Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy holidays!!!

We are back from Christmas in Seattle with Mom, Lib and Colin. Now Lib and Colin are in Chi-town through New Year's. Yea!

I have to steal some Seattle pics from Libby. So in the mean time, here's a recent one of Rob that I think is hysterical. He was sick last week for the first time in ages, so he was sitting around with a hat on. Awww.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What I'm reading

Sara suggested I try to post here the items that I tag for sharing on Google reader. (I loved shared items on Google reader!)

So here's what I've tagged lately. Probably reflects my great appreciation for all things Melissa McEwan.

-- This sums up my disappointment from earlier today. I particularly like the line, "Obama is playing the same game that anti-choicers and homobigots have been playing for decades, which is pretending that both sides of the abortion issue and the same-sex marriage issue are equivalent, and they are not."

-- I love when sexism is just "silly" little stuff we shouldn't get worked up about.

-- Ah, Bush v. Gore.

-- An Alderman with some sense. Whoa.

-- One of my heroes.

And here's one I starred for my own re-reviewing pleasure, but haven't shared.

-- A book review.


On a side note, I think I have decided to make my blog password-protected. I'm not sure exactly how that will work yet. I'm sad to do it. But I think I need to either keep my blog more on the innocuous side (read: no political thoughts) or I need to make it private. Details to follow. I hope you'll all still keep reading. I'll be sure to make sure you know how.

Oh Lordie

Suddenly I feel like it's a good thing we decided not to go to DC for the inauguration. I would probably cry. Not just because I'll be happy to have a new president. Also because of this.

What a disappointment. Reaching out and setting a new tone does not include endorsing those who spew hate, let alone giving those hate-spewers a platform. I keep shaking my head hoping this will go away.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Colts pics

Indy Weekend

We had a very fun weekend in Indy. We hit the road on Saturday afternoon for Nadine & Roger's house. We arrived in time for a little bit of chill time before the four of us headed out for dinner with Liane & Michael and Sara & Jon. Dinner was remarkably good sushi... especially given that we were in, uh, Indianapolis. After dinner we all headed to a party at a friend's place in Carmel. (Emphasis on the first syllable, for all you non-Indy folks.)

Sunday morning we got to spend some time watching Nadine & Roger's little girls frolic, read books, and other good things. They might be the cutest kids ever except for our nieces and nephews.

Then it was off to a COLTS GAME at the brand new Lucas Oil Stadium. Thankfully the Colts won. Phew!! Our seats were fantastic. We were right next to the tunnel where the players run on and off the field. Awesome. I was jumping up and down like a little kid when the Colts first took the field. We saw three touchdowns in the endzone right in front of us. I have no idea when I last saw the Colts play live. What a treat.

Monday, December 08, 2008

I'm working like a crazy person

Which is why I am MIA.

Lots of work travel too.

I should be back by the end of this week though. I'm also looking forward to Indy next weekend. Whoo hoo!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Yea for Thanksgiving with Family

We had a great Thanksgiving weekend in Delaware at Rob's sister and brother-in-law's house. On Thursday, we feasted with Rob's sister Kyle, brother-in-law Taber, nephew Daniel, niece Lauren, sister Gena, brother-in-law Jay, dad Bob, dad's wife Teri and Grandma Lois.

On Friday morning, Kyle, Gena, Lauren and I hit Old Navy for some doorbusters (although we arrived tardily at 7:30am -- two hours after the store opened -- we still found lots of great deals).

On Saturday, Kyle, Taber, Daniel, Lauren, Rob and I took a brewery tour of Dogfish Head brewery and then feasted on seafood for dinner.

Sunday morning we headed home, beating the storm that hit Chicago by just a couple hours. Phew!

Rob and Daniel toss a football.

Rob and Daniel slouch on the couch the same way. Barkley joins them.

Me and Rob on Friday night. Note my doorbuster $10 sweater!

Daniel loves Barkley.

Rob shows Daniel his Guitar Hero moves.

Lauren loves hanging out with Aunt Gena. Uncle Jay is behind them.

Rob and Taber insisted on drinking Aquavit after Thanksgiving dinner. I can't say it was good.

Kyle did not enjoy it either.

Lauren is a mama's girl.

Rob loves hanging out with Barkley.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Worth the whole 9 minute viewing time

This is so fun. You must watch it.

And if you're a fan of The Price is Right, you'll appreciate even more how damn hard Lucky Sevens is!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankfulness 2

I’ve decided to turn last year’s Thanksgiving post into an annual thankfulness post. It’s tough to figure out what to write about this year though. I could just write “ditto” to last year’s post because all of that is still absolutely true. So consider this post a “ditto” plus an attempt at a little more.

I am thankful for my husband. I am thankful for who he is; I am thankful for his unwavering loyalty to me even at costs to himself; I am thankful for the never-ending laughter in our life together; I am thankful that I am still blown away with joy by the fact that he loves me.

I am thankful for my family. I am thankful that no matter what drama life brings I still know my sisters are my best friends. I am thankful to have two healthy parents invested in my happiness.

I am thankful for in-laws who are both my family and my friends. I am thankful for every second I get to spend with my nephews and nieces because they are amazing. I am thankful for the running hugs Daniel and Lauren gave me at the airport in July and for Bryson's interest in learning my dance moves.

I am thankful that 2008 brought me two new brothers-in-law and now both of my sisters and all of Rob’s sisters have settled into their lives with excellent life partners.

I am thankful that my faith in politics and my hope for the world have recently been renewed and then some. I am thankful to live in a country that seems to be marching (deliberately, if slowly) towards equality.

I am thankful for lattes because I am not thankful enough for mornings without them.

I am thankful for the tiny bit of muscle that I’ve gained from the tiny bit of pilates I’ve done this year.

I am thankful Rob tolerates (barely) my taste in television shows, which is admittedly rapidly deteriorating. I am thankful not to have picked up too many new television shows to follow this year.

I am thankful for my job and my job security (knocking on wood). I am thankful for my unbelievably dedicated mentor at work.

I am thankful for Facebook, the Colts' winning record, my (lopsided) glasses, and fortune cookies.

I am thankful to see so many fantastic people around me becoming parents.

I am thankful for the time, the means and the reasons to travel, no matter how tiring it may be, because I'm always better off for having visited a friend or family member.

And obviously, I am thankful for the Giants' Super Bowl victory.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Our Christmas Decorations

As I mentioned below, we put up some Christmas decorations this weekend. We're not that artistic. You all know that. But we do enjoy a little festiveness.

We bought a real wreath, some bells for the front door, a ceramic penguin and a fake Charlie Brown-esque tree for outside. Of course, since our front door opens to a courtyard that only a handful of neighbors walk by, it's really just for our own amusement. We also have fake candles in the windows that automatically turn on when it gets dark out.

So you can see a bit more of the fiber optic awesomeness, here's a blurry no-flash picture. A couple years ago I bought a fake tree a couple days before Christmas that was so cool. SO COOL. Because it had fiber optics. At first Rob hated it. Then he realized how great it was in all its tacky glory. This morning we saw a tiny tree with fiber optics was on sale at Target. How could we resist!

The tree in its more subdued glory.

Maybe we need to put some more trimming on our mantle? For now we've got an advent calendar to the left, a tree in the middle, a funky Santa to the right. Plus some lovely stockings right in front.

Last but not least, Rob set up some of our Christmas buddies along the top of our television.

We really tried not to leave the state this weekend...

But we failed.

It's my fault. Or Maybe it's my cousin Alan's fault. Alan asked me if Rob and I wanted to go to a magic show on Saturday with Alan and his wife Jen. Sure, I said.

Turns out the magic show was just over the border in Wisconsin. And we were so determined not to leave Illinois this weekend!!! The magic show was a lot of fun though. We also drove by a Jelly Belly factory that we had no idea was so close, so we'll be returning there for a visit.

This weekend was a cousin extravaganza. In addition to Saturday's magic show with Al & Jen, on Friday night we had dinner with my cousin Paul and his girlfriend Whitney, along with Resa & Nick. Paul recently relocated to Chi-town, and we're happy to have him here.

Sunday we squeezed in some quality couch potato time. We enjoyed the Giants' and Colts' victories. But we also got inspired and put up some Christmas decor. And we had a fun dinner out with Jeff & Sara.

Wednesday we are off to Delaware for Thanksgiving with Rob's family. As always, we can't wait to see our oldest nephew and niece (and we'll miss the younger three who are staying in Texas for the holiday).

And last but not least, speaking of awesome kids, I got to meet Erica & Feroz's baby girl this week. I had a quick work trip to NYC, so I snuck over to their place before I left the city. Needless to say, Sofia is awesome. She couldn't be sweeter, she rocks out to her mobile in the coolest way, and she's adorable. Yea!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Yup, another weekend trip

Surely it surprises no one that we were traveling again this weekend. Not another wedding this time though. I don't think we have any more weddings in 2008! Instead it was off to Harrisonburg, Virginia, home of Rob's alma mater. Rob and his best friends from college plus significant others and kids all headed back to James Madison University for a ten-year reunion.

The original gang is Rob, Jason, Christian, Heather and Jake. Jason seems to be the linchpin in the group. Rob and Jason went to high school together. Jason and Christian were freshman year roommates in college. Heather and Jason were in the JMU marching band together. Jake transferred to JMU and roomed with Christian. And that is how the crew formed.

Heather is now married to Blair, also a JMU alum, who was a good friend of Christian during their semester abroad. Heather and Blair met at Christian's Halloween party in DC a few years after college.

And of course, Rob and I are married thanks to the pairing of Jason and Christian as freshman year roommates as well. Christian's brother Dave went to grad school at College of Charleston where he became friends with Carly who later became my roommate and kindred spirit in DC. Carly met Christian and later Rob through Dave, which eventually led me to meet Rob.

Ah, fate. :)

Jason is also married to a JMU alum -- Beth -- but they met after college as well. And Jake is married to a non-JMU-er, Catherine.

Now that I've explained everyone.... The ten adults and four kids rented a big house near JMU for the weekend. We toured campus on Saturday for a football game. The campus was gorgeous. The game was excellent. (JMU won!) Then we grilled out an reminisced on Saturday night.

The four kids -- Sophie (Heather and Blair's), Katie (Jake and Catherine's), Calvin & Casey (Jason and Beth's) -- were so much fun. Calvin is very spirited and enjoys smashing his face up against yours and all sorts of tackling games. He and Katie had particular fun joint tackling me on repeatedly on Sunday morning.

Rob and I drove Christian and his girlfriend Maria back to DC on Sunday afternoon. On the way we stopped at a winery with what seemed to be the world's longest wine-tasting. I think we tasted 20 wines. Whoa. We also had a spirited round of the cow game on the ride back, which Christian and Rob won with an astounding 6002 points to Maria's and my, um, nothing. Ouch.

All in all, it was a really great weekend. It's always fun spending time with old friends and making new friends. (I'd never met Maria, Jake or Catherine before.)

Here are some pictures.

Casey, Katie, Sophie, and Calvin.

Catherine, Katie, Calvin, Jason, Rob, me, Casey, Beth, Blair, Sophie, Heather, Christian, Maria. (Jake was off parking their car.)

Jason, Calvin, me, Casey, Beth, Rob, (the back of) Sophie('s head), Heather, Blair, Christian, Katie, Catherine, Jake. (Maria was in the library.)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Another weekend, another wedding

We had a jam packed weekend again. This time, happily, the wedding of the week was in our hometown. Rob's friend Ben from DC got married to Rachel on Saturday night in downtown Chicago. We realized that we are in the post-law school run of weddings right now. Every wedding we've been invited to this year (excepting our sisters' weddings) has involved one if not two lawyers!

We had a great time at Ben and Rachel's wedding. Everything was gorgeous. The food was delicious and never-ending. The band absolutely rocked. And most importantly, the couple looked happy beyond words.

We also got to see a whole crowd of Rob's law school friends, two of whom stayed with us for the weekend. So that was a very fun bonus.

Since I haven't blogged for a while, I should also comment a bit on last week's events, eh? Well, we're jubilant. To put it succinctly.

I spent Sunday through Tuesday in Indiana helping to turn the state to the Dems for the first time in my lifetime. I got to stay with Nadine while in Indy (yea!), even though I didn't get to hang with her nearly enough because I was so busy! Then I raced back to Chicago after the Indy polls closed on Tuesday to make it back to meet up with Rob, Resa, Nick and Stephanie and head to Grant Park.

I'm not sure I can do justice to my sense of relief. Relief that I realized I have been waiting to feel for eight years now.

I am so glad I made it back for Obama's speech in Grant Park. But honestly more for the historical moment than anything else. I felt almost numb Tuesday night. There was a moment when I got off the highway and onto the streets of downtown Chicago, when Pennsylvania and Ohio had already been called for Obama, when I knew it was inevitable... my eyes welled up, my hands started shaking. But I shook it off. I was driving after all. And exhausted.

So when we finally got to Grant Park, when Obama finally spoke, it was this strange, teary-eyed calm that I felt. It wasn't until Wednesday. Waking up and knowing our new reality that I spent the day crying every time I was reminded of the good news.

Still, Tuesday was magical. Chicago was ecstatic. The excitement was overflowing in the most unifying and peaceful way I've ever seen. I doubt I'll ever see anything like it again.

So good job to all the states I've ever lived in -- Indiana, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, DC, and Illinois. Good job America. Thank you for giving me hope back. Thank you for giving me long-needed relief.

Monday, November 03, 2008


I'm sooooooo tired.

Exhausting day in the Indy campaign office mainly just telling people where to vote.

Gotta go to bed so I can wake up at 4am.

Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

Please VOTE!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Miami pics

A couple pics from the wedding... details are in the post below.

Me and Rob chillin' at the reception. Yes, you may have seen this dress at a previous wedding this year. I don't have the budget for six weddings a year!

The happy couple shares their first dance to a really awesome song.

Rob does a reading during the ceremony.

Lots of catching up to do

We have lots of catching up to do for all our readers. Sorry we've been missing lately. First, I've been down in the dumps because of recent events I've already mentioned. Second, I've been really busy with life, work, travelling, etc. Third, I've been pondering the future of this blog -- given that I have a professional life outside this blog. (No decisions yet, but for now I'm committed to continuing.) Fourth, well, I've been down in the dumps.

Thankfully I have a supportive husband and some awesome friends who are willing to let me wallow when I need to. You all rock! So it's time to work my way back into regular life.

This past weekend we went to Miami for the wedding of my law school classmates Adam and Valerie. Yes, I know. Another wedding? We can't believe it either. If you map the locations of the weddings we've been to this year, I think we've done quite the national tour -- midwest, west coast, east coast, northwest, south... and we've got one more midwest in a couple weeks.

We were so happy to head to Miami for Adam and Valerie's wedding though. Adam was my 1L study buddy. Valerie and I braved Wax's Civ Pro side by side. They are awesome, and even more awesome together. Rob was very honored to do a reading at the wedding. (Rob was great!!) We sat with some of Valerie's co-workers from last year's clerkship and had a blast. And it turned out that one guy at our table went to high school with me. Small world!

On Sunday we were lucky enough to have time to meet up with Rob's aunt and grandmother, who live in Ft. Lauderdale, for lunch. We made it to the airport in time to catch the last half of the Giants' victory. Then it was back to Chicago. Another weekend. Another roundtrip flight.

Tonight we had another fun excursion. The Chicago Red Stars -- the local team in the newly formed Women's Professional Soccer league -- hosted an event to benefit the team's charitable foundation. National team veteran Kate Markgraf was on hand. (We were too shy to say hi.) But we did have a great time chatting with some of the team's staff members. Rob and I have already put down a deposit on season tickets for the Red Stars. You can get a season ticket for just $99, so there's really no excuse not to, right? Less than $10 a ticket to see a great team full of great role models play a great sport in a great way.

Back to work I go before I head to bed. But I'll be a better blogger now. We've got a Halloween party on Friday, a party on Saturday, a 5K on Sunday, and an election to win next Tuesday! So much to do and blog about!

Oh, and speaking of elections, we took a trip with Resa back to Apple Holler two weekends ago to go apple picking. The brunch was good. The apple picking was okay (not a lot of apples left on the trees). The McCain-Palin sign only visible on the way out was not cool. We're looking for a new apple orchard for next year.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Welcome Maggie!

Bill and Claire, our Cape Cod buddies, welcomed their daughter Margaret Rose to the world last week. We can't wait to meet her, even if it does appear that she's bringing a bit too much luck to the unworthy Red Sox.

Congratulations Bill and Claire!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

My friend John

PS Thanks for all the emails following this post. :)

This morning was terrible. I learned that an old friend of mine passed away a couple weeks ago. I've got all these thoughts bumping around in my head, so I'm going to pour them out here.

John and I went to Penn together, but we didn't meet until late winter of my senior year at the interview day for the Thouron Award. I can't remember how we started talking, but it was right after we arrived, waiting for the long day to begin. It came up that he was from Arkansas and I was from Indiana. We bonded over being from such "strange" states for Penn students. Throughout the day, my favorite conversations were with John and another student Shahzad. Needless to say, I was thrilled when all three of us were among the five students given Thouron Awards that year.

John went to Oxford. I went to LSE. (Shahzad went to Cambridge.) During my first week in London, before classes had even begun, I was wandering from LSE back towards my dorm and I ran into John on the street. His classes hadn't started either, so he'd come to London for the day. He wanted to track me down to join his sightseeing, but he only had my address. He went there, didn't find me, and then started walking towards LSE. Feeling rather overwhelmed to be alone in a foreign country, I was so happy to see him. Beyond happy.

Throughout the year, John and I developed an excellent friendship and John came to London often. John and I had so much fun together. I remember cracking up with him during an audio tour of Kensington Palace, although I can't remember at all what was so funny. Another visit, we were wandering the London streets and for some reason we both found the name "WokWok" hysterical -- it was a restaurant, I think. To this day I smile and think of John every time I see a wok. And I will never forget going clubbing in downtown London in formal Thouron event clothes, dancing like the crazy Americans we were.

John and I also talked about all the serious things in our lives. I went to Oxford for a day to visit him and we walked and talked nonstop from morning until after midnight when I caught a bus back to London. We talked about relationships, family, careers. Everything. He talked about an old girlfriend through the lens of what he wanted for his life -- and what he wanted was always focused on family. He wanted a gaggle of kids. He wanted to work for a while in a big city. Then he wanted to raise his family in Arkansas farm country. He worried a lot about how he would find a great woman to marry who was also willing to move to Arkansas with him. He praised his mom all the time.

We had a lot of political discussions. My liberal politics were not fully formed back then, but I was already pretty far to the left. John was on the right. We disagreed a lot. We had long talks about greed and corruption, and shared the same worries about the state of politics and politicians in America. We were both very concerned about how the rest of the world saw America. John was drawn to the Catholic Church and eventually was confirmed in the Church during his two years in Oxford.

John was one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I'd ever met. He was old school chivalrous. The day I visited him at Oxford, every time we'd cross to a different sidewalk, he'd reposition himself to be closer to the road than me. He never had an unkind word for anyone.

Sometime during his second year at Oxford (I just had one year at LSE), John met Sara, who he would eventually marry. John was amazed by her. It was clear he'd met his match. He told me happily that she might even be the type of woman who'd move to Arkansas some day.

John also gave me some great friends. John introduced me to my best friend at LSE -- Philip -- who John met in the bar in the basement of my dorm (seriously) when visiting me one time that fall. In the summer of John's second year at Oxford, I had been working at McKinsey a year when I got sent to London for a training. I got there a day early and went to Oxford to visit John. A McKinsey coworker, Sandip, went on the same training had the same plan to visit a friend at Oxford, and it turned out that Sandip's friend and John were the best of friends. So we all spent an awesome day together, including football and a bonfire in their backyard until the wee hours of the morning. Sandip became a great friend to me from that day on.

But life marches forward. When I left NYC in 2001, I didn't get to see a lot more of John except at Thouron events. It's probably one of my greatest frustrations about the nomadic life I've led. I've found so many amazing friends along the way, and then distance and adventures push you out of touch for far too long stretches.

The last time I saw John was in the fall of 2005. Rob and I were visiting NYC for the weekend, in large part to visit John and Sara. We met their two oldest kids. (Now there are three kids.) Rob and I had been at a Thouron event that summer and I'd been surprised John wasn't there, so I'd dropped him a line after. John hadn't heard about it and was sad to have missed it. When we finally saw each other that fall, we promised each other to be in much better touch and to always call each other when a new Thouron event was on the horizon -- and to always go. That way, we said, we would always be in touch.

John called me in the fall of 2006. He'd been at the memorial service for a member of the Thouron family in Philly. I hadn't heard about the service until too late to go as I was in Chicago. John and I traded voicemails afterwards. I owed him a call back. And I kept meaning to call.

A few weeks ago, I got a Thouron mailing. A save the date for the 50th reunion in June 2010. I immediately thought about John. I made a mental note to call him. To promise one another we'd both be there no matter what.

Not too long ago, John and Sara moved to Arkansas, just as he'd always wanted. Now I know that when I got that Thouron mailing, John had been in an Arkansas hospital for some time, recovering from a terrible accident. Now I know that right around the time I got that mailing, John died from complications from his accident. I don't even know how to process it.

Why was I so bad at being in touch that I didn't even know when he moved? How could I have not known about his accident? I'm just devastated. I'm sad to have lost such a special friend. A friendship that I took for granted would be always be there for me to return to. I'm appalled that a person so important to me was going through so much pain and I was completely unaware.

I'm at a loss. In every way.

So to John: I can't believe you're gone. Our friendship gave me such strength. I hope you knew that somehow. I never said it. I should have said it. I will always miss you. I will always always remember you. I am so glad you got the life you dreamed of, even if it was cut far too short.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Another Chicago Weekend

We had a great weekend in Chicago. We got treated to some bizarre warm weather. Something about marathon weekend in Chicago brings out the sun, although it wasn't as hot as last year.

Saturday afternoon our friends Ali & Eddie had a bbq at their place, which was exactly what the weekend called for. Then Saturday night Georgia had a few folks over for an official housewarming. We are so excited Georgia lives on our block now!

Sunday we spent the day catching up on errands. Then Sunday night we popped over to Resa and Nick's for a bbq dinner.

Below are a couple pictures from Georgia.

Me & Rob at Georgia's place.

Me & Susie at Georgia's place. (I love Susie's glasses.) Susie is trying to talk me into training for a half marathon. Hmm. She obviously has never seen me (try to) exercise.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Did you get purged from the registered voter rolls?

In light of recent events, it may be essential for some or all of you to make certain you are still able to vote. This website should assist you in determining whether you will be able to vote on election day if you have already registered. Pass this information along to anyone in a swing state, it could determine the outcome of this election.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Definitely moving to Canada...

... if Obama doesn't win.


This is beyond embarrassing.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Go Indiana!

Rob and I were originally hoping to go to Madison this weekend with Jeff & Sara, but since my dad decided to come to town, we've pushed back our Wisconsin plan. With a partly free Saturday, we touched base with the Obama campaign and got orders to go canvass in Valparaiso, Indiana -- about an hour and fifteen minutes from Chicago.

Valpo is a pretty Republican area. Heck, Indiana as a whole is a pretty Republican area. I was in the distinct minority growing up in Indianapolis as a Dem, and that's the most Democratic part of the state.

Needless to say, Rob and I were pretty surprised and excited by the Obama support we found. Sure, there were a few McCain supporters who were less than enthusiastic about us showing up at their doorstep. We were also intrigued to find that the divided households were generally mom plus adults kid for Obama, dad for McCain. Although more of the dads were undecided than for McCain, which is also pretty encouraging. On the less surprising end, there were a heck of a lot more Obama supporters in apartments than in houses. Hmmm. The economy was definitely the big issue. Although one gentleman said he was leaning McCain because of abortion. Still, even he was just leaning towards McCain but hadn't decided yet.

We got back to Chicago late afternoon after hours and hours on our feet, but it was worth it. And not just because of the frozen custard place we found in Valpo. Oh, and our work even made the news. Kindof. :)

If you've got some free time and you're in or within driving distance of a swing state, you should head out and canvass for a weekend. We were in a Republican neighborhood where the Dems we found seemed truly grateful and encouraged that we were there. (We also had a nice long talk with a Vietnam veteran, lifelong Republican who is voting Obama.) Little things make a difference. And even where we found McCain supporters, I am optimistic that it will leave an impression that two seemingly nice and normal Obama supporters gave them a friendly hello.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008



And pass this video around to anyone who needs some fun motivation.

You may only have a couple days left to register. So go.


What is it about September 2008? Marriages and (girl) babies everywhere.

I want to welcome to the world the new daughter of my friends Emily & Jeff and the new daughter of my friend Carolyn, both born in the last two weeks. Now I'm just counting down the days until Bill & Claire's daughter comes along. That will make five baby girls of people I love in less than a month's time!

And I also want to say my most excited and overwhelmed with joy congratulations not just to Hugh & Jenny (see pics below), but also our friends Bishop & Karen and our friends Liane & Michael. All three couples got married the SAME day -- this past Saturday. Yup. That meant we had to miss TWO of the big days. I'm still completely bummed out about that. But I am really happy to say a big welcome to the world of wedded bliss to all six of you! :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Seattle pics -- Saturday/Sunday

At Hugh and Jenny's gorgeous wedding site -- Kiana Lodge. (And yes, if my outfit looks familiar, it's the same dress from Gena's wedding. Too many weddings this year!)

A sailboat on the water just before the wedding.

Jenny and Hugh look amazing as they listen to a reading during their ceremony.

Jenny and Hugh -- super happy after the ceremony.

Mt. Rainier in the distance from Bainbridge Island, down the road from my mom's house.

Seattle pics - Friday/Saturday morning

Me and my friend Hugh the night before his big day!

Rob rockin' out -- BB Island ferry style.

Rob and my mom in my mom's bountiful garden.

Some of the flowers in my mom's yard.

The Saturday bounty from Mom's garden.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Suburban jury duty

I am very pro-jury duty. But (you knew this was coming) I think if you live in a city, you should not have to travel to the suburbs for jury duty. That's why you live in the city. So you don't have to go anywhere else. I suppose that means I think suburban folks should have to come into the city for jury duty. Hmmm.

I digress. Yes, I have jury duty in the suburbs tomorrow. I can't imagine anyone wants an attorney on their jury. Knock on wood. So hopefully I'll get to head home before rush hour.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Weekend Pics

We had a busy weekend. Belated birthday celebration for Rob on Friday (with Ali & Eddie putting together an AMAZING happy hour for us all at their place). More appliance delivery on Saturday. (Dishwasher still not installed. Oy.) Pilates. Catch up lunch with Jeff & Sara post-pilates. U.S. Women's National Team game in Bridgeview on Saturday night. Rob and Eddie golfing on Sunday morning. Cubs game with Tim & Emily on Sunday afternoon. Errands and work before bedtime on Sunday. Whew!

Here's a few quick shots.

Rob and Sara chat on the couch at Ali & Eddie's. (Oops, I wrote Jeff instead of Rob before!)

Eddie (my flash is making him look like he's prematurely graying -- sorry Eddie), Ali, Adolfo, Rob at Cullen's post-birthday dinner at Tango Sur.

Me & Rob at 1:30am.

Post-game on Saturday night just after interviewing the players. (Ok, I only asked one question, but it was a good one.) First live game I've covered in a long time. It was awesome.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Dance lessons

I will probably take this post down eventually because, well, I like to live in my own delusional world in which I know how to dance. But our nephew Bryson is so damn cute, that this deserves at least a temporary audience. (Linda, I just know that you in particular are going to love this.)

At Gena's wedding this past weekend, our four-year-old nephew Bryson really wanted to learn some actual dance moves. So he would join me on the dance floor and mimic whatever I was doing. I even named some of the dance moves I was teaching him so Bryson could follow along better. Turns out Bryson's dad, our brother-in-law Gary, took a short video of one of our dance sessions. The first move he captured is "the wiggle" and the last is "the crazy." For obvious reasons.

The song choice is pretty fantastic. As Rob pointed out, Bryson was absolutely the only male on the dance floor. At the end of the video, I'm sending Bryson into the center of the dance circle that had formed on the floor to dance with his great-grandma. Too bad the video doesn't continue! :)

Anyway, enjoy this while you can!

Happy Birthday Sofia!

It's baby fever, I tell you.

Happy birthday (yesterday) to Sofia! The new baby daughter of our amazing friends Erica and Feroz. I can't wait to meet her.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad and Adele!

Yesterday we got to have a celebratory dinner with my Dad (and Sharon, Resa, and Nick) for my Dad's 59th birthday.

This morning we got the news that my cousin Angela had her baby girl -- Adele -- last night while we were celebrating. Good timing. Good birthday.

Happy birthday Dad and Adele!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gena's Wedding

I'll blog more a bit later, but we had a wonderful time at Rob's sister Gena's wedding this past weekend. We also celebrated Rob's and his twin sister Kyle's birthday the same day! :)

Gena and Jay say their vows.

Taber and Rob make faces at the cocktail hour.

Gena dances with her dad.

Gena and Jay's first dance.

The P*zold siblings and their spouses pose after the reception at Aunt Mary Lynn's house. Fittingly, the newlyweds are making out.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Liberal and Proud

If you're reading this blog, then you know me and you know I'm very liberal. Unashamedly so. The husband is too.

Today I got a nice, succinct reminder of some of the reasons why I'm a liberal and why I'm proud to be a liberal. Although I was confused to see it. I didn't know the media was allowed to publish anything of political substance until after November.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I don't feel good about this election

Warning: political angst ahead.

Since some of you have asked, the answer is no, I don't feel good about this election. I have been trying to conjure up a good post to sum up my thoughts in some kind of snarky yet insightful way. But I've been too sad, disenchanted, angry, bitter, etc., etc. to write anything.

The sad thing though, is something Rob and I have been talking about for quite some time. We (Rob and I) will be fine. Our lives won't change. We have the unfair fortune of being in the upper tiers of income-earners in this country these days. Our tax cut from Obama would be pennies, while our tax cut from McCain would be a nice bit more. Frankly, I'd love to have that much more money to pay down our mortgage each year.


And this is a big BUT.

We (Rob and I) are not the people I'm worried about. We will be able to afford to move to a less polluted part of the country. We will be able to buy our own healthcare. Our house is not in any danger of being foreclosed on. We can afford $9 gas like they have in many parts of Alaska. (Seriously, they do.) If we needed an abortion for whatever reason, we could fly to Europe if it were outlawed here. We are skilled professionals in not-collapsing industries, so if either of us lost our job, we could be supported by the other without much economic stress. We will be able to afford to pay for our kids ginormous education costs if public schools fall apart even further. We will be able to care for extended families as they age. We will have money waiting for us in retirement. And on and on.

Because we are damn lucky ducks.

Which is exactly why I'm not voting for my short-term financial interests. And that's all they are, short-term. I don't want want to be a lucky person in a crappy country. For eight years, we've watched so many Americans lose everything, including their ability to pay for anything, through no fault of their own. We've watched a generation of kids grow up in poverty without even batting an eye at the fact that they have crumbling homes, no healthcare, no quality education, and no opportunities for a better life. They're the ones who can't afford four more years. And let's get real here, McCain has voted with the Bush Administration 90% of the time these past four years. Change that ain't.

So I say raise my damn taxes. What good is America if America isn't any good? And America isn't any good if it isn't good to its people. Being a POW doesn't make you qualified to be president. Being a great speaker doesn't qualify you to be president either. Frankly, I'm irritated at every single person out their who acted like Obama's speeches alone should have won him the nomination. It's actually been hard for me to keep that irritation at bay lately. Maybe that's unfair, but it's true. Because we don't have that luxury. All that time talking about the damn speeches was a big waste of time that could have been spent talking about the fact that he has really good, critical ideas for turning our country around.

Yet I haven't seen any coverage of the issues in days. And if all we're judging on is who has the better theme going, let's face it, POW trumps speaking abilities. So I don't feel good about this election. Shame on the media. Shame on all of us for not demanding better and more. Now it might be too late.

If the Dems can't win this one, with the regrets of 2000 and 2004 so close behind us, welcome to third-rate status, America. Even though it won't change my life damn one bit, I'm still traumatized at the thought.

So now what? Well, I don't know. I know I'll be heading to a swing state for the days before the election. I know that even though I'm fully prepared to be beaten down for the third time in eight years, I'm not going down without a fight. I care too much. Not about me, but about this insane country we have here. And if that's not patriotism, I don't know what is. I want our country to be so much better than it is these days, not because I don't love it, but because I love it so much it hurts.

But it's this one and then I'm out. If this election doesn't work, I really don't know if I can do it again.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Yea Chicago Weekends

We had another full weekend in Chicago. It's been so good to have a break from traveling.

Friday night we took a long walk to a movie theatre to see Bottle Shock with Erin and Brian. I'd definitely recommend it. Not life-changing, but certainly entertaining. Even more so because the story is generally a true one. And naturally we came home and opened a bottle of wine afterwards.

Saturday morning we got our new fridge and range. Whoo hoo! Then we wandered down to Suzi's Tea & Cafe for brunch, which we'd spotted on our walk the night before. Totally delicious and also a good bargain. We will be going back soon. I had a Cranberry Crisp tea. Rob had Darjeeling.

Saturday night Rob had to cover the Fire game, so I settled in front of the television with more bags and boxes of papers and other miscellaneous things to sort through. Our home organization efforts continue.

Today we jumped in the car and headed out to the suburbs to do a little shopping. We managed to go all the way to Schaumburg and not get lured into Ikea, a feat we've never before accomplished. And now we're watching the Colts look more than a little un-Colt-like. Ugh. Hopefully things will get better in the second half.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Things that used to be on my fridge

Half of our new appliances are here. The dishwasher had a dent and the microwave had a loose panel, so we've got to wait another two weeks for those. But we've got a new refrigerator and range. Yea!

Unfortunately, stainless steel does not lend itself to magnets, so I have to retire many of the scattered things that used to grace our fridge. In their honor, here's a list of some things getting put away elsewhere:

- magnets of every shape and size, magnets from most every vacation we've been on and from every state we've lived in, a Law Students for Choice magnet, magnets with Washington Freedom schedules, Lego magnets, wedding picture magnets from Jason and Beth, Christian's mom's business card magnet, a Penn teddy bear magnet, and bottle opener magnets
- pictures of our families and friends dating from 1974 to last year, including a picture of my mom and dad with my dad's whole family all decked out circa 1974, and a picture of Rob's mom that Kyle gave to Rob to carry in his pocket on our wedding day
- fortune cookie fortunes I've gotten: "You are independent politically." Ha. and "Where there's a will, there's a way." Definitely.
- Peyton Manning and Omar Vizquel, or at least a pictures of them
- a drawing of me and our niece Lauren by Lauren
- a thank you card from our nephew Daniel
- some of Rob's best quotes
- a postcard of two women laughing with a Pat Robertson quote that says, "Feminism encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practise witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians."
- our 2.5 year plan for home renovation projects
- a card from Roxanna with two goofy women on it and the quote, "Laughter is the closest distance between two people." Yes it is!!!
- the December 8 page from Bill & Claire's Italian word calendar that they said reminded them of us: "impegnato/impegnata: politically committed" used in the sentence "La mia fidanzata e un'attivista impegnata.: My girlfriend is a committed activist."
- a Tom Stoppard quote, "It's not the voting that's democracy, it's the counting."
- a Peanuts comic strip that Mark's dad David sent to me before Rob's and my wedding -- Snoopy is dancing for three boxes and then says "If you have a wedding, I'll dance at it!"
- business cards, including one of Rob's mom's old cards, and others for our pilates instructor, handyman, dermatologist, floor installer, and tailor
- a happy first anniversary card from Rob's grandma
- a card from my mom that says "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
- some gift certificates, including one for a wine tasting and one for a lobster dinner and one for a free happy hour
- a New Yorker cartoon from Jeff to Rob that says, "OK Cynthia, I'll tell you about my hopes and dream, my joys and my passions. But be forewarned -- they all concern a particular sports team."

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

One more thing

One other thing we did this weekend that I know at least one person out there will appreciate (Alan). We joined the local library. It's only a block away, so it's long overdue. No pun intended. But we finally made the long walk over and joined. Or at least I joined. Rob stood outside and held our Starbucks since he didn't have any ID on him at the moment it occurred to me to join the library.

Still, a very positive step. Maybe next weekend I'll actually check something out. Of the library, that is.

When I was growing up, the library might have been my favorite place on the planet. So it's only fitting that we live so close to a library. I really am determined to make some use of it. Eventually.

Monday, September 01, 2008

A glorious weekend without plane rides

This weekend we spent the whole weekend at home. Thank god. I am exhausted from traveling.

I don't think I've even said much about our traveling lately because we've been so busy traveling. We had a fantastic time in Cape Cod with our friends Bill & Claire. A whole week without work? Amazing! Claire is seven+ months pregnant, but still incredibly adventurous. If I'm ever pregnant, I hope I rock it out like her. I totally admire her for that. So our week was full of swimming, hiking, kayaking, mini-golfing, and lots of other fun activities. If anyone's looking to rent a cottage in Cape Cod, ours was a great one and a great deal.

Rob got to go home after our vacation, but I jetted off in another direction for work. Then this past weekend we headed back to the East coast for a mini-bachelorette party for Rob's sister Gena and my friend Erica's baby shower. (Yup, everybody's pregnant or engaged these days!) Mark & Chris let us crash at their pad despite the fact we didn't really have any free time. But we had a great, if exhausting weekend nonetheless. Although, mental note: two early morning flights in 48 hours is not ideal for a post-30-year-old body. Ugh.

Of course, I turned right back around for another work trip on Tuesday. So this past Friday night, Rob and I went to bed at 9pm. Seriously. We slept a solid 12 hours before even stirring.

This weekend has been the first stop on our "get more organized" tour. And also our "Oh, I forgot this is what our house/neighborhood/city looked like because I haven't seen it in so damn long" tour. We did some serious appliance shopping because we are at our collective wit's end with our dishwasher (the world's loudest) and our fridge (whose ice machine component thinks it is in a noise-making competition with the dishwasher).

So this weekend I learned that I'm not a fan of the new style of dishwasher that you have to open to see where it is in the cycle. That doesn't make sense to me. Seems like a steam-burning product liability lawsuit waiting to happen, right?

Fortunately, we found a cool new dishwasher without that issue. In fact, we found a whole set of new appliances - fridge, dishwasher, range, and microwave - at a pretty sweet price with an even sweeter financing deal. So next Saturday, our kitchen will be gleamed out in stainless steel. It'll be strange not having random things hanging all over the front of our fridge. (If you've ever seen our fridge, you understand my obsession. Where will I put Rob's awesome quotes?) But I cannot wait to have a modern kitchen with a stove top so cool I might actually consider cooking more than once a year. Whoo hoo!

I also went through about eight bags and boxes full of papers needing to be filed or tossed that currently occupy our office. Only about eight more to go. But I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of ridding our home of boxes of unidentified junk.

Last but not least, we got to spend some quality time this weekend with friends who we've missed a lot lately. Sara and I saw the Traveling Pants 2 movie. Totally cute. Allison, Geoff and Rob & I split up our Blackhawks season tickets over some awesome sushi. Ali and Eddie were finally in town on a weekend that Rob and I were in town, so we saw them twice! Rob caught a Cubs game with Jeff, Sara and Eddie. Our friends Sophia and Fritz were in town for a wedding, so the Penn Law Wives Club - DC Chapter (aka Rob, Eddie & Fritz -- long story) was reunited. We even got to see my mom briefly on Friday for a Chicago family dinner on the town as she cut through Chicago to go to a wedding in Indy with Resa & Nick.

Man, it was good to be home for a weekend. Even better to have three days of weekend. I'm so glad I have all of next weekend in Chi-town to look forward to as well.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Happy Birthday 19th Amendment

Today marks 88 years of constitutionalized women's suffrage. On August 26, 1920, the U.S. Secretary of State certified the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

I found this map showing which states ratified the amendment. (Source.)

The colors mean: Ratification on June 10, 1919 (yellow); ratification from June 16, 1919 to July 28, 1919 (chartreuse [I'd call this green]); ratification from August 2, 1919 to December 15, 1919 (aqua); ratification from January 6, 1920 to March 22, 1920 (gray-green); ratification on August 18, 1920 (gray [I'd call this lavender]).

I think the first time I voted was in college, in the fall of 1995, when Ed Rendell was running for re-election as Mayer of Philadelphia. It took me a while to find my polling place. I was living off-campus so my polling site was a church in West Philly. I had to circle a few times before I found the entrance because the street corner was poorly lit. Then my name was listed incorrectly, although my voter id card that I'd brought with me was correct. Eventually I got to vote. It was the kind of machine where you pull down various levers and then swing a giant lever to the side to record your votes and clear them all at once when you're done.

I voted in the same place for Bill Clinton in 1996. In the fall of 1998, I voted absentee from London (casting a ballot in my home state of Indiana's election). In 2000 I voted absentee in the New York election because, although I lived in NY, I was in Florida working for Gore. My friend Andy K. helped make sure my absentee ballot got FedEx'd to me so I could return it in time. Even though I knew my presidential vote wouldn't do much in New York, I wanted to cast an official vote for Hillary Clinton for Senate, who I'd worked for briefly before heading to Florida.

I also remember when I got to Florida, I learned that not all voting machines used the lever systems I was used to using. Someone came into our field office and asked what the voting machine would be like. I said, "I think it's just a lever system." Our field office director said, "No, polling places use all kinds of different machines and types of ballots. It depends on your polling site." "Really?" I asked skeptically. "People vote on different types of machines in the same election?"

Yup. We really did have that conversation in Florida just a few days before Election Day 2000. If only we'd known what was to come.

Still, I love voting. I love voting. I view my vote as my voice and my power in America. Election results may be a foregone conclusion sometimes, but my vote is still part of that final count, and that means something to me.

As someone who worked in Florida in 2000, I have all kinds of things to say about who to vote for and why. But at the end of the day, I can't and don't believe anyone owes anyone else their vote. Just because one person weighs a set of pros and cons and decides to vote for candidate X, does not mean another person weighing the same pros and cons must come to the same conclusion. Sometimes I wish they did. So badly that it makes me cry for days, if not weeks, on end. Like in 2000. But...

Your vote is your voice -- to use in support, in protest, in silence as a statement, or however else you (legally) choose. It is the one power we all share as Americans. None of us have the right to dictate anyone else's voice. It's the control we give up and over to one another in this crazy democracy we call America.

And it's also why we should always, always, always make sure every vote is counted and counted correctly... and always keep a paper trail of those votes to prevent abuse... and not turn voters away from the polls under the guise of "preventing voter fraud"... and not disenfranchise felons who have already served their time. But those arguments are for another day.

I am so grateful that 88 years ago, a group of amazing women and men succeeded in giving me that voice I cherish today.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones

You have likely heard the news that Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones passed away yesterday after suffering a brain hemorrhage. I wanted to take a moment to honor her in some small way.

I had long had a soft spot for this woman. She was feisty. She was liberal. And she was from Cleveland -- my second hometown, the gathering place of my extended family and the home of Grandma M. My extended family is a rather conservative bunch, so Congresswoman Jones intrigued me. An outspoken liberal from Cleveland, wahoo!!!

I had the great pleasure of meeting Congresswoman Jones back in 2002 when I was organizing an event for the National Women's Political Caucus. It was an awards ceremony for media coverage of women's issues. We had the ambitious goal of having a member of Congress present each award. Congresswoman Jones was one of the first to say yes.

She arrived at the event with a huge smile on her face and kept up that enthusiasm throughout the ceremony. My knees were shaking when I greeted her, I was so nervous and thrilled. "Now this is someone I want to be like," I remember thinking.

It seems dangerous to idolize politicians too much these days. You never know what you don't know. Maybe Congresswoman Jones was not the wonderfully good-natured person she appeared to be. But I refuse to have doubts now. More importantly, I have no doubt that she was in politics for the right reasons, that she took her job seriously, that she cared about her constituents, and that she cared about the world. I also have no doubt that Congress desperately needs many more members like her.

Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones' death is an enormous loss for all of us. I will miss her.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Cape Cod

More blogging to come, but as our vacation in Cape Cod with our friends Bill & Claire is coming to and end, here are some pictures from the week.

After wine tasting at the vineyard near the end of Cape Cod.

Rob mans the grill at the cottage we rented.

Post-mini golf on an overcast day.

Sunset at the beach.

Rob cooks our fresh lobster dinner.