Thursday, September 30, 2010

Josh and Laura: Part One

This weekend marks the first (of four) family weddings over the next nine months. Since we haven't had one on this side of the family for well over three years, it's a going to be quite a celebrated event. (Especially because we're all so excited for the groom - our cousin - and his bride!)

Photo documentation (see, I'm working on #26!) coming early next week.

For now, join me in toasting the about-to-be newlyweds on the first day of the rest of their story.
Congratulations, Josh and Laura!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Quote of the Day: Footwear is my Friend Edition

"Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world" - Marilyn Monroe

I looove shoes.

My most recent pair is of the infamous "ShapeUp" variety. Verdict is still out, but I will say that they do have me walking more often for longer periods of time, so frankly, even if they don't provide me the advertised benefits, they are slowly earning their pricetag.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Quote of the Day

"He's as clutch as it gets" - Greg Olsen, on Robby Gould

8 Months

Eight months from today I get to marry my love muffin, best friend and partner in crime.

Which of us is luckier?

I think it's a tie.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bears vs. Packers: Week Three

Week three, and I was feelin' optimistic.

No doubt that the Bears first two wins were, well, shaky at best, but I've doubted the Bears two weeks in a row, and it's time for me to clean up my act. I'm a Bears fan, and not a fair-weather one. I'd watch the Bears if they were 0-16 (last year's 9-7 isn't great), and I'd cheer loudly for every touchdown. But this isn't an 0-16 team. I still don't think they're Superbowl or NFC championship material, but they aren't half bad either.

If you recall, my prediction was 24-21 Bears, and within the first ten actual minutes of the game, I was seriously regretting it. Another Cutler pick? What is this, 2009?

And then, a spark of magic. It wasn't a light switch that turned on, but more like a firefly. Magic here, and then nothing. The moments added up, though, and somehow - and I'm really not sure how based on the stats - the Bears came out ahead.

Sidebar: have I ever told you that Greg Olsen is my favorite Bear? He is. He's 5 months younger than me (to the day - it's a sign) and one of the most consistent parts "our" offense. (And you know how I feel about consistency). Love him. Someday I'll tell you the story of running in to him on the street last Christmas season.

Anyway, a third game and a third squeeeeeeeeked out victory for my hometown team.

Takeaways (and I listened to the commentary pretty closely tonight, so Bear (cough cough) with me):

- Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher have played together for 88 games. Talk about team work.

- The Bears have had more QBs in the past 20 years (sorry, can't remember the exact number) than any other team in the league. The Packers? The least (2).

- I gotta hand it to the Pack - their fans are LOYAL. I think there is something pretty magical about five year old girls and six year old boys knowing the Packer starters. But -

- Third game in a row, I'll give Cutler his due. I'm still not ready to jump on the bandwagon, but - BUT - the man has an arm on him and when he's hot, he is on fi-yah.

- Devin Hester? Welcome back. Don't make me wait another two years, will ya?

Bears (3-0) vs. Packers 20-17
Next week: @ Giants

Happy Birthday, Matt!

Today my younger brother turns the big 2-4.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MATT!

Bears vs: Packers: Score Prediction

Although I've been wrong before (twice), I'll still throw my hat in the ring. I optimistically predict 24-21 Bears.

(One thing to note: a friend saw Cutler at Wine Fest on Saturday night... which kind of annoys me. I know that he should be allowed to have a life outside of football, but his team has squeaaaaked out a 2-0 start, and I think we can all agree that boozing might not be the best way to keep the wins coming in. Just sayin').

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Quote of the Day

"It is not always possible for one to determine how he will die, but it is always ours to choose how we will LIVE. I choose to live unafraid." -Dr. William F. Harrison

Saturday, September 25, 2010

DMB at Wrigley

Last Friday night, Scott surprised me with tickets to the Dave Matthews concert at Wrigley Field. Being a big DMB fan, I was psyched. We had great seats, but if you've ever been to a concert at Wrigley, well, let's just say it's a good thing there were some jumbo-trons.




Best opening act EVER - Jason Mraz.


Friday, September 24, 2010

KJM

Here is my confession: I am a people-pleaser.

I want the people around me to think that I am smart, cool, funny. I want people to approve of me. I want people to like me.

I'm not really sure when it all started, but somewhere along the line I lost the self-assuredness of my youth, and grew in to a self-conscious approval-seeking adult. I want the approval of everyone. Relatives that I don't particularly care for (don't worry, it isn't you!), friends-0f-friends that I'll only see once, even the lady at the dry cleaners in my apartment building.

You know what it boils down to?

I want people to like me, even if I don't like them.

What's up with that? It isn't logical and it certainly isn't desired.

So it needs to change, and it's going to. I don't know how to get from here to there, but starting today, starting right this very second, I am making a promise to no one but myself:

The time for kissing ass is over. Time to start kicking it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Catholicism and Women's Rights

It's bothered me for as long as I can remember that women are not allowed to be Priests. Have you ever wondered why that is? The way it was explained to me is a two part answer. First, at the very basic level, was that when a man (a future-Priest) takes his Holy Orders, he begins to act as an instrument of Christ; in a way, he takes on Christ's essence and some of his Christ-ness. Since Jesus was a man, only men can do this. Since women are by their very definition not men (well, duh), this is an impossibility for us. To summarize: "Priesthood isn't so much about the things a Priest does, it's who a priest is". Secondly, this is the way it's always been done. Since Jesus' time, with the 12 Apostles, our religious leaders have always been men. It's always been this way, and it always will be this way. It's tradition.

It's hard for me to know where to begin in my rebuttal, because in my opinion, these two rationales simply don't make any sense. Yes, Jesus was a human man. In addition to that, He could walk on water and turn water in to wine; somehow the latter two attributes were dropped as pre-requisites to being Christ-like. Further, and I don't mean to be cavalier, but how Christ-like is the current Priest sex abuse scandal? As for tradition being a rationale, I'm surely glad we don't follow all traditions held over from the past 2,000 years. We would all be wearing loin-cloths, I would be my (future) husbands property, and America wouldn't exist.

Furthermore, the Vatican describes the attempts of women to become ordained as being a "crime against sacraments" and that it is alongside pedophelia in being one of the "most series crimes". It troubles me deeply that highest leaders of my faith think that women Priests are as wrong as pedophiles.

Let me be honest here for a second. I can move past this women-can't-be-Priests thing pretty quickly, because, frankly, I feel pretty removed from it. I don't want to become a Priest, and I don't know any women who do. I don't read about the in the media, I don't see their faces. Is that a bad reason? Yes.

What I can't ignore is the way that the Church tries to categorize me. As I have mentioned, Scott and I have begun to work on our Catholic Marriage Prep (the outdated term is Pre Cana). We were assigned an article called, A Catholic Physician Talks to Engaged Couples. Certain portions of it describe the roles that the to-be-husband and to-be-wife should be in their marriage. For instance, the book instructs: "I know that it is fashionable these days for women to have jobs... but I think we also know deep down inside that something is missing in this modern rat race" (p4). Further, "Ladies it is womanly..to be a homemaker" (p4). The article (required reading for my Catholic Marriage Preparation) clearly indicates that a woman is to be responsible for home and nurture, and the man is the protector and providor.

Let me be clear - every marriage, like every couple, is different. What works for one might not work for mine. This kind of "traditionalist" thinking is uncomfortable for me, as it's not the kind of life - or marital relationship - that I want and need. Fortunately, my partner feels likewise. If I didn't know this before, I know it know: Reading the article in black and white terms caused a conversation between us. It also caused me to be surprised that an arrangement (woman's best place is in the home raising a family, while the man is out earning a living) would be utilized in a 2010 conversation about marital dynamics.

While I can admit to being surprised, perhaps I shouldn't have been. In the first book of the Bible, the first mention of a woman comes in this way: "It is not good that the man should be alone, I will make him a helper fit for him" (Genesis 2:18). In the beginning (religious pun intended), women have been made to be a "helper", a sidekick. As a woman, it's tough (and insulting) to think of your role as exclusively a "helper".

And yet, a helper is exactly what the Church calls women to be.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Catholicism and Birth Control

The Catholic Church is unclear on many things, but it's stance on birth control is not one of them. It is difficult, if not impossible, to misinterpret a statement like: "Contraception is wrong". The church believes that preventing pregnancy in any way, with one notable exception, is a sin.

This is my blog, so I'm going to give my opinion. I think birth control is a scientific breakthrough, and one to be celebrated, not condemned.

(For the record, I am not talking about the rightness, or the wrongness, of sex. Assuming consent and adult-hood, I think that sex is, or should be, between the participants and their doctors alone. For the sake of the Catholicism argument, let's just assume the couple in question is indeed married. Assuming the otherwise is another conversation for another day).

I suspect the ban on contraception started long ago, when Catholics were being persecuted and our numbers were dwindling. What better way to build a group's numbers than to insist that it's members proliferate? Banning contraception would be one way to insure population growth. But the fact is, that is no longer the reality.

The reality today is that people are having sex, with no intention of (or desire for) creating a child. No one likes unwanted or un-cared for children, and no one likes abortion. Preventing a pregnancy - make it literally not happen - is an easy, inexpensive, logicial, and yes, responsible solution.

(Sidebar - this task that I've committed to is much harder than I anticipated it being!)

Photo of the Day: Birthday Champagne Edition

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Faith and My Religion

I am Catholic, but lately it seems I have been struggling more and more. Not with my faith, but with my religion.


The word "Catholic" comes from the Greek word "katholikos" (thanks Wiki!) meaning universal, and to me, it's the way I think a religion should function. A home to anyone who needs one. A place to come, to be accepted, to pray, and to be with other believers.


Lately, I've been hearing and reading more and more about how this sense of universal welcoming simply isn't the norm in the Catholic Church. To be honest, I've started to feel a little unwelcome myself.


As you know, I am getting married in the Catholic Church in just over eight months. I am happy and excited to participate in the Sacrament of marriage, with my partner, and if you'll excuse the cheesy-ness, I'm excited to do it in front of my faith community. I'm not being fake here, I really am excited to be getting married in the Church. When I visualize my wedding day, sure, I think of the reception and the fun I hope to have with my favorite people on the dance-floor. I visualize my Dad walking me down the aisle, and my mom sitting in the front row smiling at me. I also visualize saying my vows to Scott, and promising to love him no matter what... in front of my family and friends.

Lately, though, I've started to feel a little un-easy about the whole thing. I am struggling with my role within the Catholic Church and trying to reconcile my beliefs, with the beliefs of this group that I belong to.

Over the next few days, I will be posting a series of the issues that I have with the Church, in the hopes that I am able to collect my thoughts on each issue enough that I can metaphorically put them in a box in the corner of my mind and accept that I disagree with the Church. Wish me luck.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Quote of the Day: Lindsanity Edition

"I did in fact fail my most recent drug test" - Lindsay Lohan, via twitter.


Girl, get it together. Get your behind in to rehab, out of the papparazzi's lens, in to recovery and out of Hollywood. Pronto.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Comfort Foods

I'm a big fan of comfort foods. Warm soup, a sandwich on good bread... you just can't beat it.


That said, with my wedding around the corner, and with a focus on general health, the other things that comfort foods tend to bring (high calories and fat, lots of sodium, etc) aren't exactly on my wish list.


This week, I made a healthy version of the classic cold weather comfort food: grilled cheese and tomato soup.



What made it healthy? It was an organic light version of tomato soup, the bread is 40-calorie per slice multi-grain, and the cheese is 1 slice of part-skim cheddar.

Verdict: AMAZING. I will definitely be making this again this fall/winter.

Bears vs. Cowboys: Week Two

Before the game started, I was really nervous. (You can see that in my score prediction: Bears 10 - Cowboys 27). That said, the second drive of the game the Bears scored (just a fieldgoal, but I'll take 3 any day of the week) and I never looked back.

Now, I understand it's against the Dallas Cowboys, and not, say Christine's Packers (oh shiz that's next week), but I'll take it.

Takeaways:

- Y'all know how I feel about Jay Cutler, but for the second week in a row, I gotta give credit where it's due. His 2nd Quarter throw to Johnny Knox? That was the stuff of legends. And then he kept hitting the sweet spot again. Touchdown to Hester. 59 yarder to Foxy Knoxy. And the best part? No interceptions... Hallelujah!! If he keeps this up, I might start to like him! (Let's revisit this idea after he plays a team like Aaron Rodgers' Pack).

- Speaking of Cutler throwing perfectly, I gotta give some credit to his receivers. It isn't too often that everything clicks for the Bears, but today something was working very right.

- This may not be exactly football related, but Devin Hester really needs to cut the rat-tail. It's distracting, gross, and if I was an opposing team's player in a tackle with him, I'd yank it.

Bears (2-0) vs. Cowboys 27-20
Next week: Packers (MNF)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hawkeye Love

Last week, Iowa dominated our in-state rival, and it was a very fun game to watch (well, for Hakwyes at least...) but after the 28-point victory, Iowa's poll ranking went down. Obviously, that was a surprise to many, including me. Granted, I don't know much about the way the polling system works, or why that might have happened, but honestly, who cares. We beat an unranked non-conference team.

(Oh, don't worry... we did).

In the words of Adam Rittenberg: "Want respect, Hawkeyes? Go to Arizona and get some".

Well said.

(But, if the Hawks dominate today and our ranking still slips? Then I will start talking poll trash).

Friday, September 17, 2010

Chicago Love

I'm a sucker for a good Chicago view. Take a peek at a few of my most recent faves:


(The black shadow in the bottom photo is not my thumb... but a genuine mid-day shadow).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Springfield, IL

Over Labor Day weekend, I joined Scott's family at a family reunion/party in Springfield. Since I had never seen my adopted state's capital, we took a walking/driving tour around the capital area. It's crazy how much history surrounds the area.






(Ok, so all of my photos are of the actual cap building... what of it?)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

#13 Give up celeb gossip: An Update

One week ago yesterday I gave up celeb gossip.

There were a few rules:

- I couldn't seek it out (but it could seek ME out. Not my fault if someone called me over to their desk to show me Serena's latest fashion week outfit, or if someone emailed me a link asking if Jennifer Aniston was really dating "that guy from Cougar Town").

- One week. Tuesday through Tuesday. And well, I did it. Twice during the first 24 hours I found myself going to PerezHilton.com, but twice I realized what I was doing and logged off. That's progress, right?

And now, well, I don't have to do that again.

Whew.

Quote of the Day

"Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the someone you are" - Kurt Cobain

Deep breath.

This may be my new mantra.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sandwiched.

Now this is what I call lunch.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Quote of the Month

"The ego is overdone... it's like hoodies" - Kanye West

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bears vs. Lions: Week One

How does a team that has gone 2-30 (literally) over the past two seasons stack up with Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears?

If today's game was any indication, the only possible answer is pretty damn well.

Let's start this recap by saying that, frankly, this game was a difficult one for a fan to watch. Since the 2007 Superbowl appearance, Bears fans (myself included) have had high hopes for the team. With one year of Cutler leadership under our belt, a newly revamped offensive strategy and a healthy Brian Urlacher, I really thought today's game would be an easy Bears victory. In the spirit of full disclosure, my score prediction was 21-3 (Bears).

I was completely wrong - I gave the Bears WAY too much credit. With a final score of 19-14, the Bears BARELY pulled off the W.

If you watched the game, you know that the whole Cannoli came down to one play, one pass. Luckily, the officials sided with the Bears, but had they not, the Bears would have lost the game. LOST. To the LIONS. Who have won only 2 games in the past two SEASONS. That is simply unacceptable, no matter how you look at it. To be sure, I am VERY nervous about the rest of the season.

All that aside, a win is a win is a win, and to that extent: I'll take it. But Bears? Don't let that shitshow happen again. It was scary.

Takeaways:

- Jay Cutler needs to learn who is on his team. Ending last year with 26 interceptions, he had another today. Granted, the one interception he had against the Lions today sure beats the FOUR that he threw during last years season opener, but I'm seeing shades of last years interception-prone throwing, and I'm not liking it.

- I am not a Cutler fan. (O-v-e-r-r-a-t-e-d). That said, I gotta give him credit where he's due. The throw to Matt Forte with 1:40 left in the 4th? That throw MUST be what Lovie sees in him. It was spectacular. If he threw like that every time, well, let's just say he'd make a fan out of me.

- Julius Peppers is a rising star. I predict that we will hear much more from him in the coming weeks and years. I have no clue what kind of agreement he has with the Chicago Bears, but I hope he's here to stay.

- Did our offense party too hard watching the Hawkeye game yesterday or what? We got the ball on the one-yard line- the ONE YARD LINE - yet failed to convert it? What the heck. I've never played a down of football in my life (unless backyard Staloney games count) and yet I'm pretty certain I could have finagled my body those 36 inches... in stilettos. Next week, I hope the Bears offense decides to join us.

Bears (1-0...barely) vs. Lions 19-14
Next week: @ Dallas Cowboys

Falling In

A few signs of Fall, wrapped in to one photo:


Football, dark toes, and a "Mulled Cider" candle burning.

(Ok, I know that the camera phone picture doesn't allow you to see what is on the TV - but trust me: Vikes v. Saints... it wasn't pretty).

Saturday, September 11, 2010

In Kirk We Trust

I may be an Illinois resident... but I will always live in Hawkeye country.

Sorry for the onslaught of Iowa Football (note the punctuation.. it's a proper noun where I come from) commentary- but kickoff is in 10 minutes, and this is the first game I've been able to watch since last season's bowl game. I'm so excited I could just about burst out of my black-and-gold. Yeah? I am dressed in seasonably appropriate Iowa gear. What of it?

Friday, September 10, 2010

#20 Finally quit Diet Coke

I am doing MUCH, MUCH better than I was several months ago, but I'm not completely off Diet Crack (get it).


I like to think that I'm weaning myself, kind of like a smoker would wean herself from cigarettes. I am publicly declaring that the weaning time period ends October 1st. From that day forward... NADA.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

#13 Give up celeb gossip

... for one week.

Ok, let's not make a big deal of this, but I started this "no celeb gossip" thing.

On Tuesday.

Which means, if you're reading this, I (probably) haven't died of celeb withdrawal just yet. Two days in, five to go.

I figure, this is arguably the most challenging of my 27 things, so why not get 'er done. Kind of like ripping off a band-aid, right? (Except most band-aids don't take 7 days to get removed). Also, if I'm quitting Diet Coke soon, I might as well spread out the pain, right?

Anyway, wish me luck.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Photo of the Day: Beautiful Day for a Guiness Edition

(Is it just me, or is this "GPOYW" REALLY vain? Yet I sort of love it? UGH).

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Prediction: Hawkeye Edition

Today is September 7, 2010.

Prediction: the Hawkeyes will walk all over Iowa State on Saturday.
Bigger Prediction: the Hawks will end the 2010 season in the top 10, probably even better.

The end.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

College Part Deux

I was recently invited to my first post-college Beer Pong Tournament. Naturally, Scott, Melissa and I were the first guests to show up, which allowed us to re-learn the lost art of the perfect beer pong toss.



The only difference from college? Rather than Natty light, we used Guiness. (For one round).

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Grafitti or Art?









("I've been waiting here / just for you / hoping you would notice / I want / to make you smile")