Category Archives: life in general

And Again and Again….

Fifty lives lost.  Fifty more injured.  Countless family members and friends and loved ones breaking in half, never to see their loved ones again.  Hundreds of people who said goodbye, have fun, call me later, see you tomorrow without a thought in their head that was the last time they’d ever hear their person speak.  That they’d never hear their laugh again, or see their smile.  Hundreds of people who walked into a bar Saturday night, happy, laughing, dancing, looking forward to the night, with no way of knowing that walking through that door would irreversibly change their life, if they were lucky enough to make it out.  Plans for Sunday barbecues that turned into horrific planning of funerals.

Again.

How is this still happening again?  When the massacre at Sandy Hook happened a few years ago, when those poor babies lost their lives at the hands and mind of a madman, as a country we were up in arms.  We were demanding answers.  How could this happen?  We were resolved in our fight against this monster – This cannot happen again.  We need changes!  We need reform!  These lives cannot be taken for granted!!

So what happened, exactly?  What were those answers?  Because from where I’m sitting, it sure doesn’t look like a hell of a lot has changed.  But this time, the aftermath is even worse.  Because where we stood together before, we have splintered apart now.  We want to blame someone.  It’s left vs. right, Republicans vs. Democrats, liberal vs. conservatives and we’re all so desperate to place blame, so frantically pointing fingers that we’ve lost sight of what’s important.  That fifty people are dead.  Fifty.  That around fifty more are fighting for their lives.

Make no mistake – this was a crime of hate.  Religion didn’t do this.  Gun control didn’t do this.  Obama didn’t do this.  Hillary didn’t do this.  Even Trump didn’t do this, although I’m sure plenty of people assume I would lay the blame at his feet.   Hate did this.  Hate, and fear, and confusion, and a crazy person did this.  And instead of banding together, instead of Congress standing on the steps of Capitol Hill in solidarity, pledging to work together to start implementing some real changes, ones that might actually make a difference, our country’s leaders are getting into fucking TWITTER wars, slinging mud at each other and the other side.  Using this tragedy to further their own agenda and boast that their platform is the correct one to be standing on  – election year, after all – and it’s revolting, and childish, and downright embarrassing for this country.

Here’s what we should have seen on social media today.  Picture after picture of the victims; stories about their lives.  Links to the stories of the hundreds of people who waited in line to donate blood.  Articles about the doctors and first responders and medical personnel and police who did their jobs under horrific circumstances, likely saving hundreds more lives.  Interviews with friends and family, remembering these people, these innocent people who are now dead because of who they were, who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Instead it was full of memes – fucking MEMES – from both sides of the spectrum, boasting and explaining why they’re correct and why the blame lies on the other party.  Articles depicting tweets from ignorant people who still believe that because this happened at a gay bar, the victims got what they deserved.  (Do yourself a favor and don’t look that up if you haven’t seen it yet.  It about turned my stomach inside out.)  There’s no hand holding or unity or pledge to fight this, just a nasty stampede to prove that someone else’s agenda is or isn’t to blame.

I don’t know a lot about guns.  I’ve never been a fan, one, because they scare the hell out of me and two, because I’m way too uncoordinated and like vodka too much to responsible enough to have one.  But I do believe that law-abiding citizens should have the right to have them.  However, I do not understand the reason that any civilian should ever have access to an assault rifle.  Actually,  I was corrected several times today that the weapon used wasn’t an assault rifle; that the media made that term up.  I didn’t know that.  To me, a non-gun owner, a weapon that is made and used for the sole purpose of mass destruction and loss of life, is an assault weapon.  But terminology aside,  what I do know is that 100 people were shot in a very short amount of time Saturday night.  I also know that another 42 were shot right here in my city over the weekend, and that wasn’t even a blip on the news because it happens every weekend here.  So in just two cities, in the United States of America, which should be the best country in the world, in the span of less than 72 hours, nearly 150 people were shot with guns, and three quarters of those people were shot with the same gun.  That’s not right.  You can call it whatever you want, but I’m calling it a problem.  A very big, complex, and scary problem that NEEDS to be dealt with.  For real – what else needs to happen?  How many more people have to die before we address this giant elephant in the room, so to speak?  How many more lives have to be shattered before we wake up?

We are in a very scary time in this country.  A tragedy like this, the worst attack on our soil in fifteen years, should unite us, not splinter us further into more hate and fear.  Our leaders need to get the fuck off of Twitter and start talking to each other, because one party – either party – on its own cannot fix this.  This is America; home of the free, land of the brave.  And we have to be better.  From where I’m sitting, we’re just spiraling further and further out of control and it needs to stop.  This has to be the catalyst to make. this. stop.  Before it happens yet again.

Stay strong, Orlando.  My heart and thoughts are with the victims of this senseless violence.  May you all rest in peace.

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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.

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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.

Yet One More Reason I Would Make a Poor Soldier

I haven’t written a post about working out or being healthy in quite a while, largely because I had a bit of a slip down the rabbit hole during which I remembered how much I like eating potato soup and forgot how much I enjoy being able to button my pants and only having one chin.  While there are other things I’d like to write about as there’s a lot going on right now, I’m still too angry at what I’m calling Bathroomgate, too sad about Prince, and too disgusted by Trump and his merry band of idiots to write about them.  Plus, if the internet has taught me anything in the past few months, it’s that no matter how many opinons I put up, or memes I use as a comment, or facts I present, or how RIGHT I AM  – chances are no one is going to read my diabtribe and decide, “You know what? Everything I believe is wrong.  Thanks, Courtney!”

So I’m trying to focus on the positive.  When I finally decided it was time to get off of my expanding ass and get back to feeling good, it took awhile for my stomach to catch up with my brain.  Sure, I was still going to the gym, but it was halfhearted, and while last year no matter what was happening – rain, snow, sleet, apocalypse – it wasn’t stopping me from getting my workout in, since about November it’s been more, “Well, it’s sort of dark and the Voice is on, so I should probably just go home.”  As for food, I had great intentions nearly every day.  But despite solid, tried and true evidence in the form of losing over fifty pounds, I kept just trying new ways of eating that would allow me to incorporate spaghetti on a daily basis.  (Spoiler alert?  There isn’t one.)  I decided about a month and a half ago to get back to basics, to what I had the most success with originally, which was an accountability group, a new challenge program, and the shakes that always made me feel great.  (Yes, it’s Beachbody.  No, I don’t sell it.  No, I’m not trying to get you to buy it.  Just throwing that out there, because some of the coaches give the company a really bad name.  Mine in particular is great, and the programs have worked for me.  That’s all.)

Because I am a masochist with no sense of my own capabilities, I picked what appeared to be the most difficult program for me, a boot-camp style military workout.  Sure, even at my most fit I couldn’t do own pushup, a pullup bar basically just laughs at me, and I kind of hate to sweat, but the fact that it boasts only 22 minutes a day was a huge seller for me.  Like everything else I’ve ever tried, I was immediately sold and convinced this would be the best thing ever.  (Previous examples include buying a car because it was blue and in my price range, leggings, and researching triathlons  exhaustively despite not having access to a pool and not really being able to swim.)  But hey, 22 minutes a day?  Anyone can do that, right?!

I started yesterday.  Here’s how it went.

Okay!  This is going to be tough, and we’re going to work hard, but I promise, you just need to keep up.  22 Minutes, that’s all I’m asking you.  Let’s go!

Let’s go, indeed, Tony!  I am ready!!!

Wait, remember when you started running, and thirty seconds basically felt like seventeen hours?  22 minutes might not be that easy….

We’re going to start with T-Jacks.  Watch along, and Go!!

(After nearly knocking out a tooth)  Well, this apparently required a new sports bra.  Let’s just close these blinds, shall we?

And, bear crawl!

Well, this is hardly attactive.  It’s kind of like a crab walk on all fours while trying to pee.  Also, where is that handy modifier person?

That’s not a modifier!  He’s just going slower.  If I went any slower I’d be standing (squatting) still.

Burpees!

No. 

What number are we on, Todd?  “Twenty sir!”

Three.  Asshole.  And that’s only because modifier guy showed up.

Round One is over!  Take a break!

Yay!  I love breaks!

Break’s over – Round Two!

The fuck?  I didn’t even get my water bottle open yet!

******Basically, this happens three times over the course of the next fifteen minutes, during which I learned exactly how much stamina I have lost and remember exactly why I never took a bootcamp class in public.  I clamber along, keeping up as best I can, huffing, puffing, and swearing the entire time.***

Day Two!  You’ll need a pullup bar, a resistance band, and a sandbag.

I have none of these things.  I have three pound dumbbells and a couple of cats I wouldn’t mind tossing around the room.

But yay!  I like weights.  I like strength training.  This will be better.

Let’s start the warmup with jumping jacks.

I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to do cardio two days in a row.  Step it out, I will, because I still didn’t get that sports bra and if I lose a tooth I’m quitting for real.

Pushups!  Let’s start with thirty. 

Are you sick?????  If you told me, right now, that you would give me ten million dollars in cash if I did ten true pushups, I would still be broke.  And even more angry with you.

Core Work!  On the floor!  If you can’t sit all the way up, only go halfway, but don’t let your shoulders hit the ground.

I got my shoulders OFF the ground, and I would like my reward now, please, in the form of rock hard abs and some size six jeans. 

***This one I actually am able to keep up better at, save the pushups, and I actually do okay with it.***

And – DONE!

Wahoo!!!!

But there’s three minutes left, so BONUS MOVES!!!

Fuck you, my man.  Mean it.

Running-burpee-pushups!!!  Let’s go! 

I know you’re kidding.

“What number are you on, soldier?”  “Ten sir!”  “And how many are you going to do?!”  “Thirty sir!”

None, sir! 

I decided to hang out in downward dog because I can’t even hold a pushup position at this point, but am trying to “keep up.”

Seriously, why does every new workout I attempt end with my face in my own chest, contemplating breast reduction and the possibility of just living in yoga pants and Cubs t-shirts, happily drinking beer and feeding Burger King to my cats? 

And, done!

You better mean it, SIR. 

Yay, he meant it!  Stretch time is my favorite time!

I don’t need to be told all of the standbys – I know I will get better, it will get easier, etc., I just need to keep at it.  I really do know all of these things and when I finally get that ever-elusive fucking pushup done, believe you me, I will be shouting it out loud and from every form of social media at my disposal. 

I always said I’d be a terrible military person for a variety of reasons; I can’t go more than five hours without talking to my mom, I panic on a very real level if I can’t get a hold of anyone in a reasonable amount of time – which, with texting, is really no more than 90 seconds, if I’m hungry for more than half an hour I get homicidal, I immediately burst into tears if anyone yells at me, and I don’t like to be uncomfortable or hot for any reason. 

I’m just adding, “Cannot do pushups in any capacity,” to this ever growing list.

I salute you, real soldiers.  And anyone else that can do a thirty pullups.

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Um, Ready for Duty??

No One Wants to Hear About Your Workout

Many of you know that I’ve been working on getting healthier; exercising, losing some weight, eating a less-mashed-potato-centric diet.  That’s part of the reason that I haven’t been around very much – the more I get into working out and eating right, the more it is the only thing I can really talk about.  And really, is there anything less interesting than listening to someone go on and on and on about their workout regime or awesome new protein shake?  Other than, perhaps, listening to someone detail last night’s dream in excruciating detail or take you step-by-step through their work drama.  (“And then Lisa, I told you about Lisa, right?  The one with the boots?  Argh.  Stab me in the eye with a fork.)

My point is, I didn’t want to flood those of you kind enough to follow this blog with a whole bunch of stuff you’re not interested in.  So I created a new site, completely separate from this one, where I can blab on and on about trying to do a side plank and nearly breaking my face without boring everyone to tears.  I’d love for you to take a look at it and follow along with me  – but if it’s not your thing, feel free to pass it right up!

This is the site link: http://undieter.wordpress.com/

This blog will be back to its regularly scheduled asshole cat and partyboy neighbor stories shortly.

Workout

So very true. I get it. I just can’t stop myself.

 

How to Run Your First 5K

If you follow this blog or are friends with me on Facebook, you may have noticed that I ran my first 5K this past weekend.  If you didn’t notice, you should probably get your observation skills tested by a professional because I’ve been basically shouting it from every form of social media I have at my disposal.  I’m not going to lie – I am proud of myself.  Proud of myself for signing up, for following through, for finishing, for signing up for more.  It may not seem like the biggest deal; I was among thousands on that day alone, let alone all of the other people that run miles more than that every day. But was a big deal to me.

That being said, I think I may have been overoptimistic and conveniently forgot that the 5K was not just a big party and that before all of the good feels that would come with finishing, I would actually have to run three miles.  While I knew I could do it, I was much more involved in the atmosphere and fun than the actual running portion.

And thus I present to you:  My First 5K – A Narrative

  • It’s RACEDAY, BITCHES!!
  • Sweet Jesus, it’s early.  Is that the moon?
  • I don’t get up this early for work.
  • Whatever.  It’s raceday!
  • NO YOU ABSOLUTELY CANNOT WEAR A SOX JERSEY TO THE RACE TO WRIGLEY, TONY.
  • This is great!  Look at all of these other runners on our bus!  How fun!
  • Yes, yes, I am a runner too, people.  I have the commemorative shirt on, just like you.
  • Which is a bit smaller than I would like, I must mention.
  • I must have been drunk and optimistic when I ordered this size.
  • We’re here!  Look at all the people!  There’s my mom and dad!  Yay!
  • I have to go to the bathroom right this second.
  • Apparently raceday for me starts in a porta-potty.
  • Okay, I see how it works.  The 7 minute milers start here.  (Show offs.)  I’ll head back a bit.
  • Where, exactly, is the 15 minute miler start line?
  • I’ll just stand back here with the people pushing strollers.
  • They’re all stretching.  I should stretch.
  • Except I don’t really know what I’m doing.  I usually warm up with a brisk walk.
  • I’ll just walk in a little circle for a bit.
  • Yeah, now you totally look like you’ve done this before.  Stop it.
  • Starting horn!  We’re underway!
  • Except my group isn’t moving.
  • Here we go!  There’s the start line!
  • This is awesome!  So many people cheering! Woohoo!!!
  • There’s my mom and dad again!  Look at me!  I’m doing it!
  • That picture they took is totally going to be my profile pic.
  • Wait, why does this hurt already?
  • OW.  Should have stretched more.  That’s okay.  First couple of minutes are always a little tough.  You got this.
  • Awe, look at this awesome couple!  He’s pushing his wife in a wheelchair!  How great are they?
  • I’m kind of sad that I just saw that because he passed me up….
  • Huh.  I thought they were going to mark each mile.  Must have read that wrong.  Because surely we’re past the first mile?
  • I’ll just check my watch.
  • Seven minutes?  It’s only been seven fucking minutes?!
  • Where’d all the cheering crowd go?
  • I should have brought my headphones.  Listening to myself huff and puff is not super motivating.
  • Okay, okay.  Beautiful day, first 5K, we’re doing this!  Look, there’s the first mile marker!  You’re almost done!
  • Yay!  They have one of those water tables and I can totally be one of the runners that grabs a cup of water and downs it without stopping, defiantly throwing the cup on the ground as I continue my strenuous run.
  • Except no one is handing me water.
  • Oh, yay, someone did!
  • Yeah, I’m not sure what made you think you could drink a cup of water and run at the same time.
  • Because now you’re choking.
  • Also, you’re an asshole, because no one else threw their cup on the ground.
  • I’ll just double back and throw that in one of the fourteen conveniently placed receptacles.
  • This went a lot different in my head.
  • Where’s the wheelchair guy?
  • Here we go!  The girl in front of me has on a Marine Corps shirt.  And I’m keeping pace!  You, unknown soldier, will be my motivation.  I shall keep up with you.
  • That bitch just picked up a toddler, put him on her shoulders, and sped past me.
  • Well, there’s like 475 reasons you wouldn’t be a good Marine – this is just another one.
  • Wait, no one said there was going to be a hill.
  • Now’s probably a good time for a little walk.
  • Hey, guy?  On your front porch?  Who just yelled, “Good job!  Only four miles to go!”  You’re an asshole.
  • Water station!  That means mile two is done!
  • Let’s try not to fuck up so spectacularly with the water this time, yeah?
  • I don’t want any more water, anyhow.
  • Wheelchair guy!  Yay!
  • Don’t think about the fact that you’re celebrating catching a septuagenarian who is literally pushing the weight of another human.  Concentrate on the positive!
  • Hey, there’s my mom and dad again!  And friends!
  • Hell yes, it IS almost bloody mary time!!
  • It’s entirely possible my parents have covered more ground this morning than myself.
  • Hey, lady?  With the stroller containing three children?  You are hurting my feelings.
  • Yay, more cheerleaders!
  • Almost there!  I see the field!
  • I do not, however, see a finish line.  Which is unfortunate, because I’m kind of getting done with this whole running thing.
  • WTF do you mean, we still have to run around the whole field before we go inside?
  • DO YOU KNOW HOW BIG THIS STUPID FIELD IS?
  • Maybe just another short walk.
  • Heading into the concourse!  I did it!
  • Except this is kind of uphill, too.
  • And I totally have to pee again.  I wonder if the bathrooms are open?
  • It would probably be the shortest line ever for the bathroom at Wrigley.
  • No one will ever let you live it down if you stop to pee in a three mile race.
  • There’s the finish line!
  • And there’s all of my favorite people that came to see me!
  • That picture?  Is totally not going to be cute.
  • FINISHED!!!
  • This?  Right here?  With my best friends and family, who got up at the crack of dawn to watch me chug past the finish line?  This is awesome.  I love everything.

Next time, though, I’m bringing my headphones.  Ke$ha and Avril Lavigne are infinitely more motivating than my inner monologue.

Finally!

Finally!

Am I The Only One??

To walk across the fire for you????  Ha!  Now that I have that song in your head, you’re going to want to read on, right?  I wasn’t even planning on going there but as soon as I typed the title, Melissa Etheridge was all up in my brain so I had to share.  Aren’t you glad?

Anyway, it’s been a long week.  Well, it’s been a long several weeks, as most of you living in Chicago understand.  I’m not going to write about the weather because it makes me want to punch everything in the face and wish that wind would become a solid, physical thing for like forty seconds so I could kickbox it to death instead of it calling the shots and propelling me face-first over ice disguised as sidewalks and sonofabitch if you people would just shovel this wouldn’t happen….Ahem.  Suffice it to say, it’s been a bad winter.  When the best part of your day is NOT getting impaled by an icicle falling off of a building, the winter has already beaten you.  Trust.  So us Chicagoans have been pretty much of one mind the past couple of weeks, which consists mainly dreamily remembering those beautiful days last year that didn’t require fucking boots.

I saw a picture on Facebook yesterday demonstrating how we can save ducks’ lives by cutting the plastic rings from a six-pack so they don’t get caught in them and choke.  A year or so ago, I wrote this post on that same topic, as I was surprised that other people didn’t do this all the time.  It got me thinking about some other things that I do or think that I assume are perfectly normal, but other people consider to be a teensy bit crazy.

Am I The Only One?

  • That Thinks We Need to Leave Bieber Alone?  Yeah, I said it.  Leave. Him. Alone.  Is he a punk kid with little respect for authority?  Absolutely.  Does he deserve the wrath of an entire country actively awful upon him?  No.  One, making jokes about how hilarious it would be for him to get raped in prison?  Doesn’t make us look very smart.  Ditto for starting a petition to get him deported that received so many signatures the government actually had to act on it.  Folks, if we deported or imprisoned every nineteen-year old that made a couple of really stupid, arrogant decisions, it would be the end of the population as we know it.  Do you not remember being 19?  Hell, I was an asshole at 19, and I was a rule-abiding kid from the suburbs with only $45 a week to work with.  If I’d had access to millions of dollars with no supervision, the least of my problems would have been smoking pot and drag racing, I promise you that.  Is he a shit?  Yes.  Did he make some mistakes?  Absolutely.  In one way or another, he’ll pay for them.  I hope it’s in the form of realizing he’s a shit and straightening up.  Hoping for him to fall into the revolving door of drugs and rehab like so many celebrity teenagers before him, hoping for him to fail, is just mean-spirited.

 

  • That is Completely Terrified about The Missing Plane?  Is it just me, or is this some Langoliers shit come to reality?  Two hundred people and thousands of tons of metal just gone into thin air?  How have we just gone on about our business, like, “Oh, well, can’t find it, that’s weird.”  I just picture them all in some abandoned airport in an alternate universe all, “What the fuck?  Why are we not the top story on the news?  What is WRONG with these people?”

 

  • With the Musical Taste of a Preteen in the 90’s?  I’ve been running a lot, and I’ve found there is a direct correlation between how long I can run and how much 90’s angsty pop music is on my playlist.  Ludacris and Eminem have taken some top spots in the rotation to keep me going, but the number one song that pumps me up and propels me to keep going?  Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend.”  Why?  I don’t know.  It’s been over a decade since I’ve had any reason to hate someone’s girlfriend, and if you really listen to it – which I have, often – it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  Yet here we are, and every time it comes on, I go faster than I did the day before.  If the folks in the park had any idea what was blasting in my headphones, they’d actually be LESS scared of me than they already are, which is a tough spot to find.

 

  • That Has Notebook Paper Decorating the Fridge with Magnets, Despite Being Childless?  Currently, my refrigerator boasts a notepad, three coupons for Family Dollar, a picture from 1980, a pen-draw picture of an eyeball, my sister’s baby shower invitation held up by a Bert and Ernie magnet, and a note scribbled in Magic Marker that says nothing but, “SOUL TRAIN IS ON.”  The notepad?  Not for grocery lists, or things we’re out of.  (Which is likely we make frequent trips to above-mentioned Family Dollar at 9PM for things like toilet paper and cat food.)  No, it has sports predictions for the upcoming week.  The eyeball was drawn by a friend late one Saturday night and we deemed it a work of art.  The Soul Train note?  My husband was on the phone one Sunday morning and he would not appropriately respond to my frantic gestures to run into the living room for this grand moment in television programming.

Everyone has their little pockets of weird, right?  Right????

Adulthood.

Adulthood.

 

 

 

 

The Running Diaries

Last year, I starting riding a bike to work in an effort to not murder someone on the CTA and hopefully improve my fitness at the same time.  I learned a lot in those first couple of weeks; drivers in Chicago despise bike riders more than Steve Bartman and Lovie Smith combined, speeding joyfully down a hill whilst reminiscing about the freedom you experienced as a child riding a bike lasts only as long as it takes for a car to pull into the intersection at the bottom, and people should really pay more attention before whipping their car door open on a busy street with a bike lane.

I loved riding the bike to work and can’t wait to start it up again. Of course – it has to be mentioned – this is partially because this winter is by far the biggest bitch I have ever encountered and the CTA, as hard as it tries, cannot possibly keep up.  There’s too many people, there’s too much snow, there’s too much slush, there’s problems with Ventra, everything is freezing to itself – it sucks.  My commute, on a good day, should be about 30 minutes, door to door.  This year?  It runs between 45 minutes and an hour and a half, and that’s on a day it’s NOT snowing.  Which isn’t often.  So the thought of walking out my door, not almost killing myself on the stairs, getting on a bike, riding through the wind and sunshine, and arriving at work not swearing and covered in salt and slush is extraordinarily appealing.

I did not take off any weight after starting this regimen.  In fact, I gained some.  That was disappointing – I mean seriously, who gains weight after going from zero activity to riding a bike six miles a day?  The answer is someone who carb loads as if they are training for a marathon instead of mildly exercising for 40 minutes a day.  (Very mildly.  I’m so slow on the bike that everyone passes me.  Old people, young people, overweight tourists on the Divvy bikes – everyone.) Baked macaroni and cheese, loaded mashed potatoes, and my favorite creation entitled spaghetti monster – baked spaghetti with cream cheese and mozzarella in the sauce – this is what I lived on.  Unsurprisingly, by the time Christmas rolled around, I was a giant, puffy version of myself and more closely resembled John Goodman than I ever would have liked to.

Something had to give, and that something was carbs.  I won’t bore you with all of the details of my newfound love affair with cauliflower as a substitute for every single thing I used to make – take a look at my Facebook and you can see plenty of that as I am, unfortunately, that person who now posts pictures of their dinner with alarming frequency.  (But seriously – cauliflower pizza?  Genius.)  So I’d been feeling good, had taken some weight off, had more energy – all the good feels you get with eating better.  And somehow, somewhere in my brain along the way, I got it in my head that I wanted to run one of the 5K’s that Chicago always hosts throughout the year.

Let’s get something straight right here.  My family?  We’re not runners.  Even my little sister, who does run, who has run a half-marathon, who attends those terrifying-looking fitness classes that make me want to vomit just watching them – even she admits we are not runners.  It’s not that we’re lazy or have never been athletic; in fact, some of my favorite memories are bike riding in the forest preserve as a family when we were younger.  My sister and I always played softball or soccer, and she was a cheerleader and – believe it or not – I was in my high school dance troupe for two years.*

*People are always surprised by this.  For some reason, they are never as surprised when I tell them I played the tuba.  Go figure.

At any rate, the most I had run since high school was at a haunted house about 15 years ago when one of the actors chased me out the exit with a chainsaw. I ran about fifty yards out of sheer terror before my body realized what it was doing and I collided into a tree.  So when the thought of running a 5K first crossed my mind, I dismissed it as pure madness.  Like, Okay, Courtney, we’re not drowning in a vat of mac and cheese every night – let’s just go with that win instead of getting all crazy here, okay?

But I couldn’t get it out of my head, and soon I found myself researching 5K’s and how to get started running.  I found a program called Couch to 5K promising to turn me from a couch potato into someone able to run three miles in nine weeks.  I found myself looking up success stories and starting to think that I might be able to do it.  There were other people, both smaller and bigger than myself, with pictures of themselves smiling with medals and thought, well, it’s worth a try.  And I decided I would start the next day.  And I did, which is possibly the first thing I’ve followed through on in three years.

Week One. Longest run time – 1 minute.  I learned that when one is 35, out of shape, and an ex-heavy smoker, running for even such a short amount of time should be approached with more caution than exuberance.  By the third repetition of the “run” portion of the workout, I was running slower than I was walking and being outpaced by toddlers in snowsuits.

Week Two. Longest run time – 1 1/2 minutes.  An increase of a measly thirty seconds.  Pssht.  That’s nothing, right?  I learned that thirty seconds is a really fucking long time when you’re trying to run.

Week Three. Longest run time – 3 minutes.  This time, I knew.  I knew it was going to be harder.  So I downloaded some inspiring music to keep me going.  I was feeling good and enjoying the challenge, so I really wanted to keep it up.  I learned that just because you like a song does not mean that it is good to try and run to. (Eminem’s Lose Yourself?  Good.  Carly Rae Jepson’s Call Me Maybe?  Not as much.)

Week Four. Longest run time – 5 minutes.  This is the week that I got hit in the ear with a piece of rock salt by a passing car so hard I almost went blind and Mother Nature dumped a whole shitload of snow and horribleness on Chicago – again – and I had to repeat it over the course of about three weeks.  I learned that I should pay more attention to cars in my path and that Mother Nature is fucking pissed beyond belief at us for spraying all that Aquanet in the 80’s.

Week Five. Longest run time – 20 minutes.  I know.  Hell of a jump, right?  It was eight minutes the first day, then the last day of the week – WHAM.  Twenty minutes.  Like you weren’t huffing and puffing through 90 seconds just a few weeks ago.  I learned that this stupid app on my phone has been right since January, which is a longer track record than I’ve had in quite awhile.

I’m signed up for three 5K’s this year.  The first one is the Race to Wrigley in April.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to run to the whole thing.  My app says I can, so I’m hopeful.  But I do know that I will finish, whether it takes me 35 or 60 minutes.   And if the Cubs’ past few seasons are any indication, it is the happiest Cubs fans will be all year at Wrigley unless they’re going to a concert there.

So there’s that.

To be fair, I only make that face when I'm about to fall.  I don't look nearly that cute the rest of the time.

To be fair, I only make that face when I’m about to fall. I don’t look nearly that cute the rest of the time.

 

So, There’s a Live Animal in Your Wall.

Thursday, 10PM.  “Hmm, why are the cats skulking along the baseboards in the kitchen?”  “Oh, there’s a loose floorboard.”  “Hmm, I hope that rat/mouse I saw in the summer doesn’t try to get in.”

Friday, 7PM. “Aaah.  Excellent.  Long week complete.  Time to sit down and relax with a drink.  Hey, you’re home all alone for the first time in forever.  This is sort of nice.”

Friday, 7:48PM.  “I’ll just go ahead and stir this pot roast.  What a great dinner this is going to be!”

Friday, 7:51PM. “What’s that scratching?  Hmm, I never noticed that hole below the kitchen cabinets.”

Friday, 7:53PM. “OMG SWEET JESUS THAT WAS A FUCKING PAW THERE IS SOMETHING SCRATCHING ITS WAY INTO THE APARTMENT.”

Friday, 7:54PM. “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK STOP IT STOP IT OH MY GOD OH MY GOD HELP!!!”

Friday, 7:56PM. “No, I don’t THINK there’s a rat in my wall.  There IS something in my wall.  I saw it. Send help, like right this second.”

Friday, 7:57PM -Friday, 8:05PM, Pounding on wall frantically whilst yelling out loud. Go away!! Oh my god oh my god!!!

Friday, 8:05PM to 8:35PM. Hysterics.  There’s no other word.

Friday 8:35PM to 8:37PM. Silence.  No one cares.

Friday 8:38PM to 8:42PM. Scratchedy scratchedy scratchedy, motherfucker!  I’m going to get you!!!

Friday, 8:43PM to 8:51PM.  Camped out at kitchen table, making as much noise as possible.  “Come on, Ramon, hiss at the dirty shit filled rodent – yeah, okay, it’s a mammal – trying to attack our lives.  And my pot roast.”

Friday, 8:52PM to 8:56PM. “Why are you throwing up, you stupid cat???  This should be your shining moment!  Your one chance in your eleven years to do something that doesn’t make everyone angry!”

Friday, 8:57PM to 9:01PM. OMG this is totally worse than when that possum got onto the porch.

Friday, 9:02PM to 9:05PM.  And when that stupid skunk had babies in the backyard and they were all digging everything up and trying to act like they were cute but were actually horror-filled stink bombs that ruined entire weekends.

Friday, 9:06PM to 9:10PM. Scratchedy scratchedy scratchedy!!!!  Ima get you!!  You’ll never sleep again!!!

Friday, 9:11PM to 9:15PM. Yes, yes, I do believe it’s time for another vodka drink.

Friday, 9:16PM to 9:21PM. “Die, motherfucker!” yelled while pounding on the wall.  “AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHEEEEEEEE!!”  (that’s me screaming, if you didn’t catch it.)

Friday, 9:22PM to 9:30PM. Maybe it died?  Or fell asleep?  Does that happen?  Do they just give up?

Friday, 9:31PM to 9:45PM. “All is calm, All is bright!”

Friday, 9:46PM to 9:47PM. I am not losing this pot roast.  You don’t scare me, rodent!

Friday, 9:48PM to 9:51PM. Seriously, this has to be the one night in six months that the partyboys upstairs haven’t come home around this time to gear up for the night.  I don’t know that they’d be that much help, but this is one situation I’m not ashamed to admit I really wish there was someone of the opposite sex here to give some advice.

Friday, 9:52PM to 9:57PM. Am going to be found here, alone, eaten by rodents.  I swear, Mom, I was just about to clean up and organize that dresser.  I got sidetracked.  I’m sorry.

Friday, 9:58PM to 10:01PM.  Might as well have one last drink.  The thing has been quiet for a few minutes.  I can only assume this means it is gathering reinforcements.

Friday, 10:02PM to Present. Clutching glass of vodka, head spinning as if on a swivel, just waiting for the noise, spontaneously yelling and/or stomping feet.

Just know I loved you all.

Image

See that little hole right underneath the cabinets? That’s where the scary monster is trying to get in.

It’s Too Cold for This Shit.

And by this shit, I mean absolutely everything.  Seriously.  I usually try and embrace all of the seasons and take them in stride,  “Hey, it’s winter, pretty soon we’ll be complaining about how hot it is!”  I  even believe myself most of the time.  After today, though, when I waited a cumulative 47 minutes outside in subzero wind chills for the CTA, after I slipped going down the stairs, after my I got my stupid coat sleeve wet trying to wash my hands, after I was pushed out of the way by a full grown man for a bus seat, after I dropped my glove and bus card onto the disgusting floor, after I stepped off the bus into a pile of slush up to my ankle, I surrender.  This is a big, huge, miserable bucket of suck and I would give my yet-to-be-conceived firstborn for a single afternoon swimming in Lake Michigan.  Taking a shower in the morning is the happiest part of my day because it is the only ten minutes of the day I’m actually warm.

  • It is too cold to go to the grocery store.  I will make a meal out of zucchini and cream cheese if I have to.
  • It is too cold for that stupid Erin Andrews probiotics commercial.
  • It is too cold to talk about anything other than how cold it is and how much worse next week is going to be.
  • It is too cold for every single living soul to turn into an amateur weatherman.  Today I heard everything from six inches of snow to 40 degrees tomorrow.
  • It is too cold to mop the floors a-fucking-gain.
  • It is too cold to listen to one more word about Justin Bieber and the fact that he acts very similar to 70% of 19-year-olds in the United States and it is too cold to scroll through the hundred or so memes that have already been created and are running rampant on Facebook.   Two things about this: One, if he was a well-loved superstar to adults instead of teenagers here on a Visa and we were making jokes about deportation, the country would be up in arms. He’s not selling government secrets; he’s an idiot teenager    Two, one of the most popular memes thus far is a split-shot of the Biebs and a tough looking criminal with a caption along the lines of “Oh, I’m gonna love you!”  Wait, so rape jokes are okay if we don’t like someone’s music or attitude?  Come on.
  • It is too cold to watch one more fluffed up weatherperson – who is almost always a perky little girl – standing outside in frigid temperatures telling us how cold it is.  WE KNOW.  WHY DO YOU HAVE TO MAKE HER STAND OUTSIDE??
  • It is too cold to remove the plastic Christmas decorations from my front yard because their cords have been frozen to the ground for three weeks.
  • It is too cold to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night because no matter how high the heat is, the toilet seat is like fucking ice.
  • It is definitely too cold for this idiot, Republican GOP candidate Susanne Atanus, who believes “God controls the weather and that tornadoes, autism and dementia are his punishments for the gay rights movement and abortions.”  In other news, Santa Claus really does travel the entire world in one night giving gifts to good, deserving (heterosexual) children and the Easter Bunny is totally real.
  • It is too cold to even enjoy the beautifulness that is Harry Connick Jr. on American Idol because J-Lo is wearing a dress without a snowsuit over it and it makes me mutter incomprehensible things like, “I bet SHE didn’t almost freeze to the front gate trying to get in.  I bet her stupid front door wasn’t frozen shut.”  (True story.  That was when it was actually 20 below as opposed to balmy 7 degrees we’re enjoying right now.)
  • It is too cold for Captain and Tenille to get divorced.  WTF???
  • It is too cold to be sitting at the laptop with two fur-covered animals just staring at me instead of keeping my feet warm.
  • It is too cold to not have a fireplace.
  • It is too cold to not be dressed like Randy from a Christmas Story and I hate scarves.
  • It is too cold to drive a car.
  • It is too cold to enjoy national media pointing out how miserable it is here.  Jimmy Fallon has polar vortex songs and I can’t even be happy about them.

I am declaring this weekend Summer in January.  The heat’s going up to 80, static electricity be damned – hey, the ensuing fire will only create more heat!!! – we’re getting beach cocktails, spreading out a blanket on the floor, and only playing Jimmy Buffett for 24 hours.  Who’s with me??

Four short months ago.

Four short months ago.

Ten Signs the Chicago Winter Has Beaten You Senseless.

One year, I had tickets to both the Bears and Cubs home opener.  The day of the football game, it was 105 degrees on the field.  The baseball game?  Was snowed out.  We know the weather is bipolar in Chicago, but somehow we are continuously surprised by it.  “I don’t remember it sucking this much last year.  Was it this hot last year?”  “Remember last year on this day, when we went to the beach?  Why is it snowing?  WHY???”  We have approximately seven days a year of perfect weather, and generally even those are marred by the impending bitchfit we know Mother Nature is brewing.  Oh, are you enjoying this unseasonably warm day in March?  Opened up all of the windows and pulled out the grill in anticipation of an early spring, didja?  I have two words for you, losers.  WINTRY MIX.  What?  You’re surprised?  Don’t worry.  I’ve got a tornado I’m working on for next week that’s going to make this miserable shit seem like rainbows and sunshine. 

That being said, this winter has been particularly brutal.  Snowstorm in January?  Not surprising.  Wind chills of negative 40?  That’s new.  And being that it’s only January 9th and we’ve already had nearly two feet of snow and several days in which Alaska was enjoying temperatures 30 degrees higher than here, I think we have a legitimate argument that spring should probably start next week.  Here’s a couple of signs the weather is winning.

You Have Worn More Than One Pair of Pants.  To Work.

I don’t generally even pull out a coat until it dips below 25 or so.  This year?  I had seven outfits on at the same time.  Once arriving at work, it was like the unsexiest strip show ever –  and I wasn’t alone.  The whole office was like a graveyard of outerwear.  Boots strewn about, sweatshirts laid out on desks, extra socks under desks; coats, scarves, and hats ripped off haphazardly to counteract the 80 degree difference in temperature between the ground floor and the 29th.

Every Single Person You Know Has a Cold.

Coughing, sneezing, sniffing, that gross clearing of the throat and sound of snot in Kleenex – these are your days now.  The only place I’ve found to be comfortable is in a sweatshirt, yoga pants, thermal socks and slippers on the bathroom floor with the shower running full stop to create my own personal sauna.  Sometimes I bring whiskey to make it a party.

If You See That Post About How Beautiful Chicago Looks Under Ice Posted One More Time, You’re Going to Punch Someone.

So many of my social media friends – currently not in sub-zero temps but instead in places with reasonable weather like California and the South Pole – posted this article this week.  Yes, it IS beautiful.  Unless, perchance, you happen to be attempting to walk through it.  Then, you can’t stop to admire the beauty.  You know why?  Because YOU’LL FREEZE TO THAT SPOT FOREVER if you stop moving for even a second.

Ditto to the “Chiberia” Folks.

Just, ugh.  Fucking stop it already.  That’s worse than “Chiraq.”  Sometimes I hate Twitter.

Your Kitchen Floor Looks Like This.

"There's only so much I can do!!!!!"  cried the mop.

“There’s only so much I can do!!!!!” cried the mop.

You’re About to Spontaneously Combust At Just About Any Second.

It’s so dry in your house/apartment/workplace due to the constantly running heat that shuffling along the floor on carpet is a deadly game of Russian roulette – the next thing you touch might be your last.

You’ve Developed a Love-Hate Relationship with Your Mode of Transportation.

I can’t speak to those of you poor souls trying to drive in this nonsense.  But those of us taking the CTA have developed a drug-dealer-like dependency on our bus drivers.  “Please, please, please, be on time, you miserable f-ing piece of garbage.  Please.  I’ll be nice.  Please just show up.  Please don’t make me wait out here longer than three minutes, you f-ing jerks.”

You Forgot How to Walk Like a Normal Person.

Anyone who has thought that they were walking on innocent snow or slush who has violently found the black ice underneath is terrified of it happening again.  So we all walk gingerly, which, in boots, is more of a slow uncoordinated clompstomp across the street.  Walking the full block and a half from the El to work becomes a terrified mantra of “Don’t fall don’t fall don’t fall don’t fall WATCH OUT SEWER COVER don’t fall don’t fall don’t fall please please don’t fall.”

You’ve Done This.  Or At Least Watched a Video of One of Your Friends Doing This.

For those of you lucky souls who aren’t currently dealing with Mars-like temperatures, this is what happens when you throw a pot of boiling water into the air when it’s 14 below.  (Also, yes, I am considering a second career as a cinematographer, how did you know?)

Gray, Dirty, and Wet is the New Clean, Shiny, and New.

Nothing you own will ever be the same.  The slush alone is enough to ruin the best of pants and shoes, no matter how hard you try.  Just let it go.  You need all of your strength just to not fall on your fucking head and break every bone in your body. Everything is ruined.  We’ll start again next year.

So thanks, Polar Vortex.  For making us appreciate this so very much more.

SEVEN MORE MONTHS!  SEVEN MORE MONTHS!

SEVEN MORE MONTHS! SEVEN MORE MONTHS!

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