Saturday, April 30, 2011


I have been thinking a lot lately about what makes me (and Dave) unique. Of course this line of thinking has been brought about in light of our upcoming nuptials-- why we are perfect for each other and what the perfect, uniquely "us" wedding looks like-- and I realized something, I'm not sure most people (with the exception of Dave) really know me-- my personality and things I like/identify with I mean...

For example...

1.  I love OLD things:
--I love old movies. Singin' in the Rain-- classic I will never get tired of. Roman Holiday-- favorite Audrey Hepburn movie, and Citizen Kane is still number 1 to me.
--my most recent, most loved personal purchase (non-wedding related): a real 1950's working (adapted) rotary phone.
-- my favorite piece of furniture: Dave's vintage amp

2. I love vintage pin ups
-- Remember when I dressed up as a pin up for Halloween? For weeks afterward I would wear red lipstick and victory rolls to work-- I 'd dress that way every day if it wasn't so much work, and was more socially acceptable
--pin up artwork is classic, enough said.
--If I was cool enough, had the right job and the time-- I'd be rockabilly, and I would LOVE it.

3. I love vintage posters & music posters.
-- I love those old style large type advertising posters.
-- I also love music posters and have a collection (that I love more than I can explain) of Derek Hess posters from Cleveland.
4. I love crazy shoes
-- when I was a kid I HAD TO HAVE these ridiculous boots-- my parents called them my witch boots-- but I loved them more than anything else I owned.
-- my all time favorite pair of shoes were bright turquoise, suede sketchers. If I could find another pair of them, I would buy them immediately.
-- My current favorite shoes are designed by Carlos Santana-- how cool is that? (the ones I wore to Christmas-- and I wear at LEAST once a week!)

-- I love wearing interesting shoes-- all black outfit and pink shoes-- yes! And, recently, I completely fell in love with a pair of royal blue shoes-- soon to make their appearance *wink wink

5.  Short Hair
-- I have had short hair for YEARS-- then around 25 I decided to try it long-- I hated it-- every minute.
-- I love my short hair, it's more my personality-- plus it's WAAY easier.

6. Music.
-- I know, I know, everyone says they like all types of music but I really do. Country, classical, hip hop (some of it), bluegrass (in small doses), indie, punk rock, alternative, rat pack, swing, big band, jazz, 80s, and some popular music- I like it all.

-- Currently stuck in my head:

There are of course many more points to my personality, like that I love my great dane, I hate the grocery store and I would be a secret CIA sniper if I could-- but we should save that for another time.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Hard Way

I have never chosen to do anything in life the easy way, the way you are "supposed" to, I never followed the mainstream, "This is how you achieve success" rulebook. And, despite all the years of headaches I have thus given my parents and friends, I feel it is time to explain myself.

I did it on purpose.

Now surely, you're thinking..."whaaaa? you got arrested for speeding violations, worked for minimum wage and got in a 4 car accident ON PURPOSE?! I don't think so." Well, in specific terms you would be right, but I did allow certain situations to occur, including these bad ones. As I see it, bad situations happen, regardless of if you always do the "right" thing or not. The thing is, it's the way you handle these bad situations that builds your character. Did I always handle these things correctly-- of course not. But did I learn something about the way life works, how I handle stress and bad situations, and a little about myself/growing up? You bet. And, that's the part I was fully aware of-- and purposefully taking part in.

I have always done things my own way-- which is precisely the reason I love art, literature and science, but not mathematics. My mind works in the realm of constant possibility. This mind function has led me to several realizations about myself, including:

1. I refuse to do what people tell me is the "right" way to do things. There are just too many other options, and I want to find my own way.
2. I need to live in an area where there are boundless opportunities/activities/cultures. A small town where everyone and everything is the same, drives me a little batty eventually. Give me a city.

There is no "right" way. I did everything the "hard" way and got myself into and out of terrible situations, yet still command a certain level of stable success as a 30-something. You may not envy my life-- but I would ask you to respect it. I didn't get here by any means other than my own self awareness, tough real life experience and ability to accept limitless possibilities while believing in myself. 

Of course, perhaps you and I have a different idea of what success is.

To me, success is: Securing a stable career with a practical salary which allows us to live well, within our  means. Participating in a loving relationship in which both partners are fully committed and respectful of each others individual dreams, while sharing a common understanding of life. Living each day of life to the fullest potential, recognizing the multiple possibilities each new day brings. Respecting every culture and every individual. Taking joy in the small aspects of life, and not being caught up in the Capitalist notion of money and consumption. Taking time to allow art into your life, as it feeds the soul. Living your life in a manner that is truly yours, and cannot be defined by a generalized ideology of what success means.

As a result of my living my life in this manner, and doing things my unique way, I have no regrets. I cannot (will not) blame anyone or anything for the mistakes I have made. I have to accept my choices, and move forward. This has allowed me to gain confidence in myself, my choices, my actions and etc.

One of these choices was to move to Chicago. I realize that for many this is difficult to understand. I am very proud of my small town roots. As being from a small Ohio town, I learned the values of hard work, loyalty and determination. I learned that people are just people, no matter where you are, and they deserve your respect. But, small towns, however pretty, peaceful and hard working, are not for me. My mind operates in a sphere of possibility, and there aren't as many options in a small town. Small towns do not offer as many cultures to learn from, varieties of foods to sample, multiple art installations to review, etc. Since I can remember, despite my upbringing, I have never felt like I could breathe in a small town. It was as though I was suffocated, unable to take a breath. Cleveland was the first city I lived in where I felt like I could breathe easier. Chicago has relieved the stress, I no longer hold my breath, I can finally breathe. You don't have to envy our life here-- but at least try to respect it.

We are not all the same. I realize that many of you thrive in your small towns, and that is perfect-- for you. I wouldn't ask it to be any other way. I truly believe, in order to make our lives as happy as possible, you must make decisions uniquely for who you are as a person. Maybe a small town suits you, maybe a city, perhaps the mountains, or even an island. What matters is that you do what is right for YOU. Luckily, Dave and I have found not only each other but a mutual understanding of what each of us needs as individuals to be happy-- and we compromise. I need the activity and possibilities of the city, he needs the feeling of a neighborhood with community-- thus-- we live in Rogers Park (possibly the best secret of Chicago neighborhoods).

And that's where we are now. We are happy. And, that is why I did everything the hard way. I never have those days where I look back on my life with regret and think," what would I be doing if I had chosen..." because I did choose it. I did explore the possibilities. I did work multiple jobs before finding something that suits me. (Don't believe me? try this: Car salesperson, business to business office supplies sales, drug store assistant manager, retail outlet assistant manager, department store jewelry counter rep, talent/model scout, pre-k teacher, montessori school assistant director, event planning, radio station promotion, investment banking-- to name a few) I did live in multiple places before finding one that fit (Zanesville, Reading, Columbus, Cleveland, Chicago). I did allow those bad situations to build my character-- I give really good advice it turns out-- I have a lot of life experience. And, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


When we were young, happiness was pure and simple. The magic of Christmas made us happy, the brand new toy made us cheer, and birthday parties made us hyper and frantically overwhelmed with joy. Riding your bike for the first time down that big hill-- that rush of air-- guarantee you did it with a huge grin on your face. Being truly and purely happy was easy.

But somewhere along the way you realize happiness is much more complex. Now, you can be overwhelmed with joy in one part of your life, but down trodden in another. As an adult, you find yourself in situations where you are completely unhappy while at the same time overwhelmed with joy. It's a strange feeling-- this happiness thing.

Asking someone if they are happy is a trick question now. Are you happy?... Where do I begin?

Am I happy with the Earth? Not really. We (the human race) have systematically destroyed it. We are losing our natural resources and squandering our clean air, water and food supply. I would be happier with the Earth perhaps if people hadn't interfered. Thus, I guess I am unhappy with you-- World People. We have ruined everything and globally we all act like jackasses. No, I am not happy with the World.

Am I happy with America? No. America disgusts me. Those World People I was unhappy with-- way to to America you are the biggest jackass. Our government is destroying our country, our livelihood for most Americans, and we just clearly do not give a shit about anyone or anything except money. America-- No, I am not happy with you.

Am I happy with the Mid West? Sometimes. In the summer the Mid West is ok. But these are my roots and Ohio, Illinois, I can't help but love you a little.

Am I happy with Chicago? YES! I finally feel at home, this city has given me everything it promised. I love you a little more each day (especially when it gets warmer) Chicago. My state of mind has never been so... steady. Chicago I love you and I am certainly happy with you!  My life here has been fantastic and continues improving every day. Chicago-- you're my kind of town!

Am I happy with my relationships, family and love? Ah, there's a good question. As friendships go, I am happy with those I have, but unhappy with the fact that I don't have many local friends. Hopefully this will change -- its a work in progress. Family-- of course I am happy -- how could I not be? I have a wonderful supportive family and am in the process of joining an inspiring loving second-family. But family is complicated, isn't it? Overall I can be happy, but still on a day to day basis cry myself to sleep because someone is hurt, I've disappointed someone or I can't understand something someone said/done. And love-- I can't even put into words how happy David has made me. It is a strange feeling to realize that you are so connected to another person you literally cannot live without them. And, there's always that love of a good cup of coffee.  *wink wink.

So, what does this all mean? Am I happy? Fundamentally, yes. I am happy with the things in my life that I have control over, and the things that matter.I am happy with who I am, and where I am and who I will be and where I will be someday.  But, I can't help wanting a little taste of that pure child-like joy. So, World, America, Mid West, Chicago, Friends, Family and Love-- KARMA!-- let's make a deal--

 Let the Blackhawks win (the next 4 games).

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wedding Blues

Before we can have the super adorable,quirky, perfect, fun, gorgeous wedding photos like this one that I am in LOVE with I have to do a bunch of stuff, and spend a bunch of money.

I love Dave, and I will love every moment of our marriage. Our wedding, which will be beautiful and fun and quirky and perfect like our pictures, however, is slowly killing me from the inside.

Those cute blue shoes-- LOVE THEM. They cost money. Sigh.

We are trying to have an ultra David & Andrea Chicago wedding. It will be small, but fantastic. The trouble is, fantastic equals expensive. I looked at the budget the other night and went to bed in tears. A fabulous wedding on a shoe string budget AND an envious honeymoon in Italy-- my savings account hates me.

And, I have determined that despite our modest attempts at a wedding, these vendors are just out to get you!

Our budget is no where near the median for a wedding in Chicago ( $35-50 thousand). We just aren't that fancy. My dress didn't cost thousands of dollars, Dave is renting his tuxedo, and our menu options are good, but not steak and lobster. But, we do need chairs. Chairs are expensive. ($10 per chair!) We do need a DJ -- ours is great and reasonably priced, but still (almost $1300). We do need a cake ($250 extra for that 3rd tier!)  We do need rings (mine had to be custom made to fit my engagement ring-- which is costly and wasn't in the plan)

Now, don't get me wrong. My lovely wonderful supportive parents are helping a great deal and we owe them so much for that. Dave's parents are also helping by purchasing our flower arrangements which will be gorgeous-- but the part that's left over-- the part our poor little savings account has to cover--- is freaking me out!

And-- I have to do a bunch of stuff. I have to organize everything, make everything, label everything, order everything, try on things, choose things, and determine colors, print the invitations, send the invitations, write vows, learn to dance-- and so on-- it's enough to make you crazy!

Saturday, April 2, 2011


My sister and I have a close bond, one that is founded somewhat on our mutual jealousy of each other. My understanding is that she feels as though she lives in my shadow, but I also live in hers.

And, it's getting old.

I love her dearly. She is an amazing, inspiring, beautiful young woman. I get it. She is striking and memorable and remarkable. I know-- I have known her for a long time. I love that about her.

But please--- you've got to understand--- I'm sick of hearing about it, and of being used.

So, land of the internet-- Please stop contacting me for the "hidden" agenda of reconnecting with, or telling me about, or hoping to learn about my sister. Stop sending me facebook messages asking how she is, where she is now and telling me some lame story about how she was so important to your development as a person.

Stop getting on instant chat to ask me how I am followed by " how's your sister?", " has your sister been well?", " has your sister disappeared?" 2-5 lines later. I won't answer you. I won't pass on your number. I am a person too, not just a way to reach her. I am not her secretary.

And for the love of everything holy-- if in the past-- I threatened your life, or thought you were the worst thing that has ever happened to her--- I WILL NOT be your friend, pass along your message or tell you anything about her. STOP contacting me.

So, internet friends-- if you are only using me to get to her-- please stop.

thank you.

Ladies Night

It's Friday night, and I have had a long week. Dave has been busy installing a new operating system on one of our numerous laptops, so I decided I would treat myself to a chick flick. I ended up ordering "For Colored Girls" upon the recommendation from my mother and sister. It was a great film, and I too recommend it, it was well done. But the film itself is not what I want to talk about.

The film touches on several issues women sometimes have to endure, including rape, abortion, suicide, and domestic violence. Throughout the film, these issues are addressed, with I think in the attempt to give women hope, strength and power. I agree that this is a positive message-- what I don't understand is why we need this message in the first place.

I think we can all agree that one of the fundamental differences between the human male and human female is the way in which our minds function. Males tend to process emotion in a more linear, direct way, while women tend to analyze and understand our emotions in a different sense. I am not claiming that either way is superior to the other, just illustrating that they are different.

Women "feel" while men "think". Or at least thats the best way I can describe my point here. What I don't understand, is how for hundreds of years, in every culture, we have decided that "feeling" equals a weakness.

And before you jump to conclusions, blaming the media, men and society, I have to say--- really, ladies? We have to stop blaming an outside source. The media didn't make us this way, the images of thin blondes with smokey eyes and big boobs may bombard us on a constant basis-- but WE are letting it get to us. WE are ultimately responsible for the ways WE CHOOSE to process those images.  Men are (collectively as a whole) not trying to keep us in our place, make us feel like we are less, we are processing their actions to mean that, and again, letting it get to us. Society is not telling us we are the weaker sex, WE are.

When I am upset, I cry. I release my strong emotion in the form of tears. When Dave gets upset, he punches the door frame. We are both doing the same thing. Releasing our emotions. Our anger, fear, love, hate, confusion, sadness and frustrations. We all feel them, and we each (as individuals) release them in our own ways. My way is not superior to yours, and yours is not superior to mine.

Ladies, we are stronger than this. You are strong enough to make a difficult decision, and realize it was for the best. Be proud of yourself for having the courage to make that decision and stand by it. Don't spend the rest of your life beating yourself up from the inside out because you have convinced yourself that you are weak. Get ahold of yourself. Look at yourself in the mirror-- and allow yourself to actually see yourself! I know, it's hard-- you only see what you are not or what you wish you could be. We need to stop the madness.

We are stronger than this. If someone, anyone has done something to you that is unacceptable, fight back. Be proud of your instinct to fight to the death. Don't second guess your instinct. You are just as capable of fighting as everyone else. If you lose the actual fight, don't give up, fight for the rest of your life, fight to be the strong woman you are meant to be. You are capable of being that woman you wish you saw in the mirror.

We are stronger than this. Stop the drama. All that day in day out little stuff that clouds your decisions and thoughts. It doesn't matter. Be proud of yourself that you can realize this, and change it.

We are not weaker. We are equal. Start acting like it. We don't have to be anything than what we already are, so please, realize this and be yourself, fight for yourself.

Are there situations you may have no control over? Yes. Are there times when physically speaking you may be weaker than your opponent? Yes. Are there times when you will lose? Yes. Does this mean you should let it kill you slowly from the inside for the rest of your life? NO.

I'm just frustrated, and this time I'm releasing it via blog. I keep hearing stories of women being brutally raped, or beaten. This past week, a woman was picked up by two police officers near my neighborhood, and they took her home-- only to then both rape her while she screamed. This story makes me unbelievably angry and frustrated and -- disgusted, on multiple levels. I feel terrible for her. But I want her to realize her strength to get through this, and realize her self, and not allow it to destroy her from the inside. She is stronger than that. She, I imagine, is rather upset. Good, I hope she is able to release it all and be stronger from now on. She has the power to be a strong woman, and I hope she chooses to be.

Ladies-- please. We don't need a movie to tell us we can be strong and powerful-- we already are.
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