Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Saying Goodbye... And Hello

For a number of reasons (Google's sucky customer service being at the top of the list) I'm moving on from blogger. Well, not really. I'm still doing my wedding planning blog that gets loaded onto Weddingbee here on blogger.

But my personal blog is moving. I'm going to try wordpress. If only because their commenting is incredibly easier to navigate. We'll see. I may be back in two weeks. Don't know why I'm feeling so restless about this whole blogging thing.

After having this blog for not even a month and a half, I'm changing again. Perhaps this is reflective of my life and my tendency to feel stuck? Gotta change something you know...

That's not accurate. I honestly wouldn't change much about my life except my need for sleep. I need too much sleep. If I needed less sleep, everything would be better. Oh well. If you've been following me from blog to blog, come on and join me over at wordpress.

I'm not suggesting you leave blogger, I'm just suggesting you read my wordpress blog. Wish me luck!

New blog: Chicago Style Hot Girl

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Most Exciting Basketball Game I've Ever Been To

Are you a fan of basketball? I'm not. Well, not nearly as big a fan as I am of other sports like football, baseball, tennis, swimming, hockey, soccer, bowling, fly fishing, etc. I think you get my point.

But I recently went to a game that was thrilling. Everyone was screaming and jumping up and down. The winning team celebrated like they had just won a national championship.

It was a 6th grade girls' basketball game.

And oh yeah, it was at one of Easy's schools. He teaches music to elementary school students at three different schools. I've met a number of his kids and they are pretty amazing kids.

I took some photos during the game to try and convey the emotion, but it was hard because everyone was jumping around so much. But you all should've been there! These folks were screaming like it was a playoff game for the bulls in the 1990s!

The opposing team, having a huddle (or whatever basketball folks call it). Trying to regroup because they were getting their butts kicked.

This is what defense looks like. Half-raised arms and relaxed legs. Sarcastic face.

The team is green is the home team. They were dominating!

Yeah, this was pretty close to the final score. After all the running back and forth, fouls, shots taken, players in and out, this was the score. I was so tickled that people could be that excited about a 4 quarter game with this score. But it was still pretty exciting.

When the game was nearing the end, things started getting rough. A tiny girl who scored most of the points got run over like a wildebeest stampede (Lion King 3D shot out, what-what!).

The only one not standing and screaming. Letting the picture speak for itself...

The coach didn't sit down the whole time. I think it may have been her enthusiasm alone that carried her team to victory. That and the tiny girl's baskets.

Whooo! Celebration time! We are the champions! Oh wait, this is just the first game of the season...

De-briefing. I wonder if the fact that they scored only a couple baskets came up.
If you're looking for a thrilling time, go to an elementary school basketball game. You're gonna love it!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Tuesday Date I Planned

Life didn't stand in the way last Tuesday. I've finally loaded the pictures off my camera and so I can share the lovely date I took Easy on. Remembering that date will hopefully make me feel better about how crappy everything has been since then.

I started with three handwritten notes that he was to open as the date went on. The first he opened right at midnight on Tuesday.

Envelope #1 front

Envelope #1 back

Envelope #2 front

Envelope #2 back

Envelope #3 front

Envelope #3 back
I also cooked dinner Monday night and prepared breakfast and lunch for Easy for him to warm up since I had to go to work. I made Italian sausage, spaghetti, biscuits, rice, greens, breakfast sausage, home-made blueberry syrup, and salad. Add in yogurt, an apple, and ranch dressing, and you have the sum total of all three meals.

I met him out at his parents' house because they lived closest to where he works. He got into my car and I drove off. He opened the second envelope while we were on our way. It was a sweet love note and offered hints about where we were going. He figured it out it had something to do with nature. I took him to...

The Morton Arboretum! It's a beautiful landscape with lots of amazing trees, bushes, etc. It has miles of trails. We went and had about 90 min or so before sunset, when they close. We were glad to have time just walking around, feeling romantic. It was amazing. We stayed until I got too cold, then we moved on. Here are some photos from the Arboretum.

This is Easy trying to re-enact that scene from The Holiday. He turned around to see I wasn't chasing, but photographing.

Thinking man...

This is amazing art. Just amazing.

This is one of my favorite shots of the day. I'm and air sign, so of course I love the sky.
Then we headed to dinner. He opened the third envelope that gave a hint inside and out about our destination. We ended up at a tapas restaurant called Meson Sabika in Naperville. If you've never been to a tapas restaurant, this is the one to try for a classic experience.

We ended the night on a happy note and headed home. This was one of our best dates ever, if I do say so myself. Looking forward to more time.

I really look forward to moving to New York. I know we'll be even busier there, but we will also have a likely easier time being able to spend time just us. No family and hardly any friends will be nearby. Not that I want to escape... No... I just want to spend more time alone with my fiance.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

This Week... I'd Like To Press Re-Set

I'm still feeling like hiding under a rock and not coming out until the wedding day. I wish someone else would make all the rest of the decisions and we could just be married already. But that is not reality and after a few more days of sulking, I'll get back on track.

To push myself in that direction, I did buy something to help with organization. Shopping always makes me feel better, you know?

My to-do list for the wedding

Belle is trying to help me wit the hammer and screw driver.
My Tuesday date with Easy never happened. My family has a lot going on right now, and it seems I'm the only grandchild who can help out. Even though I'm the only one who works nights and not the only one who has a car. But it is what it is.

After I got off work 8 am Tuesday (I hardly leave on time from work), I was headed to my parents' house to try and watch Dancing with the Stars on the DVR then get some sleep and be well rested by the time Easy got off work and we could have our Tuesday date.

Easy locked his keys in his apartment and needed me to come let him in. Before I got there, someone from our property management group let him in. This was after I'd already switched expressways. Nothing like driving an extra 30 min on an expressway during rush hour when you've been up for 20 hours.

Then my mother texted me to ask if I could take my grandmother to the hospital to see my great-aunt. Because no one else apparently could do it. Even though visiting hours are 9 am - 9 pm.

That text message was the last thing I saw before my phone conked out. My space button won't work so I can't e-mail or text. The speaker doesn't work so I can't hear phone calls. My poor phone is ruining my life.

So I headed to my grandmother's house to take her to the hospital. I couldn't call ahead because my phone wasn't working properly. My mother didn't tell her I might be coming, so she wasn't ready to go. We finally got to the hospital around 10:15 or so.

We stayed there for a couple hours. I ignored the television as all the ABC morning shows showed clips from the DWTS Monday episode.

After we left the hospital, my grandmother wanted to make a couple stops. We made a couple stops. I finally dropped her off and got back home by 1 pm. I hate being awake for more than 24 hours. I hate when people don't understand that I need sleep. I need sleep!

And who gets the short end of the stick usually? Poor lovely Easy. I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything, but even in my hazy upset-ness, I can tell he doing everything in his power to try and make things better for me.

He got home from work, armed with flowers, a great Tuesday gift, a card that had a love note inside, and wonderful plans. I still don't know what his plans were because when he heard I'd only been sleep for three hours, he told me to go back to sleep.

Beautiful roses!

Lovely tea candle holder!
I woke up at midnight, and the whole Tuesday was gone. I've got lots of days off for my birthday weekend starting Friday, hopefully things will improve by then.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

America's Next Top Model Episode 3

I was sad to see Sheena go because I love her personality and I think she would've done well with the prizes, but perhaps not the modeling ones. So she had to go.

In episode 3, Kristin Cavallari from The Hills stops by the house to talk to the girls about how things were going so far. Side note, she's also on Dancing With The Stars this season!

Image via MTV
So she's talking to the girls. Alexandria was taking notes because Kristin was seen as a bitch when she was on reality tv, so Alex wants to learn how to channel that towards overall positive opinions from fans. She told them about the things she's been doing outside of being in front of the camera, and gave them tips on how to make the success last.

Their challenge was to get interviewed by... Mario Lopez! They were split into two teams and interviewed as a team. The winning team was exempt from elimination after the photo shoot.

Team 1 Captain: Lisa D'Amato
Laura Kirkpatrick
Alexandria Everett
Isis King
Dominique Reighard
Angelea Preston

Team 2 Captain: Bianac Golden
Allison Harvard
Bre Scullark
Shannon Stewart
Camille McDonald
Kayla Ferrel

The interviews were fine. Lisa was irritating, as usual. It went well, nothing too amazing to report.

For their photo shoot, Sarah Silver was the photographer. They took photos on stilts in pairs. Each photo had one girls who was safe from the challenge and one who wasn't.

Image via Verenetta Warner
The pairs were: Dominique and Kayla (safe), Bianca (safe) and Lisa, Camille (safe) and Isis, Angelea and Allison (safe), Bre (safe) and Laura, Alexandria and Shannon (safe).

Side note: Camille is an asshole. She said that she needed to definitely do better than Isis. She said that she wasn't going to let "a transgender" do better than "a real woman". Bitch. Ignorant bitch.

At panel, the judges assessed the photos. Angelea asked Nigel a follow-up question about his comment to her about her interview with Mario Lopez. He clarified for her. Her ghetto self only associated "interview" with "professional". They were trying to get her to understand that there's more types of interviews than just job interviews. I think she got it.

There was also an introduction of a new ANTM phrase: Booty Tooch.

Image via WebNews
 The top photos were: Allison (safe), Bianca Golden (safe), Shannon Stewart (safe), Bre Scullark (safe), Kayla Ferrel (safe), Camille McDonald (safe). Camille would've been going home had she not been safe. I just know it. After the safe girls came the unsafe girls. Alexandria (unsafe), Lisa (unsafe), Laura (unsafe), Dominique (unsafe).

The bottom two were: Angelea and Isis. Tyra pointed out that they didn't have the two worst photos. Then the camera showed Kayla and Camille. Maybe Kayle would've actually gone home since she was in the bottom two last week as well. Isis went home because her photo wasn't as strong as Angelea's.

Isis went home. I'm sad to see her go. If only to give her a chance to put Camille's ass in her place. I'll admit it, I don't like Camille's personality as portrayed on this show. Maybe she's not such a fake ignorant bitch in person. Maybe.

And hopefully next week, Angelea can do a more balanced personality and a better photo. Or at least get on the safe team.

Date Night Continues

I still haven't done the post about the date I took Easy on. Once I get the pictures loaded onto my external hard drive, I swear I will.

He decided to take me on a date last Friday. It didn't go well. At all. Not even a little bit. I'm not going to get into the details, but let's say our whole weekend kind of sucked and that date really kicked it off perfectly. *Sarcastic face*.

My great-aunt is in the hospital and she's not doing well. We spent hours on Saturday and Sunday at the hospital. I love Easy so much knowing that even when in the middle of a fight, he'll be there for me and my family no matter what.

Well, we got past the weekend. We're still hoping my aunt gets better, but we're going to do a re-do of the date on our date day: Tuesday, i.e., later today.

I don't know what we're going to do, but Easy says he has something pretty great planned. I'm looking forward to it, and I'm surprised I am. But hopefully this will go well. And then I'll have two dates to talk about.

I'd much rather talk about our day-to-day stuff instead of the bigger stuff like wedding planning. I feel like sticking my head in the sand for the next four months. Sigh, well, it will be fine once we've picked a DOC and a florist and had our tasting and have our menu picked. Yikes, that's a lot.

Back to sticking my head in the sand and only coming up for date nights and dealing with family stuff.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

OMG There Are New Kindles Out!

I don't know how long Amazon has been working on their new Kindles, but I've just heard of them. Amazon sent me an e-mail today about it.

That e-mail was perfectly timed, since I was looking for a birthday gift to buy myself. Every year I get myself a nice birthday gift. Seeing as how this is my first gainfully-employed birthday with a real big-girl job, I want to get something really really nice.

The prices are also pretty amazing, so I'll be able to get this gift without breaking the bank. Yay! I bought my first Kindle over a year and a half ago. I loved it so much, but now I'm ready to upgrade.

Do you want to meet the new Kindles? Of course you do.

First up is the new Kindle. Tiny, e-ink, amazing price!

Click here to go to the website.
 This Kindle is the new version of the one you already know and love if you own a Kindle. No more keypad, this baby only has the 5-way touchpad. I have no idea how you type things into this Kindle (I used Google a lot on mine), but if you never used the keypad, it's no big loss.

It's his price that's so amazing. If you won't want "special offers and sponsored screensavers" displayed on your Kindle when you're not reading, you'll pay $109. But if you don't mind that extreme marketing, you can get this baby for $79. Yay for low demand!

Next up is the Kindle Touch. I hate touchscreens, but lately, there have been a couple that get me going, like The new Blackberry Bold 9900 that has both a touchscreen and a keyboard. Drool. But back to the Kindle Touch.

Click here to go to the website.
 This lovely do-dad is just the Kindle but with a touchscreen. Kindle catches up to nook with this one. The price for this guy is $99 with sponsored screensavers and $109 without. I'd say pay the extra $10 dolars. If you have $109 lying around, you can get the Kindle or the Kindle Touch without sponsored offers. How cool is that?

 Up next is the one I'm halfway considering pre-ordering.

Click here to go to the website.
This one has 3G. Unless you live in a magical place where Wi-fi is always available, this is the one for you. The 3G is free unless you're using it to upload certain documents to your Kindle, which you can easily avoid using a PC/Mac and the handy-dandy USB cord that comes with.

The other one I'm half considering is the last one. They certainly saved the best-- if by best I mean most flashy-- for last.

Click here to go to the website.
 This one is so shiny looking. That full color screen really draws you in, doesn't it?

I got the Kindle in the first place because I preferred the e-ink. But I've been talking to people who have nooks and iPads, and the backlight doesn't seem to cause as big as issue as I thought it would. Plus, with the light, I could read in bed, or watch streaming television/movies--assuming I could get Wi-fi.

There's that pesky Wi-fi problem. And do I want to stare a computer screen all day at work and then use my leisure time to stare at yet another backlit screen?

I have some thinking to do. Do you have an e-reader? Which of these four would you choose?

Disclaimer: I wasn't asked to do this post, I just really love the Kindles. I wish I were getting reimbursed for pubbing these...

Friday, September 30, 2011

Organ and Tissue Donation, What Is It All About?

Since I've had my job, I've learned a lot about donation that I never knew before. I thought I'd take this post and explain the basics of how this process works. I don't mince words in this post, so if you don't want to read about cadaver eyes, skip this post.

I love my job and I love the work I do. The only downside I've seen is when I encounter people who don't understand the process and have really negative things to say that are inaccurate or uninformed.

The first thing you need to know about donation is where to find information about it. Click here for that information. A wonderful website called Donate Life will give you all you need to know.

The basics of donation:
  • It's not just organ donation, there's tissue donation and eye donation.
  • Organs that can be donated aren't donated until you are officially dead (usually brain dead). Those are heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, pancreas, and intestines.
  • Tissues that can be donated aren't donated until you are officially dead. Those are skin, bones, vertebral bodies, juvenile cartilage, heart valves, ribs, veins, eyes, and adipose tissue.
  • For eyes, the donation can be the whole eye or just the corneas.
  • You can donate for transplantation to help others directly, or for research/medical education purposes.
To dispel some myths about donation:
  • If you sign up with your state to be a donor, that is a legally binding document, you have to change it with the registry if you change your mind.
  • No one wants to kill a patient just to get their organs. It's better to save the patient you know and are currently taking care of than doing something to them for another patient you don't even know. Plus, most of what you can do to kill someone would ruin them for donation anyway, defeating the purpose.
  • Donation will not affect a traditional viewing for most funerals.
  • Organs and tissues from someone who has been deceased for a long time is against federal regulations, so the process happens rather quickly (within 24-36 hours past death declaration) for procurement.
  • No donation process will take place without the consent of a close family member/friend.
If you're interested in donation, learn more about it. Sign up to be a donor if you want. Discuss it with your family, sign up to be a volunteer, spread the word. Once you start those conversations, you'd be surprised to find out how many people you may know who's lives have been touched by donation.

Some Statistics:
28,663 Organ Transplants Performed in 2010

14,502 Organ Donors in 2010
As of March 2010,
110,541 Patients Waiting

60,758 Multicultural Patients
1,785 Pediatric Patients

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Camille Goes For Networking, Not Hooking Up

This post is about my friend Camille. I was writing about her love life on one of my old blogs on Wednesdays, and I'm continuing it here because I find it fascinating.

Camille is in law school, so take from that what you will. She an amazing friend and bridesmaid (she's planning my bridal shower thingee). She's also a hopeless romantic/relationship saboteur.

How can you be both a hopeless romantic and a relationship saboteur? It's not easy I'll tell you that. But Camille has it down to a science. She'll meet a guy and start thinking of all the romantic possibilities. We'll chat about possible signs a guy likes her, which happens to be a totally fun chick activity, and then two days later, she's telling me she's completely lost interest.

She loses interest without warning and rather abruptly. I think it helps her weed out the frogs while she's on her way to her prince. But it's certainly amusing, especially when she dropped that guy she met a the wedding of some friends of ours from church. Then she had to figure out if she was going to have to avoid birthday parties and barbecues and the like for a while.

I think you have enough background now for me to launch in to the purpose of today's post. Camille has a networking event coming up. It will have law students, med students, and business students hosted at the University of Chicago. She told her classmates this event was for networking purposes and not for hooking up purposes.

This was of course right before her next sentence asked if she will leave with a date.

I hope she meets someone there. Back when I was in med school, I was convinced that professional people should date other professional people because they understood what it was like and the demands on your life.

Now that I'm marrying a musician who was convinced he'd only end up with another musician, I can understand the need to branch out of your comfort zone. But with Camille's busy schedule, the opportunity to meet so many new men all in one place cannot be passed.

She must be dolled up, looking delectable (yet classy) and being super friendly. I just hope her classmates don't notice she isn't just "networking". If anything interesting happens at the event, I'll be sure to tell you all about it.

How do you meet new men? Should Camille just focus on networking for realsies?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gloria's Rough Patch Smooths Out

On one of my old blogs, I would write about my friends' love lives. I still think they're lives are pretty interesting, so I'll write about them on this new blog occasionally as things develop.

This post is about my friend Gloria. You should click the links in the previous sentence to read her posts in my old blog.

To sum it up for you lazier readers (I'm not judging), Gloria is my girl who has an interesting love life. The main players are two men, who I call Rufus and Gregory in my blogs. Rufus is the father of Gloria's son. He's an asshole. And he's possibly crazy. The best way to sum up what makes him crazy is to tell a short story.

He has another son who was 1 years old at Gloria's son's second birthday party. I'll wait while you do the math. Yeah, he knocked up two chicks back to back. And while the mother of his seond son was still living with him, and pregnant, he's telling Gloria that they need to be a family and together. He's still telling her that he wants to be with her and his son and make a family unit. I question not only his sanity but also his intelligence.

Then there's Gregory. Gregory is lovely. He's a sweetheart and definitely my favorite of my friends' significant others. He also has a son, but he has considerably less baby mama drama. He and Gloria have been together slightly longer than Easy and I have. They make a fabulous couple. They are so sweet together, and if they could just get over their competitive streak, everything would be fine.

They hit a rough patch recently because Gloria was feeling like a very low priority on Gregory's list of importance in life. I was worried they were going to break up and I begged her to reconsider. She really loves that man, so she didn't need me to tell her to keep her relationship. I did give her a suggestion of a more productive and constructive way to have what-do-we-do-now-that-we've-hit-a-wall discussions.

They're still together, and she seems happier when his name comes up now than she did a couple weeks ago. Even if you work on your problems as a couple, you'll never be perfect, but when you love someone and the relationship is healthy, you keep making it work.

I'm trying to be very supportive because I am campaigning to be godmother for their first child together. I'd make a great godmother! I bake cookies and I take field trips to museums, and I throw a mean slumber party. I'm just saying.

When Gloria was with Easy and I last weekend, we really had a great time. Any time someone is out with a couple and isn't even a bit bitter, that's a good sign.

Now if we can only get Gregory to have some free time, we'd love to go on a double date with them. Gregory is kind of quiet, but Easy had him talking. He brings out the extrovert in everyone. And Gregory is hilarious, so I know it would be a good time.