All that glitters

Thursday, May 14, 2015

What I've Read: Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

Full disclosure: I read this book months ago but only got around to writing it up now.

I would rate this one a solid "definitely worth reading". Kept my attention & was sufficiently entertaining. Wasn't really sure of what the outcome was going to be until the very end & I wasn't disappointed. Before writing books, author Maria Semple was a television writer for shows like “Arrested Development” and “Mad About You”, so that was enough to hook me.

The multi-formatted “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” is a hodge-podge of information, fit together to tell the story of Bernadette's questionable disappearance — e-mails, letters, F.B.I. documents, doctor emergency-room bill, etc.
Notorious Bernadette Fox is a wearer of many hats. To fellow designers & architects, she is a hero & fearless thinker and creator. To her husband and Microsoft super power, she's a quirky, opinionated equal. To fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a lunatic and misfit. Most endearingly shown, to daughter 15 year-old Bee, she is a best friend and "Mom".
Bee was born with a congenital heart defect that required multiple surgeries to correct. In spite of her medical challenges, Bee has managed to present as a very talented student & performer. When Bee requests a family trip to Antarctica as the long-promised reward for her straight-S (for "Surpasses Excellence") report cards, the family surprisingly obliges.  As readers make their way through the story, they experience the many levels of Bernadette's quirks and characteristics.

 Thanks to my book club, we always take book reviews a little further with the introduction of "Who would play these parts in the Movie?" My picks were Jim Carey for husband Elgie - lanky & skinny; and a young Alexis Biedel for Bee - smart & pensive. Coming up with a Bernadette was harder for me. Maybe a Jennifer Connelly, but more strung out. Book protagonist, Audrey could've been played by the woman who plays Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter series, Imelda Staunton - hate that B. Minor character Soo-Lin should've been done away with all together, in my opinion. Never-the-less, book club said they pictured Lucy Lu playing Soo-Lin because let's be honest, what other Asian actresses do people actually remember? I didn't picture her as a hot Asian, more of a homely foreigner. I don't know...that's food for though.
Shout out to book Club! Pink Penguin the book to understand the connection.




Friday, February 20, 2015

2014: A Year in Review

Although we are already like 2 months into the new year, I wanted to take a look back onto all the memories that I am so grateful for last year. Here are some of the highlights:
NYE with Danny
I started off the year on a good note. There is always so much pressure with New Year's Eve - trying to find something to do that is fun, out of the ordinary, starts the year off right - but at the same time, try not to break the bank. I'm not really into going to a big party that costs tons of money to be packed next to people I don't know. After much ado, things fell into place at O'Callaghan's liquor Kitchen in Wrigleyville. An unheard of good deal at beer, wine, food and well drinks at $50 for the night + a bunch of our friends = great time. We also started 2 chants, which is always a plus. The good 'ol USA! USA! chant at midnight & then a Whiiitt-ney! Whiiit-ney! chant when she started making out with a bar random. Starting 2014 off classy (psych!).
Me, Nick & Danny
Never in my life have I been so cold, yet so happy as I was at the Stadium Series Blackhawks game. It was a whole negative 3 degrees outside, but it was a really rare opportunity. so I grabbed my multiple layers & headed to tailgate. I don't know how people were finding the strength to drink beer, but it was nearly impossible, the brews were freezing before they could be consumed. I may have gotten frostbite, but totes worth it!
WM Phoenix Open with Brookie
To try and escape the bitter Chiberia weather, I visit Phoenix every year for the WM golf open. Spend time with friends at the 16th hold aka the "Frat House of Golf" as told by ESPN and get some quality time in placing dollar bets on the caddies. This was my 4th year, Brooke's first year & the 2nd appearance for the captain's hat.
Who needs a romantic date when you've got these lovelies as your valentines!? Here we are at 3 Dots & a Dash. Mack, Danny, Brett & I also did dinner at Blackfinn, drinks at Untitled & a night cap at Siena Tavern. Danny was so drunk by the end of the night, he took out his contacts right at the table & passed out in the middle of everyone.
River dyed green, hair dyed red - what could be better than St. Patty's Day in Chicago!
I went to ALOT of weddings this year. Started off my wedding season at the Gelman wedding, seeing my 2 friends Sam & Sarah get married in Scottsdale.
Bucktown Birthday Barcrawl
After a few years of birthday fails, I wanted to do something special this year. I was living in a new neighborhood & wanted to show all of my friends my new found gems. Lots of the Bolingbrook crew came out & joined forces with my Chicago friends. We started with a BBQ at my apt., followed by a bar crawl through Bucktown. The next day was Sunday Funday with an epic mimosa brunch & day at the beach.
Sunday Funday!
Big Hair, Don't Care
Sometimes, we need little more reason to celebrate than Den's graduation & a good hair day :)
My last weekend before jetsetting to Europe, I got to jam with the twerk team at Spring Awakening Music Fest at Soldier Field. Diplo & Blasterjaxx were some of my highlights....and my neon dress!
Becca, Annie, Stephanie
We <3 Uber...or Lyft?
Bonjour! My mom & I had planned to go to Europe during the summer of 2009, but after I stayed at ASU the fall semester to do an internship, we postponed. I fly domestically pretty often, so considered myself pretty worldly. Typical American - thinking they know the world just because they know USA. Well, I am an idiot and travelling through Europe is f'ing hard for a newbie. Next time I go, I am buying Rosetta Stone months before my trip. We spent 3 days in Paris, followed by 3 days in London, separated by 1 day of travel. We saw all the best touristy spots...The Louvre (who knew the Mona Lisa was really that unimpressive in real life?), Arc de Triomphe, ate at a lovely Parisian bistro, Notre Dame Cathedral (I cried when I walked in, for no reason at all) & climbed the 300-some steps to get the view from the tower (on a day I was sick & miserable), saw the locks Love bridge, ate at Subway, night time boat ride on the Seine River, Eiffel Tower at night (light show - so cool) and Rodin's garden - my favorite part! Of course, no Paris trip would be complete without almost getting robbed by a gypsy on the metro - my mom scared them off with her blood curdling screams, like a boss.


Boat ride on the Seine River in front of the
Eiffel Tower
We took the train from Paris to London, which was cool. I wanted to see the train station, so I could take a picture with the Harry Potter cart - no luck with that, but our train was between platform 9 & 10, so I acted like we were at platform 9 and 3/4, that was enough for me. I figured people backpacked through Europe all the time with no real plans, so I didn't make a hotel reservation or buy train tickets ahead of time because I didn't know how long we were going to want to stay in Paris for. Yea, I am an idiot x2 and turns out it was Wimbledon the week we were there, so our train tickets were hella expensive to buy the day of & there were basically no hotel rooms available. We were able to snag one at the Doubletree, which was wayyy nicer than anything we had budgeted to stay in on this trip. Great location though, so that worked out. Saw the changing of the guards, ate at McDonalds (I'm so American), went on a bus tour, rode the Londo Eye, saw Big Ben, London & Tower bridge, Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace & by far my favorite - WENT ON THE HARRY POTTER STUDIO TOUR. That made my life, it was split in 3 parts - they said normally it takes people 3 hours to get through the tour, but I took 2 and a half hours just to go through the first part - whoopsies.
Finally getting my wand!
Tower Bridge

I survived off knowing 4 words, basically. Bonjour, Merci, Wee & Au Revoir.

Post-Europe, I took about a month off of travel. I worked, tried to catch up on sleep & relax - fail. Regardless, I had already asked off of work for a week to go on vacation and see 2 of my ASU friends get married, so I headed west to sunnyy San Diego. Molly, Tito and I met at the ASU call center back in college and have shared many-a laughs and inside jokes.
My 22nd? Birthday
I brought my friend Richelle with to the wedding and we, of course, found the cutest little Asian boy and immediately started taking pictures with him and calling him our son.
I swear, we're not weird...
In all seriousness, was SO great to see Molly & Tito tie the knot, especially knowing how their relationship came to be and how far they've come since SDTC/TDN days.
Also got to see some of my other fellow ex-callers, which was FAB. As always - TDN creates long lasting friendships! One of my favorite parts was when Dana was giving his speech & said the only people he liked at ASU were Tito, Molly & Travis and then Molly looked directly at me like "Haha, he didn't say your name". Classic Dana, I couldn't even be offended.

Travis, me & Dana - fellow TDN'ers

Finally, got to spend quality time with Chel while in San Diego. We spent Saturday at Sea World. It was rainy out, but we didn't care. Even though they tried to close the roller coaster on us, we prevailed & got to ride, of course.
Me, Chel & Whitney at Sea World
Can't rain on our parade
After San Diego, I took the early AM flight to Norfolk, VA. Btw, they lost my luggage, so I lived off of my sister's stuff for like3 days - gross. But got to spend the remainder of the week in my FAVORITE spot - Duck, NC. Love being at the ocean and being warm and spending all kinds of time with the family...blood and extended :)
OBX 2014
Once I got back to real life, it was time for Allie's Bro Bachelorette. Instead of typical girly bachelorette, we just wanted to have a day out on a boat to kick it with the bros. It was the Air and Water show weekend, which would have been tight, but it ended up raining and the boat turned out to be a little sketch. Half the partiers were nauseous or puking, but whatever, we got to celebrate Allie, so it was fun.
Becca & the Bride

Me, Dennis & Becca repping for the Brook
As for the main event...the next weekend was Allie & John's wedding. Too, too, too much fun and at an cute venue I had never been to before.
Becca, Allie & I
More wedding festivities! Also got to be there to see my amazing co-worker Shannon marry her long time boyfriend Nick.Yey!
Badass Supreme
Hop Aboad the Hot Mess Express! Flew to Vegas for Amy's Bachelorette party!!! First night out, we got all dressed up & went to a quickie dinner before hitting up XS at the Wynn and then got in free to a Deamau5 concert - Woop! Woop!
Me, Laura, Megan, Amy, Caroline, Tara & Carolina
Not to be outdone, the next night we had dinner at the super cute Sugar Factory & then the highlight of my existence going to the BRITNEY SPEARS CONCERT. I was so happy & had so much fun! 
You Better Work, Bitch!
Last day spent relaxing at the Paris Hotel pool - FAB-U-LISSSSSS!
All-Star Divas! Me & Amerz

27 Dresses in the heezy! Was also in Ashley & Jose's wedding this year, they are 2 friends from high school, so their wedding was like a mini BHS reunion. Oh, and there was much dancing.
With the Lovely Bride
Can we be wedding crashers even though we are IN the wedding?
Last wedding of the year & def one of the most anticipated. Thank you for making Amy move to CA, Matt because I was ready for some warmth in my life. Started the weekend off at the most Mack Daddy Suite I have ever seen in my life overlooking the mountains & ocean. Swoooonnn! Amerz was one of my first friends in Arizona. So happy to see her tie the knot to the man she loves. I'm ok with him because he's from Illinois. And because I was present for their first BEARFIGHT and their first "date". Hi Matt! *stink face*
Does it get an better?
Roomies for Life!
Professional bridal part over here, folks!
Too cute for words! Travis is obsessed with Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc. (he calls him Kick Butkowski) and he was kind enough to let me partner up on costumes with him. Loved seeing the kids in costumes!
Scare Team & Curious Georgia
My hetero-lifemate was in town to see one of her friends get married, so we got to hang together! Ate at my new favorite restaurant in town - Sable. Life changing meal! Bacon Jam, Sweet Corn Crème Brulee, Chicken & Waffles and Pork Belly Flat Bread. Could definitely go back to sample some other dishes. Nom, Nom, Nom.
Jamil & I
I love my job & what I do, I am lucky in that sense. Was able to work with some great people & put on some events I was really proud of this year.
Holiday Party on the 99th floor at the Willis Tower
6th Annual
Last, but certainly not least, I love that all of our friends meet up at Tailgaters, the local watering hole for our Annual Tailgaters Christmas Eve Miracle. I LOVE to see some of the people that I don't get a chance to see much the rest of the year. Debauchery always ensues.
 So much to be thankful for this year!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

2015: No Goals or Resolutions, Just an Update

I wrote this during a spat of insomnia at 6:28am after not sleeping the week after I got out of the hospital. It was January 7, 2015, but finally getting around to posting this.

No one is ready for a new year more than me, I’ve spent the better part of the last 6 months in and out of hospitals, doctors and specialists, trying to figure out what is wrong with me. I’ve tip-toed the thin line between what I want and need to share with people because I often don’t even know the answers myself. But here’s what I do know, in an effort to update those that have cared & asked:

I started off thinking I was exhausted. I had just gotten over a busy period at work, followed by a strenuous trip to Europe. I thought that once by body caught up on rest, that’d I’d feel better. I remember saying over the 4th of July weekend that I wasn’t drinking because I wasn’t feeling well. As I kept trying to live a normal life, I kept not getting better. Just kept thinking once I slowed down, I’d feel 100% again.

It was surprisingly easy for me to seemingly ‘slip off the grid”. I soldiered my way through work, social obligations and occasions, almost willing myself into feeling better. Some of my very good friends only found out anything was wrong with me when I reached out for prayers during a recent hospital stint. Some are probably only getting their first details as they read now. At one time, I thoughts It’d be simple – I’d see my doctor, they’d diagnose me, I’d get a pill, I’d be cured. I now know that’s not the case. My doctor told me a while ago that if they cured me in 2 years, he’d consider it a success. It’s why I have such a hard time explaining to people when they ask me if I’m better. It is such an up and down for me – one day, I’m great and you’d have no idea anything is the matter. The next day, I’m barely a functioning human being and can’t even walk.

That’s been one of the hardest parts – barely feeling like myself anymore. Not to mention the extreme and fluctuating symptoms – dizziness, vomiting, nausea, heart burn, weight loss. I’ve been on various antibiotics for over 6 months, but still with no relief. I know I’m para-phrasing – that’s not the whole story, for sake of length of this post (and TMI). Some things I’ve figured out…

  1. I’ve known since middle school that I am a diabetic, although potentially the worst diabetic in the world. Friends I’ve known for 10+ years don’t know I’m diabetic because I haven’t put staying healthy at the forefront of my life. Diabetes has taken its toll on my nervous system. I’m sure you’ve heard of diabetics losing their limbs or eye sight, but it also affects all one’s organs – they cannot work if they cannot feel.
  2. One definite diagnosis is gastro-paresis – the damaged nerves in my stomach are causing it to digest at only about a 35% rate. There was one point where I was throwing up every day for months. Since my doctors and I have figured out the cause – meds have helped, thank God. It’s still a work in progress – figuring out what works and what hasn’t. I’ve had to drastically manipulate my diet – it’s hard. I am only a few days in & I am already in over my head. I don’t know how I can maintain this forever. Hopefully a dietician can help.
  3. My blood pressure is dropping significantly when I sit, stand or walk. This has been making me really weak & dizzy and making it hard for me to walk. We’ve tried meds but have had no relief yet on this front. Not even sure why it’s happening. I’d actually say I have been getting worse. I used to be able to brace myself and sit down when feeling weak, but I can’t always tell anymore. I’ve passed out unexpectedly a few times and that is really the scariest part. This makes it the hardest for me to function. I’ve been seeing a neurologist, a hematologist, and endocrinologist, a urologist, an allergist, and an acupuncturist in addition to my general physician. Next up is a naturopath & a specialist at Rush for dysautonomia.
  4. There’s something missing. A piece of the puzzle we haven’t figured out yet. I appreciate the continued prayers for answers and healing. As always, I am open to any ideas or input. I half write this with hopes that it reminds anyone reading it of an article they read or a friend they know with similar symptoms. I am open to hearing it all and trying almost anything. I continue to attempt at keeping life as normal as possible, seeing friends when I feel well, staying humorous as much as I can. I traveled for the first time in a while this past weekend. Was great to get out of the Chicago cold & see my ASU friends. The travel attempt was a little too pre-mature on my part. I’m still not well enough to be traveling for a while. I had some great, fun hours & some miserable ones.

I will get better once we figure everything out. Just hoping it comes sooner than later. Thanks for the thoughts, prayers and kind words of encouragement. I am blown away by the love and support from the people who have reached out to me – everyone from those I love, to those I barely know. It has been great to hear from everyone and I feel truly grateful to have everyone in my life.
Gotta have it


Friday, May 4, 2012

Is this real Life?

A few obscure situations have happened to me lately that I would like to post before I forget. Think they will be funny to the outside reader...

Situation 1
[As my co-worker, Barb & I walk into Chipotle on our lunch break, we see a little boy peaking over his bench at us]
Boy: How old are you?
Me: 24, how old are you?
Boy: I'm 5. Can girls marry girls?

Barb & I give each other awkward looks and ponder how to appropriately answer this question.

Barb: Sometimes
Boy: Why only sometimes?
Me: In some states they allow it and in some states they don't
Boy: Do they allow it in this state?
Me: No
Boy: Then why are the two of you together?
Barb/I (simultaneously, flustered): We aren't married/We're friends/We're co-workers/etc.
Boy (Non-chalantly moving on, as if this was a normal conversation): Oh, ok. Are you eating your lunch here? That's my babysitter. I had chicken tacos with tomatoes.

Situation 2
Sometimes I take the bus into the city from Bolingbrook. It is pretty convenient, goes right from Bb to the loop, about as exspensive as the train & closer to my house. More ideal for napping, as they keep the lights off, and there is only 1 stop, as opposed to the train's multiple stops. But that's besides the point...

One morning, as I stepped off the bus to walk to the L, someone called my name. As they approached me, I had no idea who they were, but they were about my age. They continued, "I knew it was you, I'd recognize those legs anywhere."

As I chatted with him, he reminded me that we used to go to CCD (religious education classes) together back in elementary/middle school. Still had no idea who he was. But the moral of the story is, 10-15 years later, my legs still look exactly the same. REALLY?!?!

Situation 3
[This actually happened awhile ago & it was told to me second hand from my bro-in-law, Christ. Convo happened between him and my nephew, Wyatt, who was probably 6 or 7 at the time.]

Wyatt: I know what a sexual house is.
Christ: Uh, ok. What is it?
Wyatt: You know, like when a girl likes a girl, or a boy likes a boy.
Christ: Where did you hear this from?
Wyatt: On the radio with mom...
Christ [so confused, trying to figure out what he was talking about/what reference he heard it from]

Turns out, "sexual house" meant "homosexual" or "Home of sexual", easily morphs into "Sexual House" in Wy's mind. LOL, so good...

Kids say the darndest things... Speaking of kids-Wyatt & Travis welcomed their baby sister Georgia Mae last month. It's about time this family got a girl. I have already started to buy her lots of fun things.
Wyatt & Trav with their new sis
Georgia Mae Mattson
7 lbs., 9 oz. 19.5 in.
Born April 15, 2012