Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Looking Forward to 2006

A Picture Share!

Originally uploaded by plural.

Buh-Bye Buh-log! (for now)

We're in the home stretch now! In a few minutes we are heading up to Milwaukee for our final walk-through on the house. (Cross your fingers that they moved all their furniture out- especially that beast of a piano.) Our internet service will probably be shut off by the time we get back tonight so I just wanted to pop in and say I will be back hopefully sometime at the beginning of the year. You know how it goes with cable installers and such so the exact date is kinda sketchy.

I have come to the realization that I a have been an insufferably boring blogger lately. My resolution for 2006 is to be a less boring person. That and to stop drinking so much darn Diet Coke already.

We'll see how that goes.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas Everyone!


T minus 4 days! While the kiddos can't wait until tomorrow I'm looking forward to three days after that when we are finally OUTTA HERE. Wooo! Usually I feel kind of blue in the days after Chrismas as things start to get back to normal, but this year I have an exciting project to keep me busy well into the new year. We should be going offline on the 27th but I'll most likely check in before then.

Last night Jason and I wrapped all the girls' presents and watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, which was oddly enough, one of my Mom's favorite movies and we used to watch it together every year. The holiday is not in full swing until I see the Griswold Family Christmas Tree light up and Randy Quaid in his blue polyester leisure suit.

Tonight we plan to eat, drink, and play poker into the wee hours. I joke about the "War on Christmas" but I really do love it. See, even us secular folk have hearts way deep down.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Thank God It's Finally Bedtime

Well, I was hoping to sit down tonight and write a little about how WE ARE MOVING OUT IN ONE WEEK and how I got to see "King Kong" the other day and that Peter Jackson is indeed King of All Action and Fantasy Movies (thus confirming that the Lord of the Rings Trilogy was not a freakish fluke). HOWEVER...... I just spent the entire day being screamed and/or whined at by a napless two-year-old (the one who is still wide awake upstairs refusing to sleep and bothering her older sister- you know, the one who refuses to acknowledge anything I say unless I repeat it around eleven times or bellow it for the whole neighborhood to hear while making threats to take away certain cherished play things? That sister. ) So I'm going to instead cuddle up to my TIVO, watch some home improvement shows and keep reminding myself that tomorrow is another day. A day better than this one hopefully!

I have come to the conclusion that I deserve a medal. Or better yet, one of those Girl Scout sashes with all the merit badges and nifty awards sewn on it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Thinking Again

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

-Benjamin Franklin

Friday, December 16, 2005

Materialism Schmaterialism

I can't say I wasn't warned. Back when I was so proud of myself for buying all of the girls' Christmas toys in November I was told I would end up spending more on Christmas overall once the holiday sales hit. It's offical: I'm a sucker! (Didn't I just post a quote from the Buddha the other day? Believe me, I'm aware of the irony.) I do have to say it's been nice to have the bulk of my gifts squared away for so long but since then I've been picking up little presents here and there and it certainly adds up. Jason bought a couple of things for Juliana too so it looks like they are really going to hit the jackpot this year. I just love buying toys so much and I don't usually buy them throughout the year so I did the so-called American thing and was a good little consumer this holiday. Don't you see I'm just being patriotic? Don't try to steal Christmas from me! I'll defend it with my dollars!

Of course, every cherished new toy will promptly be packed away into moving boxes so there will also be lesson to learn about delayed gratification. Points for Mom!

I finally took the girls photo for our Christmas card this week. Instead of making the card myself this year I used a template at the Target photo lab and wouldn't you know the border that worked best with the photo read "Happy Holidays!" I wanted to get one that said "Merry Christmas" but none of those designs looked right. So "Happy Holidays" it is. Take that Bill O'Reilly!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


"Violence never ceases by violence, but by love alone is healed. This is an ancient and eternal law."

-The Buddha

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Doo-Doo-Doo Doo-Doo-Doo Dooo-Dooooo

I just wanted to insert my little virtual Snoopy Dance here for Steph and Greg since they are moving into their new house tonight!

Soon our hour-long phone conversations will become chats over cups of coffee in our respective new kitchens! Eeeee!

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Betwixt and Between

How can I be so incredibly busy yet so BORED at the same time? I'm still packing and cleaning and on the phone all the time with one person or another regarding our move but at the end of the day I'm still so incredibly anxious and IMPATIENT about the whole thing and just want the day to be here already!

I am so over you Bartlett.

I'm at the point where mentally I have already moved on from this space. All the little things that personalize my home are wrapped up in plastic and stored away in the garage. Waiting. I drive around my neighborhood and it doesn't even feel like I live here anymore. Everything is hovering in this in-between realm and I don't feel like I'm grounded anyplace at all. Once we move I know that it will take some time for our house to feel like "ours" but it is much more exciting to be building something as opposed to tearing something down.

I bought some red paint today for my new dining room. That lifted my spirits. I have lived in a house without a red room for waaaay too long.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Yea, I Haveth Seen The Light

I've finally tasted the sweet manna that is Starbucks' Peppermint Mocha. (Props to mappy b for the recommendation!)

Over the years I've really tried to dislike Starbucks (you know, the big bad corporation putting the little corner coffee shop out of business thing) but somehow they keep reeling me in.

I am weak.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Happy Holidays!

Gah. Now begins that wonderful time of year when people on tv start ranting about "taking back Christmas" from all the the liberals and secularlists. Because Christmas is like, so persecuted. Being the most popular and celebrated holiday in the country must be hard. Poor Christmas.

I love Christmas. But I also don't mind that Juliana's school calls Christmas vacation "Winter Break." Does it really matter?

I wish people would lighten up stop trying to ruin my fun.

Monday, November 28, 2005

God's Pumpkin


Someone threw this pumpkin on the pond over the weekend, probably hoping that it would crack the ice. Instead it just sat out there for a few days as the ice slowly melted. I woke up on Sunday to see it still sitting there even though the rest of the pond appeared to have thawed. I thought it was pretty amusing. By the end of the day it had finally sunk to the bottom.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Hitting the Town (Or the Movie Theatre, at Least)

Michelle took the girls for a sleepover tonight so Jason and I are going to see both Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Walk the Line tonight. That's almost 5 hours of movie total (with a bit of dinner in between.) Mmmmm..... My behind is feeling numb just thinking about it.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Clean Slate!

Yesterday I finally finished the arduous task of shredding all of my old journals spanning from my eighth grade year until my second year of college (when dancing took over writings space in my life.) Good god, does it feel awesome to be rid of all that baggage. I knew it would be beneficial as in now the girls won't be able to blackmail me with my own words and if I ever run for President there won't be written documentation of every stupid thing I did as a teenager, but I didn't expect such a weight to be lifted from me upon destroying all that junk. That seriously must have been the worst feng shui ever to have those things living in my basement all these years. It's like all my adolescent rantings are no longer floating up through the heating vents and ruining my zen. Or chi. Or something like that. Oh come on, you know what I mean.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Just So You Know

1. Hair is blonde again. The ol' pocket book took a hit but at least I feel like me again.

2. Coordinating buying and selling a house- although exciting- is far more stressful than previously anticipated. Phone calls, faxes, emails, inspections, more phone calls, negotiations, loan officers, movers, scheduling issues, appointments and again with the PHONE CALLS, etc.

3. I've officially started packing. It looks like this year Santa's gifts will come out of their wrapping paper and go straight into moving boxes since we need to be out of here by the 28th of December. It looks like we may have our stuff delivered to the new house on the 31st so we will be toasting to the new year amid piles of chaos. Whee!

As you can see I have a lot on my plate so forgive me if I am less frequent with my postings. I'm thrilled that we're doing this but free time is at a premium lately.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Reposting a Few Photos for the Fam

Hi Grandma and Grandpa! You said you didn't see the living room and dining room photos in the other gallery so here they are again:

There are some neat pocket doors leading in to the dining room.

My piano would probably go under that window.

We really like the wood rails in the dining room for dispaying pictures.

That's a built-in china cabinet on the left.

There is a family room through that door but I didn't get a good picture of it.

Now can you see what I mean by the carpeting? Ew.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Hair Update (Because It Matters So Much, I Know)

Ok, I got myself an appointment at a salon for Thursday night. Needless to say, my attempts to lighten it back to it's normal color did not work. It's not as brown anymore but now it's basically the dishiest dishwater blonde you can imagine. Kind of like I stuck my head in an ashtray. I don't have to tell you that it's really not cute. I'm covering my head in a scarf and hiding in my house until I can get this fixed (hopefully with as minimal damage as possible.) I'm really dreading showing this hairdresser what I've done. Cross your fingers for me! I see lots of conditioner in my near future.

I told my sob story to the receptionist at the hair salon and she warned me of the risk of damaging my hair by bleaching it back all the way blonde. I'm going to talk with the stylist about it when I get there. I went through this about ten years ago when I wanted to return to blonde after spending a year as a redhead and it turned out fine so I may have them go ahead and bleach away but cut a few inches off as well. It seems I just can't win with this growing my hair out thing. I'm sure to be set back a number of months now because of my UNBELIEVABLE STUPIDITY. One of the first things I'm doing in Milwaukee is finding myself an awesome hair salon and stylist. I can't believe I'm still trying to do my own hair like I'm sixteen years old.

Enough hair talk for tonight. Can you tell it's all I can think about? Shouldn't I be thinking about how close I am to closing the deal on our awesome house? I wish I wasn't so vain sometimes.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Wherein I Find Completely Superficial Way To Ruin My Good Mood

I think I've finally realized that I am not fully equipped to be my own hairdresser anymore. Today, for some psychotic reason I thought it would be a good idea to dye my hair a couple of shades darker. I don't know why I thought this was a good idea but that part is done. I bought a box of hair dye that was supposed to be a "medium" blonde color- the operative word being blonde. However when applied the concoction on my own hair it promptly turned brown. BROWN. I wanted to cry. Ok, I did cry and then I went back to the store to buy some light blonde hair coloring and re-dye it back to it's original pale color. Unfortunately, now I think my problem was that I didn't wash it first before attempting to color it again so the dye didn't take. It lightened up a little bit but it's still fairly horrid. So, after consulting another fellow blonde who went dark and back (hi Michelle!) I washed my hair about four times and am going to try one more time tomorrow morning to dye it back to normal before bringing in professional help. (Jason is out of town until Wednesday night so I can't go to a salon until then since I don't have anyone to watch the girls.)

So basically with the money I've spent on Clairol Hydrience I could have gone just to a salon in the first place and had somebody with a brain smack me upside the head, tell me what a dumb idea it would be to darken my hair, and spruce up the fabulous color I already had.

If this doen't work tomorrow I'm going to cry like a baby. Yes, I am such a GIRL. And no, I will not post any pictures!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Everything's Coming Together

Front Porch

Originally uploaded by Tracey Gessner.

We put an offer in on the house yesterday! And to top it off, today we got an offer on the house we're selling!

We took lots of pictures yesterday. Click the photo to go the the Flickr gallery. Use your imagination folks- this house needs some sprucing up! I know we're up to the task though.

Friday, November 11, 2005

BUY ME. Please?


The sign and fliers are up! We're so excited!

God's Gonna Getcha Getcha Getcha (and if he doesn't, Al-Qaeda will...)

BILL O'REILLY: "Hey, you know, if you want to ban military recruiting, fine, but I'm not going to give you another nickel of federal money. You know, if I'm the president of the United States, I walk right into Union Square, I set up my little presidential podium, and I say, 'Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you're not going to get another nickel in federal funds. Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead. And if Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead.'"

PAT ROBERTSON: "I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected Him from your city. And don't wonder why He hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for His help because he might not be there."

Peace on earth, goodwill to men (who vote on our side.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Pins and Needles

Ok, so you're all dying to know what's up with that beautiful house, right? Well I am too. If you have talked to me personally in the past few days you've probably heard bits and pieces about the plan of action but just for the sake of laying it all out, here is the deal:

Me want. Mucho.

I didn't think I wanted this house at first. Of course, I thought it was gorgeous on the outside but honestly, the inside needs work. The kind of work that I think needs to be tended to before we move my furniture in. We're talking about some god awful, gray, office-style carpeting covering the hardwood floors on the first floor and stairs. And don't even get me started on the wood paneling in two of the (four!) bedrooms that is screaming to be removed. Plus, it desperatley needs paint on the GLARING WHITE WALLS in every room. Painting was something I would have done anyway in whatever house we got but oh, the floors. It was really hard for me to get past the grayish, gray-like, grayness of that carpeting and I needed a little help at first to imagine it far far away from there.

Some of the great things about the house? Finished. Attic. Can you say playroom? I can hardly get over the idea of living in a three-story house. There is also some beautiful original woodwork in the dining room in the form of a built-in china cabinet, pocket doors and rails along the walls that could be used for displaying photographs and such. And you guys saw the front porch in the photo so I don't have to rave about it here. There's a balcony off the back too and a backyard that is screaming for a hot tub. The main bathroom has some horrid linoleum but that can be changed and the kithen has been updated- the one thing I was NOT going to be concerned about while house hunting. Funny how things work out.

So that's what the actual looks like for the most part. I'd post a bunch of pictures but my photographer- ahem, Jason- was so excited that he forgot to take many interior pictures. I have tons of photos of the houses we DIDN'T fall for but what good is that, right? I'm finding myself getting more and more excited at the idea of a mini-renovation project. It will be messy and inconvenient for a while but I'm starting to see images in my mind of the finished project and it makes me excited.

It looks like this week we are putting our house up for sale. We are hoping to make an offer on this house contingent on the sale of our Bartlett house and pending an inspection. These two things are keeping me from fully bursting forth and doing the Snoopy dance all around the neighborhood. First, I don't know if our house will be able to sell in just a couple of weeks or not. Second, the house I want was built in 1903 so an inspection could turn up any number of ghosts. I don't want to get my heart completely set and then find out the entire house needs new plumbing, electrical wiring, or that the roof is falling off.

That being said, I'm still excited. Just cautiously so. I'd be lying if I said I didn't already have tentative paint colors picked out for all the rooms and spots for all our furniture.

Sunday, November 6, 2005

Friday, November 4, 2005

Good Times

I just wanted to tell everyone that I'm wearing flip-flops in November. Did you hear that? FLIP-FLOPS. IN NOVEMBER.

Plus, we're going to look at houses tomorrow with our real estate agent. Wahoo!

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

And They Swam Through The Valley of the Shadow of Death

Last week Jason took Juliana to the pet store to buy some goldfish. My brother had given her his old (and very tiny) fish tank and she had been talking about it nonstop ever since. They came home with three fish named Alex, Alice and Julia (the baby.) Ava especially loved them and would go downstairs where the tank is calling, "Jooooo-ah!" I was going to post photos but as it turns out ALL THREE OF THEM have already died. We went to feed them yesterday and there was Alex lying on the rocks belly up with the other two sniffing his dead fishy body. Let's just say that Juliana was less that thrilled about this development and though I was fully prepared to launch into my little speech about life and death and the universe, all she wanted to know was when we could go back to Petco and get a replacement for poor dead Alex. I scooped the little guy out of there and later that evening Jason changed the water in the tank and scrubbed it out for the remaining to fish.

Not an hour later and Alice and Julia had kicked the bucket too and were stuck to the filter. Such is the short, sad life of a goldfish.

Juliana is fine now but this morning the tears were flowing when we told her the news. I don't think we're going to replace them until we can get a bigger and better fish tank. I feel really bad that we couldn't even keep them alive for a week. I don't want anything to die while under my care-- even a fish. It takes me back the the time when my brother's hamster craweld into the furnace vent that lead to his (very stinky) demise or when my own hamster ate the plastic grocery bag lining in his cage and bloated up like a tomato and met his maker. They were just rodents but even so, it's sad to go out that way.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

The Morning After...

What's a great way to come down off that post-Halloween sugar buzz? Spend your morning reading up on Supreme Court nominee Samuel Altio! (Seriously though, can I have Harriet Miers back now?) Merry Christmas liberals! Your lump of coal in judicial form should be arriving in a few short weeks!

Trying to keep my mind on better things. Like this:


Thursday, October 27, 2005

Ho Ho Ho

Since I've completed all of my house projects my insatiable need for order and control in my life has now turned to the next logical thing: Christmas shopping! Would you believe me if I told you that I have purchased all the Christmas toys Santa will be bringing this year? I even did my shopping for Bailee and Maddie too so all the kids in my life are taken care of. The UPS delivery guy must think I'm crazy because every day this week there has been a huge Amazon.com box dropped off at my door. Yahoo for internet shopping! I still need to buy presents for the grown-ups but it's the kids that are important so they can wait.

When I told Jason I had Christmas in the bag before Halloween he said, "You know you totally have to blog that."

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Apparently the White House is offended by The Onion's use of the presidential seal on their website.

Two things:

1. There are not many things in this world funnier than a really good Onion headline.
2. Is it not hilarious that the White House is even talking about this publication?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Nutritional Schizophrenia

I just made myself an awesome sandwich out of cucumbers, red pepper hummus and sprouts on pita bread, yet I decided to wash it down with a wild cherry Diet Coke. Something just doesn't seem right about following up fresh veggies with aspartame.

Maybe I should go have a peanut butter cup?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Would You Like a Little Whine With That Cheese?

Ok, I've actually finished all of my house projects, which is GOOD, except for that now I don't have anything to distract me from the fact that I have to wait 2 1/2 months before we can think about putting our house on the market. If it were me, I would try to sell my house tomorrow and buy this house or maybe this house but as it so happens I am married to someone is, shall we say practical? And a little bit financially responsible? But ohmigosh isn't this one just adorable? I knew this would happen. Now that the house is in order the holidays are almost upon us and it does seem a little bit wierd to think about closing on a new house on Christmas. Plus, at the beginning of next year we have some extra money coming in that would put us in a better place as far as moving expenses go and any updating/remodeling that may have to be done on an older home.

I get that it's better this way. But it doens't mean that I won't pout about it. We're actually meeting with a real estate agent in two weeks to see a few homes and hopefully nail down the exact neighborhood we want and to give him an idea of our style. I'm going to have to hold back from shouting out "I"LL TAKE IT! WHERE DO I SIGN?" I'm kind of hoping that the houses I love are in the g-h-e-t-t-o so I will be able to stop obsessing about it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

You Got Chocolate On My Peanut Butter!

I've said this before but autumn is my absolute favorite season. Not only do I love the weather and the colors and Halloween but it also means that mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups start coming in those little fall-colored wrappers. This is of course followed by the wonderful red and green Christmas wrappers. I would never sit down and eat 3 candy bars but for some reason it suddenly becomes ok to eat a dozen of those teeny little bite-size ones because they're so darn cute! And did I mention tasty? Sometimes I think I should start referring to autumn as "The Season Where A Significant Percentage of My Diet Becomes Peanut Butter." (Peanut butter in cup form, of course.) It's no wonder that I always ask for workout equipment for Christmas and start on a new exercise regimen every January. 'Tis the Circle of Life.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Sox Rule

You may not know this about me but I really enjoy watching sports. Yes, I do like "girlie" sports like figure skating and gymnastics but I can get into team sports as well. I'm not talking about all the time or in large Frat-Boy quantities, but every once in while I like to sit down on my bottom with a gigantic bowl of ice cream and marvel at the athletic prowess of others. It's somewhat similar to how I drool over the Food Network while shoveling in handfuls of microwave popcorn.

Anyway, my point is that the Chicago White Sox are going to be in the World Series! Which means one thing for me: I am about to emerge as one of those fair-weather fans that all the die hards loathe. WOO-HOO! GO SOX! I'm not ashamed to admit the truth. I was a Cubs fan a couple of years ago when they had that amazing playoff run (and subsequent outstanding defeat in the eighth inning of game 6 against the Florida Marilins at Wrigley Field and oh-my-god-i'm-getting-angry-just-thinking-about-it-again.) I was a HUGE Chicago Bulls fan back in the day of Michael Jordan and their six championship wins but what Chicagoan wasn't? Plus, you probably couldn't pay most people around here to go to a Bulls game anymore so cut me a little bit of slack. I also remember rooting for Da Bears back in '85-86 (at the ripe age of 7) and have memories of making posters for our Super Bowl XX party that year. I believe a bit of shuffling was even involved. The Bears have been a notoriously awful team for years now but every once in while I'll turn one of their games on and it they're playing well I'll cheer and root them on (although truth be told, finding games in which they are actually playing well have been few and far between.)

So I'm excited that I have a reason to sit front of the tv and cheer for a Chicago team again! Plus it seems that Chicago sports teams so rarely make it all the way to the finals of anything that it's extra special and exciting when someone finally has the chance to come out on top. I may be leaving Illinois for Cheese Country soon but I do know that no matter how long I live in Milwaukee one thing is for sure: I will never be a Packer fan.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Excuse Me, Do I Know You?

Recently there has been a flurry of people from the past popping into my email box. Over the past couple of months I've come back into contact with old classmates and friends who have stumbled upon this site and it's happened enough times that I feel compelled to ask:

Just how many of you are out there?

Somehow I manage to get about two hundred visitors a day on this page and I know it isn't all just family and wierdos searching for pictures of pregnant ladies. So come on, if I know you and I don't already know that you stop in here, speak up! Or else I'll have to think that whoever keeps searching for "sexy mama" just really likes reading about my home improvement projects.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Purple Begone!

Someone please remind me never to paint my bedroom lavender ever again. At first I thought it would be relaxing and calming, but instead after a while I started feeling kind of like and eight-year-old. I don't love the idea of a vanilla white bedroom either but I'm willing to live with it for now. All the better for selling.



Hi sleepy kitty!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Let me just state for the record that when one of your many jobs is doing laundry for four people, "laundry day" is never done. Sometimes when I'm folding basket after basket of clothing I look into the pile of mismatched pink and purple socks and it starts feeling like the abyss. A very colorful abysss, but never-ending nonetheless.

In happier times, it's finally starting to feel like autumn around here. Best! Season! EVER!

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Weekend Wrap-Up and Random Thoughts

Wow, I REALLY needed to get out of the house last night. We saw Sarah Silverman's film at Resfest and laughed so hard. You might think I'd feel a little bit guilty for chuckling at comedy that was so insanely far from PC and completely vulgar in every way. (Ok, maybe you wouldn't really think that. I am not easily offended at all.) In fact, there's very little I can think of that actually does shock me. Oh wait, I believe I would take offense with someone breaking up with my best friend of fifteen years when she was expecting to move in together and eventually get married. But I guess that's not the same thing, right? Hmmm.

I'm getting off topic though. I do want to mention that I was very happy to see my old friend Shiow last night at the movie. And since I know now that she checks my blog I want to give a big shout out and say HI SHIOW! YOU BIG BLOG-STALKER! I KNOW YOU'RE READING THIS!


Friday, October 7, 2005

Clean Cup, Move Down!

It's 7:30pm on a Friday night and I just finished putting the girls to bed. Yes, I said 7:30. We just finished off a long day of Juliana ignoring me and Ava whining and screaming at me. (Juli was supposed to be cleaning her room and Ava just isn't feeling well.) Truth be told, I just couldn't take it anymore and since it's getting dark out earlier now I thought I'd take advantage of it. "Sure it's bedtime! What do you mean you want to see the clock? Don't you trust me?"

Jason's out with Billy tonight so it's just me here. I'm going to have a glass of wine and watch some television. I am so DONE with today.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Plugging Along...

It's naptime so I'm working on this some more:


Hey, I'm pretty good! Doesn't this kitchen just scream BUY ME?

And Junk Did Raineth Down Upon Me

For quite some time now I have been "clean-sweeping" out my house in anticipation of our upcoming move. If we didn't already produce the most trash on our block, we have most definitely blown everyone away these past few weeks. It has been very liberating to rid myself of years of stuff that has been weighing me (and our house) down.

Over the weekend I had my dad over to help fix a few little things, one being the bathroom fan in our master bath. In order to get at the wiring better, he needed to access the fan through the attic in the girls bedroom. The attic is basically tiny crawl space with a bunch of insulation (or so I thought, having never actually been up there.) Anyway, he ended up pulling out three boxes of junk from one of the previous owners and found a fourth one as well that he couldn't quite reach. The boxes are full of old photos, birthday cards and letters, sports awards, knick-knacks and other junk from about 10 years ago.

Doesn't it just figure that as soon as I finished getting rid of all my crap I had to have someone else's bestowed on me.

The Second Coming?

The president has actually lost the support of Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, of all people with his nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. The world as I know it is crumbling. Don't. Understand. What. Is happening.

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

What Have I Been Up To?



Paint, paint, and more paint. No time to blog. Must apply more paint.

Saturday, October 1, 2005

The DMV SUX Ya'll! (So What Else Is New?)

Last Saturday I went to the DMV to get license plates for the Cruiser since I'm still driving around with Florida plates. After filling out all the paperwork and waiting patiently in line for twenty minutes (which was REALLY quick for that place, I know) I was told that I could NOT file my registration until Jason signed his name as well, since his name was also on the title.


I didn't really want to go there with Ava or Juli so I waited until today to go back. Once again, I had all the paperwork filled out, complete with Jason's signature and a check made out for $143.00 like they told me to do. They are open from 8am until noon on Saturdays so after Juliana's soccer game was over at 11, I popped over there to finally take care of everything. At 11:30 I walked in the door and looked to take a number but didn't see any. There was one woman sitting at a computer doing nothing so I went up and asked her where the numbers were.

DMV Woman: "Ohhhh. It looks like there aren't anymore," she said and proceeded to stare at me.

Me: "Okay... Well can you help me get my license plates? I have everything filled out and ready to go."

DMV Woman:" Well, we're all done doing that for today. You can take it to the currency exchange and have it done there if you want."

Me: "Uhhh, aren't you open until noon? Can't I take care of it here?"


I'm usually very nice to people who work in any kind of service industry because frankly I think it must be a pretty sucktastic job but I have to say that after making two attempts to have this fairly simple task taken care of and being shot down TWICE that I did in fact storm out of there. And I took the two pens I had in my hand with me.

Yes, I said TWO pens. So there.

*Side note: This all happened after we spent the early morning drving around Bartlett trying to figure out which gymnasium Juliana's soccer team was having their photos taken at since nobody bothered to tell me that Schrade Gym wasn't the gym at the school where every single game is being played. Apparently I am not as a good a Soccer Mom as all the other moms on the team since every other person knew exactly where to go Oh, and we missed the team photo by literally THIRTY SECONDS. They wanted to retake it once we got there but one other girl on the team had just left as we were coming in the door.

Juli still got her individual photo taken but I have to say I was heartbroken about missing the team shot. Thirty seconds. Grrrrrr.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Fan Girl


I'M SO HYPED THAT SERENITY FINALLY STARTS PLAYING THIS WEEKEND!! Oh, the endless months of waiting while cursing Fox for cancelling my beloved television show are finally over!

We're going to see it tomorrow and I'm sure I will laugh and cry and have my heart stomped on because that's just what Joss Whedon does and I will LOVE HIM FOR IT.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Good Weekend. Bad Cat.

I'm feeling better today! We went to Milwaukee yesterday to drive by some houses I found online and just check out the different neighborhoods. I was a little bit disappointed to see that a few of the huge old Victorian homes I really liked were in lets say, not so desirable neighborhoods. There was a specific block we drove down that was nice and we could tell people were trying to revive the area and restore the houses but on the whole I wasn't too sure if it would be a good place to have kids if only a couple blocks away things turned kind of ghetto-ish. It made me sad to see all these beautiful, historic homes just gone to waste. I can just imagine how gorgeous they all must have been a hundred years ago. Its such a shame to see them now.

We also drove down to the south side (or Bay View) where our friends Russ and Julie live and really liked that area (of course I already knew this so it was nothing new.) I'm torn between a Victorian home and those adorable stone bungalow or Tudor style houses. I suppose once we start going into places with our realtor we'll be able to narrow it down. I have a feeling that when we walk into the house we end up buying it will hit us immediately that we absolutely need to live there.

In not so good news, one of my cats peed on my beautiful red couch. I've been spending a lot of time shampooing the upholstery trying to rid it of the god awful smell. I swear if I believed in a Hell it would totally smell like cat pee.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Elaboration. Sort of.

Hmmmm. I guess my last post was a bit cryptic. Without stepping on anyone's toes I'll just say that something I did ended up causing a fight between two people and I've been feeling miserable about it today. Again, without giving anything away I was trying to do something fun and good spirited and it ended up exploding in my face. I hate it when people I love fight instead of enjoying each other. You never know when you may not have that person around anymore to argue with.

I also have this problem where I want to make everyone in my life happy all the time and I hate it when I fail,

Ok, that was pretty much just as cryptic. Sorry.

Advice From Big Bird

Today has been a very grey, yucky, and stressful day. My favorite Sesame Street video that the girls have features a good song that Bird Bird sings. It goes like this:

Cheep, cheep! Chirp, chirp!
Cheer up, Cheer up, Cheer up!
Cheep, cheep! Chirp, chirp!
Cheer up, Cheer up, Cheer up!
Chirping's the way we keep our spirits up, so
Cheep, cheep! Chirp, chirp!
Cheer up, Cheer up, Cheer up!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Now We're Talking


I'm Breaking Up With You, Bartlett.

It's not you, it's me.

Over the past four years that we've lived out here, I've kind of re-adjusted my expectations of the ideal place for us to be. When I was little, I used to think about where I might live when I grew up and there were two things I would dream about. The first was having an old two-story Victorian home that I could renovate and fix up. (Yes, I thought about renovating and decorating even when I was a kid. Maybe I should have gone to school for that?) Second, I always wanted to live in a big city- namely Chicago. Luckily, for five years after we graduated high school Jason and I were able to live in the city and it was the perfect place for us to be at the time (despite the cramped living quarters and no air conditioning.) However, after we had Juliana and wanted to upgrade out of apartment living, we discovered that our finances wouldn't allow for us to purchase the type of home we wanted and needed inside of the city,

So I re-adjusted myself to accept the suburbs. I didn't really want to live there but the idea of being a homeowner won out. I also didn't want a townhouse at first, but the size and quality of home you get for the money in a condo as opposed to a single-family home drew me in. I remember saying, "It doesn't matter what it looks on the outside. We'll make it ours on the inside." That part is true. Our house is pretty awesome on the inside. It's quite obviously a newer, more contemporary style home rather than the older, vintage homes I like but hey, it's a "starter house" as they call it. We'll only be here five years or so, we said.

And now it's 4 1/2 years later! We've outgrown the space and quite frankly, outgrown the 'burbs. I've joked a lot since we've been here that I've turned into a suburban soccer mom but in all honesty, I SERIOUSLY don't fit in with all the other moms around here. First of all, when we moved here I was only 23. I used to go take aerobics and kickboxing classes at the gym and though I enjoyed the workout, I felt horribly out of place. Everyone was older than me, drove mini-vans and SUVS and had multiple kids already. Plus being as young as I was, whenever I went shopping with Juliana I had the feeling that people weren't sure if I was her mother or her older sister (or possibly even the nanny.) Basically, I felt like a baby. A very weird baby.

Over the years here I have slowly adjusted to suburban life. I've grown up a bit and actually feel like an adult now but I've still never connected with other moms in the area. I've talked to plenty of nice, friendly people at the park or on the street but I've never met anyone in the neighborhood to go have coffee with or have over for dinner. Jason and I are like a pair of odd ducks in a sea of oversized SUVs and neutral decor. But as I keep saying, I accepted that as just the way things had to be. If I wanted to have a dinner party, I could call friends in Rockford, or Milwaukee or Chicago and have them drive out to our house. And after every one of those gatherings I would think, "Boy, wouldn't it be nice if we lived closer to them so we could do this all the time."

Moving to Chicago was out simply because of the outrageous real estate market there. Rockford was out because there is no train from Rockford to Chicago for Jason to ride and despite the friends and family there, I spent too many years wanting to leave that town for me to justify moving back. Milwaukee was my absolute first choice but again, there was the question of Jason's job. He works in Chicago and a train ride for an hour and a half each way every day is quite a hike.

That is, of course, if you HAVE to ride the train every day. And therein lies the solution. If Jason could work out a deal with his job where he only has to go into the office 3 or 4 days a week and work from home the other days WE COULD ACTUALLY MOVE TO A TOWN WHERE WE HAVE FRIENDS! WHEEE!

So we're doing it. And pretty quickly too. After the holidays are over we're going to put our townhouse on the market and start looking for a house in Milwaukee. We should be making enough profit from the sale of our condo to buy a pretty sweet place up there too, hopefully in the style that I've always wanted. We're even driving up there on Sunday to tour some neighborhoods and get an idea for what we can afford. And I can't even begin to tell you HOW! EXCITED! I! AM! I feel like a little kid. I want to move right now but we still have some small projects to finish around here and think it would be best to wait until after Thanksgiving and Christmas are over. (Can you believe I'm talking about Thanksgiving and Christmas? Is it almost OCTOBER already?)

So sorry, Bartlett. We've had a good run but you're really just not my type. We can still be friends though. Dont' take it too hard. It' s not you. It's me.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Too Tired For a Snappy Title But Hey Look! Pictures!

So, I bet you really want to know how we arrived at the decision to leave the burbs for good old Milwaukee? (Ok, if you're Steph, we've already been on the phone jumping up and down and squealing but a few of you out there may still be wondering.)

But first, a few vacation pics!

glamour girl
Juliana could be found most of the time in Grandma Joanie's bathroom, applying copius amounts of PINK lipstick and gobs of eye makeup.

sticker face
Ava could often be found applying stickers to her face.

As usual, Juliana loved floating in the pool. At times she had water wings, an inner tube AND a foam noodle at the same time.

Ava enjoyed struting around in ensembles like this one. Ohmigosh, the LEGS! I can hardly stand it!

And now for two of my favorite photos from the drive back:

Juliana stands in front of the Superman statue in Metropolis, Illinois. At the time I was annoyed that we were stopping again (at Jason's request) but now I'm happy we got shots like this one.


The BIGGEST crucifix you ever did see just outside of Effingham, Illinois. If I could have fallen out of my seat when I saw this emerge in the distance, believe me I would have. Instead, I just started shouting at Jason, "OH MY GOD! CAMERA! CAM-ER-A!!

And you thought southern Illinois was boring. Getting pictures of this almost made of for me missing the billboard in Florida that read "THE UNITIED NATIONS WANTS TO TAKE YOUR GUN!!!"

I'm sleepy now. I'm hoping to post more vacation photos to Flickr tomorrow and of course:


Sunday, September 18, 2005

Oh, And I Forgot To Mention...


I will elaborate soon. I promise.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Mission Accomplished

Jason took this picture of me on Day Two of our road trip back from Naples, Florida. At this point we had been driving on highway 57 for about 3 hours and I was beginning to feel like the state of Illinois had opened up and swallowed us whole. Really, you haven't lived until you've drivein 1400 miles across the country with these jokers. All kidding aside though, we had a really great vacation and other from the neverending stretch of BORING highways through Illinois and Kentucky, the drive was pretty tolerable. Plus, NEW CAR! I also got to pump gas in a southern Illinois town straight out of the movie "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" We felt like hoity-toity city folk and everything.

Wednesday, September 7, 2005


As usual, Jon and his crew are spot on about, well, just about everything. (Quicktime movie link)

Plus, Obama puts it all in perspcective.

And finally, my favorite: Keith Olbermann rulz.

I've been so sad and angry about the hurricane tragedy and the lack of leadership in our country this past week or so. Sometimes when I'm watching government officials or pundits on television I think to myself that somebody must be playing a cruel, cruel joke and the people I'm seeing cannot be for real. The catch phrase of the past coulple days has been "blame game." I prefer to think of it as accountability. I originally intended to unload all my frustrations in this blog post, complete with a laundry list of articles and web links but now that I've gotten through my morning news/blog reading I'm just so tired and frustrated about the whole thing and sad, sad, sad.


We're going on vacation tomrrow. Thankfully, I'm lucky enough to be able to do that. See ya'll next Sunday.

Mild Inner Turmoil

You may have noticed that I've become a little bit obsessive about our home search. When I get an idea I tend to focus in on it and that's all I can think about until the task is accomplished. Plus, one thing I really enjoy is taking care of and decorating my surroundings so if I have the opportunity to change my entire home environment it is not only exciting, but pretty all-consuming. Since wherever we choose to live will become our "family home" that we stay in for ten years or more I want to be sure that we get it just right. The one thing about the area that we live in though is that the suburbs dont' really have a sense of community. I can't believe I'm going to say this but I almost think I miss living in the city! I joke about being a suburban soccer mom a lot but the truth is that in the four years we've been out here we've had a hard time connecting with the people in our area. I may be a stay-at-home soccer mom but let's face it, I'm kind of an odd ball. I like old-timey music and weird movies and this thing called modern dance. I've met some people in the neighborhood who are very friendly and nice but for the most part (with a couple of exceptions) my real friends remain in urban areas like Chicago and more specifically Milwaukee, which is almost TWO HOURS away. On one hand, I am very excited that we've decided that to look for an older, vintage-style home rather than a cookie-cutter house like all the new developments going up, but a lot of the time I find myself wishing that I could meet my best friend at a coffee shop for lunch or have dinner parties that don't require people driving for hours and bringing an overnight bag.

Sunday, September 4, 2005

New Game Plan On The Home Front!

Oh. My. God. I want to live in Batavia, Illinois. Look at this house. And this house. Or even this house in Geneva.

I actually emailed a realtor in the Batavia area tonight. I am completely obsessed with this area now. These are the kinds of houses I've always wanted to live in and I'm so excited to find an area where they're not half a million dollars.

Friday, September 2, 2005

What Was Said vs. What Was Really Happening

I know this stuff is already all over the news and it's practically inescapable but I found this one article to be particularly disturbing.

Why is it so hard for people to own up and tell the truth?

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Support a Real Culture of Life




Next week we will be driving back from Florida, quite possible paying $4.00 per gallon of gas. Yet I still have a roof over my head, my family, food, clean water, clothing, diapers, toys and more junk than I know what to do with. We will be ok. I just wish I could do more to help people from here in my midwestern oasis.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Last week I bought a paper shredder. I've been meaning to do this for quite a while since I'm preparing to sort through all of my old journals and diaries that I have boxed up in the basement. Everyone always says that journaling is a wonderful hobby and that it helps you sort through your thoughts by getting all your emotions out on paper. However, nobody ever tells a fourteen-year-old that while keeping a journal may be therapeutic, you may also want to punch yourself in the face a decade later upon re-reading all of your whiny, suburban, teenange ANGST.

Plus, if I ever decide to run for president I should eliminate all incriminating evidence that may tarnish my squeaky clean image, right? But then that would include deleting this page as well so I guess public office is out for me.

I've been thinking for a while that I would be horrified if years from now either Juli or Ava stumbled upon an old diary of mine and proceeded to use my own words against me. I thought at first that I should burn the darn books but since I don't have a fireplace a shredder will have to do. Hey, it cross cuts! I'm planning on scanning in a few pages for nostalgias sake but omigid the bulk of it is really, really bad. Part of me wishes I could cut my teenage self some more slack but the other part just doesn't want my grandchildren laughing at what a weenie I was.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Cleaning House (AGAIN) TLC-Style

Jason has decided to let me help him Clean Sweep his basement storage area today.

Wish us luck! We need it.

What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love

Anti-Gay Church Protests at Soldiers’ Funerals: Everyone's favorite bigot, Fred Phelps is at it again, claiming that God is punishing American soldiers for defending a country that harbors gays.

Ann Coulter claims New Yorkers would "immediatley surrender" to terrorists, conveniently forgetting the fact that they actually were attacked and I don't remember anyone lying down and surrendering.

Ok, I actually like this next one a lot. Jon Stewart redeems himself after his softball interview with Rick Santorum. Here's a link to a video from Thursday's show where he talks with Christopher Hitchens.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Have I Mentioned How Much I Love Being Married?

August, 1997:


August, 2005: And we still like each other!




Juliana took these photos. You may notice that Jason finally cut his hair! He has not, however, gotten rid of that darn SPAM t-shirt yet. Maybe in eight more years.

Speaking of Juliana, my baby started kindergarten today!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Me and My Little Flower Girl

Juliana and Me

Originally uploaded by Tracey Gessner.

I've started a gallery on Flickr of photos from the wedding last weekend. I only have four pictures up right now but hopefully I will be adding more tonight and tomorrow...

Monday, August 22, 2005

Alan Ball is My Hero

I'm going to post about the wedding and the birthday party. I really am. But this morning I'm still sitting here thinking about the final episode of Six Feet Under that aired last night. This show has been ripping my heart out and stomping on it for the past three weeks and last night it completley wiped me out, it was so good. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it yet but the words in the promo photo for this season below suddenly made total sense. I felt pretty sad and empty after Buffy went off the air but this show really scraped out my insides. In a good way. Plus, who out there was probing my brain when they created Claire's character?


Friday, August 19, 2005

Two Crazy Kids

Today: Dan and Michelle's wedding

Sunday: Juli's birthday party


Michelle and Dan

Originally uploaded by Tracey Gessner.

Oh, and have I mentioned it is our 8th wedding anniversary on Wednesday? Plus: THE START OF KINDERGARTEN. Life is good.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Day I Finally Learned to Stop Putting Things On Top of My Car

After stopping at the Bartlett Sports store to get Juliana's soccer gear, I spent about 45 minutes filling my grocery cart at Super Target. (But let's not talk abou the fact that I grabbed the cart with unturnable wheels, forcing me to muster all of my body weight to move around the corners. Why did this start happening only after I had piled a mountain of food in my cart? I don't really know.) The fun part of the story begins when I got to the checkout and realized I did not have my wallet.

After searching my car, I came to the conclusion that I must have left it back at the sports store, so I had the checkout woman hold my $160 basket of groceries for me while I sped back to the previous store. It wasn't until the wallet was still unaccounted for there that I really started to freak out. I then drove home to get my checkbook so I could at least pay Target for all my food (and to also spend some time on the phone cancelling my credit cards.) But when I got there I found a message from the Bartlett police department saying someone had found my wallet on Main St. and turned it in.

This is why I love living in a small town. If I had left my purse on top of my car in my old neighborhood in Chicago and driven off, by the time I had gotten home to call the bank I would have had a handful of charges made ranging from Marshall Fields to Rainbow on Lawrence. Someone probably would have tried to open a bank account in my name or apply for a mortgage. But here I got to retrieve my lost property from my friendly neighborhood officer.

People of Bartlett, I'm giving you a big smooshy hug right now for saving me a trip to the DMV.

Friday, August 12, 2005

More Internet House Hunting

I just found a great area for us to look for houses next year: South Elgin, Illinois. It is about 10 minutes or so directly west of us on Bartlett road and if we look there we can find the type of houses I've been salivating over here in Barlett, but in our price range. And I'm not talking just barely in the range, but completely and totally in the range along with a hot tub and a fancy schmancy swing set in the back yard to boot. As it turns out, we are close enough to this town that the kids in this neighborhood already attend the South Elgin middle school and high school. I had no idea. I took the girls on a little jaunt over there on Wednesday afternoon and I about had a heart attack when I saw how beautiful these houses were. I know I'm headed to suburban yuppie-town USA but lets face it: look where I am now. I If I'm going to be a soccer mom from the 'burbs I should at least have an awesome house to show for it, right?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Cindy Sheehan's Diary Posts from Crawford, Texas

Day 5

Day 4

There are more posts from the first three days but I liked these since it appears that she hasn't let O'Reilly and Drudge shake her down.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


I can't stop watching HGTV!

Between this channel and Clean Sweep and Property Ladder on TLC, I can turn on my tv and see surprise kitchen renovations, organizational interventions and real estate "flips" at any time of the day or night. It's just mesmerizing.

Must. Watch. More. Now.

Monday, August 8, 2005

Plan of Action

I've been plugging away on little home projects that need to be done if we end up moving in the spring. Basically, I've scapped my plans for a little patio for the grill out back and for new linoleum in the upstairs bathroom since neither will really matter if we will be leaving. Instead, I'm opting to do little touch-ups here and there that will make our place all the more attractive to potential buyers. Things like repainting the fugly trim a fresh white color and fixing broken light fixtures. I'm still going to paint our bedroom since a neutral color will be more buyer-friendly than the present purple. I will not, however, be repainting the girls bedroom again, seeing that I just re-did it a couple of months ago and can't bring myself to do it all over again. Who knows, maybe another little girl (or two) will move in who just loves turquoise blue?

I've been doing tons of research on homes in our area. Although there are plenty of drool-worthy homes in which I will never live, I've also found a number of really nices houses in our price range that I can completely see us living in. One upgrade I will not waver on though is hardwood floors. I absolutely adore my wood floors and will fight tooth and nail to find a house with hardwood instead of carpet.

For now though, in addition to fixing up some little things we're basically going to concentrate on putting as much money away into savings as possible. We have this problem where if there is extra money in our checking account, we always find ways to spend it. So now all that extra "buffer" money will be transferred into a savings account so it hopefully will not be touched. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that if you are related to me you can expect for Christmas this year to get a big white t-shirt with a photograph of our smiling faces on it. Frugal!

Thursday, August 4, 2005


Thanks to Billy for sending me these photos from our last trip up to Milwaukee.



I Have No Brain

This morning I called the dentist to make an appointment for Juliana to have her teeth cleaned. When the girl on the phone gave me an appointment for Friday, August 19th I thought to myself, "Gee, something sounds familiar about that date, but I can't think of exactly what it is right now so it should be totally ok, right?"

Derrrr. That's only the day of Michelle and Dan's wedding. I remembered this the moment I hung up the phone.

So I called back to reschedule and I was given a new date of Monday, August 22nd. "Sure! That will be great!"

Not so fast. That's the day Steph and I are talking Juli, Maddie and Bailee to Build-a-Bear Workshop for Juliana's birthday.

So now I have to call back AGAIN and frankly, it's a little embarassing. WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY BRAIN?

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Sunday Night Decompression

We just got back from Michelle's bridal shower a little while ago. It's kind of overwhelming for me to be around large groups of people that are not part of my usual circle. To be honest, I don't find myself that interesting so I don't really know how to make small talk with people unless it's about my kids, and then I start to feel like it's the only thing I ever talk about. At functions like these I usually end up talking to somebody's grandma because I have the girls with me and they always attract the grandmas since they're just so gosh darn adorable. I put them in their matching dresses today so they were walking "ooh" and "ahh" magnets. Overall though, it was a nice party and I'm always happy to go to bridal showers because I'm pretty gung-ho for people getting married in general. Plus, I'm super psyched to be in the wedding in a few weeks. Bring on the sanctity!

I'm feeling pretty wiped this evening. Jason and I were up late last night installing some window treatments in the basement and dismantling one of our old computer desks. If I wasn't so tired I would jump up and give three cheers for organizaton. Well I'm off to have dinner, watch Six Feet Under, spend some time drooling over photos of this house and then sob over the subsequent lofty price tag. Curse you inflated housing market!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Casual Observation

I was buying white t-shirts for Jason at Target yesterday and as I looked around me I noticed that every single shopper in the men's section was female. Do men never have to buy their own underwear and socks? Do these things just show up magically in the dresser drawer at home and they never question it?

Also, while shopping for a bridal shower gift at Kohl's it was brought to my attention that Hilary Duff has apparently exploded all over their stores. Oh, the humanity!

What Exactly Is Patriotism Again?

I just learned this morning that there was an addendum attached to the Patriot Act that will protect pharmaceutical companies from being sued by parents of autistic children should it be proven conclusively that there is a link between autism and vaccinations. Apparently, vaccines used to contain a drug called Thimerasol (a form of mercury) that may or may not have caused autism in children. They stopped manufacturing vaccines with Thimerasol in 2000 and so far it is inconclusive whether or not the Thimerasol caused any harm. But why, if this link is proven to be true, should the companies who manufactured the vaccines be protected by law? Also, why on earth would something like this be included in a bill about national security? Grrrr. I don't know all the details surrounding this but now I have something new to research. For the time being I'm sticking with "Grrrrr."

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Fixer Upper

I had an eye exam on Monday night and ordered my batch of disposable contacts for the next year. Don't even get me started on how much it costs to keep me from walking around completely blind. It's almost as bad as taking care of my rotten teeth. Speaking of which, I've had four dentist appointments this summer and I still haven't had a teeth cleaning yet. That's FOUR occasions of having my face drilled. Me and my dentist are old friends now.

You may remember a few months ago when I talked about having a hole in my tooth. Well when I went to have it looked at it turns out I had lost a filling. Then, after having my entire mouth x-rayed it was brought to my attention that in addition to the broken filling, I also had four other cavities. PLUS, it was highly recommended that I have two other fillings replaced. What a joy. Luckily, I just finished taking care of all of them last week. However, my dentist also wants to replace a crown I have at some point because apparently I used to go to the crappiest dentist in the midwest. On the bright side, at least we have really good insurance now and it didn't completley break us. I remember a few years ago when I had a root canal and a crown it cost me NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS. And the guy only took cash. I swear I did not go to a ghetto dentist. It was in Schaumburg and he was the closest dentist on my insurance providers list. Yep, I had insurance and it still cost me nine hundred bucks. And now it needs to be replaced.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I'm feeling good (if not broke) now that I have my teeth and eyes in check.

Completely unrelated, I also wanted to say how disappointed I am in Jon Stewart for going so easy on Senator Rick Santorum on the Daily Show the other day. I tuned in looking for a smackdown and Jon seemed so timid about debating that Santorum almost came off looking like a reasonable person- which is quite an amazing feat if you ask me. Oh, Jon! Why hast thou forsaken me? (Okay, okay, I know you wanted to play nice and it is a comedy show, but I would have enjoyed at least one little jab.)

Monday, July 25, 2005

Movin' On Up?

Over the weekend, Jason and I once again revisited the idea of possibly selling our townhouse and looking for a "real" house here in Bartlett. We're looking at buying something closer to the downtown area where the houses are older, but have a bit more character than the litte boxes on the hillside over by us. (Ok, they are more like GIGANTIC boxes on the hillside but after a while they all start to look the same to me.) Anyway, we got into this conversation because we only have a 5-year mortgage on our condo, and I mentioned to him that we should probably refinance to a 30 year one before the rates go back up. He then said if we are going to get a 30 year mortgage, why not get one on a house that we want to stay in for a longer period of time?


I really like where I live right now. On the inside, at least. But I've always wanted to have a house that is not connected to someone else. A house with a private back yard and maybe a deck or patio for parties. Plus, an extra bedroom and a separate formal living/dining area would be really cool. I also think it would be fun to live within walking/biking distance of the library, community center and train station. We're going to have to pay more for it of course, but if we crunch the numbers and it looks do-able I will be insanely excited. Luckily, we are most likely going to come away with a decent profit from the place we're in now so we should have a hefty down payment on a new home.

Which brings me to my question: How does one deal with the down payment for their new house when they need to sell the place they already have in order to get it? Do we sell our townhouse and then live in an apartment for a while? (This is scary because I would be afraid of not being able to find a new place after saying goodbye my already good one.) Or do we find a house we like and say to the owners, 'Hey, could you put this on hold for us while we sell our old place?' How does it work? I've never done this before so I have no idea. I don't really know who I'm asking either. I'm basically just getting all my thoughts out about the situation. I need to do some more research.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Me, February 1979


Rockin' out on the blue linoleum.

Monday, July 18, 2005


I got my Harry Potter book in the mail on Saturday at 1:30 and proceeded to have a 9-hour reading session until I passed out exhausted on my bed. I was so engrossed in the book that I couldn't be bothered to move to cook anything for myself so I ended up eating an box of Wheat Thins with red pepper hummus, a Wonka chocolate bar and an entire pitcher of iced tea. Jason was so nice to take the girls to visit his parents for the day so I had the whole house to myself while I immersed myself in my reading. I finished the book on Sunday around noon and I'm pretty close to saying that it was my favorite Potter book thus far- with Book #5 running a close second. When I got to around page 600 (where there is a major shocking development in the story), I actually yelled out loud because I could not contain myself. Now I'm absolutely bursting with excitement because i want to talk to somebody about what happened in the book but Jason hasn't read it yet so I feel like I'm going to explode. I actually went looking for some Harry Potter message boards online so I could at least read what other people were saying about the latest story and what their specualtons are for the final book. Now I just have to wait probably TWO YEARS to read how the whole series will end. Gah!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Before I Forget

I would like to thank Billy for hooking me up with my new iPod!

I like my pink leather case too.

It seems that I am becoming more like Jason with every gadget I acquire. See! I even took a picture of my new toy! And he used to be the only one in the house with a taste for expensive computer-y doodads. Oh he will rue the day he decided to introduce me to the wonders of Apple...

Hey! I just noticed my iPod is color coordinated with my webpage! And I remember a day when I preferred to dress in black and hated the color pink.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Primed and Ready for Consumption

1) I finished re-reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
2) I watched all three of the Harry Potter movies (with Juliana, of course.)
3) I have my copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on pre-order from Amazon.com, GUARANTEED to be delivered on it's release date this Saturday.

I'm sure since I will be waiting by the mailbox like a puppy dog that the mailman won't swing by my place until around 5pm or some other ungodly mail-delivering hour. I'm almost wishing I didn't have it shipped so I could be at the Barnes and Noble when it opens in the morning or better yet, be there at midnight with a throng of other Potter-Maniacs. I don't have a wizard robe though.

Oh yeah, I also get to take Juliana to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Friday. Good times!

The Cloud Has Lifted

Thank goodness we were all feeling better by the time Monday came around so we didn't have to cancel our trip to the Milwaukee Zoo with Steph, Greg and Maddie. Saturday and Sunday, however? I reeealy could have done without. Saturday especially. What's amusing though is how long it took me to realize that I ACTUALLY HAD the flu. You see, on Friday night I had a couple of beers after dinner while Jason and I were sitting on the back porch (with our laptops, naturally.) So when I woke up with a tummy-ache early on Saturday morning--after first being genuinely surprised since that never happens to me--I was quite mad at myself. Then as the morning wore on and I couldn't snap out of my funk, and my body started to feel all achey, I got REALLY mad at myself since Jason had to take over watching the girls for the day all by himself as my lazy bum laid on the couch. I felt awful but could barely stand to be vertical since I was so very nauseous. So I spent the day feeling like a jerk because I thought I had the beer-flu over three Leinenkugels (which sounds quite ridiculous at first but there is another Gessner female who shall reamain nameless that is infamous for being laid up on the couch the morning after having a solitary alcohol-laden beverage. So, stranger things have happened.)

Then, at around 4:30pm Juliana said that her stomach hurt and proceeded to throw up. And I know this sounds horrible but as bad as I felt for her, for a brief second in the back of my mind I thought: "OH MY GOSH! I REALLY AM LEGITIMATELY SICK!"

This lasted about ten seconds until I realized that not only did I feel awful physically, but I also had a tiny person who felt as awful as I did- if not worse. Seeing one of my girls sick and being unable to do anything about it makes my heart break. I would have been thrilled to be twice as sick in order for her to stop moaning "Ooooooooh Moooooommmmy! My tummy HUUUUUURTS!"

Anyway, I probably don't need to add any more details because you get the picture. By Sunday afternoon we were both feeling much better, although I was completely exhausted. We spent the afternoon crashed out on my bed watching The Incredibles for about the tenth time (and it's STILL funny EVERY time I see it.)

Now things are back on their usual track. My house and all it's inhabitants have been scrubbed down and sanitized. As I mentioned at the top of the post we made it to the zoo yesterday and had a blast. It was great to get some fresh air away from all the germies. Plus, every day is more fun when there are camel rides involved.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Lose Weight and Feel Great* in One Weekend on the All Vomit Diet!

Boy do I feel wrecked. I've spent the last thirty hours or so in a haze of yuckiness that I'm just starting to pull myself out of. Oh yeah, and Juliana caught it too. Have you ever tried to take care of a puking child while fighting the urge to spew chunks everywhere yourself?

More on everything later. Right now, I'm off to put some real food in my body and de-germify my house.

*Results may vary. Most experience feeling like total poo.

Friday, July 8, 2005


Well, I WAS worried about the fact that Jason rides the train into downtown Chicago every work day, but then Mayor Daley got on the television and assured me that I had absolutely nothing to fear and that everything was under control.

I'm being sarcastic because it's really the only thing I can do. I've been worried ever since 9/11 that something would happen on the trains here because I see how completely easy it would be for someone to just walk on the Metra or CTA with a bomb. I realize that something like what happened in London is eventually going to happen here in the states and there's nothing anybody can do about it. I just have to hope that when it does happen that nobody I love is anywhere near it.

I know the mayor just doesn't want to people to panic but I still think it's crazy that I should believe just because there are some extra police officers patrolling the downtown train stops that we all are perfectly safe. You'd have to search each and every person who gets on every bus or train in the city AND the suburbs to prevent that and there is NO WAY anybody could ever expect that to happen.

It such a strange and helpless feeling when you know you're at risk and that bad things are most likely going to happen but you have to put it out of your mind and go about your daily life anyway.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

My Love Affair With Dyson Continues

I have been known to rave to everyone who will listen about the wonders of my Dyson Vacuum Cleaner. It is one of the greatest household inventions I can think of. It works like an impossible dream, it's super slick looking, and comes a posse of divine customer service agents ready to assist me with all my vacuuming needs. You'd be surprised at how many people there are out there who feel the same way I do about this miraculous inanimate object. And those who do not own the Dyson yet, do covet it.

My Dyson has been acting sick as of late. When I use the mighty attachment to clean the mounds of cat fur off of my couches it has been making a sick, sad noise. I took the thing apart, inspecting for any blockage and upon finding none, I came to the conclusion that there must be a tear in the flexible accordion-like hose. I remembered how last year when I had problems with the cannister staying closed I called customer service and discovered that they were oh-so-happy to send me an entire new cannister, complete with a brand spanking new Root Cyclone thing-a-ma-jig FREE OF CHARGE. (And to top it all off they didn't even care that I had bought the thing second-hand off Ebay for HALF THE PRICE to begin with.)

Anyway, I remembered this and decided to call the friendly 1-866-MY-DYSON number again and told them my latest story.

And my new attachement hose should be arriving in 3-5 business days via UPS.


See? You may have thought I didn't like big businesses but I have no problem being a walking advertisement for companies I love with my heart and soul. Such as:

Sharper Image
XM Satellite

Sunday, July 3, 2005

Chillin' Out


Me and my mom just after the blizzard of 1979.

I'm scanning in a lot of old family photos today. Two things come to mind when I look at this picture:

1) CHECK OUT THAT YELLOW DOOR! Our house was so cool.

2) I wish I was hanging out with my mom today instead of just scanning photos of her. Can't really do anything about that though.

Well, back to work! I should be posting more stuff like this in the next few days.

Friday, July 1, 2005

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Old-y McOldins

I drove by the high school here in Bartlett yesterday and the sign out front read: "Class of 2006 Registration Starts ____". It gave the exact date but I couldn't get past the Class of 2006 part. You see, I graduated in 1996. Ten years ago. I remember a time when I couldn't imagine talking about people I knew and things I did ten years ago simply because that would put me at about age three. Now not only can I reminisce about people I knew a decade ago, I've also probably forgotten many of their names.

When I was seventeen or so, I always felt very old. Well, I felt older than most of the people around me at least. Steph and I used to joke that we were really sixteen going on thirty (and this was totally way before that lame movie starring Jennifer Garner with the similar name.) The difference now (aside from the fact that in hindsight, even though I felt older at the time I really was in fact, a complete baby) is that when we joked about being old, we were doing just that: joking.

I know, I know, twenty-seven is not old. But driving by that high school, for the first time in my life I did not think to myself, "Hey, I'm not really that much removed from them." Because I'm not anymore. I'm actullay a full-fledged, card-carrying ADULT and maybe I'm just silly but I'm finally realizing it. I see high school age kids walking around and instead of saying to myself, "Wow, a few years ago I was totally just like them," I'm thinking, "Does that girl's mother actually buy her shorts that are that short?" Instead of relating and feeling hip I'm shaking my head and looking on reproachfully. I mean, when I was in school people didn't have cell phones or computers or low-rise jeans. Nobody I knew knew had heard of the internet, much less had their own personal weblog. THERE WAS NO REALITY TV, PEOPLE. How I can I possibly relate to the youth of today??? I can't. And I don't want to really. Because I'm a grown-up now. A grown-up who reads Harry Potter and adores Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but a grown-up nonetheless.

P.S. Tonight I'm buying tickets to the Lyle Lovett show at Ravinia this month. Can we say it again all together? OLD!

Monday, June 27, 2005


Oh, I Almost Forgot

Poop on you, Karl Rove. Way to insult half of America!

People like me wanted to get the terrorists therapy after 9/11? I don't particularly remember it going down that way. Of course, people's memories are getting shorter and shorter these days so it doesn't take much to rewrite history anymore. I suppose he thinks only there are only conservatives fighting in the war?

A Strong and United Front

We are currently in a standoff with Juliana. She refuses to clean her room. She spent all day in there yesterday messing around and is up there again this morning. I think she really believes she can outlast me and that I will cave in and clean it myself. HA! It's really frustrating though because I would much rather be doing fun outdoor summer stuff but and instead I'm just sitting around policing her and making threats. We even set up a playpen for Ava's naptime in our bedroom so she can't get a break in the afternoon when Ava naps. It's a total crackdown.

Anyway, last night (by my friend Lara's recommendation) I watched my first ever episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition". Aside from Ty Pennington being a complete hyperactive spazz I was pretty impressed. I mean, demolishing a house and building an entirely new one in seven days for an eight-year-old girl fighting cancer and her family of eight? Gah! Is that show's goal to make a person cry every five minutes? Kind of makes me feel a bit small and ungrateful watching something like that.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


It's hot here. It's put me in a lazy mood where I don't feel like doing anything. I've just been lounging around outside with the girls, doing a bit of gardening, reading Harry Potter, and catching up on my favorite blogs. Being the neat freak that I am, everything is still in order around the house. However, after I take care of cleaning up and running errands in the morning it's all downhill until I'm too tired to cook and Jason and I end up eating chicken nuggets and margaritas for dinner.

Hmmmm. I guess the margarita part isn't anything to complain about.

Yesterday I lost my internet connection on the laptop and it was amusing how the second I was unable to access the Internets that I suddenly felt the need to look up about a hundred and fifty random things. Out of the blue I was all, "Did so-and-so respond to my email?" "What is the weather going to be like this weekend?" "Did they find that missing girl in Aruba yet?" "Where can I send an angry letter regarding the recently approved Corporation for Public Broadcasting cuts?" "Did Michelle upload any new Flickr photos?" "What, pray tell, did Lindsey Lohan wear to the premiere of Herbie:Fully Loaded?"

Ok, I made that last part up. I totally was looking to get the latest news on Tom and Katie. But I did feel incredibly incapacitated in the six hours or so that I could not read Dooce's latest blog post about the children's show Boohbah. (Side note: Whenever I ask Ava if she wants to watch this show she runs laps around the house yelling "BAAAAH-BOOOOOOOO!")

This heat is making me feel a bit wonky. Time to go inside and crank up the a/c. That or dive into the kiddie pool.

Bartlett Sky


Wednesday, June 22, 2005


I was looking through my site statistics this morning and it appears that this month, two people found my page by searching for the words "I am a boring person." I thought this was funny so I decided to google it myself, and what do you know-- I showed up as result number ten!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

We Have GOT To Be Better Than This

What ever happened to two wrongs don't make a right?

Seriously. Stuff like this makes me ashamed.

I've Created a Monster

I set Michelle up with a Flickr pro account last night and I woke up this morning to find she had uploaded TWENTY TWO pages of photos- many of which were of my girls acting like spazzes during various sleepovers and other babysitting excursions. You can see them here along with many shots of Michelle's gigantic teeth. (Just kidding Aunt Shelly! Love 'em!)

Monday, June 20, 2005

Summer in Full Swing

Summer officially starts tomorrow! Juliana starts her week long soccer "camp" this afternoon, we've got plans for a trip to the zoo, and our Florida trip is now squared away. Today I'm going to go buy some more pots for the herbs we bought at the farmer's market since they are growing out of control and it's high time to separate them. Hopefully during Ava's nap this afternoon I can log some time on my lawn chair re-reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I decided that since Book Six is coming out in a couple of weeks that I should read Book Five again to refresh my memory on what happened most recently. Also, when my Dad returns from his trip to Canada next week we will get a start on some of the projects around the house.

Over the weekend I got to eat Beef-a-Roo cheddar fries and see the new Batman movie. I'm in a good mood today.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Yes, This Was As Fun As It Looks


Jason snapped this of me at the playground over the weekend.

This Is What Happens When Me Getting Money Doesn't Coincide With Me Breaking Jason's Stuff

New rug! This almost makes up for the way I literally flushed my money down the drain last time.


Also, behold my not-dead garden!


More not-dead stuff:


Monday, June 13, 2005


I have not been paying attention to the Michael Jackson trial. Frankly, I think there are more important things that should be dominating the headlines daily. That being said, I turned on the tv today and watched the aftermath of the not-guilty verdict. Although I'm not exactly sure what my feeling are about the whole case, two things crossed my mind while watching:

1) If indeed he is innocent, how entirely awful it must be to go through all of this.

2) I'm starting to wonder though, if "reasonable doubt" can always be raised if you pay enough money for it.

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Summah-tiiime...When The Livin's Eeeasy...

I'm the kind of person who gets seriously bored if I don't have a project to work on. And if I don't have something given to me, I make something up. Something that has to be taken care of RIGHT NOW. Since I have essentially declared my home itself my summer project, I have taken it upon myself to construct a list for what I plan to accomplish in the next three months:


We are getting a second car in August. (It's a PT Cruiser that we are driving back from Florida- YAY!) First of all, our garage will barely fit our little Chevy Prism. Second... well, there is no second. It's just ridiculously crowded in there and needs to be dealt with. Somewhat related to this, I will be enlisting my Dad to put in a small patio area out back so we can move our grill out of the garage and into the back yard. Also, once I get the garage cleaned out I can paint it with that neat-o grey floor paint and make it all purdy.

2)Build a shelf that fits into our tv nook in the living room wall.

I hate the nook with a passion and wish I could knock that wall down, but without going into the boring details, this will be a much more efficient solution to our problem and also be, quite frankly, much less INSANE. (This project involves my dad's help again. He's like me though and can't sit still so don't worry about him having to work too hard.)

3)Re-paint our bedroom.

Remember when I was joking about becoming the kind of person who paints their bedroom taupe? I'm totally going through with it. Only maybe I'll morph into Hildi Santo-Tomas from Trading Spaces and call it "mocha". Or maybe "toffee". And then I'll wear all black with my three-inch heels and talk all breathy and arty while I'm painting the caramel-latte color on the walls. (Kidding!) But seriously though, I've had enough of the lavender in here. And this new color looks really good as far as I can tell from the teeny swatch I took home from the Home Depot. Plus, I have a good track record with my decorating skillz and think I have a pretty good eye. You're talking to someone who got the award for "Most Fashionable Camper" at her summer day camp in the third grade. Why I felt the need to be stylish at the YWCA camp, I'll never know. The girly-girl in me likes decorating and fashion-y stuff.

4)Do something about the floors in our upstairs bathrooms.

The only thing I can't stand about our lovely ceramic tile on the first floor is that it reminds me about HOW MUCH I can't stand the hideous vinyl floor in the other bathrooms upstairs. It's WHITE and completley impossible to keep clean. Especially in the girls bathroom. I don't really want to spend the money to install ceramic up there so I've been tossing around the idea of putting down some peel and stick tiles (at least in the kid's bath.) I know, I know, it's totally cheap right? I think if I did this though that it would satisfy me enough to where I could stop complaining about it all the time and not completely break the bank as well.

So you see, I have a lot on my to-do list. And I didn't even talk about putting up handrails on the stairs, doing some touch-up paint work on the walls and continuing to build up my garden. (After four years here I think I've finally figured out how to NOT make things die!)

I also want to have more dinner parties. And barbeques. And have more people over for cocktails. Basically, I want to entertain. (And apparently I don't want to get that much sleep.)