Life is Busting out ALL Over!

Archive for the ‘life’ Category

So I write/edit/publish a newsletter at work. One that will be sent to thousands of college students. I am surprised at how much I enjoy the process, given my non-natural talent for anything writing related, not to mention my issues being concise.

I preview and re-edit the newsletter about 10 times before I hit the “Send” button, which is the point of no return. I am almost manic in my anxiety that there aren’t any mistakes, given my boss and all my colleagues and pretty much everyone reads it. Except the college students, even though it’s written FOR them. (If it’s not a text, or can’t come across very well on their iPhones, they delete it or just don’t read it. Their first job is going to be a harsh reality).

ANYWAY,  one of my editing steps is to send it through Spell Check on Microsoft Word.  If you are familiar with Word, you know that if it checks for misspellings (red squiggles under the word), grammatical errors (green squiggles) and now apparently INAPPROPRIATE WORDS THAT WHILE STILL A WORD, IS NOT, I REPEAT NOT, THE WORD YOU WANT, may we suggest another? (blue squiggles)

Now, I don’t know this to be a fact but I have to think  when I’ve spent a whole paragraph talking about a scholarship for public service and public policy, that when there is a blue squiggle under the word pubic, as in pubic service, then I’m pretty sure that’s what the blue squiggle means. THANK GOD I caught it in time – but I almost just wanted to bronze the damn electronic newsletter, if I could.  What’s on my mind today – heyoooooo!??!

And yes, as I freshman in high school, I made the same mistake with Punic Wars. Outloud. In a Class. Awesome.

P.S. Have you ever had a song that meant a lot to you romantically that you couldn’t listen to for a long time, and now when you listen to it, it just gives you Perma-Smile because it’s so awesome and better than you remembered?? Ani DeFranco’s As Is is doing that for me today. God, it’s a good song. Also see: Holy F, I’ve grown up since then.


I depart tomorrow, where I will drive out of the driveway of the house, which I’ve called “home” for 25 years, even if I haven’t exactly spent all of 25 of them living here. I suppose it’s fitting that in the 25th year, a quarter of a century, is the year I leave not just that house and the area, but most importantly the bigger city 40 miles east, the city that truly shaped me. Perhaps if I left the Midwest in the 17th year or 11th year or  any year that seems any less a milestone, I would have been ill prepared for what’s to come.

And what’s to come exactly? I haven’t a goddamn clue. As much as I’ve been sad and wistful about living Chicago  and my friends and my family, wishing I would have done things differently, wishing I would have treated myself better knowing now that it all works out – I can’t help but think about how lucky I am. In spite of all my confusion, the doubts in myself, the roller coaster of love and career I put myself on, I was never remotely close to falling off the track even when I was convinced I was falling. Those people I mentioned and this place made sure it wouldn’t happen.

Without being entirely overdramatic and serious, I feel like I should put this in perspective. Mention how I feel so overwhelmed at the thought of being able to pick myself up out of career and relationship that both let me down (or perhaps I let them down?) and go after something I’d only daydreamed about. And soon I’ll be actively doing it. It almost doesn’t make a difference where I’ll be doing it but to be able to live a pretty awesome city which is nothing like the one I’ve known. The stage being set for a honest to goodness new chapter starting for me? I feel like I don’t deserve it all.

Which of course is a lie, I mean, I do deserve it, we all do and perhaps we all get that new canvas in life in different ways unlike my own. My point is I’m making a promise to myself that I’m going to make the most of it. I promise to continue to try to learn from every experience and to see everyone who walks into my life as a teacher. I promise to be proactive rather than reactive and I promise to stop and take a deep breath and look around once in awhile.

I’m not naive or egotistical enough to think that now my life is perfect (That crazy positive stuff above really is only about my career. Love and relationships, well, that will be a struggle). But I am aware enough to understand how I got here and for that to go unappreciated would push me back a couple steps.

These next few months or maybe years are going to be challenging but how can I dread it or be frightened by it? I trusted myself enough to get to this point, and frankly my gut tells me the best is yet to come.

So until the holidays next year, I bid Chicago adieu. Thanks Chicago and your land for the memories, the occasional 4am bar, the 2003 National League Playoffs, and supporting the careers of not just my family but others who I was lucky enough to meet during my tenure here. I promise to brag about you and Texas will know I’m a non-native by my driving, which I could have only developed on your tollways and sharing the roads with your super fast and sometimes scary citizen drivers.


HOLY CRAP! IT IS DECEMBER. When did this happen? I am moving in just under 4 weeks and OMG, it is going to go by so fast. Which super excites me and terrifies me all at the same time. I’m going to do my update with bullet points, because I pretty much love the bullet point, even if I maybe don’t use them in the way bullet points were intended (i.e. I ramble in my bullets, I’m not concise, which is why bullet points exist)??

Done and done.

  • I have a lot to be thankful for this year, and every year really. I didn’t create a list to post in time for the holiday because to be honest? In my months of unemployment, I tried to be thankful and probably posted something to that effect. Which I sort of did. I feel like listing it after all of that would be excessive. and really boring for anyone other than me.
  • Thanksgiving was good. I spent it the same way I’ve spent Thanksgiving for the last 20 years or so. My family is not originally from Chicago. My mom is from a foreign country called Cleveland and my dad is from Minnesota. Their respective families still live there, we do not. Occasionally (as in once that I can remember) my fam would drive our mini-van to one of those far regions to have Thanksgiving but 8 hour drives with two kids for really only enjoying 2 – 3 days apparently wasn’t worth the hassle (I am pretty sure I had something to do with it, as I was a troublemaker lot of fun as a child).
  • For as long as I can remember we’ve done Thanksgiving with our oldest family friends (OFF for short). 35 plus years ago, my mom lived on the same apartment floor as Mr. OFF. Apparently everyone on the apartment floor became fast friends and held potlucks together once a week (I don’t ask specifics because it was the 70s and well, I’ve seen The Ice Storm). Mr and Mrs OFF were dating and then got married, and my mom started dating my dad and brought him into the mix. (They also all think they were the inspiration for the TV show Friends, the good thing about that show going off the air was that we no longer have to hear about it!) The oldest OFF girl and I were born in the same hospital, the OFFs moved, then my family moved. And almost 25 years ago, Mr. OFF recommended my dad for a job, we moved here and literally into a house around their corner from them. The OFFs have 3 girls, we have 2 and we all are the same age but were in different grades. Built-in friends and also orphans around the holidays so we have done Thanksgiving together ever since
  • Thanksgiving was good but the same as it always is. Although, not as fun since the girls and I have grown up. As kids we raced through dinner so we could play hide and go seek in the dark in someone’s bedroom or Scary lady under the stairs in a basement. Now we have champagne and want to take naps after dinner. But still, it was nice and especially nice that I was able to tell them I got a job. Mr. OFF reminded me of T-giving 2 years ago, when he made me defend my stance of wanting to go to graduate school and now my goals have come to fruition.
  • By the time my job search hit the end of October, I think I was starting to get desparate. I was looking for other areas of industry I could work that I could then parlay my career into higher education. I was trying to be realistic but also not lose sight of why I left marketing in the first place. I checked out government jobs, looked at applying for the Obama administration, you know, trying to stretch out a little. Imagine my surprise this morning when I got TWO emails from the FBI about jobs “matching my job criteria”. LOLOLOLOL. Seriously?? Did I seriously think I could work for the FBI?? But any of you history or language majors out there, especially with a emphasis on Asian or Middle Eastern studies? FBI is hiring and wants you.
  • Unique way to reuse plastic bags – although I don’t like plastic bags, I do like bows and I like target and this just looked pretty: pom-pom-how-to-1 You can find out how to make your own bows here.
  • Also, lately I am completely obsessed with dishwear. I always do this, before every move, I want to change something or get a new something or replace something. This move I can NOT stop thinking about dishwear. Which is so lame, because I have my own set of dishes, admittedly I bought them for my first one bedroom place, when I wasn’t thinking about style but utility. But still.


14945513_01_b1 Surprisingly affordable from Urban Outfitters but completely unnecessary.


Greetings from O’Hare airport, where I am sitting here WAY too early for my flight. (After spending a year traveling via air for my first job, I mastered the 30 minute arrival before flight, through security and on board strategy. Alas that was before 9/11 but I still don’t show up before the preferred TWO hours, I mean really. But living with my parents, I’m exposed to their philosophies and getting to the airport before anyone else seems to be one of them). Anyway, I’m travelling to the warmer south for a big interview little trip and so here I am. Excited, nervous and happy to get the hell out of the biting wind and snow flurries.

imagesI love coming to the airport, any airport will do. Always have but I think the true enduring love came from my year a sorority consultant, when I discovered if I fibbed about my departure time being earlier than it actually was, I could spend HOURS at the airport ALONE and MUTE. Trust me, when spending 20 hours a day peppered with questions and always being the new guy and an official visitor, being alone and mute was amazing.

Today, I’m flying United and was pleasantly surprised I got to make the exciting trip to Concourse C. In order to get to Concourse C, you have to basically go down into an underground walkway (underneath where the planes sit for Concourse B). Walkway is pictured above with fancy smancy neon lights in fun shapes and colors. Enhanced by new age music, the lights are timed and reveal literally a rainbow of colors.

When I was a kid, I remember when this opened and my parents took us to see it. We spent time just standing on the moving walkway, fascinated by the lights and the moving walkway. I’m not sure if we had to pick someone up and my parents turned it into a field trip or we just went for the hell of it. It was the 80s, if anything goes was ever an edict in airports, like almost everything, it probably did then.

I remember being so thrilled by this neon lights walkway and the music, it was like an experience for my senses I had never seen (I also can’t remember if I had already visited Epcot, which would make sense if I did because it’s all very Epcot-y, those lights and sensory things). But I do remember how special I thought the walkway to Concourse C was that day.

I’ve been back through occasionally, I seldom fly United and therefore haven’t been numb to the experience although with technology and flashy lights that make up our day to day lives now, it’s easy not to pay attention. Today as I was entering the walkway, I was struck by the memory of seeing it for the first time. I listened to my emotions, soaking it in again, trying to remember what was so cool about it now. It doesn’t appear to be as dark, therefore the lights aren’t as startling as I remember and the music is barely a whisper.

But as I stood on the moving walkway, I smiled at the memory, thankful that I was once so entranced by  something benign as an underground walkway in an airport, and grateful for the journey has brought me back to see it again.

When I was really little I used to have these horrible dreams/nightmares/hallucinations whenever I was sick with a fever. I can remember them so vividly… and they always were the same while I was feverish.

I am in my backyard, at the end of the yard is a growth of tree limbs overgrown on top of each other (think LOST style, not Hansel and Gretel). This was odd because my back yard didn’t really have trees at all, and there was a fence. At any rate* I would wander into that forest and get really, really lost. I would have to climb over them to even “get through” it. It wouldn’t end. It just got darker and darker.

I’d wake up sweating (from the fever, obvi) but really upset. I’m sure as a kid it was really scary to be lost in an unfamilar place, even if it was a dream.

I feel like I’m living this dream everyday. Here. Files are completely disorganized, handed down over the years, responsibilities changing every time the power that be changes her mind. I don’t make excuses, I do not get defensive therefore I am the one that gets beat up all the time.

Well, it’s over. I’m done. I am leaving in less than three months (should I have a countdown?) and I’m following my heart. It’s a shame that one day I got bored in my old job, thought it was crap and now I would give anything to feel that good again, that needed, that appreciated. It happened for a reason, I moved on and it gave me the strenght to fulfill a dream. I am grateful but I simply do not know how I’m going to dig deep to come here every day.

I will not be the cat you can kick, the one you can pick on, anymore. I’m done.

*So, annoying petty rant here: Yesterday I went home to my parents for dinner. I invited my best friend who now lives in the same suburb. My parents love her, she adores them. Not sure if she is not getting enough attention or something, but she pointed out that I say “At any rate” A LOT. To the point that it was annoying her. My mom said it (must be where I get it from) and she goes “Oh my god, you say it too! Greenleafgal says it like 100x a day!!” Excuse me? I won’t go into details because it’s not worth it, at the core she is my best friend that will not change. But the last 2 years we’ve just grown apart, and I’ve found myself questioning and learning about the world around me, and while she seems to have stayed in an isolated bubble (doesn’t know why people hate SUVs, I mean she drives one and doesn’t care if it hurts the environment. Say What?). And that bugs me.

I feel like a jerk for saying this. I love her and I would do anything for her but I just wish I didn’t have to wait for her to get her head out of her own ass.

So my review was this week – and long and painful story short – I came clean and was honest and told them I’m leaving in July.

I don’t think it was a surprise to anyone. Although it was incredibly sad for me because I didn’t want to go out this way – not being able to contribute as much as I thought I could. Getting stonewalled everytime I tried to do something.

In hindsight, my so called “hated” job I left was a cake walk but I refuse to go into “coulda, shoulda, woulda”.

Making that decision to leave to come here propelled me to take the next steps to change. I’m not sure I would have done that elsewhere.

But realising my failures here, makes it harder and harder to come to work each day.

It’s a lonely place to be.

But I have great hope for my future. I just wish it was here now!

I’ve made no secret that I get stopped for directions often. My guess would be at least 1.5 times a week on average.

Today’s was a little more exciting. As I was walking down the street to get some lunch, oblivious to the string of cars parked along the side of the street, I hear this man say “Excuse me”.

I stop and turn and directly in front of me is this guy with his passenger door open and is literally hanging out the door… from the driver’s seat. He is driving a Fiero so it was strange because he was only 4 inches from the ground just hanging.

Hanging man: Excuse me, I can ask you for directions
Me: Sure, what do you need?
Hanging man: Where is Iceland?
Me: Iceland? Really?
Hanging man: Yes, Iceland
Me: I’ve never heard of that street in Chicago
Hanging Man: Hanging and looking at me helplessly
Me: Okay, are you sure it’s Iceland
Hanging Man: Sorry, I speak broken english. Isheland
Me: Ashland?
Hanging Man: Yes, Isheland
Me: Okay, you’re close – take a right and then the next light is Ashland.

The crazy thing is, is that the more this keeps happening to me the stranger the situations.

But the most ironic is that last year I interviewed at Rand McNally for a marketing position (and I love maps!), I got really far in the process only to be turned down for an internal candidate.

I’m literally a human GPS machine. How do you like them apples?


musings and panic attacks of a Chicago girl embarking on a new life in Texas. Only it's not always June and it's not in song.

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