Thursday, March 23, 2017


I am forever creating lists of things to do. Were you to look on my desk at work, or my purse you'd find different scraps of paper with long lists of things to do. Lists litter the couch, bedside tables, kitchen tables, countertops at home. The head of my department came into my office yesterday and it was only after he left I noticed I had two lists I had written days ago visible on my desk. I hope he didn't notice, not that I have anything to hide, but I can only imagine what he'd think that I had to write down: "make dinner, walk the dog, exercise, and shower" in a list. I probably sound insane, but when you take on as much as I do, lists are the only way I know to remember and to get a sense of accomplishment. I love the feeling of scratching an item off my list. Currently my list of things to do is long and overwhleming, but I keep working on it.

London: My Town

Ten years ago I found myself in London. London holds a special place in my heart. It is where I met my best friend, Meg. It's where I took my first truly independent steps into adulthood. It's where I learned that being myself was okay. I embraced British culture and became a self-proclaimed Anglophile. Below, is a picture taken from Westminister Bridge 10 years and two weeks ago.

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The scene on this bridge was very different yesterday, with confusion, chaos, and fear. It shakes me whenever there is a terrorist attack. I find myself thinking about the panic and fear that must be running rampant in the minds of all those affected. I think about my brother who was born in a post-9/11 world. I worry about the possibility that one day it will be a loved one who is a victim of the violence in our world. But mostly, I pray for the victims and their families.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Wishing for a Snow Day

In high school, I had to do a science fair project. It was an intensive research project that stretched from the fall into the spring. I had to research an idea, come up with an experiment and a thesis statement, perform the experiment, submit a bibliography and review for approval of my teacher, write a long research paper, illustrate my paper and experiment on a tri-fold poster board, and present it to volunteer judges. The research was done in the very early internet age, so much of my research had to be done with books. Admittedly, I was very bad at coming up with ideas. It wasn't until I saw the rest of the boards that I realized the simplicity in some of the ideas that my fellow classmates and how much better their projects were.

What I usually struggled with was finishing the paper. As a teenager, I wasn't the best at my time management. And writing the scientific paper was not my forte. It would take me a very long time to finish. One year in particular, the day before the paper was due and I had barely finished. My heart raced as I considered how long I would have to be up that night and how it would be impossible for me to finish everything I needed to do. My prayers for more time were answered when my school announced an early dismissal in anticipation of a snow storm. I raced home and worked on my paper, enthusiastic for the extra hours I had gained. But, by eight that night it became evident that I needed more time still. God answered my prayers once again and I got the call from one of my friends that we had the next day off too. Thanks in large part to the snow day, I finished my paper.

A few years ago, I was set to take David to the airport on Superbowl Sunday. At that time David was spending three weeks out of the month in California. There was a threat of snow, but it wasn't enough to deter a native Chicagoan from planning to drop David at the airport and then drive to my friend's house to watch the game. The snow came in heavier than usual and remember wishing for David's flight to be canceled so I could have another week with David. After an afternoon full of delays, reschedulings and ultimately,  cancellations we spent the evening together watching football and eating tortellini. I got my extra time.

Earlier this week, Chicago got hit with a snow storm, definitely not unheard of even in mid-March, but enough to make the commute into work more treacherous and grueling. As I sat in my office and watched the snow whirl around outside, sometimes to the point where I couldn't see the building across the street from me or the now green river, I thought about how I want some extra time. Losing an hour on Sunday made the desire for more time stronger. I wished that I could have another miraculous snow day to give me the chance to get enough sleep, to clean my house, organize my closets, write, and read.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Wanting to be Leslie Knope but being Andy Dwyer

I wish I was Leslie Knope from "Parks and Recreation." I wish I had her unyielding optimism, the respect from her peers she received in the later season, but mostly, I want her energy. Leslie Knope is someone who is an unyielding source of energy. She does more in an hour than most will get done in a week. She can cross stitch your face on a pillow, make toffee surprise popcorn, a scrapbook about your day together and write an in-depth federal grant proposal in one night. And still be functional for work the next day. As much as I would like to be this type of person, I sadly am not. Working a full day, making dinner, exercising, playing with Robin, talking with David, and trying to continue my writing pursuits doesn't leave me energized for the next day, as my boss noted yesterday, I am almost always tired and drinking coffee. 

When I watch "Parks and Rec" I aspire to be a Leslie Knope or even a Ron Swanson, who also seems to have more hours in the day than the 24 us mere mortals are allotted. But, as I survey the characters I feel I most closely resemble Andy Dwyer. Maybe it's because the laundry can pile up along with the dishes before they are washed. Or the fact that I would love to be able to sleep for 12 hours a night, but I think if I were to take a personality test, I'd be an Andy Dwyer. 

You could argue that these are characters on a television show, who are larger than life and to be a Leslie Knope would be impossible since no one in real life can have the ability to do so much. But I have met some real life Leslie Knopes. A close friend of mine works a full-time job, is getting his MBA, is a real estate broker, and owns a real estate investment company, plus he is a devoted family man and very active in his church. His wife is also a Leslie Knope, she works as a social worker and photographer, is also active in her church, takes care of their young daughter and is still one of the most upbeat optimistic people I know. She was the woman who held an amazing backyard Fourth of July barbecue less than two months after having her first. (This is not a feat I would ever attempt as it takes at least a week of laser focused cleaning  for me to get my house ready for company). My best friend, Meg, is an assistant manager, is on the board of a charity, is a consultant Hilltop Designs (making handmade and natural soaps and such), along with taking care of 18-month-old daughter, cooking new delicious recipes and avidly keeping abreast of current politics and affairs. Honestly, with these people, I cannot keep up. 

So, I will go back to my existence as Andy Dwyer, slightly envious but mostly amazed by all the Leslie Knopes in my life. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Tenaciously Writing

I don't know why I write. I think it has always been a part of me. When I was little I wrote plays that I forced my sisters to act out. I cannot even remember when I first put pen to paper and started My Not So Normal Life. Though it was after the tv show Alias aired in 2001. Shout out to J. J. Abrams for creating a show that sparked creativity in me. I don't know why I write, other than I have an idea that I cannot ignore. But I know why I finish: my tenacity. Tenacity runs strong in my family. Projects I start I tend to finish. So books I begin to write I finish. That doesn't mean that I have written all the stories I have thought of, but I will one day. 

Writing a manuscript is not easy. There is a lot of times it'd be easier to just give up and move on to something else. And as someone who generally has a short attention span, persevering through a long writing process isn't easy. But my tenacity prevents me from giving up. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Happy Ten Year Friendaversary, Meg!

Ten years ago today, I embarked on a journey to London. I was a junior in college and going with a class group on a spring break trip called "Literary London." At almost 21 years old I never had the courage to venture so far from home. At the time it seemed like there were a series of events that led me to enroll in the trip, but looking back I think it was divine intervention.

On the trip, I met Meg. Someone who quickly became like family to me. We bonded over shared political and television interests. For the first time in my life, I felt like I could be myself with her, share my weirdest thoughts and crazy dreams. Meg was the one who encouraged me to self-publish. She has been there for me when I needed her the most. She drove to my side when I took the bar exam and my test refused to upload just to bring me tequila. She invited me to her house when I needed a break from job hunting. She introduced me to David. She made the godmother to her daughter.

I wouldn't be where I am today if it hadn't been for Meg. She is my longest friendship. Meg is the reason I met all the amazing people I consider my closest friends. She has been the catalyst for my adult life, and the main reason I am the person I am today.

I thank God for leading me to London and to meet Meg.