybody smiles. That’s what it’s all about. That’s all it is. There is no set meaning of life, there is nothing that can be defined, or written. It’s a matter of sculpting your very own definition."

13 December 2010

Welcome to the Sick House

For the past week and a half, Joe has been fighting a case of walking pneumonia.  It was so bad at one point that we took him back to the doctors just to make sure the medications were working properly.  I am still a bit incredulous that both doctors called it a very mild case.  It was pretty scary, honestly, and for a while, I didn't feel comfortable leaving him alone for too long.  I take breathing issues very seriously.  

Fortunately, he's turned the corner this weekend.  While not feeling great, Joe feels much better than he did.  And we're both so glad that if he had to get sick, at least it happened while he was on winter break.   

Unfortunately, I picked up a minor cold this weekend.  Definitely not the worse cold I've ever had, but enough of one to be annoying.   And just enough of a cold for me to be whiny.

Yesterday's snowstorm left us cuddling on the couch, in front of our pretty little Christmas tree.  We've exhausted just about every movie option available to us.  We coughed our way through countless games and croaked along to a few favorite songs.  If we had to be sick, it was the best way to be sick.  Cozily together.  

I'm stir-crazy and restless and in desperate need of fresh air.  

But I'm awfully intimidated by the whole single digits, wind chills below zero and falling temperatures thing.  So I guess it's a good thing Mother Nature is forcing us to hibernate at home for the next few days.  Hopefully by the time it starts warming up again, we'll both be feeling well enough to venture out and handle our Christmas shopping.  Fingers crossed. 

09 December 2010

Last Minute Mad Men

A few weeks ago, Joe and I attended a Mad Men theme party.  At the last minute.  Joe had been waffling all week about attending the party and decided at lunchtime the day of that we'd go for a while.  Which meant I had only a few hours between work and party to pull together a Mad Men themed outfit for both of us.  And neither of us watch the show.  

How'd I do?
Excuse the terrible camera phone picture.

I think I pulled it off.  Sheath dress stolen from my "work clothes" closet.  Jacket, homemade and thrifted.  Gloves, vintage from Grandma.  Silver clutch (not pictured), also vintage Grandma.  

Joe wore a black suit with a white button down and a skinny tie I found in the same shop as my jacket.  

We walked in and the host immediately yelled, "Now THAT's what I was talking about!!" when I pulled off my jacket.  Interestingly enough, the guys did a better job of dressing up than the girls did.  Probably because it's a hell of a lot easier to just find a skinny tie and slick your hair back.  And then we drank and were merry and corrupted poor, confused exchange students with all our sexist comments all night long.  

08 December 2010

Wednesday Wisdom: Dear Self

07 December 2010

Even the Universe Knows Better

And this showed up in my Google Reader just as soon as I published my last, emotionally raw post

“You have a special place in the world. All you have to do is find it. Do not give up on yourself, on the truths you have realized. Do not give in to those who would crush your dreams like nutshells. And never turn away from forever love.”
 — Ellen Hopkins.

Somehow, it feels like a fitting answer from the Universe. 

I will be okay.  I always am.  Just needed to be a bit honest with myself. 

KtMac Confessions: Guilt and Inadequacy

It's been on my mind a lot lately.  And part of quite a few heart-to-hearts.  A lot. 

And it absolutely shatters my heart when I finally, raggedly, admit it to myself.

But I have to thank Joe for doggedly pointing out the absurdity of what I secretly knew in my heart all along.  Even if that tiny little voice got drowned out far too often for far too long.  

Years ago, long before I was really old enough to understand, I heard and completely related to Alanis Morissette's song Forgiven.

"You know how us Catholic girls can be
We make up for so much time
A little too late
I never forgot it, 
Confusing as it was
No fun with no guilt feelings..."

Because, even then, even when I was much too young to fully understand it, I knew exactly what was meant by the opening verse.  I was always confused.  I was perfect.  I was never good enough.  And no matter what, even when I had absolutely no reason, I always felt a vague sense of guilt anytime I was happy or enjoying myself.  

Over the years, I've joked about that Catholic guilt.  And how much it rules my life.  

But it is no joke. 

I don't know how or why I started listening to the few negative voices, mostly external before I finally internalized them deep down.  But I did.  Long before a young girl should.  And so I grew up with the feeling that no matter how much I accomplished, no matter how much I succeeded or enjoyed life or brought happiness to others, it was never good enough. 

I was not good enough.

Which, when I really stop and think about it, couldn't be further from the truth.  I know I'm not perfect.  And I no longer aspire to be perfect.  Perfection is exhausting.  But even without perfection, I am absolutely more than good enough.  

And, KtMac, it is not bragging to be bluntly honest with yourself. 

I am beautiful.  Not just okay, or cute, or pretty.  I am beautiful.  Inside and out. 

I am accomplished.  I graduated high school, with above a 4.0 GPA, despite losing all my hearing.  I graduated college early.  I had a Masters degree before I turned 23.  I studied Arabic for several years despite being legally deaf.  

I am driven.  I half-jokingly told a friend late one night as we walked by in college "I'm going to work there someday."  And less than a year later, I was working there.  I've held jobs where senior leaders not only listen to, but actively seek out my advice.  I have actively influenced global affairs.  I made myself so indispensable to my current company that I not only earned a promotion, but less than two months later, earned the right to work from home in another time zone.  And yet, I keep seeking out new ways to advance my career, right now, and someday.  I also seek out personal challenges from learning how to sew to kicking my ass in yoga. 

I am honest.  Even though I work from home, I still roll out of bed at 7 every morning so I can be available to my coworkers on their time zone.  If I occasionally take a half hour to go get myself some lunch, I work an extra half hour, even though no one would notice or care. If I find money on the street, it gets donated - to a bum, to the coin collection at McDonalds, or part of a larger donation. 

I am fiercely loyal.  Even when I shouldn't be.  I may take a while to warm up to someone, but once I do, I am fiercely loyal and protective for the rest of my life.  Even when the sentiments are not returned.  If you need me, I am always there. 

I am interesting.  I read just about anything under the sun.  I like to take pictures and find new ways of looking at the world.  Like most people, I am in awe of those who can easily start a conversation with strangers at a party.  I take longer to join in a conversation.  Partly because I want to make sure I am hearing and understanding the conversation, partly because I want whatever I say to actually contribute to the conversation, but when I speak up, people listen.  

I am relaxed wherever I go.  Even in situations where I may be uneasy at first, I always find a way to make myself comfortable.  Whether it's taking a benedryl and falling asleep in the middle of a village that was in the heart of the fighting in the Balkans war not that long ago or playing Kings all night in the middle of a homeless park in Tokyo or a few other situations I never want repeated to my parents, I take it in, I make sure I'm safe, and then I just relax and go with the flow.

I am comforting.  I bring happiness to others.  I try to leave everyone with a smile on their face as I walk away.  I make my home warm and welcoming.  I try to make everyone's life just a little better somehow.  I call my Grandma just to make her smile.  I handwrite letters.  I believe in thank you notes and flowers just because.  

I am an optimist.  I always walk looking up (except when there's ice).  I notice the little things.  I take great pleasure in the little things.  And encourage others to do so.  

And I love.  With all my heart.  With every little part of me.  I love.  And I am completely, unconditionally loved in return.  

So you know what, KtMac?  There is absolutely no reason for you to listen when you hear, "you're not good enough."    There's no room for guilt in your life.  

Who cares if there's someone who is more fashionable, or remembers the rules for euchre, or can mentally add up the tip faster, or is better at telling jokes, or seems like they have more friends, or sews perfectly while baking that chocolate souffle, or can go out dancing until 5 in the morning three nights in a row, or speaks more languages, or, or, or.....  

I am amazing too.  And I do not need to feel guilty for believing in myself.  

And you know what?  Step by step, I'm going to push the naysayers out of my life and out of my head.  There's no room for them anymore.  

There's too many dreams to chase and too much love for one more minute wasted on I'm not good enough.

06 December 2010

Oh, Right.

We moved to Chicago because I like pretty views like this outside my window in December. 

And cozy little living rooms. 

Full of love and holiday cheer and poor boys with walking pneumonia. 

Just a few more days of medication, and our living room will be full of kisses again too.  

Why the Hell Did We Move to Chicago?

Right NowNext 36 Hours
Partly CloudyTodayTonightTomorrow
Partly CloudyClearMostly Sunny
Partly CloudyPartly CloudyClearMostly Sunny
Feels Like: -3°HighLowHigh
Past 24-hr:
Precip: 0 in
Snow: 0 in
Chance of Precip:
Chance of Precip:
Chance of Precip:
From WNW at 13mph
WNW at 16 mph
NW at 15 mph
WNW at 14 mph


I don't really mind the temps in the 20's, but the -3 windchill is killing me this morning.  Why are we not living in Tahiti?  And why am I not curled up under those fleece sheets with Joe right now?

03 December 2010

There's a Cold Wind Blowing

Winter's comin' on....

The windchill this morning is in the teens.  The teens!  Brrrr....And by the end of the weekend, the actual temperatures are supposed to be in the teens.  Combined with an estimated 4-8 inches of snow.  Guess the glorious fall we've enjoyed this year is coming to a rapidly chilly end.  

Joe is sick.  He has a cough and a fever I worry about.  He slept all day yesterday and is spending all day on the couch today.  I've stocked up on chicken noodle soup and crackers and gatorade for him.  And baking supplies and wine and things to make a creamy artichoke dip that I adore for me.

So we'll spend this snowy winter weekend curled up on the couch.  Admiring our pretty little Christmas tree and watching many episodes of NCIS and silly movies and planning all the holiday things we want to do this season.  

And if I'm feeling ambitious, the mountain of laundry will get done, Christmas cards will be written, and a long, lazy snow walk will be taken.  Just so I can admire the magic of this great city covered in snow and holiday decorations.  

Have a great weekend loves!

02 December 2010

KtMac Reviews: Sweet Dates in Basra

Author: Jessica Jiji

The good: A vivid, descriptive tale of children growing up in Iraq during WWII.  It was easy to imagine the scenes and smells and the relationships beyond those of the main characters.  Jiji also does a great job demonstrating the complexities of Iraqi relationships with the friendships between a Jewish Iraqi boy, his Muslim neighbor, and a Marsh Arab girl.  

The bad: I wanted a happy ending, not a bittersweet one.  

The verdict: I liked it.  It's not for everyone and definitely not for those looking for a pick-me-up.  But if you're looking for a new twist on the star-crossed lovers plot, read this book.

01 December 2010

December First

And the magic begins. 

It's snowing outside.  The kind of fat, fluffy snowflakes that lightly stick to the ground.  Like being in a lazy snow globe. 

With the knowledge that despite the bitter cold temperatures and crazy winds, I have nowhere to go, nowhere to be today.  So I can stay home all day.....warm and snug in sweats.  

Yeah, it's pretty magical

30 November 2010

KtMac Confessions: Bookworm

Yes, yes, it's a meme running around on Facebook, but I was curious.....

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

Bold those books you've read in their entirety.
Italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read only an excerpt.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen 
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien 
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte 
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
The Bible
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell 
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman 
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens 
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott 
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller  
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare 
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell 
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald 
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams  
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck 
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll  
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame 
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne 
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving 
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery 
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding  
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons 
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen  
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens  
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold 
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville   
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens 
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath  
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens 
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker 
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazu Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks 
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams 
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas 
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl 
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

In summary?  I am a definitive bookworm.  I've read 45 of the books and started at one time or another, 6 more.  

29 November 2010

Did You Know?

That wine can freeze?

Joe and I stuck a bottle of wine it in the freezer last Tuesday, trying to chill it quickly because we forgot about buying wine until right before dinner.  We drank some of the wine warm, and then meant to finish the rest later. 

Instead, I discovered the bottle this morning when I was scavenging for breakfast options.  


27 November 2010

So Very True...

26 November 2010

KtMac and Joe in the Kitchen

We have been experimenting in the kitchen. 

Since we moved in together, it was agreed that we were grown up enough to move beyond blue box Mac and Cheese and frozen pizzas.  

And we're living on a grad student budget.  So we're poor.  

So we get creative and cook, a lot. 

Some successes include:  Cinnamon walnut chocolate mud cake, homemade crab mac and cheese, perfectly seasoned steaks, pancakes, lasagna

Some failures include: Black bean enchiladas, anytime KtMac gets near rice.

On tap: Crock pot meatballs, Christmas cookies, and more!

25 November 2010

Truly Thankful

2010 has been a tremendous year for me.  I have been so lucky and loved.  And as I sit down to Thanksgiving dinner with my loved ones, there's quite a bit I have to be thankful for.

*  I am loved, by so many.
*  I am healthy, happy, and home. 
*  Joe is home, safe and sound.
*  We have a snug and cozy love nest in an amazing city.
*  I have so many wonderful friends, old and new.
*  Every time I call my Grandma and she still remembers my name.
*  My brothers are growing up and becoming my friends.
*  I have a great job, filled with challenges and changes in the past year.
*  I have an incredibly promising future.

Wish you all a wonderfully happy Thanksgiving with lots of food, laughter, and love!

24 November 2010

1/7 Done!

Joe has finished his first quarter of his MBA program!

I'm so proud of this handsome, smart, silly guy.

23 November 2010

KtMac Confessions: Om No

Remember the big game I talked about trying Bikram yoga?


Om, no.

Om, hell no.

I tried for three weeks, but truth be told, yoga in a sauna really screwed up my balance.  

So badly I would often be dizzy for days after a class.  

The cons outweighed the benefits this time around. 

Next fitness challenge?  Joining the local Bally's after Thanksgiving.

22 November 2010

Festival of Lights

Saturday night, Joe and I headed downtown to meet his folks and celebrate the start of Christmas season at the Festival of Lights

It is a parade and fireworks show that helps officially light up the Magnificent Mile for the start of the holiday season.  After years of D.C.'s very sedate, very politically correct lack of holiday decorations, I have been in seventh heaven watching all the lights and decorations go up in Chicago.  

I may also be singing (very off-key and randomly) the lyrics to my favorite Christmas song.  Joe is already sick of hearing that song and I haven't even played it once yet.  

And after Mickey and Minnie and the South Shore Drill Team helped light up the Magnificent Mile, the four of us ducked the crazy crowds and had a delicious Italian dinner and a leisurely drive up Lake Shore Drive to see all the city lights.  

I love this town.