My Ongoing Quest

I just made dinner and was reminded that for a brief moment in time, I thought about how I could do a cooking blog, like on "Julie and Julia." But, then I realized that I don't cook.

I'm TRYING, however. In my quest toward domestication, cooking is a priority. As we look for houses, Bryan is confused as to why I want a place with an amazing kitchen. You see, at this point, Bryan and I don't usually eat the same dinner. He cooks eggs, or eats a bag of chips for dinner. Me, I try to make something every night, but he is picky about what he eats. Or, at least what he eats that I cook.

In any case, Bryan is at a work training tonight and I made dinner. You see, I am on two quests: One toward domestication and the other toward losing weight. Both are ongoing, neverending. To achieve both goals, I have been a big fan of "Hungry Girl" recipe books. On Monday, I made Hungry Girl Macaroni and Cheese. Tonight, I made pizza. Not just any pizza though.

You take a tortilla - La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious -- put it on a pizza sheet. Tonight, I put reduced fat cheddar cheese, chicken, corn, tomato and black olives. Stick it in the oven at 325 degrees, for about 20 minutes and viola -- you have a delicious meal for about 300 calories.

Anyway. I think was it. Back to my wine and writing.
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Neverending Story

My reasons for started this blog were two-fold. For one, I want to write. Writing is what I love, it's what I do, and at the time being, my job is not the best medium for me to do so. So, I figured an online journal -- for lack of a better term -- would allow me to do so. Second, I want to write a book. I want to be an author. I want to write fiction, a memoir, anything. I wanted this blog to be a way to provide fodder for something to put in print. While I love writing as a journalist, I find that I can't do my best work writing about something that I'm not passionate about. I suppose that beggars can't be choosers.

Anyway, my point is that I'm finding that I'm not writing about what I actually want to write about on this blog, for fear of other people judging my thoughts. I want to write about my family and friends -- not in a bad way, of course -- but I don't want anyone to take my words personally, or think that I'm "talking" about them. I don't want to write about work, because -- well, having been in the career sector for the past four years, I know that recruiters (and co-workers) can find this blog and read it at any time.

I want to entertain people with my words. I want them to be interested in what I have to say. I want people to come back for more. But I also don't want anything I write on here to incriminate me. It looks as though I have to make the choice one way or the other, and own it.

There are tornado sirens going off right now, which is strange for Chicago. As we speak, I am on the couch, lightning is crashing, thunder booming and the Karate Kid -- the original -- is one. If you're reading this, you may or may not know that The Karate Kid is one of my top 10 favorite movies, EVER. I am beyond annoyed that they re-made it, with Jaden Smith of all people. Anyway, I think I might have Bryan on board with having our wedding walk into the reception to "You're the Best," by Joe Esposito. You know, the song that plays at the end of the movie when Daniel wins the championship? Ah, amazing.

Anyway, speaking of writing and The Karate Kid, I have to go do some freelancing and the movie ended. Time for a new movie, a glass of vino, and a little work.
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Sunday Night Blues

Another weekend come and gone. Happy Father's Day, Dad!

I told you about most of the happenings of last week. It looks like we're going to get the photos from our engagement session sometime next month -- I can't wait! I'm not sure if I really conveyed the whole experience of our little photo shoot last week. It started with Jesh telling having Bryan and I stand side-by-side, holding hands. First, he asked Bryan a few questions about me and Bryan had to answer with the first thing that came to his mind. Then, I did the same. The next session, Jesh told Bryan to imagine that the only way he could express how much he loves me was through interpretive dance. Now, given that the only time Bryan has ever danced is when it's just us two and he's being goofy, or when we're at a wedding (and, therefore, drunk), there was basically no way that Bryan was going to dance -- interpretively -- in front of about 20 strangers. I'm sure the request alone evoked some great expressions from Bryan!

Anyway, this house hunt deal is really starting to get to me. I'm starting to feel totally discouraged. I'm feeling a little "duped" if you will. The whole time we've been looking, we've been looking at the listing price alone. No one told us to pay attention to taxes, or association fees and assessments. So, that's what we're paying attention to now. We're going out this week or next weekend, and hopefully seem some good stuff. I'm just starting to get worried that we're not going to find in anything and close on it in enough time, and Bryan and I are going to be out on our asses! Cross your fingers for us and send prayers our way.

Switching gears, it's 342 days until our wedding! A lot of people that I know are have just recently gotten married, and seeing all of their pictures makes me so excited for Bryan and I, all that we have ahead of us. You might think I'm crazy, but I'm already getting sad that the engagement period is coming to a close. I know, I know. I still have 11 months of planning ahead of me. But, we've already been engaged for almost 9 months! Knowing how fast that's gone by, and knowing how fast the planning has gone for my friends and family -- I know that the next 342 days are going to fly by. I just need to remember to enjoy every minute and not get caught up in the small stuff. Ha - I'm going to re-read this post in the month before the wedding!

The biggest thing on our to-do list right now is finding an officiant. Every one I have contacted to this point is retiring! What's up with that? I'm not quite sure, but I'm not happy about it, either. Anyone have any person they can recommend? (I suppose I have to make my blog public to get that request out there...)

Anyway, Bryan and I are engrossed in Friday Night Lights, so I'm going to head out and get some rest. Another long week of work ahead. Until next time ....
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The Hunt Goes On

It's been just over a week since my last post and man, does it feel longer than that! Work has been hectic; one of my team members left last week, which will be better in the long-run, but in the short-term -- *sigh*. The rest of my team and I are left to pick up the pieces and do not only our jobs, but hers, too. That's life, I suppose. At least I enjoy going to work every day and what I'm doing challenges me every day.

So, in the midst of that, Bryan and I went home to Iowa City last weekend. Going home is something I love; I miss my family every day and love getting to spend time with them, and also with Bryan's family since they live there, too. But, it also stresses me out. The weekends go too fast, and I feel like there is always somewhere to go, someone to see or something to do. But, I relish them all the same.

This particular weekend, one of my best friend's sisters recently got married in Mexico and she and her new husband were having a wedding reception for everyone who couldn't make it to their destination wedding. We were able to squeeze in a few quick visits with our family, talk with Zephyr's, our stationary vendor for the wedding, and visit with friends. We were supposed to take our engagement photos on Sunday. Our photographer, Laura, one of our friends from high school recently started her own photography company, The Studio Noir. She lives in Boston now, but was in town at the same time as us, so we wanted to take pictures, but the weather did not work out. :( I was bummed.

Coincidentally, my co-worker, whose girlfriend is a wedding photographer, told me that she was hosting a workshop for Jesh De Rox, an amazing Canadian photographer who is known for his relationship- and connection-driven approach to photography. They needed another couple to model for the workshop attendees, so Bryan and I volunteered! We get to keep all of the photos from the session at no charge. I love that we'll be able to see pictures through so many different "eyes." We didn't really know what to expect at the beginning -- we knew it wasn't going to be a typical engagement session. But, the photographers had techniques for getting us to emit certain emotions. We played games, we whispered into each other's ears, we shared memories with each other, we laughed. It was fun to stare into Bryan's eyes and tell him all of the things I love about him, and to have him whisper in my ear the moment when he was the most proud of me. Whenever we had to be serious, I couldn't be -- I was always smiling! I suppose that's not the worst thing in the world, but when we were supposed to be the "intense" couple and imagining leaving each other for three years, Bryan almost had tears in his eyes and there I was, with a goofy grin! Oh well. I think the pictures will be beautiful and natural and I can't wait to share them.

And, we are still house-hunting. We went to see more places last night, a couple of them for the second time. I think I'm going to end up with a broken heart after all is said and done -- I realized today that we can't afford any of our three favorite places :( Kind of a let down, but, that being said, there are so many properties that we do really like and that we can afford. We're going to keep looking and see what happens. It is fun to see what's out there and I love imagining life together in our new home!

That's all for now. I am lately addicted to Friday Night Lights, and brought Bryan on board. A rare occurence, given that Bryan usually HATES all of the TV I watch. We are almost done with season three, so I bid adieu to go watch the final episodes. Then, off to bed -- boot camp in the morning at 5:30!
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Let's Try This Again

Well, I started this blog during a rare lull in my life – not much going on with work or outside of it. That lasted for about as long as it took me to write my first post, and POOF – it’s been more than a month since I’ve been back. I’m OK with this, especially because no one actually knows that this blog exists yet (I’m waiting until I have a good library of content before starting my marketing campaign).

In any case, May brought a lot of exciting things for us. In the beginning of the month, Bryan and I went home to Iowa City for Christine’s (his sister) graduation from nursing school. Obviously, this is a huge accomplishment for anyone, but we were especially proud of her because after she got pregnant with Alydia, our niece, she had to take a hiatus from school. As soon as she could, she started back up and worked her butt off to graduate. And she did. I’m helping her out with her résumé and job application materials, and hopefully, she’ll land a full-time position somewhere in Iowa.

The same weekend, my dad made a surprising announcement: He’s engaged, too. He has been dating his fiancée, Denise, for the past year or so and he popped the question while they were on vacation in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Of course, I am so happy for my dad, as I know he has been lonely since my parents divorced several years ago. My dad is the best and he deserves the best, so despite some circumstances that I won’t get into right now, I want him to be forever happy and that’s all that matters at the end of the day.

At the beginning of this month, Bryan and I started our official search for our first home! It has been an eye-opening experience looking at all of the properties available here in the city. (Yes, I said the city. Try as I might, I can’t persuade Bryan to make the move to the ‘burbs quite yet; and, if I’m being honest, I don’t think I am ready yet either. But I digress.) I’ve learned the market pretty quickly – the prices and quality of homes differ drastically based on the neighborhood in which you’re looking, and the more places we find, the more it’s looking like we’ll end up in Lincoln Square. Which, I might add, is totally fine with me. The neighborhood is up-and-coming, with lots to do, drink, eat and see. We’re looking at 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condos and have found some AMAZING properties. The trick is going to be the type of loan we get. Since Bryan was in the military, we are eligible for a VA loan – the trick is that only Bryan can be on the loan, which limits how much we are approved for. In any case, I’m exciting about what we’ve seen so far and can’t wait to find the place we’ll call home.

Then over Memorial Day Weekend, Bryan and I took an “innversary” vacation. The last time we took a trip, it was to California in September and we got engaged. Eight months later, we headed to Boston to celebrate one-year until our wedding. I’ve never been before and it was so much fun! Boston is awesome, with so much to do and see. Bryan has been trying to get me out there forever; he has always loved the city (and the Red Sox). We arrived on Thursday night and went to dinner at a cute French-fusion restaurant on Newbury Street. Friday, we spent the day sightseeing and went to the Red Sox game on Friday night. Even though they lost, Fenway was a super fun experience. Saturday, we did more sightseeing and then went down to Long Wharf and grabbed some drinks on the water before going back to Fenway and meeting my best friend’s boyfriend and brother after the Sox game. Sunday, we took the ferry out to Martha’s Vineyard for the day. We rented bikes and rode up and down the beach, along the ocean and to a few neighboring towns. Then we grabbed some drinks at The Sand Bar – self-explanatory what that was. I proceeded to make get the worst sunburn of my 26 years of life. I don’t know why I didn’t think to put on sunscreen, but I didn’t, and boy, did I pay for it. I couldn’t even lift my arms up without pain from the skin in my shoulders creasing. In any case, it was a great trip, and one I’ll never forget.

And now, suddenly, it’s June, and we are officially less than a year until our wedding! I’m not going to lie, as soon as May 29 hit, I had a small panic attack at the amount of work we have ahead of us! But, we are really far ahead, so that’s just my Type A personality getting the best of me. We have pretty much all of our vendors booked with deposits. This weekend, we’re heading home to take our engagement photos and meet with our stationary vendor. Of course, I have no idea what to wear in our photos, so that’s my latest item to stress about… always something!

I remember back in the day when I wrote in a journal and at the end, I promised myself (or my journal) that I would write again soon. And then, one year later, my next journal entry would start out, “I can’t believe it’s been so long…” In any case, I do vow to write as frequently as possible, so this time I will “write again soon.”
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