Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: A Year in Review

I truly didn't know if 2009 could ever be topped, but 2010 came darn close.

Two of my favorites moved to Chicago.

Several great people found true love.

I went to many Chicago games with really great people.

Scott and I inched our way closer to being married.

I feel so lucky that you read my blog. Thank you.

Summer Sister

2007 was a big year for me.

I graduated from college, became financially independent, and moved out of Iowa.

When I decided to move to Chicago, I had no idea what to do or where to live.

(Enter the Ranks).

My aunt and uncle kindly agreed to let me live with them, and live I did.

It was the best summer I've ever had.

Part of the reason it was so awesome was because I got to live with my cousin Jenifer - my summer sister.

She is one of the funniest, nicest, coolest people I have ever met.

Do you like funnym nice and cool?

I thought so. She just started a blog, and I suspect it's going to be fabulous.

Like her.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Five Months


(I may or may not have picked this picture because I'm obsessed with the tights I was wearing... No shame).

Monday, December 27, 2010

Marriage Monday: Excitement Edition

I've blogged twice recently about things that make me nervous about living with Scott.

To be clear, I am also very excited.

... I get to cut my monthly rent in half. And, I get to live with my best friend.

(And not in that order).

Finally.

To be honest, a part of me wanted to start living with Scott when he moved home to Chicago this summer. And, to be even more honest, we discussed it at length. After living in different cities (states, too) for almost three years, being able to spend so much time together was a very appealing idea. I missed him like crazy. On top of that, saving money on rent and utilities was also a consideration.

So, yeah - living with my best friend was very compelling.

I can list out reasons for couples like us to not live together: religious standards, family reactions, being a good example for my brothers and Scott's siblings.

Eventually, it came down to one thing: it didn't feel right for us. Since we aren't living together, it does make me very, very excited to get to. On May 29th, we will leave Iowa after our wedding and drive home - to our home - for the first time.

So yes, the excitement? It's there, too.

(And not just for the party trolley).

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

"It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'til his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more" - Dr. Seuss

Friday, December 24, 2010

So this is Christmas

Christmas is my favorite time of the year.

I'm not quite Ebeneezer, but I truly don't relish finding the perfect gift for 17 of my nearest and dearest, or eating yet another chocolate-y, sugar-y treat. Carolers make me batty, and hot cocoa isn't my thing.

But.

I like twinkle-lights and I love my family:


For three days this week, all seven of us will be under one roof (my favorite roof) and I couldn't be happier.

Because even though there are bound to be moments when we fight about who-knows-what (probably this or this) there will also be memories made, and laughs shared, and hours spent together.

So at the risk of sounding cheese-y, let me just say that my wish for me is the same as my wish for you, a very Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Showered

This weekend, three of my favorite women (my cousins Anne and Jane, and my aunt/Godmother Liz) through threw me a bridal shower.


And let me say, I was SHOWERED.

With presents, love, and support.


I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I am so lucky to be in this family.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

GPOYW: Santa Edition

Merry Christmas!

(Santa looks suspiciously like one of my favorite blog readers... anyone else see it?)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Quote of the Day

"A ship in the harbor is safe.... but that's not why ships are built" - Anon

Best Surprise Ever

I have the best friends and family.

I feel incredibly lucky.

Six months before my wedding day, one of my amazing maids-of-honor and and one of my amazing personal attendants (follow me here) sent me this:


(The arrangement was actually significantly bigger, but I didn't think to take a photo until much of it had been devoured consumed).


I am a spoiled brat (you already knew that) so I'm having two beautiful and smart maids-of-honor and personal attendants. (Lucky me!) One half of each happen to be sisters. (Ranks, too). They sent me the nicest, sweetest, most thoughtful gift I have ever received a few weeks ago.

(But because I am a bad blogger, you're only now hearing about it).

Christine and Jen, what would I do without you?

Thank you for the delicious surprise. And thank you for being two of my best people.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tis the Season

... of too much cinnamin, sugar cookies and holiday parties

... just enough family time, celebrations and red nail polish

... and not enough twinkle-lights, photo-taking or blogging

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Quote of the Day

"This is what you shall do: be loyal to what you love, be true to the Earth, and fight your enemies with passion and laughter" - Edward Abbey

Monday, December 13, 2010

#24 - Learn a new word

Milquetoast: a bland, weak or ineffectual person.

(I feel like I should write more on this to make it a legit post, but, well, that's all I have to say. Hopefully this doesn't make me milquetoast).

Thursday, December 9, 2010

on Elizabeth

Like most people, I am no stranger to cancer.

My paternal grandmothers (note the plural), my mother's college roommate, my uncle and Godfather, Scott's grandfather. A million friends-of-friends. I am familiar with cancer survivors, - and, yes, cancer deaths.

I've never met her, but I would have liked to. Across the television, Elizabeth Edwards seemed to be a quietly confident woman, perhaps guarded and cautious, but stubbornly poised. I admired her education and career, her children, and - yeah - her marriage.

Until I didn't admire her husband anymore.

To be honest, her personal devastation and the destruction of her marriage made me admire her more, as a human. Her answer, when infamously asked if she was still in love with John ("It's complicated") is such a remarkable moment. The way that she handled herself in public after her husbands public affair is a feat of - I dunno - gumption maybe? I wouldn't have blamed her if she would have smeared him from Washington to North Carolina and back. But of course, she didn't.

It's kind of strange that we all knew of her diagnosis, her medicial secrets, without knowing the real Elizabeth. While the world knew that her prognosis was not good, there was something about her that made me think she would survive, that she could beat this. Was it her resolve? Her poise? Her strength? I can't put my finger on it, but if anyone could "stand up to cancer", surely it would have been her.

But that's the problem with cancer: it's the bully that no one can stand up to, no one is safe from.

But Elizabeth, if I can be bold enough to say, didn't expect to control it. I read a quote by her tonight (apparantly from one of her books) and it's succinct, beautiful and epitaph-esque:

"I do know that when [my children] are older and telling their own children about their grandmother, they will be able to say that she stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way –and it surely has not–she adjusted her sails".

Her list of storms is lengthy: She lost her 16 year old son. She was diagnosed with terminal, incurable cancer. Her husband made mockery of her marriage, and publicly humiliated her and her children.

And she adjusted her sails - living life - and death - her way.

Here's to you, Elizabeth. And here's to adjusting the sails.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thanksgiving Recap

As some of you may know, I hosted (!!) Thanksgiving this year. While I had tons of help from my parents, I still PREPARED THE TURKEY BY MYSELF:


I named him Fred.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

on Family

I am a Democrat in a family of Republicans.

(Not everyone, but a vocal majority).

I am a critical cafeteria Catholic in a family of Catholic-y Catholics.

(And some amazing Lutherans!)

I am the sole Bear, mixed in with Packers and Vikings.

The differences used to annoy me - to chew up my insides in a way that really stopped me from becoming real actual friends with a lot of "them". But in the past four months, we have had three + family functions, and it has actually forced the family togetherness in a way that I didn't feel before July, and to be honest - it intrigues me.

Because this family of mine? The one that I sometimes want to punch in the schnoz? They are really great.

Sure, I roll my eyes at some of them, sometimes.

(Usually the same someones multiple times).

But I bet they roll their eyes at me, too.

(Probably for saying this. Or this).

But the bottom line is that especially at this time of year, at this time in my life - family matters.

I am so lucky to be in this family. So lucky to call the Ranks my friends, and so lucky that a few Ranks read this blog.

(And so lucky that a few other Rank's don't).

(Wink).

Monday, December 6, 2010

Quote of the Day: Inspiration Edition

"You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces – my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope. These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined. The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It's called being human" - Elizabeth Edwards

Marriage Monday: Cohabitation Edition

I'm very particular about how I like my stuff.

I prefer my hand towels perfectly arranged, I cannot handle clean dishes remaining in the dishwasher, and I put my shoes away in their proper home in the closet as soon as they come off my feet.

(For example).

Scott... well, he isn't like this.

At all.

I feel very fortunate that we've had these past seven or eight months of living in the same town, because this has certainly opened our (his) eyes to our (my) idiosyncrasies.

But what happens when we live in the same space?

Stay tuned.... I'll let you know in about six months.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

#22) Face a Fear

As I mentioned last week, my cousin David got married last weekend. At his wedding my family dominated part of the dance floor for the. entire. night. It was both amazing and insane.

The bride and groom had hired a band, which isn't what I am doing - but let me tell you - this band was unbelievably good.

They also had a thing for calling people on stage to dance, sing and humiliate.

... LIKE ME.

Seriously, consider this the accomplishment of #22. It was terrifying (that is why my head was down in every piece of photographic evidence).

It was both terrifying and the best MOMENT OF MY ENTIRE LIFE.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Viagra Triangle

Just found this photo buried in a summer 2010 album. There is a hidden little nook in the middle of Chicago's Viagra Triangle that looks pretty from this angle, don't you think?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bear Down

On Sunday Scott and I were (BEYOND) lucky enough to attend the Chicago Bears vs. Philadelphia Eagles game at Soldier Field.

It. Was. AMAZING.

While I am not a fan of Michael Vick the person, Michael Vick the football-er was sure fun to watch.

MANY thanks to D-Man for the hook-up!!!

"Bear down, Chicago Bears, make every play lead the way to victory,
Bear down, Chicago Bears, put up a fight with a might so fearlessly.
We'll never forget the way you thrilled the nation, with the T-Formation!
Bear down, Chicago Bears, and let them know why you're wearing the crown.
You're the pride and joy of Illinois, Chicago Bears, Bear down!"
- Chicago Bears, fight song

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

GPOYW: Moose Lodge Edition

What, you've never partied in a Moose Lodge?!

David + Melissa: November 27, 2010

My cousin David got married last weekend, and it was amazing fun.

Ranks danced for hours straight, lots of cocktails were consumed, and an awesome time was had.


Congratulations, David & Melissa!