27 January 2011

My Bro - The Storyteller

My bro's stories make me laugh. 

This story is a bit old, but for some reason I was thinking about it the other day and figured y'all could use a laugh too. 

Back in high school, DMac was a football player (among other things) and if you think about it, those football helmets get awfully sweaty and gross.  Football players usually have some nasty acne for a reason.  

One year, DMac got a nasty boil on his forehead.  After getting it lanced, Mom dropped him off at football practice with a band-aid over the boil. 

Another player, sweet kid but stereotypical dumb jock, walked up and asked, "Oh, DMac, are you okay?"

Without missing a beat, DMac told him, "I was leaking brain fluid.  The doctor took the rest out of my forehead and put it back in my ear."

"Oh wow, glad you're okay."

25 January 2011

KtMac Confessions: When I Remember

When I look back and recall the everyday joys of my life, it is always the smallest things that make me smile the most. 

For example, even though Joe and I had a great time last week at the Shedd Aquarium, I just know that in the future when I'm remembering that day, what I will remember most will be our walk home afterwards. 

How we "ice skated" our way to the street.  And held hands tightly - both to keep from falling and make each other skate some more.  

And how, even though I was wearing long underwear, two pairs of socks (including a pair of woolen ones stolen from Joe), all the winter weather trappings, and the crisp air made my cheeks tingle, I was warm.  From the few precious rays of sunshine, from giggles, and from being in love. 

How we laughed and teased each other and kissed and played.  And how I never wanted the moment to end.

And how handsome Joe is, and how sweet the moment was, and just how happy I was that after all those years of long distance dating, we are finally together to enjoy these little moments.  

Yep, those will surely be the things I'll remember in the years to come. 

24 January 2011

It's the Little Things

Like purple sparkly nail polish to make the work day so much better. 

But now of course, I'll need to spend some time after work figuring out why my camera is making such ugly pictures.  

21 January 2011

We Found Nemo!

On Wednesday, I rearranged my work schedule so I had a few hours off in the middle of the afternoon.  After Joe was done with classes for the day, we met up for a little freebie date and found Nemo at the Shedd Aquarium.

The Aquarium was offering free admission this week to the main floor.  No dolphin show for us, but we did get to watch a diver feed all the fish in the main fish tank.  

Did you know that manta rays don't really need their long tails?  The tails are primarily for self-defense and the manta ray can swim just fine without the tail.  One manta ray in the main tank lost his tail to a nasty fish but seems no worse for the wear.  

We were amazed at how huge some fish (especially the ones found in the Amazon) grow and how tiny others stay.  We giggled over fish fights and annoyed each other with crab pinchers and snapping turtle moves.  

We sat and watched the fish swimming in the main tank for what seemed like forever.  It's amazingly soothing to just watch the fish swim.  I may or may not have asked Joe for a fish or two to hold me over until the day we end up with a puppy.

And on our walk home, I thanked my lucky stars that I have a work arrangement that lets me take advantage of little mid-afternoon dates with Joe to explore this city we love so much.

19 January 2011

Wednesday Wisdom: Try Harder

18 January 2011

Sweet Little Love Note

I came home late last night.  

To this little note on the mirror. 

Which made me smile. 

But then I had to laugh at the irony.  Because at that moment, this girl was anything but pretty.  All covered in clay from her first pottery class. 

I didn't realize I'd get THAT messy.  

But it was a blast playing with clay and learning how to actually make something on the pottery wheel.  And Joe's little love note made for a sweet little "welcome home."  I love our Chicago life. 

KtMac Confessions: Geeky and Proud of It

I am a geek.  I admit it.  I embrace it.  And I buy glasses that enhance it.

What do you think of the new lenses?

14 January 2011

Week, Good Riddance

It's been one of those "hrumph" weeks. 

Lots of ups and downs on the emotional roller coaster. 

Good news on the work front, not-so-good news with Grandma's illness and mental decline.  A good heart-to-heart that has provoked some further internal ruminations.  Lots of insurance phone calls as I sort out new doctors and pharmacies and the like with a new city and insurance company.  Financial planning (oh crap, so grown-up) and daydreams.  Feeling so stir-crazy I thought I might scream or break down in tears.  Complete relief in working elsewhere for an hour....so much so that I thought I might cry.

So good riddance week.  Hello, weekend!!

My weekend goals involve sleeping in, reading, great workouts, convincing Joe that the windchill isn't too cold to prevent an ice skating expedition, watching movies, pulling together a donations pile,  more daydreams, giggles, cuddles, cooking baking, and kisses. 

Have a happy weekend peeps!

12 January 2011

Wednesday Wisdom: To Live Well

To live well, love well and let others say what they will. 

10 January 2011

"Just Because"

We hadn't talked all day. 

So he didn't know any of my news.  Both good or bad

But that didn't stop Joe from picking up a set of sunny yellow tulips for me.  "Just because."

On a Dime

You ever get the feeling that bad news is on the way?

That life, as you know it, will change on a dime?

And even if you don't admit it to others, you wait calmly for that news?

Which, when it arrives, suckerpunches you quickly, but before you can bend over to catch your breath, you realize, "Actually, this will be okay after all," and it doesn't hurt anywhere as badly as you expected to?

I got that news today. 

I had an inkling of a suspicion last week when they went in to have a lump on her jaw biopsied and sent her to the cancer center for the biopsy.  

And a louder suspicion when the doctors called and insisted Mom and Grandma come in to discuss the results as soon as possible. 

And it makes me sad.  But truthfully, I really am okay with this news. 

Surprisingly so. 

Grandma has lived a full and rich and wonderful and loved life.  So whatever happens next, I am okay with it. In fact, I think I am more surprised and amazed at how little such powerful news hurts right now.  

So now, more tests this week to determine the stage of the cancer and how far it has spread.  Then treatment (or non-treatment) decisions will be made.  

And I'm sitting here, thanking my lucky stars that I now live close enough to home that I can hop a bus and work from Michigan just as easily as from Chicago, so I can be there with my Grandma as she needs me.  

In the meantime, I think I need to go find a box of Grandma's favorite candies to send to her, along with some red flowers (because red is her favorite) just to put a little smile on her face.

06 January 2011

Who You Are

I don't really remember how the conversation started.  It was a few days ago, when our stir-crazy selves decided to go out for a drink at midnight.  I've replayed the conversation in my head several times since then, and the end result is always the same: a smile and a girl who's fallen just that much more (and didn't know that was possible).

As we braved the cold, I was telling Joe that yes, sometimes I strategically choose to reveal my hearing aid with the intent of making someone feel bad for having been rude or exasperated with me.  Is it nice?  No, but when someone treats me badly because I'm struggling with understanding them, they need the subtle or not-so-subtle reminder that there are people who need just a little extra help.  

Once we settled into the bar, Joe asked me if I minded being called "deaf."  And truthfully, the answer is no.  I know that I am legally deaf in every sense of the word.  But.  And this is a big "but."  I don't think of myself as deaf.  I still think of myself as hearing impaired and often call my cochlear implant my "hearing aid."  Why?  I don't really know......perhaps because I grew up hearing impaired and I can still hear.  I don't really know.  

We talked about all the amazing things I am able to do because of this technology (another blog post), and then, I asked Joe a fairly loaded question.  We have talked about this topic before, but it was years and another lifetime ago.  

"Does it bother you that I'm hearing impaired?"

Without a beat, Joe just looked at me and smiled and said, "No.  I don't think you would be the KtMac I know and love without it.  And if you weren't hearing impaired, I'm not sure you'd be the same girl I fell in love with.  It's a part of you and helped make you who you are and I love that."

And just like that, this girl fell just a little more in love without even realizing that falling so far in love was possible.  Simply because he had the courage to say exactly what I have always believed.  More than that, the courage to love and view my imperfections as part of my perfection.  

04 January 2011

KtMac Confessions: Gentle

I have so much I want to tell you.  To share from these last few weeks and what will be coming.  But I've learned a bit of patience in the last few years and I'm willing to take my time.  To make sure the stories are right and the moments are perfectly captured.  

But today, my focus is on two things.  

One, my New Year's Resolution. 

I'm not a big New Year's Resolutions kinda gal.  I feel like you should change the things you want to change when you want them to change, not wait until the first of the year.  And I generally feel that by calling it a "resolution" instead of a "goal" helps set you up for failure and self-reproach.  But I do kind of like the whole idea of a word that defines your intentions for the year.  

So I've combined the two.  My New Year's Resolution is "gentle" as in "be gentle with yourself, KtMac."

What do I mean by that?

Simple.  I am my own worst enemy.  I criticize myself.  I find fault in what I do or don't do, or what I wear, or how I look, or the thoughts I think or, or, or, or......

And, even worse, I've let others dictate those harsh recriminations.  I've found myself trying to please others and internalizing it when it is not enough for them.  

That stops now.  

I'm tired and incredulous that I've allowed myself to be so harsh a judge.  So this year, I am working on being gentle with myself. 

Gentle with my thoughts. 

Gentle with my feelings. 

Gentle with my health. 

Gentle with my goals, successes, and failures. 

Gentle (but still ambitious) with my dreams and hopes. 

Gentle with my love. 

Gentle with my joy.  

All in the hopes that I'll stop focusing on what I'm doing "wrong" and start focusing on all that is lovely and right and wonderful with my beautiful life.  

It is a tough New Year's Resolution.  There will be days I'll struggle.  But there will be days I'll triumph.  And I want, no, I need to do this for myself.  I'm confident.  


And two, it is my Papa's birthday today.  Even though he's been gone a dozen years now, I still always take a moment today to thank my lucky stars that I was so loved by such a wonderful grandfather and that I have such a sweet and happy angel by my side.  

03 January 2011

Hello, My Friends!

I didn't plan on disappearing. 

Whoops.  Time goes so fast.  The more I try to slow it down and savor it, the faster it speeds up. 

In the midst of being sick and trying to savor the sweetness of spending all the holidays with Joe for the first time (the three years of long-distance made it impossible to be together on the holidays before this year), daily life fell by the wayside. 

And the holidays were magical.  We kissed on Christmas Eve and Christmas and New Years' Eve and New Years' Day.  We had a white Christmas and love and laughter and memories that will make me smile for years to come.  We had sweet gifts and silly gifts and thoughtful gifts and the gifts of time and love and joy and friendship and family.  

And, on top of all that, I'm still sick.  Gah.  Three days after finishing the antibiotics for my strep throat, I was back in the doctor's office for even stronger antibiotics and a huge bottle of cough syrup with codeine.  Turns out, my strep throat wasn't really strep -- I had a touch of the walking pneumonia Joe suffered through.  And so now I'm dealing with horrible stomaches and a disgusting, bitter, metallic taste in my mouth from the meds.  Which means poor Joe has dealt with a grumpy and cranky Katie for a bit every single day.  

But I'm slowly and surely getting better.  And I have stories to tell and some pictures to share and I'm back.  So happy holidays, loves!  And I know, just know, this will be an incredible year.....