Thursday, December 22, 2011

Banking Fun

So the other day I went to the bank to deposit my paycheck so I could go Christmas shopping. I went through the person teller instead of the automated one, so the money would be available immediately. An hour later, there was no money in my account. Five hours later, no money. Twelve hours- you guessed it, no money. I called the bank's service center seeking out my funds and was told that they didn't even have a pending deposit listed (which I knew because I had checked on the internet). So the next day I drove to the bank AGAIN and blew my entire break to figure out the trouble. Turns out they had put my money in my mom's account because they only check the last name and the address and I haven't changed my driver's license yet. It took them over a day, and my pointing it out to them before they fixed it. Plus, knowing there was some kind of issue, the banker who was trying to fix it, who had my driver's license in front of her, never checked my first name as evidenced by the fact that after looking things over for a few minutes she confirmed my phone number (I told her I didn't recognize teh number she said and she didn't really seem troubled) and my place of employment- which I did recognize. As my mom's. This was all super exciting as I still wasn't done Christmas shopping and needed to hit the mall. Not to mention the automated payments and trip to the gas station I made before I realized there was a problem. Thankfully the bank did take care of any drama on that part so I didn't have to figure it out or demand that they fix anything.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Four Lowbrow Reasons I Love Bookclub

As you may know I attend a monthly bookclub. I love my bookclub because it is awesome, and because I have met some of my closest friends there- including the fantastically awesome Leah, with whom I now live. That, however, is not the point. The point is last night's meeting was AWESOME. We read The Immortal Life of Hennrietta Lacks (which I strongly recommend, for more information you should probably check out my goodreads review).
At one point we were discussing the generational reaction to doctors- while one generation people would never have thought about questioning a doctor, two generations later we go to the doctor loaded with information from WebMD and assume the doctor is on crack, And my friend J said "Sometimes I think about, like if my friends were vampires and their powers were diluted through the generations...Leah is more powerful than Tina."
Mere moments later someone said that we're all immortal now because secretly the HeLa cells have taken over the world, and we all only THINK we're different (because for awhile it turned out all cell lines in the world had been contaminated by the unusually resilient HeLa cells). So Leah said that I could have a shot with Mr. Darcy, if only he were real (I don't think that's true, since he existed before HeLa cells, but whatever...). I responded that he was on the list of should be real characters with Batman, which somehow led to the invention of BatDarcy- half Batman, half Mr. Darcy, one hundred percent awesome.
Later, for some reason a lawyer friend mentioned a story he had heard on the news about a woman who...did not have ACTUAL sex with her boyfriend, but did "receive a gift" which she used to spit into a cup and impregnate herself- leading to a man who had never had sex with her owing her child support.
And the final lowbrow and awesome thing that happened at bookclub? Totally out of context, I shall only share with you the quote-
"Ahh, I found a know if I were hunting them." Bet you can't guess who said that one (hint- it's not me!!!).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Well Hello There Stranger

So. I moved the day before Halloween. As you may recall I had two weeks notice that I was going to need to move, in which time I had to pack and find a place to live, while continuing to work my regular schedule, as well as trying to finish my bookclub book. Not good. But, I found a place to live- I live in a friend's basement bedroom, for rent that is totally affordable. I have fun with my friend almost every day, we go for walk/jogs once a week, we eat dinner together like civilized people, I like it a lot so far. Hopefully my friend does too.
But, do you know what it's like to try to pack up in fourteen days? Almost everything went to goodwill or the garbage or the curb so I wouldn't have to deal with it. I really only kept things I love. I purged almost no books, but plenty of other things.
I put my cat in her carrier for about the third time in her life. My friend was concerned that my cat and her cats and her dog would not get along well, so we made a plan to sequester Buffi for a while so they could acclimate to smell first. On the first day here I let Buffi out of her carrier after we secured the room. By the end of the second she had taught the dog how to unlock the door and come in my room. To bad she doesn't like dogs. Even tiny dogs that she is bigger than like Zoe. But she made herself free to roam the house where she encountered at least one other cat, and the cat we were concerned about. They made friends and agreed easily on who ruled which part of the nests (Buffi is in charge in the basement and Maddie rules upstairs).
About the time that we figured out a solution to the pet issue (Zoe can't be allowed free roam of my room because of the cat box), I got a mild infection in my tooth which led to a discoloration. Which meant I had to figure out if it was rotting, which would mean I might need to have it pulled. Except it's a front tooth, so it will also need replaced. So this week I have an appointment with the dentist, but now I'm concerned about what she'll say. Although the discoloration has faded and the infection seems mostly gone, I still have to go. And I think she's going to suggest thousands of dollars worth of dental care (wisdom tooth extraction, cavity filling, a few other extractions, possibly some other issues). Not pleased about that at all.
And that is why I haven't posted in weeks. I promise to do better now that things have settled down. Unless I'm kidding myself and life gets crazy again.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

HAHAHA **Maniacal Laughter**

Remember when I said that I was putting my life in order and scheduling things? Whoa boy, that one was funny huh? I should have known that I was cursing myself by SAYING that I had a plan and was going to "hit the play button" on my life. Do you also remember that I wrote that my mom was going to be kicking me out of my house, but that I didn't think a date had been set? Well it was set, about two weeks ago. That date is Sunday. As in, I got two weeks to pack, find a place to live, and move. Two weeks. Moving sucks, but moving with two weeks notice sucks even harder.
Thankfully a friend of mine has agreed to allow me to rent a room from her. So I have somewhere to live. I still have to rent a storage unit (I'm afraid of scaring her with how much stuff I have!). I have to find some people who will help me move. Here's some solid advice from me to you, if you have any choice about when you're going to move, don't move during football season, all the men are watching football and you'll have to move alone.
I will tell you more things. I will tell them to you when I'm done moving and I'm settled in. In the meantime, please forgive my lack of updates.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hit The Play Button

Has anyone else noticed the complete lack of ability to do ANYTHING lately? Between my compulsive pinning, the need to read every new Cracked article, and all the other ways one can waste an afternoon on the internet, I feel like I spend all my time procrastinating. I always have these big plans. I’m going to teach myself Spanish. I’m going to read academic articles and write stuff like I did when I was in school and my brain hurt from too much use instead of too little. I’m going to workout five times a week. I’m going to write the great American novel, or even a crappy American novel. And instead I’ll happily waste five hours of my evening watching reruns on cable while I pin things.
So I made myself a time schedule. I left in adequate time for pinning, and Cracked reading. But I made sure there’s time for intellectual pursuits. I wrote goals and made flashcards. I highlighted some stuff. I even wrote a few pages on my long festering novel. I don’t know if I’ll ever stop wasting my time and start getting things done. But I’m going to try. Because I’ve spent the three years since graduation feeling like I was on summer break, and I think it’s time to get my behind back in gear.
Plus, it wasn’t that many months ago that I was telling my friends I was going to become “interesting” with my rock climbing, flight school attending, marathon running goals. Of course, my friends mostly joked and laughed at me, so maybe they don’t have expectations. But I do. I’m sick of living on pause. It’s time to hit the play button on my life.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Painy and Falugal

Painy [pain-ee] adj.- The way one feels after running one's first eighth of a mile for the night and feels like ones stomach and heart may jump out of one's body in protest while one's legs twitch uncontrollably in order to try to force one to STOP RUNNING DEAR GOD JUST STOP!

Falugal [fah-loo-gal] adj.- The experience one gets when running, just past "painy" and just before "passing out-y", the stomach and heart remain in the body, the legs no longer twitch and the burgeoning runner feels fantastic as if s/he can do crazy things like possibly consider training over the next year to run a half marathon (13.1 miles)

So you know how I've been like walking and stuff with my friends Leah and Sarah? And how I walked that 5k thing a few weeks ago? Well apparently I'm going to be running a 5k in the spring. And the thought of running the 10k at the zoo next year instead of 5 has crossed my mind. As has the thought of a half marathon, and then maybe someday, a full marathon. I had to coin a whole new word for the crazy things I think when I'm...running. Because I run now. Actually, I think the correct term is jog. I think I jog now. But I think I'm supposed to be running in the near future.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I'm finally blogging again!

I'm having a rough time lately, and honestly a lot of it is hard to share with the internet, so I haven't really been blogging lately. But I feel bad, like I'm disappointing my readers, even though most of you know me in real life and have at least some idea of what's going on. Plus, I tend to feel better when I write things down, so I'm going to share. Watch out, cause there's a lot coming at you in the next paragraphs, and I'm not going to censor it!

My mom didn't tell me this until I asked, over a week after she told my sister-in-law. But, she's kicking me out of my house. I don't think there's a solid date yet, but I'm expecting it in the next few weeks. She says she needs the money from renting the house, and I can't even really afford half of what she's asking for, although she might be willing to rent it to me for that. The catch being, that if I do pay the rent I stay in the basement, paying far more than I can afford for the crappy living situation I'm in now, but worse because I'm even broker. I have a few ideas, a few choices, but none of them are good. I've applied for a few second jobs, but in this economy I'm not counting on such things. I have in my hands (metaphorically) a resume and application for a prime (although draining) job at a local residential school, but I'm afraid to mail it in.* I'm afraid to leave my current job, in case I should lose the new job and be stranded without anything. I'm afraid of failing, and so instead I'm doing nothing.
I've been collecting quotes on pinterest, quotes that I hope will motivate me to move forward.
"The hardest step for a runner is the first one out the front door." I use this as motivation in my workouts, but it can be motivation for my life too. The hardest step in life, is the first one out of your comfort zone.
"I'd rather have a life of 'oh wells' than 'what ifs'." True. Yet when I look back on my life, it's almost all "what ifs". What if I had gone to the college I wanted, when I wanted? What if I had done better in school? What if I stood up for my desires? What if I could let my real self known to those people that I wish knew me? Instead I let go of my dreams and stagnate. I still think "oh well" but it's not "oh well that didn't work out the way I wanted it to", it's more "oh well, I guess I won't get that".
"It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all- in which case you fail by default" -J. K. Rowling. I fully agree with that, yet I live my life that exact default life. I never take risks, at least not the ones that truly matter. I need to keep this in mind a little better.

All that brings me to another point, another thing that is...hard for me. Over the weekend two of my dear friends got married. I'm excited for them. I'm so happy that so many of my friends have found their soulmates (a word I usually hate, but fits here if you know the couples I'm talking about). Four of my good friends married this year in two unforgettable weddings (I count both members of both couples as close friends). Yet I haven't managed to be in a solid relationship since high school. I've barely even managed dates in years. I don't know why it's so hard for me, but it is nearly impossible for me interact with men outside of friendship. I want to. But I freeze up, I totally fail at flirting, I just generally fail at social interactions. Which honestly, I really only know like five men- three of them are my friends' husbands, and two of them are my friend's brothers. Not exactly an open field for dating. Don't worry, I have quotes about this too-
"I refuse to settle for something less than great. And if it takes a lifetime, then that's how long I'll wait." - Dolly Parton. It's true. I won't settle, but the wait can be lonely.
"Unless it's mad, passionate, extraordinary love , it is a waste of time. There are too many mediocre things in life. Love should not be one of them." Perhaps my expectations are to high. Perhaps I to fully assimilated the lessons of Disney as a girl. I don't know. I just know I love this quote.
"It's hard to wait for something when you know it might never happen; but it's even harder to give it up when you know it's everything you want."

I might be depressed. I'm looking down the barrel of homelessness. I'm sick of being stuck, of being mediocre, but I don't know how to change it. I'm lonely. So sorry I haven't been blogging. I'm a little depressed, and it's hard to write the way I want people to rememer about me, when I can barely remember myself that way.

*To go back to my housing choices- there are a few others that just didn't fit in the above paragraph, but they aren't any better than the others.
I have a friend who sometimes rents a room in her house, but I don't want to ask her about it (actually she's tentatively mentioned it to me, but I still don't want to take her up on it). I don't want her to resent me the way she sometimes resents her last roommate. I don't want to potentially lose a friend.
I could live in my car. But you can see the inherent problems with that one.
I I think those are all my choices.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Zoo RunRun

So I just realized I never told the internet all about my first 5k and it was weeks ago! I had a great time even though we mostly walked it. It took the walkers (my team was made up of three walkers- me, Leah, and Katie and a runner- Amber) 42:13 to finish, which is...respectable I guess. I don't know I've never done one before. Also, I raised 45% of my goal. Next year I think I'll register earlier and work harder to raise funds.

There were a few "special" things. There was supposed to be water at the halfway point, but by the time we got there (about the middle of the pack) they were out of cups and were packing up. Then there was supposed to be water and bananas at the finish line. Again, by the time we got there, they were out. Then there was supposed to be a healthy breakfast we could buy afterwards, but they only had sugared fruit and white bagels (not actually healthy).

Leah and I are training to actually run a 5k in the spring (yikes!!) which pretty much means my body hurts ALL THE TIME, but I kind of like it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


I am a GOOD blogger! No life has been super crazy lately. Tomorrow is my 5k which is super exciting. Plus since it’s at the zoo, we can hang out afterwards. I’m pretty excited hanging at the zoo, I haven’t really been there in a while. So I’ve been getting ready for that. One of the parents at my work ran a half marathon a few weeks ago, so she dropped her daughter off a little late because they’d slept in but she was just going in to work late. I’m off on Monday. Do you know the difference between a half marathon and a 5k? A 5k is 3.2 miles. A half marathon is 13.1 miles. Also this mom ran hers, I’m walking mine (with intermittent jogging possibly). Yet I’m the one who took the day after off work. I shouldn’t compare myself to her though, she’s pretty much amazing. Actually, I shouldn’t compare myself to anyone. I should just be myself and just calm down. Although I am pretty happy lately. I’ve lost 35 pounds in the last few months. I’m wearing the smallest size I’ve worn since high school. I have energy to burn. I’m happy.
On the other hand.
My mom hasn’t told me this yet, but my sister in law told me that someone is renting my house starting on November 1. I live in my house. Apparently until some undetermined time before November 1. I found a home for my cat. I can get a storage unit for my stuff. I told my best friend my plan is to sleep in my car one night, she’ll kill me and I won’t have to worry about it anymore. No, more seriously, anyone have ideas about where I can get another job? Because so many people are completely unemployed it almost feels greedy to look for a second job, but it has to be done.
Anyway, I think after the 5k things should slow down. Then I’ll blog more often. Unless I die. Then I won’t blog at all.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Not A Creepy Guy

Something happened the other day. I didn't want to write about it until now, because I had other more important things to say yesterday. But now I'm going to tell you about one of my best days.
First of all, my best friend's grandmother is like a grandmother to me. So the other day I went over to her house to craft. I spent the entire day working on...something that I can't tell you about. But it was fun. I thought Kristin was out of town, so when her family called Nona (her grandmother) to tell her what they were doing for supper I started to pack up so I could leave when they got there. But instead they asked me to join them. I assumed Kristin had decided to stay home for some reason, so I said yes. Then I drove Nona and myself to the restaurant. Yeah, Kristin was not there. It was just me and her family. But it was great. I had so much fun talking with her family and eating Mexican food. Already this was going down in my mind as a great day.
On the way home Nona asked if we could stop at Walgreens, which of course I agreed to. As we walked in a young man walking out to his car smiled at me. I was waiting for Nona to get out of the car and I smiled back. We exchanged pleasantries ("Nice night we're having, huh?" that sort of thing). Then the young man asked for my name. I figured, there's no harm in my nice generic first name, so I told him and he said to me, "Well Tina, I just want to tell you that you are incredibly beautiful." Ummm...thanks? I have literally never been told that before. Then as Nona caught up with me and I turned to leave he said "It was nice to talk to someone as sexy as you." Wow! I have never felt so good about myself. Thank you strange man in the Walgreens parking lot for giving me the best ego boost of my life! This day will indeed go down as one of my best.
Now if only secret crush boy thought the same thing...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I don't want to say alot.

It's not about me. It's about those who truly lost. Who lost their lives. Who lost family. Who lost their sense of security. It's about those who lost the innocence. Those who lost the trust their neighbors once had for them. Those who are judged terrorists not based on their own actions, but on the actions of a minority group from the same area of the world. It's about those who can never live their lives the same again. So I don't want to say alot. But I want to say something.
It's hard to know exactly how to put into words the feeling this day brings to me. Ten years ago I was a student at my community college. My alarm went off that morning, as it did every Tuesday morning, to the sound of the local Christian radio station. But in my sleepy mind, all I could think was that it was a terrible joke. The new "war of the worlds" (which I had listened to the night before). I hit snooze. Nine minutes later, I thought the same thing, and I hit snooze again. When I got up, I didn't turn on the TV. I didn't tune into another radio station. I got ready for school and got on the bus. It wasn't until I got to my first class that I realized it was real. That planes had flown into the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon. That another had crashed in a Pennslyvania field. That my world might never be the same again. I spent the rest of the day crowded into the college lounge staring at the TV in shock, surrounded by hundreds of my fellow students. Eventually we stopped even the pretense of going to class, all our professors were in the lounge with us.
I didn't lose anyone. I don't know anyone who did. I've never been to NYC. I've never seen or felt the damage. I'm not sure I should say anything, not even this bit.

Right after I took this picture, Nataly turned around and asked me "What are these pictures for?" How do you explain to a four year old? What could I say? I told her as best I could about the bad men who didn't love America and the people who died. She asked me what happened to all the people in those pictures (the pictures are replicas of the missing posters displayed near Ground Zero). I didn't know what to tell her.

The piece of granite Nataly and Nick are touching is a piece of granite from inside the buildings. Nataly wanted to know why they couldn't put it back together. Nick asked me "Why sad Aut Tia?" (he doesn't pronounce N super well). Then he turned back around to touch the granite. "Why broken?" he asked.

We kept the kids out of the listening area. They didn't need to hear those radio calls describing what was happening. They didn't need to see the silent tears rolling down the cheeks of the grown ups in the listening area remembering how we felt on that day. But I couldn't keep them from knowing. No. I wouldn't keep them from knowing. As they touched this piece of steel that once held up a tower, Mandy and I told them, in the most kid friendly terms about that day. The fear, the anxiety, the relief when no plane flew here, into our city and our towers. Nick won't remember touching this steel or learning about 9/11. Nataly will probably only have vague memories. But I'll remember. I will always remember.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Zoo Fun Run

I mentioned before that I'm signing up to do a 5k at the zoo. Well I did it. All paid and signed up and everything. Except I'm not very bright because you get a shirt for doing it and when they asked me what size I said 2XL because that's my OLD size, but now I wear an XL or even an L (depending on the cut). So my very first 5k shirt won't fit me, but that's okay. It can be pajamas!

The fun run is to raise money for conservation of wild life and lands. To me this is one of the most important "good causes" because not only does conservation help the animals, it also helps people. Conserved land is land that retains it's natural beauty, which is means that it's not in danger of oil spills, deforestation, or other man made drama. Land that remains natural helps produce healthy air and keeps water clean. We have no way to filter out toxins in the air, we just breathe them in with the oxygen. Many drugs come from wild plant and animal life, some of which we've barely tapped into in our ruthless determination to clear the land and use it our way. On top of the obvious reasons, the beauty of nature is in it's diversity and complexity.
If you feel that this is a good cause, please click HERE or on the zoo fun run picture to the side and donate. Every little bit helps!

Animals that became extinct in my lifetime
-Golden Toad (1989)
-West Afican Black Rhino (2006)
-Zanzibar Leopard (1996)
-Spix's Macaw (2004)
-Pyremena Ibex (2000)
-and many more

Monday, August 29, 2011

So Cute!!

I didn't sleep well last night, so I ran home on my break for a nap. I laid down in bed and my cat jumped up with me (which she always does). I sleep on my side kind curled up like a question mark (?)and usually my cat either sleeps in the curve on top or in the angle on bottom. Today, she jumped up on top of me so she was sleeping on my hip and rib cage. Then she wrapped her paw around my arm and STARTED PETTING ME. Like she was the person and I was her pet. Swear to God that happened today.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


So I promised myself I would keep all my diet drama on my other blog (since that's what it's dedicated to). But exercise isn't diet, so I can talk about that right? Anyway, I think I've become addicted to a drug, but it's endorphins, so that's probably cool right? I started working out about six weeks ago and I kind of hated it. I didn't like doing DVDs in my house, because sometimes my mom came home and then I felt all embarassed. I didn't like walking because it's in public and people can see me. I can't swim (still). And I didn't really know what else there was. But, I made myself walk anyway. I recruited a few buddies to walk with me once a week each and then I made a rule that I can't listen to my mp3 player unless I'm working out. So the first week I went for 2 walks. Then I wanted to improve what I could do when I was out with my friends, so the second week I went for a walk on my own too. Now I walk anywhere from three and half to SEVEN miles five days a week. On my first solo walk, I picked a good route and then started walking and for three weeks I was dying by the time I got home. Then I started to enjoy it. Today when I realized I was almost home I considered just turning down the side street I usually go down to start my walk and doing it all over again. Because it felt GOOD. But it was getting dark and I didn't think I'd make it back before full night fall. So I didn't. But as of tomorrow I'm changing my regular solo walking path from the 3.5 miles I'e been doing to a 5 mile path. Wish me luck (and endorphins!!).

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Zoo Fun Run

"Each year more species lose their race for survival and disappear from the wild.
But it is a race we can win, and You Can Help!
The Chicago Zoological Society Conservation Fund is dedicated to making a difference for these species across the globe. By joining us at the Brookfield ZooRunRun on Sunday, September 25 and raising funds you will help our efforts to save these incredible animals and their natural environments." -Brookfield Zoo

I've decided to walk in Brookfield Zoo's 5k fun run/walk this year. I think it should be a lot of fun, great at helping me achieve my physical fitness goals, and great at helping the zoo raise funds for conservation. Anyone live in the area and want to join me? I'll be registering next Tuesday (August 30) and hopefully I'll have at least a few friends, to register with me.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Photo Challenge

Hey remember when I decided to do a photo challenge meme? And I posted 2 of the 30 pictures and then forgot all about it? Yeah, me neither. Anyway, here's the third picture...
A photo of the cast of your favorite show-

The time is the 23rd century. In the wake of a devastating interstellar war, the survivors decide to build a space station where representatives from various races can meet and resolve their differences peacefully. The station is intended to be the galaxy's last, best hope to put an end to violence. Its name is Babylon 1.
It gets blown out of the sky.
Undeterred, the advocates of peace build Babylon 2, and then Babylon 3.
Both get blown up as well.
So they build Babylon 4. And it doesn't get blown up!
Instead, within hours of completion, it just inexplicably ... goes missing. But we're sure to track it down, real soon now.
In the meantime -- welcome to Babylon 5.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Real Tina?

My best friend Kristin can be…domineering. She knows what she wants and she will speak up until she gets it. She will accept that I have wants and needs as well and she knows that she has control issues, so she usually will back down if I ask her to. And that’s fine. But our past affects our present, even in friendships. And my former best friend (let’s call her M) was also domineering but in a very different way.
If I had been in another kind of relationship with M people around me would probably have recognized abuse warning signs. Before I met M I was shy and I didn’t have many friends, although mainly by choice. Then I met M and she got past all my defense mechanisms and we became “best friends”. Then she began wearing me down. I retreated from my other friends, to the point where I wouldn’t even defend them when she said bad things about people I liked. She belittled any subject that I excelled at (social studies, English and art mainly) and raved about what a math and science genius she was and that she had much better job prospects than I would because I struggled in the “real” subjects. So I wound up feeling dumb. I was also a big girl, although now my ideal weight is exactly what I weighed in high school, so clearly not “to big” and she constantly brought that up, so I felt ugly. Dumb and ugly, yeah I was definitely not going to even try to make other friends, assuming they would make fun of me for the “flaws” that M was seemingly willing to overlook. I never dared defend myself or my opinions to her because she was my only friend and I didn’t want to make her angry with me. And she got angry with me a lot. Her preferred “punishment” was to be “busy” whenever I wanted to hang out or talk, making sure that we interacted just enough that I never went back to my other friends (who all had their own stuff going on anyway, this was high school!), but also making sure that my interpersonal needs weren’t met. I wound up constantly feeling alone and lonely. It was terrible. We went to different colleges and I finally managed to make some healthy friendships and eventually broke ties with M. But those years of psychological abuse left me unable to defend my opinions, even to my closest friends. I often find myself giving way, even when it’s important to me, just because I don’t want to make people angry.
I’ve been working on that a lot lately, and trying to remind myself that my needs and wants are just as important as other people’s. This is especially important because almost all of friends are strong personalities, and I feel a little like “real Tina” gets lost in the crowd. I especially noticed this when Kristin and I were planning Jamie’s bridal shower. She was the maid of honor, so it really was her shindig, but we agreed to throw it together (especially as the other bridesmaids were too far away to help anyway). But sometimes I felt a little like the only thing she wanted from me was my pocketbook, and not any of my opinions. Like I said though, she was the maid of honor, it’s her shindig, whatever, and so I didn’t say anything. But now she and I are throwing another party, with another friend of ours. I suggested throwing the party, I thought up what I thought we should do for the party, and I’m the main go between for the other two girls as I’m closer with both of them than they are with each other. So today I went to Hobby Lobby to get ideas for the invitations and I wound up all conflicted because I could not make up my mind about what to get because I know Kristin has a tentative idea in mind. The thing is I have a solid idea. I know exactly what I want to do. So I guess the question is, will I speak up tomorrow when we get together to work on the invitations? Or will I let her steamroll me without even realizing it? Have I grown enough in the 10 years since M and I started drifting apart, to stand up for my ideas and my vision?
Please let me be clear here. Kristin is not anything like M. I could stand up for myself and she would probably applaud that. She is also the first truly healthy friendship I had recovering from the damage M did, and she’s a good part of the reason I don’t still call M “friend”. This is not an issue of her not wanting to hear my opinion, or making me feel like I can’t defend myself. This is all about my personal demons holding me back.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Oh Dear Lord!

On Sunday my SIL told Nataly about the baby. On Monday Nataly had visitation with her father. His response?
-he posted on facebook something along the lines of "Mandy's pregnant. Again. Ever heard of birth control?" which led to some nasty comments from his friends- which fine, he's annoyed and taking it out on Mandy. Maybe man up buddy, but whatever.
-he told Nataly (who is FOUR and already has one younger sibling) that grownups can only love one kid. She went from excited and loving the new baby, to not being sure about it and wondering if the adults around her loved her or Nick. I literally cannot express how angry I was to hear that.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fun Busy Weekend

My SIL is pregnant (10 weeks). Yesterday she told Nataly. I said something about"shiny, new toy" which is what I've been calling the baby for eight weeks. Nataly finally asked "What's shiny, new toy?" so it all came out. Nataly was super excited, she told our server when he came by to see if we needed anything. Then later when we got to my house she got up in the recliner with her mom and put her head on Mandy's belly and started talking to the baby. She told it that she loves it. She also decided it is going to be a girl and her name will be Clarabelle.
Last night I was talking to my friend Chris about the movie Capt. America and he started "teaching" me about comic books. It was fun since I LOVE comic book movies, but comic books were banned in my house when I was growing up. He's going to loan me a few of his favorite comic books to read.
Today I had a lot of fun with a friend. I've been trying to make my time with friends be less focused on food and more focused on time with friends, but tonight we went to Panera for dinner. It was good, if slightly dramatic (the server lied to me about my dinner, twice). Afterwards we went for a nice walk and that was enjoyable.

Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm Going To Become "Interesting"

Oh people, I’ve discovered the best plan for a weekend away. In Ohio there is a place called The Wilds. It is as close to a real safari as one can get without going to Africa (way outside my budget for now). I want to go. There’s no hotels nearby, but I’ve planned out an amazing stay for when I get the money together (maybe early next spring?). I’ll go on a Saturday and I’ll start with a zip line across the park, followed by a sunset safari, which is a guided safari in an open transport. That night I’ll stay in a yurt. In the morning I’ll get the transport pass and check it out at my own speed. It won’t be cheap. Probably close to $500 since the people I usually share vacation costs with aren’t interested. But, it’s going to be so worth it. Check out my life list- item 18 is “zip line (preferably over something awesome)”, item 24 is “go on a (photo) safari”.
Maybe, if all works according to plan I’ll call next year, the year I really got to work on my life list.
3. Visit the White House, Supreme Court, and Capitol Building (planned for Sept. 2012)
5. Go to all fifty states (trip to Minnesota rescheduled for spring 2012)
10. See Gettysburg (planned for Sept. 2012)
16. Weigh what my doctor’s height/weight chart says I should weigh (working on it)
17. Become fluent in another language (working on it)
18. Zipline (preferably over something awesome) (spring 2012?)
24. Go on a (photo) safari (spring 2012?)
43. Make a pilgrimage (to me, my trip to DC counts- so planned for Sept. 2012)
44. Learn to swim well (working on it)
47. Be present at a birth (planned for Feb 2012)
48. Be able to intelligently, knowledgeably discuss the top five world religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam) (working on it)
53. Go rock climbing (not on a wall) (looking into learning on a wall so I can get off one)

That’s more items in one year than I’ve scratched off in the 29 years before- assuming I get them all done. Plus, a lot of those things were written to make me a better/happier person, so hopefully I’ll be happier. Because the last post I wrote (but didn’t post) was about being sad most of the time.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

August 2, 2011

It’s coming. It’s coming faster than many people realize and it scares me. On August 2 we as a country default on our loans. We’ll drop 14 (I think) credit ratings. We’ll be on par with Zambia. "Failing to raise the debt ceiling would do irreparable harm to our credit standing, would undermine our ability to lead on global economic issues and would damage our economy," former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson
I’m not going into the politics here. However, the very moment we had to break into emergency reserves someone should have thrown the lock on the Capitol Building door and refused to allow a single congress-person out until this was figured out. It is unacceptable to me that with less than two weeks left (in fact barely over one week), the House would be on break this weekend. It is incomprehensible to me that the people who are elected by Americans and paid to represent America’s best interest would decide that when America’s future is at stake is an acceptable time to take a break.
On top of the House breaking this weekend, talks between the Speaker and the President have fallen apart.
“Boehner said he had withdrawn from the talks because the president wanted to raise taxes and was reluctant to agree to cuts in benefit programs.” -MSNBC Yet despite his “reluctance” to cut benefits, it’s done. The agreement made between the two men includes at least some cuts. But as of now, it includes only rollbacks of Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy, no new taxes. Those new taxes are at the heart of Boehner’s walk out, at least according to him. “Obama has offered more cuts than any other democrat would in an effort to strike a deal, yet the republicans still are playing games. Remember, the sign of a fair deal is one in which neither side gets everything they want. The democrats have offered a deal like that but the party of no (hope) just doesn't get it.” (comment)
Here’s the part that makes me angriest. Not only is the House taking a break this weekend, but Boehner is playing games with the President. “A White House official told NBC News that the president called Boehner on Thursday night, but did not hear back. Then, Friday afternoon, the speaker's office reportedly emailed the White House to say Boehner would be available to talk at 5:30 p.m. ET. The White House called the speaker's office after that email was received to ask if they just talk right then, but his aides reiterated that Boehner would be availabe at 5:30 p.m. ET. It was during that call that the speaker walked away from the talks.” -MSNBC Boehner, we didn’t have time for you to waste a day for your pride. It’s your job, that the American people elected you to, and pay you for, to get this done.
Is this the time to walk away because you don’t agree? Gentlemen, man up and figure it out. No one walks away until this is done.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Things That Made Me Laugh

From Cakewrecks () with the caption “There is about to be some SERIOUS nerd rage going on in here.”

“The fact that they were both already soaking wet FROM THE OCEAN in no way detracted from the insult of being splashed on by a sibling.” –Motherhood in NYC

“Our research for this article has informed us of the existence of sauerkraut pie. Will you stop at nothing, Germany?” –Karl Smallwood

"Don't try to pass a 2,700 page bill—even they didn't read it! You and I didn't have time to read it. We're too busy trying to live—send our kids to school. That's why I am only going to allow small bills—three pages. You'll have time to read that one over the dinner table.” –Presidential Nominee Herman Cain

This picture with the caption, “The empty middle is where you taste irony and things that are so close you can taste them.”
-Karl Smallwood

“Obesity is still worse for your health than trying to ride a bear that is riding shark.” –

“Let’s say you’re a governor of Illinois in a room with a former governor of Illinois on your right, and a former governor of Illinois on your left, chances are the room you’re in is jail.” –John Stewart on The Daily Show (6/28)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Last Good One

I just read an archived post over at Motherhood In NYC about a play she saw. The premise of the play is that there’s this lady Mimi waiting for a blind date who doesn’t show. When he doesn’t show, she picks a random audience member to have the date with (it’s improv). It sounds like a good show, that’s not the problem. The problem is she tells a little bit about the guy Mimi picked that night-
“…Here was a man who, if first appearances mean anything, was a real catch- and he’s out there. HE IS OUT THERE, ladies. And he believes in kindness.”
And my only thought was, “Umm…yeah that nice and all- but you’ve found the last one Marinka. And he lives in NYC so how does that help me, in Chicago?”
Perhaps I should start looking harder for better dates huh?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Feel The Burn

I started a new workout regime this week. It’s hard. Way harder than I expected it to be. And it’s hard to keep going. I would like to know why all the pain-y bits start right away, but the reward-y bits take weeks to show up. I would like at least a little instant gratification to encourage me to continue. Otherwise (as has happened many times in the past), in about a week when my muscles protest the simple act of turning on DVD player in anticipation of putting in my exercise DVD, I will probably quit. I sort of hate working out. It’s boring, I feel stupid, and I simply can’t do a lot of what the TV people can. Plus, it seems over whelming. The sheer amount of weight I need to lose is intimidating. If I wanted to lose five pounds, it would seem pointless. If I wanted to lose ten-thirty pounds, it seem probable. If it was even thirty-fifty pounds it would seem possible. But I want to lose a hundred pounds. And it’s not like this is the weight I’ve always been. At some point it was just ten pounds, twenty, forty, but now…it’s not. And if I didn’t succeed then, why should I even try now? But…try I will. Try I will. Because I will look cuter NEXT time I’m in a wedding.

Monday, July 11, 2011


I know this young man who I very much respect. He happens to be an EXTEMELY private guy. His family apparently assumes that I’m fascinated by a recent…issue (which I won’t go into detail about because he’s a very private guy), because I have now been privy to every detail his family has about it, including some rumor mongering by more extended family members. One member of his family talked about it at some length with me today, going into some detail wondering about the why's and how's of the situation, speculating on the consequences (complete with some suppositions and assumptions based on what time he gets home from work), and otherwise discussing with me information I don’t think he would want me to have. He and I are by no means close, really more like nodding acquaintances than anything else, but I love his family. So, how do I handle it when I know I’m receiving information he wouldn’t want me to have? Do I cut off his family (who again, I love), and just say “I don’t think he would want me to know this”? Do I walk away, even when I’m being spoken directly to? Do I try to change the subject and never share what they’ve just told me? Do I pull him aside one day and tell him that this is going on (which would be SUPER awkward)? Do I tell another family member that this is going on without sharing the details and let her tell him if she needs to (she would understand why I’m flummoxed by the situation and would probably not ask what the gossip is)? Do I send her a link to this blog so she can read my question and answer it for me (effectively the previous choice, but without having to see her face to face)? Do I just ignore it? Is there another choice I haven’t thought of? Seriously, what does one do when one wants to avoid hearing gossip about someone? Especially when you’re secretly interested?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Things That Made Me Laugh

"And so, in conclusion, I'm sorry I couldn't find a Barenaked Ladies/Nathan Fillion mash-up cake, since I'm told that many of you believe a Barenaked Fillion would make your entire year." (ummm...true story!) -cakewrecks

Yeah, I can't post the whole thing, and the whole thing is funny. Just go read this epbot post.

Before the wedding on Sunday we were taking our pictures and when all the bridesmaids lined up to get a picture with Chris he said "I kind of feel like Santa with all these pretty ladies lined up to take a picture with me." It was a good day!

"Note: Today's post contains a word that starts with "p" and rhymes with "Venus." Parents, please parent accordingly." -cakewrecks

Friday, July 8, 2011

Goodness Me, Where to Start?

So this past weekend was a little crazy, but it was so great I have to tell you about it. (Pictures to come when I'm home on my own computer)
Friday- I went to the Taste of Chicago. I go every year, but this year (like last) was a bit of a disappointment (2nd smallest on record). Since we were done early, my friend Leah and I decided to knock something off my Life List and go to the observation deck of Willis Tower. Yeah, we went on the ledges and I have the pictures to prove it (like I said, I'll post them next week!)
Saturday- almost time for Jamie's wedding!! Met some friends for brunch then got mani/pedis at this place at our mall. I'd never had one before, but I'll swear by them now! Seriously, the chair was a massage-y chair and the lady got my feet all skin colored and stuff! Plus- it was only $29 (which I was told was cheap, and it was totally worth it). Then I finally got to meet the groomsmen at the rehearsal dinner. I kind of loved the best man, he was awesome (don't get excited, he has a long-term girlfriend, whom I also loved).
Sunday- Wedding day!!! Pictures and longer post to come next week
Monday- Fourth of July is my favorite holiday, I love everything about it. Hope you enjoyed my patriotic videos and had a safe and awesome holiday!
Tuesday- It's my birthday! I turned 29, got my first massage (oh was that nice!), and got to go out with some of my best friends for tapas. Afterwards my friend J drove me home, and somehow I was concerned that we would have nothing to talk about (we've never spent any time alone, yet I count him among my closest friends!), but of course we had fun and found things to talk about.
Wednesday- BORING back to work
Thursday- Goodness! I went out for supper with Sarah, but the creperie we intended on going to was closed (sad!) and we had to go somewhere else. Which worked out in our favor when we got to sample free new muffins they won't really be releasing until next week. It pays to be a picky, regular customer apparently!

Monday, July 4, 2011

It Took To Long

It took to long for this great speech to occur. It took to long for his dream to become reality, and that great day is not yet here. Some are free, many more than when this speech was given on the steps of the Lincoln Monument, but until the day that everyone is free, that dream has not come true. Until the day that no one, the world round, has to fear for his or her life because of race, color, creed, or any other reason, this dream remains a dream. Until the day that we can cherish rather than fear our differences, this dream is not a reality. Until the day this dream is a dream no longer, the principles of freedom we celebrate today are still a dream because until we are all free, none of us are free.

Happy Independence Day everyone- here's hoping I live to see the year when I can celebrate the reality, not just the hope!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Declaration of Independence

I suppose I should have held this back until tomorrow, but I wanted to provide a quick and easy way to read it BEFORE the grills are lit, the drinking begins, and we all lose track of what we're celebrating.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Yesterday I posted one of my favorite patriotic songs, but Independence Day isn't just about "hey I love my country" it's about how we got here. I hope today's video helps you remember how you got to where you are, and reminds you of how we got here. Plus there's a bonus video because I couldn't pick!

Hope that reminds you of your childhood as strongly as it does for me!

I Want to Properly Honor the Holiday...

...But this weekend is so crazy, that you'll have to make do with some videos that remind me about what's important to me. I'll post one video a day from now until the Fourth of July (or at least I'll try). Have a safe, happy holiday!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Things That Made Me Laugh

Apparently I laugh often, and need to share what I find funny, because this is the third time I’ve written a post where I did nothing but quote funny things out of context hoping you’ll find them amusing too. This time almost everything funny is from the archives of a blog I just found (clearly since I enjoy it, but don’t know this person I have to catch up via archives). Enjoy!

“I’m pretty sure “poetic license” is when you blame Robert Frost for all of your own personal shortcomings. Which I try to make it a point to do at least three times a day.” Reply to a comment over at Motherhood in NYC

When swimming, “I like to stay on the surface. Where there are no sharks.” Motherhood in NYC

“Maybe it’s because I stood in bread lines in the pre-Atkins Soviet Union, but I just refuse to get in line.” Once again Motherhood in NYC (this time about trying to get a replacement social security card)

“I said ‘I’m writing about something that I will not discuss in real life.’ And she said ‘What?’ and I don’t know what kind of CIA-trained operative could withstand THAT kind of cross-examination, but I cracked instantly” Motherhood in NYC

“I’ve never seen an episode of Veggie Tales. I think we just get the carnivore channel.” I have no idea where this came from. Somewhere on the internet? Claim it if you wrote it!

“Poison Ivy, a supervillainess who can grow plants and make men fall in love with her (essentially, the superpowers of an attractive woman with a garden).”’s BatBattle

“My daughter was about 12 and we sent her to a multi-day seminar. One of her homework assignments one evening was to step into an elevator and face everyone while saying, ‘I suppose you all are wondering why I called you here.”’ Messing with people is always entertaining!

“I can’t even blog about my husband slowly throwing away my comfy cotton briefs and leaving me with a drawer full of hanky pankys.” Commenters are fun!

“You probably want to wait to paint until after they seal it, otherwise when they do their thing, they’ll ruin your thing with the thing.” –my mom’s boyfriend

“Be wery wery quiet. I’m hunting seamstwesses.” -Kristin’s AIM status this week as she deals with an alteration problem with her dress for Jamie’s wedding (next week).

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Learn to say no!

I've mentioned before how much it bothers me that our culture sexualizes small children when they are so young. The clothes, the attitude, the way little girls have learned that hip swinging walk, it all adds to make them think they're ready for sex much earlier than they are. After all, if they've been dressing, talking, and even acting sexually for years, then it's no big thing when they finally do it right? I hate that! I want to protect children from being exposed to this. Children, be they six or sixteen are not ready for sex and they shouldn't have the expectation of being sexy!
When I talked about this before my problem was sweats with words on the butt, children's thongs, and overly sexy dresses. But now it's summer, and with the heat and the sun, comes a new concern. Little girl bikinis.
Take a look at these pictures.

Now, setting aside whatever your past with modesty is, which of those children looks more "sexualized"? The one where the little girl with nothing to hide is wearing a bikini, or the one where the little girl with nothing to hide, isn't hiding anything? I tried to include a picture of a little girl in a one piece, but I couldn't find one. Also, sorry they aren't the best pictures, I didn't want a google search that could get me arrested cluttering up my history on my computer.
Parents need to take a look at how they are dressing their children (and these children are young enough they are being dressed, not allowed to dress) and learn to say no. Say no to sexualizing your tiny tot. Say no to buying those "cute" outfits that make them look like hoochies. Say no to the urge to make your kid into a "mini-me without the stretch marks". Just say no!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Things That Made Me Laugh- Part 2

The article that refered to Hitler as "Voldemort Von Tiny-Stache" (not the whole article, really just the reference)

From the same article... "Only an IDIOT would forget about the Italian Renaissance, when art and poetry flourished as the nation of Italy remembered all the cool stuff Greece came up with back in the day. Even if your history class dropped the ball, TMNT was there to pick that ball right back up and throw it in your face"

"My name is LightningBolt Tesla. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

A conversation I had with one of my small children today...
(Me) Why did you just bite your thigh?
(Avery) Because it hurted.
(Me) And that's a good thing?
(Avery) Indeed (flashes a gleeful grin before she runs off to play)
She's three.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Psychosomatic Vampire Injuries

The other day I was sitting in a nap room at work, reading a vampire book when suddenly my neck began to itch. I reached up scratched it without looking up from my book, but as I was lowering my hand I realized it was covered in blood. I went into the bathroom to take a look and realized that my neck was slowly seeping blood and based on the fact that some of it was dried, had been for awhile. So I cleaned up my neck, which was when I discovered the two small puncture like marks that were oozing the blood. It was when I was washing my hands that I made my final odd discovery. On the back of my hand there was a fairly small, and yet oddly deep imprint of a human mouth. Like a bite mark, but clearly human not like a mosquito or whatever. There were teeth prints. I think my book is haunted.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rock the Vote

You probably know by now that politics are very important to me. It’s not that I need you to agree with me, it’s that I need you to make educated decisions about how my country should be run, and then I need to you to go the polls and make your voice heard. If you can do those two things, no matter if we vote for the same things or not, I can respect you. I personally generally choose to go as above and beyond that as much as possible. I email my congressmen when something important is going on, I receive innumerable emails from the lobbies I care about, and I sign a multitude of petitions that are sent my way. Today a petition crossed my path that I think is important enough that not only did I sign it, I emailed most of my address book, and now I’m posting it here.
Rock the Vote did a study of the voting systems in all 50 states, and the average score was only 41%. That’s a big fat “F”! The highest score in the country was only 68% and too many states are going in the wrong direction.
You’d think that the most basic element of our democracy - the right to vote - would be guaranteed and easy to access for anyone who is 18 and a citizen of this country.
Sadly, this isn’t the case. For a majority of young people around the country, their elected leaders are failing to meet their needs.
We found that states make it unnecessarily confusing to get registered, make voting inconvenient, don’t implement new technologies that are common in every other part of life, and aren’t teaching young people about voting and elections in high schools. This is a recipe for disenfranchisement
Not satisfied with the results (see Illinois results below)? Let your elected officials know by sending them Rock the Vote Voting System Scorecard. (We've made it really easy if you click here.)
The Voting System Scorecard serves as a national benchmark that measures state laws and policies in three key areas: (1) voter registration, (2) casting a ballot and (3) young voter preparation. The 21-point scale evaluates each state’s implementation of policies that increase access to the political process.

Illinois Results
Automatic Registration: 0/3
Permanent and Portable Registration: 0/1
Online Registration: 0/3
Same Day Registration: 0/3
Third Party Registration Drives: 0/1
Registration Score: 0/11

Voter ID Requirements: 2/2
Convenience Voting: 2/2
Residency Requirements: 1/1
Absentee Voting: 1/1
Overseas and Military Voting: .9/1
Voting Score: 6.9/7

High School Civics: 0/2*
Pre-registration: 0/1**
Preparation Score: 0/3

Total Score 6.9/21
Percentage Score: 33%

*I have to note that as a history teacher, this one kills me. This was a pass/fail situation and Illinois passed. A state received 2 points if they taught civics and evaluated student performace and 0 points if they didn’t. That means my state, the state I am trying to teach history in, is inadequate in teaching MY subject matter!
**This one is also important because it really helps enfranchise young adults. The idea is that a student can register to vote at 16 or 17 and have that automatically activate on his or her 18th birthday. The reason this helps enfranchise students is because (1) they are registered to vote on their birthday, meaning that they CAN vote, and there’s no “Shoot, I forgot to register!” surprises and (2) in these areas election officials reach out to younger voters and education efforts are more important which helps give these first time voters more of a voice.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

It's Not Multiple Personalities

Tonight I got to hang out with a friend (who, for the purposes of this post I’ll keep anonymous), and it was super fun. She’s married whilst I remain single. But I love to read, so if the conversation turns, as it did tonight, to sex or relationship while I have no practical information (as in info that I’ve actually used), I have tons of theoretical info from journal articles, Cosmo, books, etc.. So I insist on saying stuff anyway, and I think that makes this particular friend uncomfortable (because she is conservative and is uncomfortable with the thought that I may or may not have engaged in premarital activities- no fears, I didn’t). The other problem is that I will be open about what I think and I don’t couch things in a way to make them more palatable. If we’re talking about sex I prefer to talk about sex, but I think perhaps that made my friend uncomfortable too because she’s more conservative and would perhaps prefer if we could be more vague about stuff. Sorry :(
Meanwhile, I’ve come up with an important theory about my life. There are two “Tina’s”. There’s “real Tina” who is shy, nervous about important things, and private. Then there’s “fake Tina”. Fake Tina is the Tina most people know because she’s kind of like a magician. She’s loud and self-assured. She not only is uncensored but she gives to much information. She’s screaming for you to pay attention to her “Hey! Look over here! I’m gonna do something outrageous!! Look at me!!” but it’s less because she wants you to pay attention to her and more because if you think you already know all there is to know about “Tina” you won’t go looking for “real Tina”. If “fake Tina” is all flashy and begging you to pay attention to her, “real Tina” remains safe and unnoticed.
For instance, last night I was out with Kristin and other friends, including one young man who shall remain nameless but whom I happen to have a crush on. Have for years, probably always will. BUT, and here’s where it gets *fun* he’s completely…uninterested isn’t the right word here but it’s close to what I mean. Perhaps unaware? Can he be unaware of me? Anyway, back to my theory. If he’s uninterested in “fake Tina” that doesn’t bother me, because that’s not the real me anyway, but if he spent time with the “real Tina” and remained uninterested, that would bother me. So “fake Tina” is the Tina who got to go out for Kristin’s birthday last night. And she was at her fake best, blatantly checking out the waiter’s butt (because if I’m checking out other guys then clearly I don’t have any sort of crush on anyone at my table right?), making naughty comments, and basically being her loud distracting self.
I don’t always think that this is a problem. We all having coping mechanisms when we’re in stressful situations. But I think for me it has become a problem because “fake Tina” has been the only Tina who gets to go out for a long time now. Even my best friends don’t see a lot of “real Tina” even when we’re alone and talking and I’m comfortable, it’s just too hard to take off the mask that everyone knows and reveal my true self. But wouldn’t it be better if I could reveal my real self, at least to some people? If I could act normal, around my friends? If I could be comfortable enough to let people see me without the mask? That’s why I write here on this blog, almost every entry here has been written by “real Tina” and now someone who read my archives one boring Saturday afternoon could know me better than my best friend of ten years. But, now that I’m aware of what I’m doing, I’m going to make a concentrated effort to let “real Tina” out of her shell a little more often. So, if you think you know, but think I’m acting weird lately, that’s why. Be quiet and don’t scare me and you might get to see a rare sight, “real Tina” out in the world, interacting with people.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

In Honor of Kristin's 28th Birthday

I will continue my photo challenge. Challenge Two is "a photo of you with the person you've been closest with the longest". Obviously (since I'm doing it because of her birthday) my person is Kristin. We had a great time tonight. We went out to a pub (actually my favorite place to eat!) here in town, got supper, and participated in the Wednesday Night Pub Quiz. It was super awesome for several reasons. 1. It was Kristin's birthday, and both her brothers came out with up, which was nice because I know she's been wanting to spend more time with them. 2. The meal was fantastic. 3. I enjoy the group of people we were out with a great deal. 4. Out of 18 (we think) teams, we came in number FIVE!! So now we have to do it again so we can try to beat that. Go Team Meese!!!

This picture is from my birthday in 2009 (when I turned 27). I had just graduated AU and was unemployed (meaning I'd been out of work since the school year started September 2008), so I didn't have a lot of money. So for my birthday Kristin and I went to Jamie's apartment after the fireworks and spent the night with her. Then on my birthday we went to Krape Park and played there for awhile before Kristin made grilled pork and potatoes for my birthday dinner.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Things That Made Me Laugh

- "My 6 year old is awesome, but she lives in a one-bedroom bedroom and she’s not allowed to go outside without a grown-up. Plus, she can’t reach the booze cabinet, and all of her clothes have unicorns on them. Non-ironically." (The Bloggess)

- Me: I taught myself to swim today
Chris: That was fast
Me: Turns out it was more a lack of stamina than a lack of knowledge problem
Chris: I have a lack of keeping myself from drowning problem
(An AIM conversation we had last night)

- "Normally, dangerous foreign substances that get inside our body are recognized by antibodies, which then bind to white blood cells to tell the immune response it's "go time." Think of white blood cells and antibodies as the Batman and Robin of disease fighting." (

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Livin' The Good Life

So I'm housesitting. I won't say where or give any details, because instead I'm going to show you some pictures of how the other half lives :)
This, is the house. Please note that I literally could not stand back far enough to get the entire house in the picture.

This is the kitchen. Again, I couldn't get the entire thing in a single picture- but this is the best one.

This is the master closet (there are several pictures because people literally don't believe me when I tell them about this).

Yeah, see that railing on the left? That's the stairway. To the second floor. Of the closet. Also, it's closet-y storage under the stairs and right next to where I had to stand to take this picture.

And that's the washer/dryer. In the closet.

See those little nook like spaces on the right? Each of those is another closet section as big as the average bathroom (the kind with a tub, not those tight little half baths).

The second kitchen. Again, I couldn't take a picture of the whole thing, but you get the idea.

And finally the view I wake up to every morning from my friend's basement. And yes, that is both a pool and a small lagoon. And also yes, I have an incredibly hard time going to work when I stay here! So I am clearly living the good life this week!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Challenges...Part Two

Nearly two weeks ago I wrote about needing to challenge myself. And I’ve written almost nothing since, because apparently all I had to do was ask. Wednesday was “Spring Fling” at my work- it’s kind of like a fun fair, but before all the fun we have kindergarten graduation and a spring sing. We’ve spent the last two months teaching all the children four songs to sing for their parents, and all the hard work (mine and theirs) showed- it was awesome. But it was the kind of awesome that exhausts people. My boss asked me to make a slide show of our kindergarteners over the years they’ve been at our school so that was hours worth of assembling pictures and organizing them so they’d appear random but weren’t clumped and had good shots of every kindergartener. Also I had to help my kids find ways around the inevitable stage fright (yeah, six hours practicing in our sanctuary with anyone and everyone I could find to come “watch” us helped). Then for some reason I decided to teach my kids some basic yoga poses, and that has been a challenge to them and now I’m working out four times a day more than I usually do, so I’m sore just about everywhere. Plus almost every weekend has been something (mostly getting ready for Jamie’s wedding) and there was family drama I can’t talk about. Thank goodness for the long weekend- and for my travel plans. A few friends and I are going up to the house we rented for vacation last year for a long weekend of wine tasting, (hopefully) swimming, boutique shopping, and relaxing.
Apparently it was a matter of “ask and you shall receive”. Dare I ask for a new challenge now that spring fling is over?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Photo Challenge!! Hooray for pictures, I have tons of them I think you’ll love, so I’m doing this challenge. But I’m not calling it “30 Days of Photos” because I want to be able to take breaks and blog other things without feeling like I failed.
Day 1: A picture of yourself with 10 facts:

1. I have almost no photos of myself because I’m generally the one taking the pictures.
2. I have dyed my hair a variety of colors since I was about thirteen- my current favorite is black, but for most of that time I’ve picked various shades of red (from strawberry-blonde to dark auburn and everything in between).
3. I’m trying to quit biting my nails, and I haven’t taken a nibble in two weeks.
4. I have always wanted to earn my Ph.D (in history).
5. My favorite holiday is Independence Day- this is because it’s my favorite holiday food, I love spending a holiday with my friends guilt free, fireworks are AWESOME, and my birthday is the next day so I get presents anyway.
6. I prefer wearing contacts but had them taken away by my doctor because I wore them way to much.
7. I love all animals, but for my own pets I prefer cats to dogs because cats are lower maintenance.
8. My hair only dries cute if I put it in a pony tail until it’s dry- this takes approximately five hours, which means I generally have to take my shower at like 6 pm since there’s no way I’ll get up twenty minutes earlier in the morning to do it then.
9. I currently have three loads of laundry waiting to wash, and I never get around to them because my SIL generally has something in the washer.
10. I love the Taste of Chicago (that’s where this picture was taken) in part because my family doesn’t really have any traditions and I like to feel like I’m doing something so many people have done before me.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Earlier this week I wrote a post that was a bit dark and depressing. I didn’t post it, because whenever I write those posts I like to sit on them for a few days before sharing with the internet. The gist of the post was that I was feeling like a failure as an adult. Once again I had been subjected to the opinion of someone who doesn’t understand my job. The idea that because I teach preschool, I don’t really teach, makes me crazy. Part of what I originally wrote was…
“In college, I was idealistic. I was convinced that I was going to become this fantastic teacher and I was going to inspire the next generations to pinnacles of success. I would arouse the interest of future history makers with my stories of the history makers of the past. I would never doubt the mark I was leaving on the future, because I would be able to see it in the eyes of my students.
Instead, I teach skills so basic most people don’t even realize they’re learned behaviors. I teach children to use the toilet. I teach them to wash their hands, a skill most of them won’t even hold onto anyway, if restaurant behavior means anything. I teach them not to pick their noses, to use silverware instead of their hands at the table, when to yell and when to speak gently.”
Then I rambled morosely for several paragraphs before ending with a challenge to myself. “I just wrote an assessment of a three year-old I could have written about myself, ‘She knows her strengths, but avoids activities that challenge or will allow for growth’. I need to find a way to challenge myself.” All I really needed out of that post was the final line. I need to find a way to challenge myself.

Finally- Days 27-30

Well, thirty days of song certainly became more than 30 days! Anyway...
Day 28. A song that makes me feel guilty- Alyssa Lies by Jason Michael Carroll. It's my job to protect little children and it's one aspect of my job that I take extremely seriously. I don't ever want to find out that any child ever under my care, my protection, has been hurt by those who are supposed to love them. I don't know that "guilty" is the exact right word for how this song makes me feel, but it reaffirms my conviction to care for the children in my life.

Day 29. A song from my childhood- "Step By Step" by New Kids on the Block. Seriously, I loved these guys when I was a kid. I had the "action figures" (yeah, they were dolls), they used to date my barbies. My room was decorated in NKotB posters. I loved them. This was my favorite of their top singles. (I should mention that this was 1990, I was eight.)

Day 30. Favorite song at this time last year- You know what's funny? It's actually a song I used above that I used to love but now hate. "15 Minutes of Shame" which I now hate because I listened to it way to much when I loved it. I'm not posting the video again though.
Bet you can't wait to see what's up next!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Um No!

I planned on finishing my 30 Days of Song challenge today. Instead I'm sharing excerpts from a news article I read...

"Kerry, who asked that her family's last name not be used, told "Good Morning America's" Lara Spencer that it was actually her daughter, Britney, who wanted to try Botox, a beauty treatment more normally requested by aging women than growing girls.
"We were getting into the pageants," Kerry recalled. "I knew she was complaining about her face, having wrinkles, and things like that. When I brought it up to Britney she was all for it."
So Kerry, a San Francisco, Calif.-based, part-time aesthetician and no stranger to Botox herself, having done the treatment on her own face, began injecting her daughter with the anti-wrinkle solution.
Kerry typically administers the Botox to Britney through a total of five shots, in three different locations on her face.
But can Botox really make a difference on a young girl who has not even had time in her life to develop the "worry" lines or age creases Botox is typically sought out to erase?
"The few times that we did it, it would lessen the lines," said Kerry. "They wouldn't completely disappear, she's a kid. And we don't do so much to where it's going to make a big difference."
But it's enough of a difference for Kerry and Britney to continue on with the treatments, despite the pain.
"It hurts sometimes," said Britney. "It makes me nervous. But I get used to it."
Kerry also takes point with critics in that same medical community who say the Botox could cause adverse reactions in her young daughter.
"I don't do enough on her to make a big difference," she said. "Just on the lines."
The potential for both emotional and physical damage makes critics like Dr. Sophy hesitant to prescribe or administer Botox to children, so Kerry must rely on her own methods to gain access to Botox for Britney.
"I do have a trusted source where I get it. He is a behind-the-scene doctor," she said.
The tough competition of the pageant world also prompted Kerry to try another type of cosmetic treatment on Britney, one that even middle-aged women find painful: waxing.
"I just don't think it's ladylike to have hair on your legs," explained Britney. "I did that one time. It was super, super hard. It hurts.""

Okay- first of all- No. Just no.
Second of all- mom don't try to pawn this off as the daughter wanted to try it. She flat out admits to suggesting it. Also- lady, you're the mother. If your kid wants to do something crazy/dangerous/stupid, you get to say no. That's why kids are raised by adults, not by other kids.
Third- seriously lady? The effects aren't that noticable because your eight year old daughter doesn't have wrinkles yet. You are poisoning her for nothing!!
Fourth- please note that REAL doctors won't even give her the botox. She's using a "behind the scenes" doctor. To me, that sounds like some guy who lost his license years ago for doing something incredibly dangerous/illegal, who continues to do dangerous medical stuff. If doctors generally won't do something- it's probably not a good idea!!
Fifth- does this eight year old kid even have hair to wax off? I'm betting not. Also- it hurt so bad the kid refuses to do it again. But she'll get botox. Stop. Just stop.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

30 Days of Song- Playing Catch-Up

Oh my word, I missed a lot of days lately!!
Day 25. A song that makes me laugh- I wish that there was a youtube video of this song, or that playlist had a version of this song. It’s called “Use Your Words” by Stuart Stotts. Sadly, I can’t find it. Instead, here are the lyrics.
Johnny knocked down Haylee’s blocks
Pachia bit Renee
Carlos took off both his socks
Vang won’t let Sam play
Holly ripped the dress up clothes
That Kayla tried to wear
And Nick scratched Emma on the nose
I think there’s no blood there
I roll up my sleeves and wade back in
Time to say my favorite phrase again.

Use your words I say it every day
Use your words in a thousand different ways
Use your words that’s my constant theme
If I have to say it one more time I’ll scream

Ryan’s lying on the floor Jose starts to spit
Galen’s kicking at the door Tasha tries to hit
Most days it’s not like this but sometimes it’s quite bad
I’d be so happy if they could just say to me “I’m mad.”
I’ll keep trying until it all comes real
And they can say exactly how they feel.

Don’t hit
Be gentle
Stop That
I’m done

I come home from work at night and I read the daily news
Stories of international fights just give me the blues.
If only we teachers were the ones who ran the earth.
We’d all know exactly what world peace is worth.
I’d tell the world leaders one and all
What they should have learned when they were small

Day 26. A song I can play on an instrument- sadly none. I used to play the clarinet in elementary/middle school, but I stopped at the end of seventh grade and haven’t played more than a few notes ever since. Unless you count singing as playing an instrument, then I can sing almost anything I can hear once or twice as long as it’s somewhere between second soprano and second tenor range.

Day 27. A song I wish I could play on an instrument- many things, as I often wish I could play an instrument properly. Forced to pick, I would say…either “The Imperial March” or “The Star Wars Theme”.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

30 Days of Song- Day...Whatever I'm on now

Cause I'm not going to bother looking it up since I know the question.
Song I want played at my funeral- Kellie Pickler's "Going Out In Style"

So today I went to Jamie's wedding dress fitting. It was super fun, but the plan was to go to the fitting, then do some mother's day shopping (not me, I'm done, but Kristin wasn't), then lunch. After that I suggested going to see Jamie's new house (she's moving as part of getting married, they're renting in Winebago). The next thing any of us new, we were at her old apartment (in which much fun has been had) packing things up because she's moving in a week. After that Kristin and I plopped on her bed and made Jamie try on all her clothes so that we could make her get rid of stuff that didn't look good on her. Which was great because we made score cards (like in ice skating) and rated her clothes' performance!

Friday, May 6, 2011

30 Days of Song- Day 23

A song I want played at my wedding- I am a giant dork. My processional music would clearly not be "The Wedding March" (since I don't like it), instead I would probably pick "Theme from The Inner Light". Just after 4 minute mark the music changes, that's when I (the bride) enter).

Also, my first dance would be to the Theme from Enterprise.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

30 Days of Song Day 22

A song I listen to when I'm feeling sad. Here's the thing, I don't really know what this means. Because does it mean a song I listen to when I'm feeling sad and I want to wallow in that? Or a song I listen to when I'm feeling sad and I want to lift my spirits? Just in case, I'll share both...
If I want to really wallow in "sad" I like "Tonight I Want to Cry" but I LOVE "Puff the Magic Dragon" by Peter, Paul, and Mary. I know that's a weird choice, but it's a song that reminds me of my dad, because he really liked both the group and the song. In fact, a few months after my dad died I was in the baby room, just me and like three babies (all over a year, I think) and this came on the radio and I sat down and cried (right there at work, even Kristin's only seen my cry like twice!) and the babies crawled in my lap and gave me baby hugs. One even patted my back!

(Also, this is the song of my childhood. If you spout nonsense about it being about drugs in my comments, I will stab you with a spork.)
If I want to lift my spirits I listen to Queen. Science proves that you can't listen to Queen and be sad. I like both of their most popular songs- "
We Are the Champions" and "We Will Rock You"

Also- "Eye of the Tiger"

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fun Times & Day 21

I got off work early today and went to pick up the menus for Jamie's shower. I had been told they would be ready tonight, so I drove 25 minutes to pick them up. Only to be told they weren't ready and I can go get them TOMORROW night. Uh...gas costs $4.39 (at best) in my town, I don't really want to be in my car for almost an extra hour. When I go back tomorrow, I'm going to try to convince the nice manager that he wants to comp me some corn chowder for the hassle.
After that, I met Sarah for supper at Panera and then a shopping trip to Michael's. Dinner was great, they have this new chicken chowder I really liked. I had fun shopping with Sarah too. I'm a terrible shopper, I like it so much that sometimes I forget that others might want to wrap it up, so I wondererd through the whole store at a snail's pace (we were in there an hour and a half!) picking out wedding stamps (to make cards for my friends). Plus somehow, buying things for my class and some stuff to make a necklace for Kristin's mom for mother's day. Yet, despite the fact that I had fun, I might have had more fun if we had done what we usually do (hang out at McDonald's) becuase then we just sit and talk, and it feels less like trying to run errands and "fit in" hanging out.
30 Days of Song- Day 21
A song that you play when you're happy- I am generally pretty happy if there's good music on, but one of my favorite not-angry songs is "Haven't Met You Yet" by Michael Buble. The music is so bubbly and happy, and even the message is a happy one. I don't know, I just really like it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Day 20

A song you listen to when angry-
Before you click play, remember what I told you yesterday- I have been cheated on, more than once, all of my best "angry" songs are angry break-up songs that are generally about cheaters.
Taylor Swift's "Better Than Revenge"

Monday, May 2, 2011

30 Days of Song- Day 19

A song from my favorite album- I think this is one of the things that we're losing. No one has a "favorite album" any more, instead we download singles from iTunes or other sites and create our own cds with songs with a sense of unity and order that appeals to us as individuals. That said, I'm going to pick another favorite song, but I did pick a song from which I downloaded most of the album. Carrie Underwood's "Songs Like This" (actually I'm surprised that more "kick is cheating behind to the curb" songs, because this is actually an issue I have dealt with more than once. And indeed, my response is ALWAYS a swift kick out of my life.

Bin Laden

I already wrote about this late last night, as I watched it unfold. I shared with you someof my initial thoughts. Perhaps you were able to read between the lines of exhausted scribblings and see my relief, my worry, and frankly my guilt. My initial thought was that we had just murdered a man. To be sure, he was an evil man, and man that committed terrible acts, and inspired evil and hatred in others. Yet even as the news showed pictures of hundreds of people (maybe even thousands) celebrating his death, I wanted us to pause, just for one second, and really think about this. Our government ordered the murder of a man, and that to me is a sobering thought. I don't say that it was wrong, just that perhaps, must maybe, we don't need to jump right to celebrating it.
However, as I have had time to think, to reflect, and to better understand what happened, I recognized that based on the description of what happened, Bin Laden COULD have choosen to surrender. President Obama didn't send in drones, or attack from the sky killing everyone in the compound. He ordered in people who were able to take "care to avoid civilian casualties" and had Bin Laden decided not to fight, I have to assume that those soldiers had at least been told to accept his surrender. This wasn't "murder" this was one more act of war, in a war we didn't start. That said, I still can't rejoice over the death of a man. Because before all the other words that describe him, the most basic word is "human".

Sunday, May 1, 2011

You Guys, We Just Murdered A Guy

Sorry if I don't make a lot of sense tonight. I'm writing this as it unfolds on MSNBC, and perhaps I'll feel differently in the morning.
On September 11, 2001 we went to war against terrorists. They declared war first. But we’ve had a terrible, decade long war. A war that should never have been against any one country, or even a group of countries. Osama Bin Laden is not the leader of a country. On September 11, 2001 no country declared war against us. But we did. We declared war on a government that rightly swore they had nothing to do with September 11. I am glad he clarified that we’re not at war against Islam, and that Bin Laden wasn’t an Islam leader.
As I waited for the president to speak tonight, I was AIMing a friend. Here’s some of what we had to say (I edited out some generic comments)-

Christina Zastrow 9:48 pm did we kill him? or did he just die?
Chris 9:48 pm
havent said yet
Christina Zastrow 9:48 pm
because we aren't really supposed to assassinate people
Chris 9:49 pm
oh well
Christina Zastrow 9:49 pm
you don't care as long as he's dead?
Chris 9:49 pm
I don't know. Im going to wait for Obama to explain
Chris 10:14 pm
I also wonder if we really just made a martyr.
Christina Zastrow 10:14 pm
yeah, i'm pretty sure we did...the more i hear (especially the way they are talking about it) the more mixed my feelings become
Christina Zastrow 10:21 pm
i want to hear how it happened, so that i can figure out how i feel about it
Chris 10:29 pm
hm shot and killed
Christina Zastrow 10:29 pm
did he just say that we feared he might die of natural causes before we could get to him?
Chris 10:29 pm
Christina Zastrow 10:30 pm
oh good lord
"Violence, or the threat of violence, has no place in our Democracy" Keith Olbermann
Chris 10:46 pm
well, I like the fact that it was in a firefight rather than a drone in he couldve been captured if he had allowed himself to
Christina Zastrow 10:48 pm
yeah, it makes it seem less like murder/assination to me- not that i don't know that it's what we needed to do, but after the whole torture thing, i think we need to stand even taller to earn back the reputation i want us to have
Chris 10:48 pm
but I am worried about retalliation
Christina Zastrow 10:49 pm
Christina Zastrow 10:50 pm
i'm not sure that the news people have thought this through- they were talking before about people uniting (as in various groups in the area uniting WITH us), but i would be more worried about some groups uniting AGAINST us
the way many people would unite against someone who killed Oprah
Christina Zastrow 10:51 pm
well, he's not exactly a political leader like Obama- he's more of a lifestyle leader, so...