My winter boots are one of the best investments I have ever made!

They proved to be most useful navigating puddles (more like baby lakes) coming home tonight, since all the snow was melting today.

Now I just have to invest in a lighter pair for spring rain and I'll be golden!

For those who think this entry might seem mundane, I'm sorry. Actually, no I'm not. Because having warm, dry feet is the best!

Cheerful

Jan. 4th, 2014 05:17 pm
It is snowing something fierce outside right now. The weather, as a whole, has been pretty miserable, and in the next couple of days it's only getting worse, with temps predicted to dip below zero as a high on Monday.

This is normally the kind of thing that would devastate me. Every year, I go through a period from pretty much mid-December all the way through March where I question what the hell I'm still doing in Chicago, and experience many days of gloom from having to trudge through snow and ice and wind.

Amazingly, that is not so much the case this time around. At least, not in the moment. I even got out for a bit this morning for a gym visit, and to return a DVD (The Lifeguard) that I rented from the Redbox last night. I had my warm boots, hat and coat. I watched the line of cars on Roosevelt Road delayed by the slippery conditions.

AND IT WAS NO THING!

No real reason for sharing this. I'm just glad for my good mood, and it seems that this year in particular, attaining happy only required gritting my teeth and getting through Christmas. No that it's over, the world feels full of possibility.

It could also be that I'm a bit giddy in knowing that I might have a long weekend, because no way am I leaving the house on Monday if it truly gets down to 30-50 below, as the weather folks have been predicting. This is why sick days were invented.
Today's horoscope must be saved! Adventure bus, I await you with open arms!

"Spare no expense in your day, JENNY, both emotionally and monetarily. Whatever you put into this day will come back to you tenfold. Feel free to indulge and delight in your fun loving nature. This day speaks of freedom from restraint of all kinds. Break the chains and explore new worlds - in your mind and in your physical surroundings. Don't turn away when the adventure bus comes around to pick you up."
Today's horoscope seemed especially important, so I am recording for posterity.

You will be the hit of the party today, JENNY. Everyone wants to talk to you. You will find that great transitions are happening in your life right now, and you should look at how you can adopt new principles and attitudes toward them. Your emotions are suggesting that you take a rather unconventional approach to the day. The things you learn may be things you want to incorporate into your worldview on a long-term basis.

Also interesting that this came to me not long after I had the realization that 2013 was not really that bad. I think the thing is that there were enough really positive highlights to make the lowlights and disappointments (I'm looking at you, Date Boy!) that much more obvious in contrast.

I'll do a proper look-back entry soon, but in the meantime I just wanted to say all of this.
This afternoon, I was sorting through some old Word documents, and I stumbled across an assignment I'd done for a Fiction Seminar class from almost a decade ago. This was the class where I first hit upon the idea of doing a novel about wrestling, although at the time my sense of the story and its characters were still super vague.

Anyway, the assignment was to choose 10 brief but vivid moments that we observed in real life (maybe on the same topic or theme? I can't remember) and just whip through them in an attempt to capture their essence. I only got down five, but re-reading them today, I'm astounded to find that I like them more than I ever like anything I've written when it I look at it fresh.

I thought, for shits and giggles, I'd share the one that's my favorite. Here goes:

2. Tommy's lesson

The first sign of trouble was the creaking. Tommy knew the ring's worn metal frame never groaned under its own weight, never strained to support its two-by-four-enforced canvas mat unless there were men standing on it. He turned away from the concession stand, feeling the leaden weight of the Diet Pepsi in his grip as he realized there were kids messing around in the ring.

Two boys leaned against the middle rope, using its elasticity to sling-shot each other toward the center of the mat. In the opposite corner, their sister balanced on the lower turnbuckle, bouncing up and down –eyes closed, hugging the ring post to keep her balance. On the floor, another boy peered under the ring apron, looking for the midgets that were rumored to support massive structure.

"Hey, uh…can you guys get out of there, please?"

Tommy abandoned his drink on the snack counter, sprinting between rows of chairs to resume his security post. He reached for the boy on the floor, but a pair of hands spun him around before the grab was completed. It was Ian. And he was pissed.

"You're letting them play in my ring? MY RING? That's a fucking lawsuit waiting to happen."

"Ian…" Tommy heard Ian's palm striking his face before he felt it. One hit, a sharp spanking of his cheek – drawing redness and heat to its surface.

Onlookers collectively gasped, causing Tommy's untouched cheek to take on a matching hue. Ian stepped back, shaken by the unexpected audience. He pointed a trembling finger at the target of his fury.

"Next time, do your fucking job. That's all I'm askin."
Or Happy Christmas. Honestly, I kinda like that phrase better.

Not too much new to report. I'm still finding my way at the new job, but I have today and tomorrow off, and have been spending today enjoying a quiet day by myself to prepare for tomorrow's immediate family meet-up.

I went to the gym before it closed. I wrapped all my presents. I'll probably spend the rest of the day doing a combo of reading, binging on Smallville and Veronica Mars, and writing. I should probably spend the most time on the latter, since my novel has been terribly neglected lately.

But it's so rare that I get a day when nothing is expected of me. It's hard to resist letting myself not be productive. There's always something to tend to, whether it's work, or chores, or errand running, or social obligations. I wouldn't say no if an unexpected invite popped up to do something tonight, but I also would not cry if I have nothing more than a date with my couch and my blankets. And can you blame me? It's damn cold out there!

Anyway, the point of this was not for me to ramble. The point was just to pop in and wish everyone cheer.

I've done that, so I'm signing off now.

Gah!

Dec. 14th, 2013 08:58 am
Two friends!

Two people that I know fairly well, completely unconnected to each other each lost a parent this week.

WTF, Universe?

It's unfair and sad at any time, but how shitty to have to deal with this so close to Christmas.

And there's not much I can do, other than to extend my condolences and make myself available.

Life is so cruel sometimes.
I think most of you know that I've been somewhat casually pursuing running as a recreational activity this last year or so.

It started out of a desire to participate in a zombie obstacle race - Run For Your Lives - without making a total ass of myself. And once I successfully (albeit slowly) completed that race, I figured I might as well maintain the moderate level of fitness I achieved as a result of my training. Which allowed me to try other races in 2013:

1 normal (just running, no gimmicks) 5K in April.
1 obstacle race with mud and foam (5K Foam Fest) in June.
1 novelty race (just running, no timing chip - Run or Dye, a knockoff of The Color Run) in August.

My personal goal was to complete a minimum 3 races this calendar year, whether those were just about running, or more focused on fun with running as a side benefit. And since I've completed the three listed above, I figured I'd accomplished my mission, and was done with organized racing until spring, since I am not a fan of cold weather, and do all of my winter workouts on a track at my gym.

But that was before last Thursday, when I decided to announce my decision to register for a 10K (my first race at that distance) being held at Navy Pier about a year from now on Facebook. This post caught the interest of my high school friend Chris, who lives in Lawrence, Kansas but has been in Chicago most of this month visiting his parents. He's recently taken up running himself, and expressed interest in joining me. We agreed that we'd do as much of the run together as possible (he's much faster than me) and I was happy to have gained a local running buddy.

I didn't expect anything more to come from this conversation, but later that night I got a Tweet from Chris, telling me to check my Facebook wall for some info he shared on race he was doing that Saturday morning called the Santa Hustle 5K. His hope was that I'd join him, but I had to act quickly, since registration ended that night. I checked the page, learning that the race was being held at Soldier Field, had a course along the lakefront trail, and included things like fake beards, santa hats, and cookie stations to fit the holiday theme. Concept-wise, it sounded like a hoot, although there was the whole outdoor running in 20-degree-or-less temperatures to consider.

Without the promise of a running buddy, there's no way I would have even considered signing up. I'm not a huge Christmas fan, so it wouldn't have been worth my while. But knowing I'd have someone with me......someone willing to retrieve my race materials for me, since I couldn't make it to the packet pick-up location within the time range allotted.....someone willing to drive us to Soldier Field so there was no suffering on public transit at the ass-crack of dawn......someone who would make the whole experience fun despite the risk of hypothermia.....

You see where this is going. I shoved my fears and my cold hatred aside and plunked down the registration fee.

And immediately felt batshit insane.

But there were no refunds. Nothing more to do but plan our race day logistics and hope for the best.

Which is why I found myself waking at 6:30 on Saturday morning, dressing myself in two pairs of socks, running tights, a long-sleeved t-shirt, a thermal vest, hat, and gloves. When Chris arrived with my race swag, I added a the official long-sleeved, dri-fit race shirt (which was red with a front that looked like a Santa's robe), a fake beard, and an ill-fitting Santa hat to my outfit.

Once we got there and were actually out in the cold air, I did have some doubts about what I'd gotten myself into. But there were booths to browse and free Emergen-C to drink, both of which kept us moving and relatively comfortable. We lined up in our race corral (these were segmented by average minute-per-mile times - we chose 11 minutes, which a little faster than my usual, a little slower than Chris's), and hopped around to keep frostbite from setting in.

Not long after, we were off. I couldn't tell if I was at my regular pace, or if the air stinging in my chest was slowing me down. But we pounded the pavement steadily, occasionally passing people, and once we were fully moving I stopped noticing how cold it was.

Don't get me wrong. There were moments when it hurt. I felt a mild side stitch that I had to push through. And when the wind picked up, which it only did a few times, I felt like it might end me. But we only stopped for a few photo-ops along the course, and slowed at the cookie and candy stations. Mini M&Ms are not easy to consume while you're in motion, by the way!

I lost pace with Chris with about a quarter of a mile to go, which was totally fine because I appreciated him staying with me for most of the course. He pulled ahead when the finish line banner became visible and I pushed through my fatigue as much as I could, finishing at 39:36.25. This surprised me, because it was less than a minute slower than the timed race I did in April, and because I didn't realize our timing chips were sophisticated enough to subtract our photo op breaks.

Needless to say, I felt joy and pride and relief and satisfaction when all was said and done. Also felt grateful to Chris, without whom this experience would have never happened. And there were more free cookies!!!

I guess the moral of this story is that we are usually capable of much more than we think. So don't let fear and doubt hold you back.

I'll probably still do most of my winter running indoors, but I like that I'm hardcore enough that I can take to the streets of my neighborhood should I so choose!
Role call on all the ways this day turned out to be a delight:

1. Free lunch at work (tacos, no less!)
2. Damn near killed my first draft of my first major work-related writing assignment at the new gig.
3. An unexpected pair of free Bulls tickets
4. Excellent company at said Bulls game on VERY short notice (thanks, Drew!)
5. Cheap (in quality, not in price) nachos for dinner.

In short, I win!!!

Tamale Hut

Oct. 13th, 2013 11:32 am
I'm not magically better overnight, and the hurt and anger from the boy failure is still flaring up in bursts that I can't control.

But swear to god, last night's Tamale Hut reading did wonders as ointment for my ailing soul.

Soooo many great open mic readers. And a featured guest who I geeked out for not only because his novel was interesting, but also because he mentioned that he used to be a DJ at the non-defunct WILLROCK radio station that I listened to a lot in college.

Not to mention the general good company and companionship from all my friends there, most of whom are the open mic regulars.

Between this and a good night at Beacon Pub trivia a couple nights ago. I'm starting to feel like I've got everything I need to keep me happy until a good romance is ready to find me.

So you know how I mentioned that I might have some news in my last entry?

Well, it's finally time for me to come out with it.

I'M STARTING A NEW JOB ON OCTOBER 28TH!!!!!!

This has been in the works for about two months now, but last Wednesday I got the call and was offered a role as Manager of Individual Giving at Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago. I accepted on the spot, and gave notice the following morning. Not only does this gig build upon the skills and experience I've been cultivating in my current position, but it allows me to serve an organization doing work that I would enthusiastically support even if they weren't paying me to do so. Plus, my soon-to-be manager seems super nice and I'm really looking forward to learning from her.

My last day at UChicago is 10/19, because two of the parent events that I am responsible for are being held that day and I wanted to see them to their completion. After that I get a week off to decompress, and I hope I can use that time for a writing binge in addition to some sleep.

It's still so hard to believe that this is happening! I've come extremely close to landing a couple other positions over the last year or so, but there was always some reason for the bottom to drop out at the last minute, usually reasons that were beyond my control. It feels so fantastic to finally be chosen, ya know? As someone who struggles to acknowledge her own talents and self-worth (Imposter Syndrome, I have it), it is sooooooo nice to have that recognized by an external source. And in this case it's not just verbal recognition, which I've gotten plenty of from my current colleagues and donors, but the tangible reward of a new office that won't require such a long commute and a pretty sizable salary increase.

Suffice it to say, my professional life looks pretty promising at the moment!

Now it's just a matter of bringing my romantic life to an equivalent. Hear that, boys? If you're single, gainfully employed, and a good catch (not in a generic way, but in a way that matches up with Jenny Standards), I'm currently accepting applications!!! :)
I am burnt out, for work reasons mostly, but also because I had to deal with a sick cat most of last night and today. This just needed to be said.

Stay tuned for more interesting posts, though. I might have some news to share in the next week or so.

I board a train car at the Rosemont Blue Line station, on my way to the Cumberland Park N' Ride garage, where I am retrieving the rental car that I've been using to get back and forth to Wizard World this weekend. I am joined by a trio of early twenty-somethings who are decked out as Batman, Robin, and The Joker respectively. Obviously, they are convention-goers. Poor Batman is sweating so heavily that beads of perspiration are dripping from his jawline, but he refuses to remove his latex mask.

A kid in a blue-and-white striped polo shirt and jeans starts talking to them, very intrigued by their cosplay.

Polo Kid: Were you at the convention? I was gonna go, but I didn't wanna pay sixty dollars for a ticket.

Batman nods. Not sure if he is too overheated to speak or just doesn't want to engage in conversation with a stranger.

Robin: Yeah, we were just there. We're going back later.

Polo Kid (to Batman): That's a great costume. But you can take off your mask now. You're sweating.

Batman ignores him.

Polo Kid: My big geek thing was always Pokemon. That's my big guilty confession. But I couldn't do a costume from that.

Robin: There were a surprising number of people dressed up as Ash at this Con.

Polo Kid: Yeah, but the problem with dressing as Ash is that he is perpetually a seven-year-old boy. I couldn't pull that off, I don't think.

Awkward silence ensues. A minute or two passes, and then a man sitting in the little alcove at the back of the car lifts a saxophone from out of nowhere, and begins playing the theme from the Batman TV show!

The trio of cosplayers crack up. When the song ends, the entire train car breaks out in applause.

The train reaches Cumberland, and I exit, laughing and shaking my head at how randomly absurd my life can be.

End scene.

Last night I went to a festival at the Irish American Heritage Center with [livejournal.com profile] fuzzilla. A generous neighbor who volunteers there gave me free tickets, and our main objective was to enjoy a performance by The Tossers, who were headlining the main stage, and who are one of my favorite bands.

We arrived pretty early, in order to stroll the festival grounds, enjoy some food and drink, and get a lay of the land before the music started. The vendor area is not very big, but there's lots of pretty hats, sweaters, jewelry, and whatnot to admire. So we were checking out all of that, waiting to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] pattytempleton and her crew, when we came upon a booth featuring a variety of handcrafted silver jewelry. Earrings, pendants, rings.....all featuring intricate Celtic designs, beautiful work that had clearly been produced with love and care.

As we were looking at all of this, I started to get the feeling that there was something familiar about some of the pieces before me. I moved to a display case featuring some turtle pendants, and that's where the shock of recognition struck like a lightning bolt.

Resting among these turtle pendants, was one mid-sized piece almost identical to one I had first laid eyes on back in 2003, the year I attended my very first Summerfest in Milwaukee.

It was jarring being brought back to that moment - remembering how Mike and I had been browsing casually, with absolutely no intention of buying anything, until suddenly there's this lovely Celtic turtle smiling at me. And my logical inner voice tells me to move on, says, "It's too expensive, Jenny, forget it," but I can't, because I feel inexplicably drawn to it, and just want to stand staring at it a while longer. Staring gives way to longing, which in turn gives way to curiosity, and the next thing I know I'm talking to the vendor, gushing over how much I adore his work, and asking if I can try it on. I think there was some more hemming and hawing on my part, feeling torn between abandoning a thing of beauty or satisfying an urge that was out of my graduate student price range. In the end, I was able to rationalize an impulsive splurge by putting the purchase of the pendant, (as well as a silver chain and a Thor ring for Mike) on a credit card, telling myself that I was supporting a fellow artist, that this was a piece that would last me many years, and that the turtle was clearly meant for me, seeing as how I so rarely fell so madly in love with jewelry.

I continued re-living that moment as my eyes drifted down the display case, to a label informing me that the vendor occupying this particular booth was known as "Sean's Celtic Creations." A pretty innocuous name, especially at an Irish fest, but one that was especially resonant because.......*cue drum roll*................THAT WAS THE SAME VENDOR WHO SOLD ME MY JEWELRY AT THAT SUMMERFEST 10 YEARS AGO!!!!

Just as I was realizing this, Reb and I were greeted by Sean himself, and told that he was happy to answer any questions we might have about any of the items on display.

I did not have questions, but I did have something important to tell him about our long ago encounter.

I pointed at the piece that had triggered all my memories, and said, "I bought something like this from you many, many years ago, and it led to me getting this." At which point I turned around and lifted the hair off the back of my neck to reveal this:

300x300

Sean was pleasantly surprised to see this, and grinned proudly when I explained that his creation had formed the basis for my first tattoo, which I had gotten in May of 2004. He gave me a high five, and also a gracious little half bow.

"I really like when people bring my stuff to tattoo artists and ask for it," he said. "It's much better than when it just shows up on their wall (as part of a shop's flash offerings without appropriate credit being given to him for the artwork)."

We chatted for a bit more after this, but then Sean had to leave to attend to some booth-related things and also address other customers. I didn't make any impulsive purchases this time out, but this encounter was just as meaningful and memorable as our first one, maybe even more so because I was able to return the joy he'd given me in Milwaukee by showing him that his art was something I would carry with me forever.
Something came over me at last Friday's Bad Grammar. And I can't pinpoint the exact cause, but I think it was a confluence of several things all at once.

Hearing a number of vivid, excellent stories that sparked my imagination.
Reading a Nirvana biography that does a bit to explore Kurt's creative process.
Re-reading old, abandoned ideas for scenes and story.
Forcing myself to sit down and commit to novel work for an hour on Sunday.

All of these things seem to have re-ignited the creative side of my brain, because lately I've been thinking about my various unfinished written works more intensely, and I've noticed my desire to work on them, all of them, all at the same time has returned. I'm impatient to create. And this is something I haven't experienced in quite a long time.

I even indulged in some silly, non-sensical wordplay during my lunch break yesterday. Just because I could. It made me wish I was musical, because though I don't dabble in poetry very often, I think I could get into it if it would result in songs that could be performed and/or recorded. This may be just a knee-jerk response to the passages in the Nirvana biography that discuss the band's intent to merge their style with catchy, pop-like hooks, but who knows?

It allowed me to come up with the following lines, which I will try to continue building on for as long as they hold my interest:


dead flowers make me smell better
make you smell worse

don’t run run away now
or I’ll steal your purse

I have no idea what that means, or what it's about. But I kind of like it.
Tennessee was amazing. And I have all kinds of things I want to say about it. But I also just did a mud/foam 5K with my BFF Dawn that I want to tell you about.

So let's talk about that first, shall we?

An overview:

5K Foam Fest is a 5K race (obviously) that was held out in Ottawa, IL this past Saturday. This event takes place in cities throughout the country, and involves running on a course paved with slippery, slimy mud, and also stopping along the way to take on various obstacles, some which get you dirty (lots of dirty, muck-filled pools) some that clean you off (bounce houses filled with foam bubbles, a 30-foot foam-filled slip n' slide, etc.). There are also obstacles that just test your physical abilities, like a giant cargo net that you have to climb up and over. Large tires forming a bridge. 8 foot climbing walls (I skipped that one after seeing one of the staff needing to tighten the bolts holding the wall upright, because it made me concerned that it wasn't stable enough to make my clumsy self feel secure).

Needless to say, it was a pretty major physical challenge. But a fun one. I think I enjoyed the Run For Your Lives course better, but I had a number of memorable experiences on this race that made it worth the price of admission. And worth all the bruises and scrapes that I developed from falling on the muddy paths a bunch of times.

Experiences like:

Getting to spend quality time with a lady who I love and don't get to see all that often.

Watching a girl who couldn't have been more than 10  years old crank out 18 or 19 pull-ups, during a challenge that was posed in the area near the starting line. She whipped her grown, male competitors like whoa!

Laughing at the girly girls who were all grossed out because they didn't anticipate exactly how much mud they'd encounter. And who swore we were running through cow manure, even though I don't think that's possible since it would pose a serious public health issue.

Losing one of my shoes. You wouldn't think this would be something I'd be happy about, and initially I wasn't, because it happened during the first mile of the run, but despite the challenges it ended up presenting, it actually worked to my benefit in several ways.

      a. I got better traction on the mud in my bare foot.
      b. People noticed my disadvantage, and praised me for continuing the race (including two really hot, fit guys). Which made me feel like a super badass!
      c. It expanded my personal sense of what I'm capable of. Because I won't lie, there were a few times I felt like quitting, when I stepped on a pile of hard rocks, or when I encountered a super steep,        slippery hill that seemed impossible for people without bare feet (I ultimately scooched up that obstacle on my ass, doing a sort of reverse crawl to get to the top). The main things that kept me going were the fear of the horrible shame and embarrassment I'd feel over tapping out, and my need to reach the first big slip n' slide, (I had never used one before, and my desire to try one was a big factor in me signing up in the first place). Not wanting to bail on Dawn also motivated me to tough things out!

The course ended with an inflatable waterslide that had a three-story drop, and another big slip n' slide. There was a guy with finisher medals waiting to receive us at the very end, and I can't even begin to describe how satisfying it was to feel the weight of my award dangling from my neck after the guy slipped the medal ribbon over my head. I wore it out in public for the rest of the day!

And now that this is done, I'm thinking about what I want for my next novelty run challenge. I don't see myself ever doing the really extreme courses, like Warrior Dash or the Tough Mudder. I just don't have the balance or the upper body strength for those. I am signed up for something called Run or Dye in Indianapolis at the end of this summer, which is a knockoff of the Color Run. After that I may just see if I can get a couple more normal 5Ks under my belt, since my speed and conditioning could stand to be improved.
1. I FINALLY started to feel like the planning for the work event that happens next week is in good shape, and the end result is going to be a successful program with lots of happy guests.

2. I got to leave work early, for a career exploration quest, which went well and which I will talk more about in the coming weeks after I am more comfortable doing so.

3. I ate a tasty cupcake to reward myself for my excellent performance at the above-mentioned career exploration quest.

4. I signed my life away for a refinanced mortgage that will leave me with a little extra money in my pocket each month, and will give me long-term savings on interest payments. And since there was a snafu that led to the notary arriving at my house several hours late for our closing, I can look forward to $100 cash as reparations for being "inconvenienced." Truthfully, it was no big deal, since I didn't make a special trip somewhere to be kept waiting, and since I didn't have any unbreakable plans last night. In fact, it allowed me to catch up on this week's episode of "The Following" while I waited for dude to arrive, so the delay in our appointment actually worked to my benefit!

5. I ended my day on the couch, very excitedly holding my brand new copy of my good friend Michael Diebert's newly published poetry collection, "Life Outside the Set," Which, by the way, you should consider buying, because it is oh so very beautiful. Click below for more info, and please accept my apologies for being too short on time to format that into a more neat and tidy text link.

http://www.amazon.com/Life-Outside-Set-Michael-Diebert/dp/0615795676/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366899959&sr=8-1&keywords=life+outside+the+set
On this day eleven years ago, I entered the nursery of MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, ready to lay eyes on my niece for the very first time. I will never forget that moment. One of my sister's little teenage friends trailed behind me, directing me toward the viewing window closest to her bassinet.

I seem to remember the little crib having a little white placard on its edge, with the name Seay hand-scrawled on it in blue ink. It's possible this was not there, and it's just my imagination filling in an extra detail.

One thing I know I definitely saw, though, was the completely bald, round-faced little girl sleeping on her back, eyes closed, and one arm stretched out to her side, completely relaxed. She was the spitting image of the newborn photo of her mother that had hung on the wall of the house we grew up in for many years.

Something seized me in that moment, and I remember standing there, speechless, feeling utterly captivated by this tiny miracle.

Behind me, Becky's little friend remarked, "You're falling in love with her." And though I rather resented her breaking the silence of that magic moment, I knew that she was absolutely right.

Today, that baby is now a young girl, almost as tall as me. She's spending her birthday with her mother, naturally. But tomorrow I get to play auntie, and my gift to her will be a day at the Berwyn Eagles Club, taking in an afternoon of women's wrestling at Shimmer. It will be her first time seeing women in the ring who aren't WWE Divas, and I'm hoping it will inspire her, and help her see that strong, badass women come in many different colors, shapes, and sizes.

In the meantime, Happy 11th Birthday, Melanie! Here's to our upcoming day of geekery!
Is anyone else feeling trapped by this extended winter?

I know it's normal for a Chicago spring to be unpredictable, and maybe it would not be so bad if I had a car, but this perpetual cold is making me nuts! It's soooooo depressing!!!!
It's been a while, hasn't it?

I gues s that's because I haven't had too much to report. Mostly I've been keeping a low profile....I guess I've been in need of extra energy conservation since some recent changes at work have left me without a manager and taking on extra responsibility yet again. And right before the start of final preparations for our biggest event of the year. Yeesh. It's not dire, I just know the next few weeks are going to be an intense slog. I'll get through it.....I was in a similar situation last year and rose to the occasion, but it's one of those things that sucks when you're in the thick of it.

I even took a few days off this week and last to just sleep and sort of gather my wits about me. Normally I do some traveling in early April, but that was not the case this year, though I did rent a car last weekend and treated myself to a Botanical Garden visit while the weather was nice. And I drove to my BFF Dawn's house way out in the sticks to watch Wrestlemania with her. WWE pay-per-view viewing was a tradition of ours back in college, and it was nice to repeat that, though with the difference of us also being in the company of her cats and her two young sons as well. The littlest one, who is also my godson, kept making eyes at me, which was adorable, and he tried to woo me by offering me his plastic T-Rex as a gift. He's gonna be a charmer when he grows up!

This weekend I returned to Bad Grammar Theater, which was fantastic, and today will probably be dedicated to errands and a bit of relaxing in order to mentally prepare for a day-long outing with my niece and nephew tomorrow. It's the niece's birthday, and as her gift, I'm taking her and her brother to see Shimmer, an all female wrestling promotion in Berwyn. I'm excited to introduce them to something I love so much, but they can be high energy, so I'm not sure how they're gonna take to sitting still and watching women play fight for 5 or 6 hours. In any case, I'm hopeful it will be received well. My goal is to give them the good role models of strong, athletic, super-hero-type women. They don't get much of that in their regular lives, and I think both could benefit from it.

I guess we'll see how things go! If anything interesting happens, I'll be sure to recap.

This was all over the place, wasn't it? I forget how to construct a coherent entry when I've been away too long!
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