Saturday, May 14, 2011

30 Day Challenge: Day Six

I'm skipping Day Five, because the question is "a time when you thought about ending your own life" and the answer is "never" which would obviously make a very boring blog post... so on to Day Six.

Write thirty interesting facts about yourself:

(Not sure how "interesting" these will be, but here goes).

1) I lay out my work outfits the night before, every night. Sometimes, on Sundays, I get overly ambitious and figure out each work outfit for the entire week.

2) There are two reasons that I'm not looking forward to football season: summer will be over, and I don't want to look at Jay Cutler all season.

3) I'm obsessed with tidy-ness. My apartment is almost always spotless. Because of this, Scott is a little nervous to move in to our condo in 14 days.

4) I don't have a super wide circle of friends. I have a wide circle of people to whom I am friendly, but my best-friend circle is more narrow. Once I consider you a friend, I will do anything for you.

5) My natural inclination is to hold grudges... so I have to fight against that. I don't want to be someone that holds on to something that happened in 1996, so I'm working on that.

6) Everyone keeps asking me if I'm nervous for my wedding. No. The answer is no. What do I have to be nervous about?

6) I have a really distinct memory of running in to Scott on the street outside of the UI Engineering Building sometime in 2005. We had met a few times, but didn't know each other very well. I remember that he said he liked my earrings. (Interestingly, for our first anniversary he gave me pearl earrings).

7) I'm addicted to my Blackberry. It goes everywhere with me - laundry room in the basement of my building, on my outdoor runs by the lake, etc. I love being connected.

8) Since 2007, I've been using a black Longchamp bag as my regular, weekday/weekend wear-all-the-time bag. I love it, and totally copied Christine when I bought it. Two weeks ago, I realized how boring I am wearing only this bag for literally 4 years non-stop.... so I bought another one. In red. (Totally different, right?)

9) I am completely opposed to clutter. I hate it. Hate. (This probably has something to do with #3)

10) I would MUCH rather eat salty chips than chocolate.

11) The number eleven is a recurring theme in my life. Scott and I started dating on the 11th, got engaged on the 11th, are getting married in 2011, his birthday is June 11, my birthday is August 11. My zip code was 60611 in my last apartment. Our locker at the yoga studio we go to is #11. I have an inside joke with Christine around the number 11. Etc. (I hope this doesn't mean I'm going to have 11 kids).

12) My body requires a full 7-8 hours of sleep a night. When I don't get it, I feel uncomfortable, restless, and just not good. I can handle less for a night or two, but I generally aim for at least a full 7.

13) I'm not a vegetarian - I love bacon, for example - but I rarely eat meat. I would never, for example, eat a whole steak or plain chicken. (Both of those things are fine in a salad, but don't add anything special, in my opinion).

14) I love reading other people's blogs. There are seven that I read on a consistent, daily basis, about half belonging to people I know in real life, and half that I don't.

15) I don't like to cook. I like to eat, however, which causes a bit of a problem. (Luckily, I love salad and sandwiches and lean cuisine. Double-y luckily, Scott DOES like to cook).

16) I don't decorate for any holiday except Christmas. Even then, I favor subtle decorations, like an on-theme candle holder or dishtowel. Not sure why this is, since I grew up in a home that had beautiful annual Christmas decorations, and every year I look forward to seeing them when I come home for Christmas.

17) I always thought I'd be much older when I got married (30+) and am kind of surprised to be among the first of my friends. (I have a hunch that there's going to be a lot of fun weddings to attend in the next few years).

18) I am (stupidly) intrigued by celebrity gossip. I can't put my finger on why I like it, and I consider it a bad habit.

19) I did not study nearly enough in college. I was never on academic probation or anything like that, but I know my final GPA could have been much higher if I would have put forth a little more effort. (I also don't regret this. College was the best four years of my life, regardless of what letters are on my transcript).

20) I call my mom several times every day. Since we don't live in the same state, we need to make up for it somehow. She is simultaneously my kindest critic and loudest cheerleader.

21) I don't like juice. Orange, grape, apple, whatever. No thank you.

22) We still haven't decided what to do for our first dance at our wedding. (Open to suggestions!)

23) This month has been the craziest of my life, but I'm strangely un-stressed. New job. New condo. Wedding in 2 weeks. I think I've just accepted that life is a little crazy right now, but they are all things I want (badly) so I'm excited about them, rather than stressed.

24) I'm going to NY on Tuesday, and my suitcase is already packed, minus some incidentals that I'll need between now and then. (See #1).

25) There have been numerous occasions that I've been told I look like my dad.

26) I'm 26. This has been the best year of my life. A little scary at times, but exciting and new and I think I'll look back at this year with a smile for the rest of my life.

27) There is not a single part of me that is scared or nervous about marrying Scott. I have zero reservations. (This probably helps with #23).

28) Whenever I hear the song "I love you always forever" I think of my cousin Christine, and the trip we took to Disneyworld when we were 6th graders.

29) I am getting my first DVR installed today, and I have a feeling that it's going to change my life.

30) I love country music, and could listen to it all day. (Miranda Lambert is on in the background as I type this).

(Finding 30 things was MUCH more difficult than I thought it would be!)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

five years by the numbers

1,826 - number of days
11 - Cubs games attended together
10 plus - weddings attended together
9 - states visited together
8 - number of relatives that have been born
6 - number of places I've lived
5 - 4th of July's celebrated together
4 - states Scott lived in
5 - number of places Scott's lived
4- trips together to Nashville
2 - states I've lived in
2 - number of presidents that have held office
2 - number of Bears games attended together
2 - college degrees earned
1 - trip to Ft. Lauderdale
1 - wedding proposal

Happy 5 years, Scottie!

Friday, May 6, 2011

30 Day Challenge: Day 4

Your views on religion.

This is a strangely timely question.

My relationship with my religion is complicated. And confusing.

I was raised a Catholic, the kind of legit Catholic that went to Mass every Sunday, not just Christmas an Easter. I went to Catholic school from 7th-12th grade, and was somewhat active in youth ministry-type activities as a teen/early 20s (retreat leader and speaker, etc). In college, I was once part of a team to chaperone 50+ 8th graders on a bus trip to Atlanta for 5 days.

I went to college, and was facisinated by a specific Religious Studies professor. That led to me taking every single one of the classes he taught (6) which led to a Religious Studies minor and a crush on a 70 year old (the professor).

(Not really relevant, but whatever).

During college, I was exposed - for the first time - to a variety of religions. The aforementioned professor was Jewish, as was a good sorority friend. I grew really close to some Lutheran relatives. I had classes with Muslims. My experiences with members of other religions widened.

Simultaneously, I began to be a more critical thinker. I learned that my own thoughts and opinions and feelings didn't jive with the Catholic Church's, in a whole lot of ways: women's roles within the church, the relationship between homosexuality and sin, the permissability of birth control, and probably a whole lot more.

Realizing this, I questioned whether or not I was actually a "Catholic". Yes, I was baptized. Yes, I went to Church with my family. Is that what makes a Catholic?

Or is there something more - a feeling, a way of life, a set of beliefs?

Does this make me a Catholic? If that answer is no, then what?

I like being a Catholic. I like being the same religion as my parents, my brothers, my fiance, my in-laws. I like being part of this tradition. I am excited to get married within the Church.

I guess I'll close this how I began: My relationship with my religion is complicated. And confusing. I don't have the answers, but I'll let you know if I find them.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Photo of the Day: Bad Decision Edition

Things not to do? Nordstrom shoe section on a Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Photo of the day: KJMR

Last week I spent some time packing up non-essentials in my apartment, in preparation for my big move (in 26 days but who's counting). I came across a scrapbook that my summer sister made for me. She gave it to me the day I moved out.

I love it, so of course it made the "keep" box:

Monday, May 2, 2011

on Osama

I was winding down for the night, talking to Scott on the phone, and as usual, we were hammering out some final wedding details. My phone buzzed at me, and I, realizing we'd been on the phone for an hour, thought it was my Blackberry battery dying. As I plugged my charger in to the wall, I realized it was a text message from my brother:

"Turn the tv to CNN. Crazy"

I got out of bed, and turned on the TV. Like everyone else, I was shocked to hear that Osama bin Laden had been found - and killed.

I'll admit it - my first feeling was excitement. Facebook told me of fireworks in Lincoln Park, of celebrations at Ground Zero. American flags and the National Anthem in front of the White House. Chants of "USA! USA!" on CNN, pre-empted programming across the board. The Today Show broadcasting live from Ground Zero.

"We" had been searching for him for so long, and finally this. When one of our enemies is defeated, we win.

Right?

Like everyone else, I remember where I was on 9/11/01 when I heard about the attack (11th grade English). During each of the remaining periods of the day, we watched. After work, I drove to my job at a Dry Cleaners, and watched customer after customer come in, talking about it, decompressing. It happened half a country away- and I wasn't directly harmed - and yet I hurt. I was scared. And he was responsible for this, and so, so much more. The lives he ripped, and ended, and changed forever - they are nearly limitless. He was, simply, a horrible person who did horrible things.

So, I guess this is justice, right?

No matter how justified, it feels kind of strange to celebrate - fireworks remember - when another human dies. I'm glad he's no longer alive - simply put, he did not deserve to live - but does this really change things? The terrorism threat isn't over, and what will this do - put out the fire, or fan the flames? Obama says the world is "safer" without Bin Laden, but is it? He wasn't the lone source of anti-America terrorism, and what does this do to his loyalists, to his allies?

But if not this, then what? Surely those 3,000 deserve this closure, this justice. In a way, their murderer was finally held responsible. While I was reading the coverage today, I stumbled upon photos from that day, and they made me want to personally wring the neck of the people who did this to them, to us.

I don't believe that this is the end of terrorism, and I don't believe that we're necessarily "safer" today than we were yesterday, but I do believe that those who commit crimes against us deserve to be punished... and this was his.

Further, today especially I am thankful that we have men and women literally risking their lives to protect us. I have always had a soft spot for the US military, but it's heightened today. The bravery required to make this happen is making me literally speechless. (In my opinion, that crew deserves to split the $25 Mil bounty).

What do you think? Are we better - safer - with Bin Laden dead?