26 October 2010

KtMac Confessions: Soundtrack to My Life

If there's ever a movie made of my life, I want either Reese Witherspoon or Rachel McAdams to star as me.  And I want this song, "Beauty" by the Shivers, in the soundtrack.  This song haunts me.  Definitely a tune worthy for the soundtrack to my life. 

25 October 2010

KtMac Reviews: My Name is Memory

Author: Ann Brashares, of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants fame

The good: For her first adult novel, Brashares does a great job of writing a compelling story.  The story is about a man who remembers each and every one of his previous lives and continues to fall in love with the same woman every time he encounters her in her lives.  It's an interesting concept: reincarnation and the ability to accurately remember each of those previous lives.  I found myself toying with the idea of forgiveness and repentance for past sins as I read.  You find yourself rooting for the main characters and waiting with bated breath to find out what will happen.  

The bad: Gah.  Worst ending ever.  It just ends.  On the plus side, I've had a great time imagining other potential endings for the novel.  There were other sections of the novel I felt could have been better fleshed out and explained by the author, but that comes with time and practice.  

The verdict: Despite the wholly unsatisfying ending, I really do wholeheartedly recommend the novel.  It's an interesting, and more importantly, a thought-provoking read.  I also think that if several friends read it, there would be a great debate about the merits and possibilities and downsides to reincarnation.  Especially the idea of falling in love with the same soul in almost every life.  

Bibliophile Love

One of the upsides/downsides to moving to a new city and having your love interest be solely occupied with academics means you're left alone.  A lot.  

And my attempts to make new friends and reconnect with old friends thus far have been met with fairly limited success.  

As any true bibliophile would do, I've seized this opportunity to start devouring books.  Anything is fair game.  And I've read some interesting books lately.  Maybe not high literary works of art, but books that will stick with you for a while after reading.  I like those kinds of books.  

So, inspired by the always fabulous Mb, I'm going to start posting short book reviews.  A sort of bloggy book club, if you will.  I encourage you to check out my reads and suggest new ones to me.  

Winters are long and cold here in Chicago, and I've got a hot library card and a cozy blanket or two to curl up with.  

21 October 2010

Can You Figure It Out?

 To think, Joe just 

does not


why I 

don't give 

him the camera

and let him 

take my picture

very often anymore. 

He just can't figure it out.

Intense Passions

Just a few of the things I'm intensely passionate about.  Just a few....

*  That every child should experience and enjoy childhood for as long as humanly possible.  The grown-up world comes soon enough and last forever.  The magic of childhood is fleeting and special.  Please, do not force the kids to grow old before their time.

*  That not every day may be good, but there is something good in every day.  It is up to you to find the beauty in every.single.day. of your life.  Even if it's just for a minute.  If you don't, it is a wasted day.  And there's just not enough days guaranteed to you to waste even a single one.

*  Life is too short to wait.  If you have a dream to chase, a conversation you've been waiting to have, "I love you" or I'm sorry" to say, a craving for a perfect cup of coffee, a book that just needs to be finished, that great joke to share.....do not wait.  There's only so many tomorrows.

*  Racism, prejudice, and discrimination are wrong.  Even when stereotypes seem to reinforce themselves, they are still blatantly wrong.  Ending such horrific issues starts with checking your thoughts.

*  No regrets.  Everything you've said and done has helped make you whole you are.  Sure, you may wish for a do-over, but don't regret.  Life is too short.  Say it.  Find out for sure.  Don't hesitate.

*  Life isn't meant to make you feel good.  Life is meant to make you feel.  Feel those emotions and know that  as cliche as it might sound, the bad times don't last forever and neither do the good times.  Life balances itself out and you'll be a stronger, happier person for the tough times.  In other words, you have to experience the bad to truly appreciate the good.

*  Nothing is sadder than an unlived, lonely life.  Follow your dreams.  Screw what others think.  If it makes you happy and doesn't harm others, live every day of your life in a way that makes you you.  And make room in your life for love and friendship and close relationships.  You don't want to end up old and alone.

*  Work-life balance.  A career and a paycheck are good things.  I certainly believe that having some money brings happiness.  Just don't get so caught up in making more money than memories.  There's a time to work hard and a time to play hard.  Remember that.

*  Water is essential.  Sunlight is essential.  Shelter is essential.  Food is essential.  Chocolate is essential.  Education is essential.  Wine is essential.  A cozy blanket is essential.  A good, beloved book is essential.  Hugs and kisses are essential.  Freedom (from fear, want, need, and discrimination) is essential.  Love and laughter are essential.  Everything else is just a bonus.  And if you're lucky enough to have all those things, share the wealth and do your best to make sure others have those things too.

*  If you can't find happiness, excitement, and pleasure in the little things, the big things aren't going to make you very happy either.

*  Leave a little room in your life for faith, or magic, or religion, or the belief that anything is possible and that not everything can (or should) be explained.

*  Don't live your life in fear.  Healthy fears are good -- they prevent you from doing stupid things to mess up your life.  But don't live afraid.  The boogeyman is not out to get you.  Bad things are just as likely to happen in your living room as they are when you're out and enjoying life.  I absolutely hate the recent vague government warning about potential terrorist attacks in Europe someday.  Really?  And I hate even more that people would give up their dream vacations because there might or might not be a terrorist attack at some point on the continent.  What a waste.

*  Love wins.  Always.  

20 October 2010

Wednesday Wisdom: Patience, KtMac, Patience!

19 October 2010

KtMac Confessions: Things that Annoy Me

Gah.  I've got a wee touch of the irritables today.  And since I usually try to be so upbeat, I figured I'd go ahead and share some of the things that annoy me to no end. 

*  When I say my name and people try to correct the pronunciation.  I know how to say my own damn name, thank you very much. 

*  The fact that the heat isn't on in our apartment yet.  And that my fingers are like popsicles by lunchtime.

*  How annoyingly dizzy I've been getting in yoga and dance classes.  I'm trying to make my balance problems better....not worse.

*  The fact that it's dark and the moon is up by 6:30 pm.

*  How laundry never ends.  The hamper is empty for approximately 1.287 seconds.

*  A certain someone's inability to shut drawers or cupboards.

*  Unfairness.  I know it's not possible, but I just want life to be fair. 

*  The way the world's worst song always seems to get caught in your head at the worst possible time. 

*  That blogger won't let me post pretty pictures in a vain attempt to counterbalance my grumpy post.  

18 October 2010

Happy Monday

Happy Monday peeps!  

So many thoughts and adventures swirling around in this noisy little head of mine.  Until I have the time to sort them out and recount all our weekend adventures in the manner they deserve, I leave you with one of my favorite pictures of a perfect midwestern autumn weekend. 

Taken in the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pond

15 October 2010

Street Scenes Vol. 2: Keeping Chicago Colorful

14 October 2010

Tuff Tiff is Almost Here Thoughts!

In honor of Tuff Tiff's visit this weekend, I figured I'd do one of her favorite types of posts: randoms!

-  On the second thought, after starting yoga and dance classes, a cute but too short for pony-tails hair-do is going to have to wait.

-  So excited about my Halloween costume idea this year.  Pretty damn creative, if I may say so myself.  All I can say so far is it involves the color blue.  Which may or may not become a running theme this year.

-  Question: Why didn't the skeleton go to the party?  

-  Tuff Tiff comes to visit me tomorrow!  So damn happy!

-  Joe has midterms.  That has temporarily killed my "I wish I was back in school too" musings. 

-  Answer: He didn't have any body to go with!

-  My neighborhood seems to be pretty geeked over Halloween.  All kinds of public festival-type activities going on in my neck of the woods on Halloweekend.  Awesome. 

-  Sparkly purple nail polish is my current obsession.  So thankful I work from home and can wear such silly, random colors without worries about professionalism and office-appropriate. 

-  Please, for the love of my sanity, do NOT ask Joe about puppies and Fed-Ex.  He does NOT need any more encouragement on this terrible idea. 

-  Tuff Tiff....why aren't you here yet?!

*-*-* All pictures taken by me on walks around my neighborhood this week *-*-*

13 October 2010

Oh Yes I Did

We had thunderstorms this morning. 

So I just spent my break with wellies on, stomping through every.single puddle in the back alley.  

Oh yes, I did.  

Letting that inner six year old out to play?


12 October 2010

KtMac Confessions: The Autumn of Her Life

It is a goregous autumn day here in Chicago.  Outside my window, I can see a sliver of the clear, brilliant blue sky.  The sunshine on the overgrown grass.  The wind rustling the leaves.  The window is cracked open for some crisp fall air.  I am productive.  I am loved.  I am content.

But it doesn't mean there hasn't been some tough stuff going on.  Just like in any life -- there's more than meets the eye.

My grandma keeps slipping further and further into senility every day.  She is slipping into the autumn of her life.  It breaks my heart to hear her sound so confused.  When I was home for her birthday a few weeks ago, she had to take medication for shingles.  She remembered she needed to do something at 7:30, but she couldn't tell the time correctly.  At 7:20, she said, "Oh, I have twenty minutes still."  At 7:35, "Oh, five more minutes.."  And then when I told her to go take her medication, she got confused all over again. 

She sees "visitors" in her house.  She can't follow conversations.  And now, she interrupts conversations with statements out of left field, such as "Dolly Parton gave a small show for us at the store this morning."  She can't remember names of everyone in her life, but she remembers those who are nice to her.  She responds best to my Mom...and second best to me.  I know the day will come when I call her and she doesn't remember who I am.  I know it.  I am prepared for it.  In fact, every time that Grandma still remembers who I am, I count it as a blessing.  But it still hurts.  And it makes me sad.

But moving Grandma into my parents' house as planned this fall (after my youngest bro went off to college) has been a bit delayed.  Because my Aunt found herself in financial troubles and has moved into my parents' basement for a year.

So my parents are reworking their floor plan to find a way to accommodate both my grandma and my aunt and still give them all the privacy they deserve (and still keep a few places available for us kids to sleep when we come home).  And they are still slowly trying to talk Grandma into the idea of living with them.  See....Grandma knows she shouldn't be living alone anymore.  But, as with most elderly people, she's reluctant to give up her independence.  Even if she knows it's the right thing.

Which means, in addition to reworking floor plans to accommodate several adults and maintain some amount of privacy, my parents are trying to find a way to allow all of them to live with dignity, respect, and hope through these tough times.  As the oldest, and as the closest to my parents, I hear their thoughts and feelings about it all on a regular basis.  But even though I now live closer to home, I'm still too far away to do much more than offer a listening ear and a readiness to come home some weekends to relieve my parents after Grandma moves in. 

However, I just wouldn't be the KtMac I am today if I couldn't see a tiny silver lining in all of this.

My brothers and I are now seeing in action what our parents have preached all our lives.  Family first.  My parents always told us, "There's always room for you to come home if you need help.  There's nothing we won't help you with.  Make sure you are always there for each other.  Family first.  Family last."  And while we can hear it and know it, it's very different seeing it and living it.

And that knowledge shines so brightly, it helps drive away some of the shadows of sadness and despair in this situation.  Even amongst all the heartbreak, I really do feel some hope and I do see the beauty of the autumn of my Grandma's life.

11 October 2010

A Monday Afternoon Walk

07 October 2010

Another Work at Home Perk

If you chew on a leaky pen, you don't have the whole awkward "I've walked around with ink-stained lips all morning?!" conversation with yourself in the bathroom mirror. 

06 October 2010

Wednesday Wisdom: Main Character in Your Story

04 October 2010

Get Your OM On

Today's the day!

About a month ago, I challenged Joe. 

To 30 consecutive days of practicing Bikram Yoga.

I found an amazing deal online.  $39 a person for two months of unlimited yoga.

Even better?  It's right down the street from our cozy little home.  With lots of class offerings. 

Joe sort of read my email asking him to join me and said "count me in."

A few days later, I challenged him to do 30 consecutive days.  And after he accepted the challenge, I started talking about the rave reviews doing yoga in a 105 degree room gets.  Then Joe finally admitted he really didn't read ALL of the email I sent him. 


We have new yoga mats. 

Well, a new yoga mat for Joe.  A new-ish (read: really only used with the wii fit) mat for me. 

Turns out, Joe's orange yoga mat is Svadhisthana Orange - Sacral for sexuality, fertility, and joy.  And my lime green mat is Anahata Green - Heart for love, compassion, and empathy.  Interesting.

Stay tuned for the OM challenge results!

01 October 2010

Chicago Love

I went for a walk last night.  Just a stroll, really, where along the way I may have stopped and treated myself to an apple pastry.  

And on my way home, I realized just how much I love this city already.  

Everything I need or want or desire is within a mile walk of my apartment.  There is an energy that vibrates in the air.  There are four seasons.  And everyone, I do mean everyone, is polite and friendly and happy.  We all smile and nod as we pass each other on the street.  

And of course, I'm seeing all this through the eyes of someone in love.  But I also know that love helps me see this more clearly: I am home.  I am exactly where I need to be at this moment in time.  I belong.  

I love this city.