Tag Archives: animals

things i’ve been meaning to tell you: november 2015

11 Nov

1) I don’t care for the term “start a family” when referring to having kids. Whether or not you have kids does not determine the start date of your family. When you and your partner committed to each other, you started a family right at that moment, no? That moment of commitment is for you to decide, of course. Maybe it was the day were married. Or on your eight month dating anniversary. Or more likely, it was a Tuesday morning and you were eating toast and you looked at your person and thought, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, I do not want to be without this person.” I can’t decide that moment for you, no one can except you. The point is, THAT is when you created your family–and continue to create, because family can be very fluid–with your person, and your extended family, and their extended family, and all the dogs and goddamn cats that might come along with that.

So kids? Kids are expanding your family, not starting it. They are starting a new chapter for your family, if that’s a chapter you want to write.

2) I got myself a Divvy membership and every once in awhile—yes, even now that it’s getting colder—I’ll Divvy to or from work. Chicago has put in an ever-growing system of bike lanes, which makes for a protected ride, or as protected as you can be, riding city streets next to crazy asshole drivers, and I can say that because I am a crazy asshole driver when I’m not riding a bike. (It’s considered part of your driving test when you get your license in Illinois—how much of a pleasant asshat can you be? Highest score gets the finger.)

Let's roll, bitches.

Let’s roll, bitches.

Anyway, it’s pretty awesome to be able to commute via bicycle. Not only do I get to sing, “I want to ride my bicycle! I want to ride my biiiike!”* much to the confusion and/or chagrin of other bikers and some drivers, it’s freeing to pedal along, the breeze rushing over your helmet, your cheeks pinked with exercise. It’s like being a kid again, except with much more traffic, and an increased level of perspiration. (Hence why I typically ride home from work, and not to work.)

3) Swede and I are hooked, hooked, I tell you, on The Great British Baking Show on Netflix. Have you seen it? It’s extraordinary. It surpasses American reality television in just about every way, namely that they don’t create a lot of artificial drama—the natural drama of baking is what drives the show and keeps viewers engrossed. On top of that, they’re just so nice to each other, so civil, even when, say, a judge is telling a contestant that their bake isn’t terribly good. And the contestants are nice to themselves—they’ll say, “That was disappointing” after getting a bad review, but then typically follow it up with some sort of live-and-learn, I’ll try harder next time type of comment. No one is bitching about anyone else, or catty-talking what this bitch said to that bitch over there and who does he think he is and blah blah shriilllllll scrreeeeeeching polluting the airwaves omg please be quiet only dogs can hear you now. You know? It’s just civil. The icing on the cake (pun completely and utterly intended) is that some of these bakers are just terrifically talented, and their creativity is simply stunning to watch.

So if you haven’t watched, do so immediately. Even if you’d rather eat a cake than bake one.

*Please note that I am fully clothed when divvying to or from work.

things i’ve been meaning to tell you: september 2015

9 Sep

1) As I mentioned previously, I’ve taken to going to the gym in the morning during the week, a development that still astounds me. But because of this, I’m now on a first-name basis with the young man who works the front desk. I was a little startled the first time he greeted me by name (HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? OH RIGHT, IT SAYS IT RIGHT THERE ON YOUR COMPUTER WHEN YOU CHECK ME IN SORRY IT’S EARLY AND I’M NOT EVEN SURE I’M WEARING PANTS), but since then I’ve come to realize that you have to band together with the people who, like you, are up before dawn, and be nice to each other, because we all need a little nicety in the morning, especially if they, like you, have animals at home who are completely disrespectful of their attempt at health.

2) The next big trend in cocktails is going to involve figs. Write that down—you read it here first, friends. And you can trust in my predictions, as Swede and I are always ahead of the curve when it comes to these things. You know how everyone is all of a sudden into gin, and special gins, and craft gins, and gin-gin-gin-gin-gin? We’ve been drinking gin for YEARS, people. My liver is one big gin balloon!

So yeah. Figs. It’s where it’s at.

3) The other week I went out to brunch with two of my friends to a delicious little restaurant called Whisk. Amazing cheesy grits, you guys. Amazing. But here’s where they lost me: Individual, cutesy little bottles of pop.

Listen, I know it’s not fashionable to harbor an addiction to pop these days. I know I would be way cooler if I called for some sort of coffee dripped through filters hand-woven by local artisans, or a tea fizzed with aromatic beads from regional hibiscus passion fruit flower farms. (It could be a thing.)

But I’m not. I don’t like coffee, and if I’m going to drink tea I prefer a simple Earl Gray or English Breakfast tea with a little milk and honey splashed in, usually while getting ready in the morning for work and eating a banana muffin. Otherwise, with my actual breakfast, no matter whether I’m standing at the kitchen counter or out to brunch, I just want a g-d diet pop, and for the love of all that is holy and decent, I’m probably going to want a refill.

Do you understand this, hipster joints? Get rid of the stupid little bottles and pony up for fountain pop.

Christ almighty, don’t make me say it twice, you cheap bastards. You’re not cool with your tiny bottles, you’re freaking annoying and simultaneously gaining my veto vote.

4) A couple months ago I mentioned that Swede and I needed new phones. I’m happy to report that around Fourth of July, after not one, not two, but three trips to the cell phone store, we purchased new phones, with a new carrier, and life has since been grand.

Except for the fact that I couldn’t hear anything when people called me. Granted, I don’t actually talk on my cell phone terribly often, but for the few times I do, it was perturbing. So I toddled over to the cell phone store on my lunch hour, and approached the nice young man standing there just waiting to help someone.

Me: “I think there’s something wrong with my phone. I only got it a month ago, and I can’t hear anything when I make phone calls.”

Nice Young Man: (takes phone, inspects it, looks at me a bit askance.) “Your screen protector is on the wrong way. It’s covering up the ear speaker.”

Me: (blink blink blink)

Nice Young Man: (blink)

Me: “It’s okay to tell your friends about this.”

5) I have made a very important and excellent discovery about myself, which is this: I will eat just about anything that is chili-flavored.

Chili-flavored Fritos? Yes.

Chili-cheese-flavored Cheez-Its before they were discontinued? Sweet Mother of God, yes.

Quinoa enchilada bake that has all the flavorings of chili? Ab. So. Lutely.

I recently made a lentil chili, and I’ll admit I was a bit hesitant about it, but once I tasted it I was pretty much ready to eat the entire container. My favorite chili will always be my mom’s recipe (though I like to substitute ground turkey for the ground beef, or use a mixture of both), but there is just something about the combination of chili powder and cumin that makes me want to dig in a spoon and call it a day. It’s just excitingly good. I’m all over it.

photo friday: no. just, no.

4 Sep

Since the day we brought her home, Juniper’s greatest want in life is for the cats to be her friends.

Since the day we brought her home, the cats’ greatest wants in life is for Juniper to stop sniffing their butts. And then to go the hell away.

They are all currently at an impasse.

"Are you sure you don't want to be my friend?" "Go away."

“Are you sure you don’t want to be my friend?”
“Go away.”

photo friday: not one care

14 Aug

It is often hard to catch a good photo of Lady Gaga Halloween Cat, as she is more than a little camera shy. But here I think I’ve managed to really capture her essence, which is basically, “If Fat Cat wanted the bigger basket instead of having to stuff himself into the smaller one, he should have gotten here earlier.”

And how do you feel about the fact that those baskets are supposed to hold our possessions and are not actually for your napping pleasure, LGHC?

“I give no fucks.”

Go away.

Go away.

things i’ve been meaning to tell you: august 2015

12 Aug


About a month ago, I and 5,692 other drivers in the express lanes were racing down the Dan Ryan like bats out of hell—as you do—when traffic started to slow down considerably for no apparent reason—as it does—until we got to a point where I realized there was, in fact, a reason we were all inching along the expressway. I looked to my right to see a car absolutely engulfed in flames on the shoulder of the local lanes.

Yes, Chicagoans. Great idea. Let’s all drive sloooooowly—nay, come to almost a complete stop—while passing a hulking, metal inferno that could very possibly explode at any moment. Well done. (golf clap)

A+ for you guys.


I can’t wear black pants and any kind of white top together. I just can’t. And it’s such a drag! There are oodles of cute white tops out there, and black and white is a classic color combination for a reason (it’s attractive), but I can’t bring myself to make it happen. I spent too many years as waitress, where black pants and a white shirt were requirements. There were entire summers when that’s pretty much all I lived in. So I’m sorry, you guys. I just can’t do it. And don’t even get me started on tuxedo vests.


In my Tuesday morning boot camp class at the gym, our trainer often likes to end the class with the “Superman” exercise, where you lay on your tum and raise your arms and legs in the air—like you’re flying, Superman-style, but sadly without the tights or cape. It’s a great exercise, apparently, for your back and core, but let me tell you something else: It has made me seriously reconsider what I would want my superpower to be, were I to choose.

I had generally always said flying as my superpower of choice, because just think of how much money you’d save on plane tickets! And how much time you’d save not sitting in, ahem, traffic jams going past cars engulfed in flames!

Sadly, I have very little core and upper body strength, and while doing the Superman exercise in class last week, I realized, “Mother shit, there’s no way I’d be able to fly five feet without falling from the sky from exhaustion.” I could maybe make it to the coffee shop around the corner from us. But I wouldn’t be able to hold my body like in the proper position for terribly long. I mean, I guess I could go with the Wonder Woman style of flying, because she’s more slanted rather than completely horizontal when she flies from what I’ve seen, but I don’t get the sense that she went very far with her flying—if you’re flying on an axis, you’re really going more up than you are over, right? And there’s nothing up that I want to get to. Over, yes. I want to get over there. So slanted flying doesn’t seem like the best course of action to take.


Teleportation it is.


A few weeks ago, Swede was in a rush to get out the door and forgot to put Juniper in her crate. When we came home later that afternoon, we found this:

Dead Pillow

Poor couch cushion. You never stood a chance.

 While it was a disappointment that the couch cushion was now scattered all over our living room in fluffy bits, it wasn’t a terribly big surprise—the dog has had a vendetta against this particular cushion for quite some time. That cushion? Had it coming. Sadly what it had done to incense the pibble we’ll never know, as the cushion took the reason behind the feud to its grave.

Now that the couch cushion is good and gone, Juniper has set her sights on ridding the household of ALL insolent and offensive soft surfaces, including, but not limited to: the pillow in her crate, the other couch cushion, and her biggest whale to date, our bed:


It’s only when the bed is stripped of all the sheets and mattress pad, when it is completely bare, that Juniper will attack what she thinks is the awful-terrible-no-good bed, and try and give it the what-for. Again, the reason for this new enmity between dog and bed is unknown.

But frankly I wish they would just reconcile because the bed is the only nice piece of furniture we own.

things i’ve been meaning to tell you: july 2015

8 Jul

1) As with the “because cilantro” idiom, can we also stop with the incomplete, “That moment you [fill in the blank]”?

Example 1: “That moment you pee your pants.”

Example 2: “The moment your child smears chocolate pudding on the dog and then solves an equation that would make Will Hunting proud.”

Example 3: “That time you showed up at Mariano’s with your shirt on backwards.”

What ABOUT any of these moments am I supposed to care about? Are you trying to tell me you’re having an issue with incontinence? Was something funny? Are you concerned about the chocolate being bad for the dog? Are you concerned the chocolate is bad for your child? Doesn’t everyone show up at the grocery store with their clothes askew at some point in life?

I need context, people. If you’re not going to give your statement some context, I can’t even pretend to care about or relate to it. It’s an incomplete thought, and while I am a Pisces and a bit psychic, I cannot read your mind. I get that you HAD that moment, but how did it make you FEEL? Anxious? Afraid? Stabby? Overcome with manic gladness? What HAPPENED?

Unless you tell me, it’s entirely lost on me, and what we’re left with is the fact that you’re a horrible storyteller.

2) About six weeks ago I started getting allergy shots, because I am allergic to the entire planet, and I live in a very small space with beasts.

Before you can get allergy shots, you have to have scratch testing done to see what you’re allergic to and to what degree (as measured by how big the welts are on your forearms from the scratches).

Turns out I’m very allergic to everything, with the exception of mold and feathers.

Moldy chickens for everyone!

Anyway, like I said I’m six weeks into the shots (you have to go weekly for the first six to eight months), and I do think they’re helping. The amount of money I’ve spent on Claritin D has decreased tremendously (sorry, Bayer stockholders), and that alone is a good indicator that the shots have a fair chance at success.

I will say, though, it’s a little disconcerting that I have to carry an Epi pen with me to every appointment. I completely understand why—God forbid I go into anaphylactic shock—but it freaks me out a little nonetheless. It makes my environmental allergies seem so much more nefarious than they did before. It’s as if every dust mite is suddenly going to rise up against me and then join forces with the trees and grasses until they dominate the land, and me with only my Epi pen and Claritin D to fight them.

At least I’ve got the moldy chickens on my side.

3) All of my clothing pockets smell like dog treats.

(It makes me very popular at the dog park.)

(We’re training Juniper, you see.)

(She did great during the six weeks of formal training classes she had!)

(And she does great at home!)

(Not so much out in public, because she has the attention span of a gnat, and goes batshitcrackers when another dog walks by on a leash.)

Which means that every time I grab a Kleenex out of my pocket—see the arforementioned environmental allergy known to man—I get a strong whiff of “delicious duck.”

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing.

I’m not saying it’s a good thing, either.

But if I had to choose, I’d say it’s definitely better than the roasted chicken. Duck is just so much more elegant.

4) There is a blind man who rides the same bus I do, sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the evening. Every time I see him, no matter what time of day, people practically jump at the chance to help him, either guiding him by the arm, or letting him know which number bus is arriving, or if there is an obstacle that might pose a problem for him.

It makes me happy.

In this city that can be simultaneously so divisive and so self-absorbed, seeing people offer up help with absolutely no expectation of anything in return is beautiful.

We need more moments like that.

surprisingly, i am not perfect

24 Jun

Things I Probably Shouldn’t Do:

  1. Stay up past midnight on a school night to finish reading The Girl on the Train.
  2. Leave a brownie on the coffee table, thinking I can trust my dog not to eat it, because she doesn’t normally snatch things off the table. Lick them, yes. But eat them, no.
  3. Hide bacon in the refrigerator from Swede.
  4. Accidentally lock the cats on the balcony overnight.
  5. Frost a devil’s food cake less than two hours after I take it out of the oven.

Things I Can Do To Remedy the Things I Probably Shouldn’t Do Because I Most Likely Did Them Anyway:

  1. Stay up the entire night watching West Wing so as not to fall asleep and have a dream wherein Everyone Needs a Julie tells me while making her bed that she’s decided to become a serial killer and in response I try to talk her out of this by hitting her with a pillow.
  2. Give the dog a stern talking to and then dissolve into a cuddle puddle because HAVE YOU SEEN THAT FACE? LOOK AT THAT FACE. HERE, HAVE AS MANY FOODS AS YOU WANT I LOVE THAT FACE.


  1. Blurt out, “THERE’S BACON IN THE FRIDGE, YOU CAN EAT ALL OF IT BUT FOUR SLICES,” in the middle of a conversation about grilled cheese.
  2. To be fair, this one was NOT my fault, as Swede was the one to lock up that night. But to make up for it the poor little jerks got an insane amount of treats, and then more treats because we felt like, hell, we’ve already traumatized them, let’s trim their nails and cut the matted fur from around their butts! We’re on a roll!

    I'm never speaking to you assholes again. Until you give me ham. Jerks.

    I’m never speaking to you assholes again. Until you give me ham. Jerks.

  3. Shove the cake in the fridge for awhile and hope for the best, then drive an hour to my parents’ house with the cake on the floor of the car and the air conditioning fan on full blast, and then when I get there immediately run it out to the refrigerator in the garage yelling, “I made you a cake for Father’s Day, Dad! Hope you like it! I forgot to get you a card!” and pray that you’re not about to serve your dad cake soup.


photo friday: blending in

22 May


I was going through photos the other day, and came across a bunch from the few days Swede and I spent in the Shenandoah Valley before our friends’ wedding in Baltimore.

I’d completely forgotten about the fearless deer we encountered when we took a four mile looping hike through the woods. Swede got close enough to reach out and touch the animal (though he did not actually), as the deer didn’t seem perturbed by us or any other hikers in the least.

While Swede was mildly disappointed that we didn’t spot any bears or other vicious creatures, I, for one, was grateful that this was the only wildlife we encountered.

things i’ve been meaning to tell you: april 2015

8 Apr


Lent ended last week, and while I’ll be the first to tell you that I am a horrible Catholic, I really failed quite spectacularly at my 40 days and 40 nights of sacrifices this year. I got about two weeks into it, and then the bottom fell out, and it was pretty much like, “Jesus who?” It’s sad, because in the past I’ve done so well at sticking to my Lenten guns. For the love of all that is holy, a few years back I gave up pizza for Lent. PIZZA. And I made it through even though I probably would have traded my own mother for a slice of sausage and mushroom two days into the Lenten season that year. But this year pizza wasn’t even part of my sacrifice and I blew it. I mean like flagrant disregard for any promise I made to myself and the holy trinity. So the upshot is I’m probably going to hell, which is unfortunately because I hate being hot, but I am planning on bringing some marshmallows and hot dogs, so hopefully that will make it a little better.


I’ve spent a goodly amount of time in airports lately which means there has been an inordinate amount of people watching time, and I have discovered that there seem to be a league of people out there sporting fanny packs un-ironically.* Men and women alike, young and old.

And you know? I support this. I support this because my posture is awful from years spent toting multiple heavy shoulder bags hither and thither. Granted, I could just learn to pack lighter, but as that is incredibly unlikely, I think it’s just best if we all collectively agree that yes, fanny packs ARE un-ironically stylish, and bring them, well, not back into fashion, but into fashion to begin with, and admit that we were hasty with our scorn of them, kind of like how we all hated One Direction for Story of My Life because there is no way a boy band that has the collective age of twelve has any story to tell except “I’m not even legal to drink in the States but I have a zillion dollars,” which is just a bragging story and not one anyone wants to hear and then after hearing the song 5,000 times you find it’s actually quite lovely and moving and suddenly you know all the words and are harmonizing with the song while you’re putting on your mascara while getting ready for work.

Fanny packs. They are where it’s at.


I get that when you have animals, you are bound to have some extra messiness in your life. And I’m okay with that. We do, as I like to say, live in an Animal House. These insane beasts rule our lives. They take up precious space in our already crowded bootbox of a condo with their food dishes and their toys and their tumbleweeds of fur that roll across the hardwood floors no matter how big of an air filter we have (currently one the size of a toddler) or how many times a week I sweep (which would be several).

I’m okay with all of this, and I’m okay with the fact that thirty seconds after Swede and I finish cleaning, the house is a mess again. Because as soon as we finish cleaning, THAT is the time the cats decide they want to be awake for their 1 hour a day. Or the dog starts doing hot laps around the living room, couch cushions and glasses in her way be damned. It is inevitable that my home will never look like Martha Stewart’s. Or like something out of Property Brothers. And the reason I’m telling you guys this is because if you ever come for a weekend visit, you should know this about our abode: It will be never be neat. Clean, yes, but neat is highly debatable. It’s a loving home, it’s a fun home, there is always delicious food and wine, and we have a terrific balcony.

But there are beasts.

And beasts are not everyone’s cup of tea, and for that reason, I promise we will always try and live near nice, affordable hotels, and I will absolutely not be offended if you have no desire to stay overnight with us. In fact, I might actually stay in your hotel with you, because the cats like to yell in the morning. A lot. And for once, just once, I would very much like to give my alarm clock the chance to do its job, rather than the cats beating it to the punch.

*Why anyone would want to be ironic about this, I don’t know, but it happens.

photo friday: animal farm

13 Sep

So I told you about the ice cream we had in Door County, but I forgot to mention that the creamery grounds also featured farm animals. Because why not? And what a life these animals lead—they’ve got three square meals, a spectacular view, and even a jungle gym just for goats.DSC_0725

We should all be so lucky.