Three girls in my bathroom getting ready. Have a great Friday.
Category Archives: my life (personally speaking)
I need something to challenge me. So I’m challenging myself.
Seven posts in seven days.
In the beginning days of Urban Casita I posted this much regularly. I even wrote out a schedule for my little blog: Mondays about memories, Tuesdays about thrift finds, Wednesdays a free day, etc. etc. Somewhere along the way my naivete about blogging disappeared and I began posting sporadically. I looked at content other people were putting out and became unsure of myself. ReadyMade, which was the one place where I had to produce a certain amount of work and for whom I had to push myself at times, folded and I went into a slump. I decided my words were boring, my photos crappy, my ideas and projects overdone. Nothing was new. Everything I wanted to write about had been written about somewhere else. I guess this is the problem with the internet. Nothing ever feels new, until it is, and then it isn’t anymore because it’s all over the place. Follow? I didn’t think so. I’m not sure I do.
Anyways, I’m over that. I’m going to post about what I want to post about because it makes me happy to do so. I find that the blogs and sites I love the most do just that. See you tomorrow?
I’m at a loss. I didn’t know Whitney Houston. I’ve never seen her in concert. My memories of her are strictly from albums, radio, television, movies. And her voice brings up Mama. All Mama.
I remember dancing to How Will I Know, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, I’m Your Baby Tonight.
Breaking it down with my siblings to I’m Every Woman.
My mom took me to see The Bodyguard in the theater four times. Waiting to Exhale came out right around the time of my parent’s divorce. I saw the book on my mom’s nightstand. I read it when she was done. My mom had a six disc changer in the trunk of her VW. The soundtrack to that movie was in it almost always.
Whitney Houston has passed. One of the leading voices of the soundtrack to my childhood, maybe yours, too. I hope she is at peace.
Thank you, Ms. Whitney.
I have a little brother. Even though we aren’t technically Irish twins I pretend that we are. At exactly seventeen months apart, we experienced a lot at the same time growing up. Chicken pox was one such experience I remember vividly. I was probably around 4 when I caught it from someone in pre-k and I distinctly recall my mother plopping he and I into an Aveeno bath, hoping that he would catch the virus from me so she wouldn’t have to go through it twice. He caught it, we itched together and she was pleased.
We shared a room before our baby sister came along when I was 5 and he was 4. We had twin beds pushed against a wall of clouds, wallpaper that my grandfather put up for us. I had a red pencil lamp on my bedside table and he had a blue pencil lamp on his bedside table. The sheets were covered in clowns. We would smash our beds together to make one big one when we weren’t fighting.
I tried to hurt my baby brother once. My evil moment was right after he was born. I was a mommy’s girl until that day and when my father went to hold my brother I must have realized his existence. I didn’t like that baby brother was getting attention from this man I knew was important somewhere in my periphery and I stuck my fingers down baby brother’s throat. From that day on I paid my dad a lot more attention.
He once was on television. Around the time he was five, baby brother was playing baseball at daycare. He slid into third base (maybe home plate?) and a rusty nail lodged into his knee. Because my mom had started the first workplace daycare center in the state of Wisconsin (and I believe one of the first in the nation, if not the first) while pregnant with me, she was able to be by his side in minutes. The news showed my brother’s injury and my mom talked about how great it was to be able to work and be within a quarter of a mile of her children during their formative years. She was profiled in a Japanese magazine for her contribution to working mothers around this time as well. I was very excited to see the two of them on the big screen though a little jealous that I had not been the one to receive a rusty nail to the knee.
My baby brother goes to Barnes and Noble to read books instead of buying them. He read every single Easy Rawlins novel in this way: seated in a comfortable leather chair for a few hours until his work or schooling called, remembering the page number he was on, and coming back the next day to finish up. Well, he used to do this until the Barnes and Noble near his apartment got rid of the leather chairs forcing him to the hard seats in the cafe. I am so pleased that we share a love of books even if I could not fathom reading my own inside a busy store.
He will arm-wrestle anyone at anytime and any place. He is hilarious, often without meaning to be. He loves the Green Bay Packers and the Milwaukee Brewers. He gets off work at 5am and occasionally goes to dive bars for a “nightcap” where his drinking buddies are third shift nurses. He gets his hair cut once a week. You will never catch him in a pair of dirty sneakers.
He is like our mother was: refined, tough, sharp, classy, bright, quiet and a bit closed off but tender and caring all the same.
We argue constantly. We are competitive. We have spelling bees. We use humongous words when we’re together to one-up each other. Sometimes our sentences lack sense and we laugh at our efforts. He texts in full sentences, always ending them with at least two dots because they “add emphasis to the meanings.(.)”
All that to say that he came to town with his gal this weekend and we had a great time.
Saturday Brunch: Longman & Eagle in Logan Square
Three kinds of Bloody Marys
A Ransometta: Ransom gin, Carpano Antica, Luxardo Maraschino and Angostura bitters
Bar seating with Chad, an former co-worker to took great care of us
Biscuits and gravy, bacon, duck egg hash/duck confit, sausage, clam chowder with pork belly
A walk around Logan Square
Viva Riva via Netflix Instant
Sunday Brunch: Nightwood in Pilsen
Tea for Zazzles, she’s on a cleanse
Some light vintage shopping
Do you think I bought this hat?
Sunday Dinner: The reconcepted and reopened Tuman’s in Ukrainian Village
Beet and goat cheese salad, panko-crusted chicken tenders, fries, so good the fries
Over the Christmas holiday we visited California to spend some time with family. It was my first time setting foot in the state since we lived there. We rode out in late 2007 after a two-year bid yelling expletives out of the car window, flipping off the strip malls and subdivisions. Getting back to Chicago could not have come quickly enough.
I was bitter when we left. Angry at the boorish, snotty people we encountered, frustrated with trying to maintain a status quo that wasn’t in my DNA, sick and tired of defending my choice of work when I was “just so bright!” And the driving? Oh, the driving!
All of California fell under my wrath after our move back to the Midwest. My eyes flared when speaking about our time there. I told anyone who would listen that the state should fall into the ocean (saving my mother-in-law and dear friends who still lived there). I spoke about the Bay as if the metro area itself had personally stolen my dog and sold him to canine-eating miscreants.
Most of our issues were centered on where we lived: a small, very rich city on The Peninsula. Bet it won’t take you long to figure out which one. While we both had great jobs and lived in a beautiful apartment, we had difficulty making friends (minus Javiera mi amorcita linda, I know you’re reading this) and the emotional expense of being away from our Chicago family and folks wore on us. Combine that with the loutish people who inhabited our little town and the dollars the California lifestyle requires and it was a recipe for Get-Megan-Outta-
Dodge-The-Bay-Area by the end of our first month living there. OK, maybe that’s extreme. The fifth week. Summer in December was nice, after all.
When I touched down at LAX the day before Christmas Eve I looked around at my surroundings and sent a quick text to a girlfriend: “I remember why we left.” I don’t even know what prompted me to send that text. I mean, airport people are airport people, let’s face it: no gate in any terminal in any airport in any city in the good old U S of A highlights our best and brightest, least of all Chicago’s own O’Hare. Why was I being so snotty? Because I just am?
By day two in SoCal I was sending a very different text to the same friend: “I love it here! Why did I leave again? Its seventy-fiiiiiiiiive degreeesssss!!!!!”
$40 per round cocktails at a rooftop lounge in Venice had undone my disdain in minutes.
I remembered that I liked LA. I spent six weeks there for work in 07 and didn’t want to go back north: a total shocker for a lefty-somewhat-granola-boho-ish-type-girl who had been force fed the idea that the Bay was the epicenter of the liberal universe and LA a hotbed of plasticity. I found the inhabitants of SoCal kind and smiley, people who actually speak when you pass them on a sidewalk. I fell in love with the weather. The thrifting goodness didn’t hurt either. Had The Mister’s job not required him to stay up north, I would have lobbied for us to move down to Los Angeles immediately.
It was, like, twenty degrees in Chicago. I didn’t hate California, I just really, really, really disliked that small Northern town. It wasn’t really fair for me to direct my aggression at the whole state. I was drinking a beer on a rooftop in DECEMBER. How can anyone be mad at that?
Walks in the mountains, a day trip to San Diego to visit one of our favorite couples, lunch in Beverly Hills, a tour of the gorgeous grounds of the college my mother-in-law teaches at… it was a really good few days. I won’t be so long in going back this time. As long as I’m not made to go up north.
Until we meet again. Oh, California.
If you are my pal on Instagram you have probably already seen these photos but in case you are not, this is how we rang in 2012; same as the last few, with a quick jaunt to St. Thomas. This time we had friends in tow and it was made all the more memorable with their presence.
I’m hoping to get my life together enough to start posting regularly again. Lots going on in the new apartment… off to dye some curtains. Happy New Year!