Thursday, November 28, 2013

so thankful

My life is an embarrassment of riches, and that is something I am incredibly thankful for.

I am thankful for a family who I am lucky to also call my friends - people who I am unbelievably lucky to be spending today with, and more importantly, people who fill my life with color every single day.  I struck gold with my family.  

I am thankful to have Scott as my husband.  He's hilarious, and curious, and a life adventurer.  I don't know how we ended up together, but I am grateful that he's my co-pilot on this journey.

I am thankful for wonderful friends, who's company I cherish (even - or maybe especially - when their "company" is via FaceTime, call and text).

I am thankful for my health and the health of those around me.  

Everything else is really just details, but the details are wonderful and I'm thankful for those too.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Scenes From A Week: November 17

I might sound like a broken record, but this was one of the best weeks I've had in a long time.  Chicago had our first (light) snow of the year and while I don't particularly care for snow, I can't deny that a dusting of it is pretty.  Mid-week found me out two nights in a row, first at the Trump Spa (who am I?!) and then at a hotel roof bar.  I love how cities look at night, and this week  was an opportunity to revel in that.   Scott and I spent Friday night on a BYOB sushi date at a new spot near our house.  Scott went to Iowa City for a fraternity reunion this weekend, so I took that opportunity to spend the weekend doing exactly what I wanted - long catchup conversations with my mom, a cousin and several girlfriends, painting my nails, deep-cleaning our apartment, and watching the entire first season of GIRLS.  It was spectacular - and something I really needed.  I will admit to being super psyched when Scott got home on Sunday afternoon (and not just because I waited to watch the Bears game with him).  It's the month of gratitude, and I'm grateful for restorative weekends that are both lazy and productive.

Friday, November 15, 2013

on Ryan Ferguason

"It was the best million dollars I ever spent... I'd do it again" - Kathleen Zellner, Ryan Ferguson's attorney

I have been completely obsessed with the coverage of Ryan Ferguson this week.  Ryan first entered my consciousness a year or two ago, due to a Facebook friend who consistently shared his updates.  For anyone unfamiliar, Ryan is a 29 year old man who was imprisoned for 9 years, 8 months and 2 days.  For a crime he didn't commit.

The strikes against Ryan are completely staggering and horribly heartbreaking.  The way "the system" failed him makes my head hurt... and I'm not the one that spent a third of my life paying for something I didn't do.

I am overjoyed that justice has been served (kind of) for Ryan.  But I also can't forget that there was an additional - original - victim, Kent Heitholt.  Justice for him hasn't happened (yet?) and we don't know who his killer was.  But there is a level of justice in not allowing an innocent man to continue being punished for a crime he had nothing to do with.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Scenes From A Week: November 10

This week was both leisurely and jam-packed, filled with a work dinner, a night out with Scott and an awesome weekend with my family.  My parents were in town for the weekend, and we went all over Chicagoland looking at real estate.  We met up with the Maloneys on Saturday night for a few (cough cough) bottles of red wine.  On Sunday, my parents and I went for a walk... and I got a Fitbit! I can't wait to start really using it tomorrow.

after getting rid of our old couch, and waiting for the new
one to arrive!

love our new couch

one of the perks of having my parents in town - daily green smoothies

three of my faves

the maloney girls

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Book Review: The Storyteller

I recently finished the newest Jodi Picoult book, and it was so high quality that I had to blog about it.   Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors.  There was a time during high school or college where I wasn't reading for fun very often, and Jodi Picoult's books really changed that.  I love getting lost in a book, and I credit Jodi Picoult's books for re-igniting that in me.

Anyway, The Storyteller.  Here is the synopsis, from the author's website:

Sage Singer is a baker, a loner, until she befriends an old man who's particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone's favorite retired teacher and Little League coach. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses—and then he confesses his darkest secret – he deserves to die because he had been a Nazi SS guard. And Sage's grandmother is a Holocaust survivor. How do you react to evil living next door? Can someone who's committed truly heinous acts ever atone with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren't the party who was wronged? And, if Sage even considers the request, is it revenge…or justice?

The book contains many stories about life during the Nazi regime, and the fact that it's fiction doesn't help make it easier to read.  There is something about the Holocaust that I can't turn away from - I may have mentioned before that I feel like in some ways, reading about what was done is a way to honor the victims - that there is honoring in the remembering- and in never forgetting what happened.

The book was hard to read - I think all books about the Holocaust are difficult to get through - but like in all Jodi Picoult books, the payoff is so worth it.  She's an incredible storyteller, and this book is no exception.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

for shay

On Monday night, I received a few messages regarding a former classmate of mine, named Shay.  He was gone, his cause of death an accident.  He died in Des Moines on a cold November morning.

I didn't know Shay well, having not spoken to him in the past decade since high school.  And yet, I can't shake his death.  I've been sad this week, and have thought frequently of him, and his younger sister and brother left behind.  His parents.  The whole thing is terribly sad.  Tragic.

I don't have many specific memories of our overlapping time in high school, but this week I've read the words left on his Facebook wall, messages of shock, and sorrow, and grief.  The memories left by others help to fill in the gaps, to tell the story of his 28 years.  Here is what I know: he had a bright smile, and in high school, unlike many teenage boys, I remember that he was nice.

So where do we go from here?

How does anyone keep going, when the reality is that life is terribly short and incredibly fragile?

I didn't know Shay well, but I grieve his loss and I pray for his family.  And this week, news of his death has served as a reminder: to be kinder, to smile more easily, to give more generously, and to cherish a life that is filled with love.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Scenes From A Week: November 3

This week started out on an extremely high note, with the birth of the 57th member of my family... a dear cousin's little girl, Eloise.  It took all of my self restraint not to hop in my car and drive west to meet her.  Suffice it to say that I hope to meet her soon :)

The rest of the week was filled with Halloween, flannel, and an awesome weekend.  Friday night Scott bought a Groupon fro a trendy new burger joint in a neighborhood we don't normally frequent, and we turned it in to a fun date.  Saturday brought couch shopping (after six months of looking, we finally bought one!), grocery shopping at a new place, deep cleaning the condo, and catching up on Homeland. :)

Here's hoping that the first full week of November turns out to be a good one!

tis the season for beautiful fall mums
flannel, denim and boots: fall uniform.
ridic menu at BUZZ - including buns made of glazed
donuts, ramen noodles, or pretzle bread.  whaat?!
pretending it's still summer with margaritas at
horeshoe bar
brussels sprouts (and i'm not ashamed by how many pounds i
gorgeous greens
interesting looking food
experimenting with new filters

Friday, November 1, 2013

Weekend Reading

Here are a few links I found interesting this week:

Being late is rude and here’s why (by the way, this is a HUGE pet peeve of mind.. maybe I'll do a separate post on this one):  

I love pink, but also love these “badass” non-pink little girls:

Famous brands updated with honest taglines:

Wine shortage?  Rut roh.

20 photos that make you FEEL:

Accompanying a fallen soldier:

Visualizing Births & Deaths in the US – Simulation:

Matt and Kelly Wedding Week: Extra Photos

While I'm done with my Matt and Kelly Wedding recap posts, I have a few other photos that I'd like to share.

my dapper husband - i am a lucky girl
sisters helping sisters <3
uncle and his new niece 
love, love, love this one.  wish i was in it!!!
maloney spouses! 
bling, bling