Category Archives: baby girl

Well, This Could Be Fun

In the back of my head, I had a whole post planned about the GOP and the orange man with the small hands for today.  But then today was super irritating and then Kasich dropped out and the orange man is likely going to be an actual Presidential candidate and I’m too scared and angry and plus, I just saw a GIF of Cruz’s face morphing into Grandpa Munster and I’m still too disturbed by the whole thing to write anything productive.  (Seriously, look it up.  It will haunt you.)

I was recently talking to some co-workers about online dating and it got me thinking about how much more difficult dating has to be now than it was back in the days when I was single and there was (thank you baby Jesus) no internet or Facebook or Twitter or Snapchat.  I wouldn’t have been a good internet dater.  For one, I am an anxious person.  If you don’t immediately respond to my text, please know that my brain has decided you have finally remembered some minor transgression from two years ago that in reality, wasn’t a transgression at all but just something I’ve obsessed over for twenty four months like an offhand comment about a dress.  For two, I would have been a stalker.  There’s no sugar-coating it.  Oh, you wanted to stay home and watch your favorite movie, “The Godfather,” did you?  I would have been the asshole combing through your social media, trying to find any reference to said movie, looking for any proof that you had ever referenced said movie.  I would have been “that girl.”  I’m not proud of this, mind you, just telling it like it is.  (Also, the fact that the first movie that came to mind was Godfather should tell you that I’m also old and have only been to a movie theater five times in the past ten years.)

Anyhow, I did some Googling – I love that this has become a verb in our lexicon – and came up with a list of questions that might be on dating sites, a getting to know you type quiz, if you will.  Which brought me back to my favorite MySpace pastime, (I told you I was old) which was answering a bunch of questions about myself.  Let’s have some fun and forget about the fact that a sexist megalomaniac is about to be a formidable nomination for the PRESIDENT, shall we?

Do you have any pets?
Yes.  I have two cats.  Ramon recently scratched a hole out of my face and Potato peed on my shoulder while I was on the phone.  They’re super cute, if you’re a masochist.
Name three things that are physically close to you?
My phone, because it is physically attached to my right hand, a vodka seltzer because I saw a meme that said it has less calories than a banana and I’m nothing if not health conscious, and a solid bronze statue of a monkey holding a bucket that I put a votive candle in.
What’s the weather like right now ?
Well, it’s Chicago and it’s May, so it’s forty degrees and stupid.
Do you drive ? If so, have you crashed?
No.  The last couple of years we had a car, I turned into everyone’s great aunt Sylvia whenever it snowed, there was traffic, it was wet, or it was too sunny.  It’s better for everyone that I’m no longer in charge of anything on wheels other than my bike.  Which, incidentally, I almost got killed on yesterday when an aggressive John Hancock Shuttle Bus driver broke many laws on Wacker Dr.
What time did you wake up this morning ?
Well, I woke up perfectly rested at 7:30.  But because I am bad at being an adult, I forced myself back to sleep until my alarm went off at 8:30 so I could rush around like a crazy person and have to run to the bus.
When was the last time you showered ?
8:42 – 8:44 AM.
What was the last movie that you saw ?
I think we rented the Minions a couple of months ago after many drinks.  It took us WAY too long to be sure that they weren’t actually speaking English.
What does you last text message say?
“A pop if it’s not too late!  My RC is nothing but ice water…”  From Tony, in response to me asking if he needed anything from the store.  He had left a two liter of RC in the freezer overnight because he is also awesome at adulting.
What is your ringtone ?
I have no idea.  My Fitbit vibrates when I get a call and I am incapable of not answering immediately.
Have you ever been to a different country?
I went to Canada once on a choir trip?  My friend Steve fell in Niagara Falls and lost his bandanna.  (Yes, that’s my main memory of Canada.  Other than that they have black squirrels.)
Do you like sushi?
I wouldn’t know.  I hate fish cooked and the idea of it raw makes me want to never stop vomiting.
Where do you buy your groceries?
Well, I finally discovered Aldi and was enthralled, but – as things tend to go in my life – it immediately closed for renovations for eight months.  So I’m back at good old Cermak produce, where I have to frantically count in Spanish while at the deli counter trying to figure out my number because no one speaks English there.  As I can only count to ten and the numbers are usually in the seventies, I spend a lot of time smiling and holding my ticket up.
Have you ever taken any medication to help you fall asleep faster?
Does whiskey count?  If so, then yes.  If I have a cold, whiskey and Theraflu is my jam.
How many siblings do you have ?
One younger sister who did me the massive favor of being awesome and having a gorgeous child so I don’t have to.
Do you have a desktop computer or a laptop?
A tablet.  (See?  This wouldn’t have even BEEN a question in the nineties.)
How old will you be turning on your next birthday?
38.  Apparently my 20 year high school reunion is this year, but that’s impossible because only old people have 20 year high school reunions.
Do you wear contacts or glasses ?
I have both.  But I’m lazy and like to tempt fate, so I wear my contacts 24/7 until I get an eye infection.
Do you colour your hair ?
Oh yes.  I’m pretty sure the phrase, “Dirty/dishwater blond,” was invented to describe my natural color.
Tell me something you are planning to do today:
Well, I’m going to finish this vodka seltzer and eat an entire head of cauliflower for dinner.  Because I like to party.
When was the last time you cried?
A couple of weeks ago when I saw a picture of a German shepard puppy on his first day on the job as a police dog with the caption, “It’s my first day!  I hope I do great!”  Seriously – he looked so excited and proud!  (Side note, I may have been pre-menstrual.) (Side side note, apparently that doesn’t matter because I just teared up again thinking about it.  If this were a dating site, I would for sure be gone by now.)
What is your perfect pizza topping?
Doesn’t really matter.  Pizza is just a vehicle to get bread into my mouth hole.
Which do you prefer, hamburger or cheeseburger ?
Cheeseburger.  Because there’s when there is an option for cheese, you should always take it.
Have you ever had an all-nighter ?
This is where one would assume that I’d have some crazy college story – or not, because I probably come off as pretty fucking boring, but I did have some all-nighters in college, being a professional procrastinator and all – but my most recent all-nighter was at my niece’s second birthday party.  Because that’s what one does at a toddler party.
What is your eye colour ?
Green?  Hazel?  I never really thought about it.  That’s something I should know, right?
Can you taste the difference between Pepsi and Coke?
What kind of terrorist can’t tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi?  That’s madness.

image

So yeah, I think we can all safely assume it’s a good thing I stopped dating in 1999, because otherwise it would for sure be just me and these stupid cats until one of them killed me.

Advertisements

How to Host Easter Like an Actual Adult. (Sort of.)

In my family, holidays are a big deal.  I’ve written about this before, detailing the extraordinary lengths my grandparents and later my parents, sister, aunt, and cousins go to to set a beautiful table filled with delicious food.  As we have always lived in an apartment, we haven’t really been in a position to host any holidays, and I always kind of wished we could. (I suspect no one in my family has been too heartbroken about this, as I’m not really known for my organizational or homemaking skills, plus, my cats keep sending them to the hospital.)  But while we do still live in an apartment, it’s now a very nice one with space and a pretty kitchen and lots of countertops and places to lock cats and their sharp, angry teeth away and room to sit down.

So I thought this year, Hey, you know what?  You should offer to host Easter!  You have room!  People don’t hate coming over anymore, especially if the cats aren’t allowed in the room.  Even you can’t fuck up a ham!  (I started drinking wine in the past few months.  Thus far, all of my brilliant ideas have come after a couple glasses of Walgreen’s finest Pinot Grigio.) So when my mom brought it up, I tentatively said, “Well, I thought maybe I could do it?  Since we have space?”  I suspect she was surprised, but gamely said, “Sure!  If you want to do it, that’s fine!”

Yay!  I’m hosting!  Look at me, all grown up style!  Wahoo!  I shall make baby girl Violet a beautiful Easter basket and we’ll have an Easter egg hunt and she will love it and everyone will talk for years about how fun Easter was that year and she’ll always remember how Auntie Coco hid eggs with candy in them for her.I told Tony and Tony, and was met with just a bit of resistance in the form of, “WHAT?  Where the hell are we going to put everyone?”  Whatever.  They’re pessimists.  I got this.  I told my sister, who responded with a “Heh.  Okay!  Have fun!” Again, whatever. I’ll be FINE.  I emailed my friend Autumn the next day at work to tell her, and she responded with, “OMG!  Can I please come and bring popcorn to see how this goes?!” 

I faltered a bit here.  Autumn is my champion. She’s my cheerleader.  If she was questioning my abilities, I may just have bitten off more than I can chew.  Oh well, too late now – I have lists to make and hams to buy!  Except, hmm, I have no idea what kind of ham to buy or, now that I think about it, whether my Puerto Rican grocery store even carries ham.  Moving on.

T Minus Two Weeks:
Phone calls with my mother.  “Okay, you need to plan a menu, and we’ll bring a table and chairs, and you need a tablecloth, and do you have enough plates and cups and silverware?”  “Um.well, I thought ham?  And yeah, I for sure have enough plates and stuff.”  (SHIT!  Mental note, go buy all new plates, silverware, and glassware.)  Mom, “Okay, I have little dessert plates and pastel napkins.  I’ll bring you a roasting pan, table, chairs, plates, napkins, and I’ll bring a vegetable and appetizer.  And I’ll send you a recipe for a glaze.”  Me, “Sounds good!  Did I tell you I’m going to do Easter eggs for baby girl?!”  Do you see a theme here?  I am awesome at ideas, poor at execution.

T Minus One Week:
Tables, chairs, roasting pan, Easter baskets, dessert plates, and napkins have been delivered. Me, Oh, well, this is great!  Realistically, all I need to do is buy the ham – SHIT find out if Cermak has ham – and get the Easter eggs for the fun hunt!
Tony, “Hey, my parents are coming too!”  Okay!  More the merrier!  What a fun party we will host!
Phone call with mother, “Okay, well, you’re going to need more food.  I’ll get some fried chicken too.  Did you get a tablecloth?  Did you get a ham?  Did you tell your sister what to bring?   You’re going to lock the cats up, right?  What about dessert?  Do you have brown sugar and whiskey for the glaze?”  Me.  No, no, yes, I don’t know, no, and I’m drinking the whiskey.  “I got rolls?”  “Okay.  You realize Easter is over a week away, right?  Bread won’t keep that long.”  Me.  “Duh.  I put them in the freezer.  I’m not stupid.”  (This is where I suspect my mother began drinking.)

T Minus Six Days:
My mother in law, Sharon, sends my brother in law with a new kitchen table and chairs that seats five.  (Because ours only sat two.  Hey, when you move four times in four years, shit breaks.)  My sister in law also sent him with sturdy plastic plates, silverware, and servingware.  Score! Sharon also comes with two Easter tablecloths, a myriad of Easter napkins and an Easter bunny placemat for Violet.  So really, all I need are the Easter eggs for the hunt.  Dammit!  And the ham.

T Minus Five Days:
“Hey, mom?  So I’m at the store and I know you said get the biggest ham, but I just realized I have no point of reference here.  What’s a big ham?  Three pounds?  Twenty two pounds?  Should the bone be in?” 
Hmm.  I wonder if my grandma ever had to carry a ten pound ham home in her purse? 

T Minus Four Days:
“Okay, Court, so I’m bringing the chicken, a vegetable, a cheese platter, stuff for mimosas – do you have champagne glasses? – and another appetizer.  What else do you need?”  Me, “Oh, I’m all good!  I think we’re ready!  Didn’t you see, I posted the picture of the ham on Facebook??”  Still have no glaze, glasses, Easter eggs, candy, or ingredients for potatoes.  But that’s nothing!

T Minus Three Days:
Tony, “Can we have corn?  So I can eat something?”  Sure!  Let me just put that on my list that I haven’t written out because it’s all up in my head.  “Okay, well you have to work tomorrow, so me and Tony Marzilli will clean and go grocery shopping and we’ll be all ready by the time you get home, and then all we’ll have to do is make the potatoes and set up the tables on Sunday.  We’re good!”

T Minus Two Days:
I should probably get on this shopping list.  I still need to get Easter eggs for the big hunt!  Oh, and glasses.  I know!  I’ll head to the busiest Target on Earth at State St. at four pm on Good Friday.  It’ll probably be empty.  Spend the next two hours growling at tourists, aggressively pushing my cart through the Easter aisle, buying two bottles of wine, an Easter bunny because seriously I am not spending fifteen dollars on a basket, twelve fillable Easter eggs, candy, and rationalize that small plastic glasses are totally acceptable for Easter dinner.  Go home and drink one of the bottles of wine, because really?  There’s nothing left to do.

T Minus One Day:
OMG GET UP GET UP WE HAVE SO MUCH TO DO AND WE NEED TO GO SHOPPING AND FILL THE EGGS AND WASH THE CARPET AND SET OUT THE NAPKINS AND CLEAN EVERYTHING IN THIS HOUSE AND I NEED NEW CANDLES AND WE NEED BEER AND ICE AND THE BACK PORCH IS A MESS AND I FORGOT TO GET MY SISTER’S BIKE FIXED AND I NEVER ASKED JOSE ABOUT PARKING PASSES AND I DON’T THINK WE HAVE ENOUGH GLASSES AND WE NEED A HUNDRED ROLLS OF PAPER TOWELS AND TOILET PAPER BECAUSE CARLY AND BOB WOULD NEVER RUN OUT AND ASK THEIR GUESTS TO USE THEIR NAPKINS, NO MATTER HOW FESTIVE AND HOLIDAY APPROPRIATE THEY ARE.

Two hours, a hundred dollars, and a very grumpy Tony Marzilli later, we’re ready to begin cleaning.  Approximately thirty minutes later, Tony Drobick walks in the door after a full eight hour day, quite dismayed to find me scrubbing the vents with a toothbrush on the floor and Tony Marzilli covered in bleach, yelling, “I swear to God, if I see an Easter bunny I’m punching it square in the mouth.”  I throw paper towels and windex at him, saying, “Here.  You don’t have to do anything.  Just dust the entertainment center, wipe off all of the books and everything in it, sweep the floor, and take out the garbage.”  He complies – seriously, once I hit this level of crazy there’s no reasoning – muttering, “Have Easter, they said.  It will be fun, they said,” whilst rolling his eyes.  Finish all the cleaning, and my beaming, “Hey, look, we’re all ready!” exclamation is met with hostile stares. 

D DAY:
Okay!  All we have to do is set up the tables and stuff the Easter eggs, and then it’s time to cook! 

Hmm.  This tablecloth is really big for this table.  Let me just tape it up with the flourescent green duct tape.  That’ll work, right?

WHO THE FUCK SEALS PLASTIC, FILLABLE EASTER EGGS WITH TAPE?!  Terrorists, that’s who.  The next forty minutes are spent stabbing at them with scissors, swearing at each other and sneaking far too many M & M’s. 

Okay, let’s hide these eggs!  (Brief yet extraordinarily heated argument questioning the timing of cleaning out the fish tank.)

Another, increasingly hostile argument regarding my festive idea of putting colorful napkins on the bathroom sink for guests to wipe their hands on.  Physical struggle ensues as Tony Marzilli wants to fold up actual hand towels instead.  Culminates in me yelling, “I DON’T LIKE THE TOWELS THEY DON’T LOOK PRETTY PUT THE FUCKING NAPKINS IN THE GODDAMN EASTER BASKET!!”

I should probably have a glass of wine.

No, Courtney, no one wants to stick their hands in salt cellars, I don’t care if they were your grandma’s.  I passive-aggressively leave them on the duct taped covered table anyhow.

OMG START PEELING THE POTATOES THEY’RE GOING TO BE HERE IN AN HOUR.

My family shows up, complete with carrots, crackers and cheese, an antipasto platter, a seven layer salad, champagne glasses, two bottles of champagne and a bottle of wine because they know I get my wine from the drugstore, orange juice, an Easter basket for the baby full of chalk,  a gift for my new nephew, and a bag full of toys. 

My glaze is not thickening as the Pioneer Woman had promised.

Violet is pointedly disinterested in her Easter egg hunt and is much more interested in the fish.

My oven grates are upside down, apparently.

An hour later, my in laws show up with Tony straight from work, also carrying another chair, a leaf for the table, two pies, and a gift for Violet.

You know what? We had a great time.  I didn’t drop the ham, the cats didn’t escape and attack anyone, the baby had way too much candy and enjoyed bossing the boys around, and everyone liked my potatoes.  My mom took a picture of my napkins in the bathroom to send to my aunt Sheila, who is basically Martha Stewart, so it was pretty much the highest of praise.  My cousin showed up around dessert, and we finished the night watching old home movies – during which I was mercilessly mocked, I might add – happy for a great end to a fun day.  Everyone ate, we laughed, we drank, we enjoyed our company and I looked around and felt very grateful for this family of mine.

Everyone praised me for doing a great job hosting my first holiday.  This is my thank you to all of the people that basically did it for me.

image

Martha's got nothing on me and my Easter basket napkins

To Baby Girl, On the Day of Your Birth

I started writing this before you were here, Violet Mae.  Before you were you, before I saw your head full of hair and your blue eyes and your precious little fingers and toes.  Before your mom and dad were a mom and a dad, before I saw her little nose and mouth and his eyes looking back at me from your tiny face. Before the waiting room, before the joyful anxiousness of looking up every time someone walked by the door, craning our necks, waiting for your daddy to come tell us you were you and you were perfect.

There is no way to impart all of the wishes I have for you in a short list.  What I want for you is infinite; I don’t think I could describe it if I wanted to.  I certainly don’t have all of the answers, and by the time you’re old enough to read this, you’ll probably know that already.  But believe it or not, I have learned a few things along the way that I’d like to pass on to you, baby girl.

  • There are beautiful people in this world, and there are ugly people.  The trick is to learn very quickly that this has nothing to do with their looks.
  • Your mom and dad are very, very smart.  You won’t always think this.  In fact, you might be tempted to stop reading right here.  Don’t.  When they talk, listen.  When they don’t talk, ask why.
  • Find something you love and pursue it.
  • There is something great to be seen in every single day.  Sometimes it’s a beautiful rainbow and sometimes it’s simply that it’s not raining.  Find the joy.
  • Never be afraid to be silly.  It gets harder, the older you get, to allow yourself to be silly.  Don’t stop.  Being silly just to do it, for the sole purpose of laughing, is a great feeling.
  • You are very loved, baby girl.  Not everyone is.  Always remember that and consider it when you may want to judge others.  It’s hard sometimes.  But do it anyway.
  • Never stop singing out loud.  I don’t know yet if you will have the voice of an opera singer or a scalded cat.  It doesn’t matter.  Find music you love and belt it out.  There’s few things more freeing.
  • There will be days that you can’t wait until they’re over, and days that you wish would never end.  It is up to you to decide whether you have more happy days than sad days.
  • There are people who say the phrase “Attitude is everything,” is a cliché.  Those people have bad attitudes.  Don’t be one of them.  See above.
  • Don’t worry about other people’s opinions.  You will never please everyone, so don’t try.  Be nice, and be kind, but know that you won’t be able to win over everyone, no matter how hard you try.  Never spend more time trying to please other people than you spend trying to make yourself happy.
  • In our family, people can be loud.  The same is true with most situations in life, whether it be your friendships, co-workers, or family.  Learn to be loud enough to keep up, but quiet enough to make yourself heard.  It’s a fine line to walk, but an important one to learn.  Ask your grandpa.  He does it well.
  • Your grandma would bend the world for you, if she could.  And because I knew her mama, I tell you this: No one will love you in the way your grandma will.  In her eyes, you will never have flaws.  Look at yourself through her eyes when you’re having a tough day.  She’s usually right.
  • Your mama is awesome, and so is your daddy.  I know I already told you that they are smart, but there are a lot of smart people that aren’t so awesome.  Your parents will undoubtedly teach you the difference, and you won’t always believe them, but this is one of those circumstances you just have to trust me on.
  • Every year, on your birthday, take a moment to remember that in 2014, the day you were born, was the happiest day in the lives of so many people.  The moment you were born, the world tilted in a beautiful way.  I don’t say this as a burden, baby girl, but as a reminder.  You are special.  You are important.  You are amazing.  And you are so, so loved.

I know you’ll be happy, because I know your parents.  I watched them today, as new parents, gauging and learning your moods and noises as you were only a few hours old.  They never faltered, because they already know you; you’re the best parts of both of them.   I watched your daddy be gentle with your mama and make her laugh in the same minute and I watched your mama make you both smile just by being her; to have parents that love like yours do – it’s a precious thing, baby girl.  It’s one of the many things you’ll learn.   In the space of moments, you became the center of their world and the heart of them both.

There are so many things I wish for you, Violet Mae.  I can’t wait to see who you will become.

Love.

Love.