Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Home Is My Castle

I don't strut around as if I'm running things in the place, but I do feel like royalty in my home. Taking steps to make our new apartment special and cozy is becoming a fun and accidentally long-term project. I thought it would be like when I've moved into previous apartments; I'd have everything unpacked in one weekend.

I wrote a post recently about settling into my new apartment.

Since then, we've been slowly but surely turning it into home. Our big bedroom still isn't unpacked. And it seems to be getting worse not better. So now our thing is to figure out how to prioritize our home. Things as simple as vacuuming don't happen like they should. We're not home enough for it to matter, but our shedding cat makes it more important.

If I'm only home sleeping between shifts and Easy is only home taking a nap between his day job and his night gigs, when it is supposed to get done?

Here are our options:

I Could Become A Housewife
I do have a penchant for wearing A-line skirts that have a lot o' fabric. And I bake a mean casserole. Perhaps I could give up my job and stay home like the little lady I could be. I would pick up after my man and have a piping hot dinner and a perfectly chilled martini waiting for him when he got home from work.

Wait, our collective annual salary is just over 100K. I'm not giving that up just so our one area rug gets vacuumed.
Image via Photobucket

We Could Get A Maid
A Maid who we paid to come in a clean the blinds, mop the floors, wash the clothes, and of course vacuum would be lovely!

We would give her bonuses at Christmas. And I feel very strongly about this, so we'd give her something toward medical insurance. It's be great. Maybe she'd be very traditional, wearing one of those maid outfits. Oh wait. Hell no.
Image via Fun House Theatrical
We Could Get Rid Of ALL Our Stuff
Why finish unpacking? We can't take all our stuff to New York anyway. Plus, we're registering for more stuff for the wedding. We need to downsize. I wouldn't want to do a yard sale because there's no way to make that happen realistically out of an apartment in crowded Hyde Park in Chicago.

There is another way...

Image via WizBangBlog
Eh, that might get us in trouble with the law. I'm pretty sure Chicago's fire code doesn't allow that...

So what shall we do? I guess we'll have to grow the hell up and make time to keep our home feeling like the castle it could be.

Image via
 Or maybe I'll just keep repeating, "my home is my castle" until it magically comes true. Where is a fairy godmother when you need one?

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Big Big Day At Work

In the world of organ and tissue donation, there are some big stories, like the time we ended up on ESPN. That was big for us because it generated a lot of goodwill for donation. But on a regular day, it's the little victories that add up and make the work worthwhile.

I'm in training, so every day there are new things to learn and do. Early this morning, I took a giant step forward. This morning was the first time I called the family of a potential donor to request they go through the donation process.

It was very hard for me to do this. Anyone who knows me will tell you how much I don't like asking anyone for anything. It's literally the one part of my job I've been dreading since I got hired.

Luckily, the family I approached was pleasant. I can't go into too many details, but it was relatively painless on my end to get the paperwork completed. I really sympathize with this family and I pray they get peace for their situation.

Even though my hands were freezing as all the blood in my body ran screaming from my extremities, I got through it. Now that I'm on the other side, I can only think about the good that family's gift can do. I was so appreciative of the choice they made in such a difficult time.

It takes a big person to think about someone outside themselves even when they're hurting and grieving. I'm truly blessed to have the job I do.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bonding With Co-Workers

Last night was a kind of busy night at work, but there was still time to chit and chat at work. There was an organ placer working who I'd never met and we hit it off.

We bonded over pets and sports.

She and her husband take care of rescue cats and dogs and she shared some amazing stories about that. I've since decided I really have to go ahead and spend the money to get an automatic litter box cleaner. I shared with her some of my favorite recent pics of our cat Belle.

And the bonding over sports was really great. We're both baseball nuts and have had the pleasure of getting amazing seats at US Cellular Field to see a Sox game. In my post about the best weekend ever, I talked about us going to the game. She and her husband are going this weekend. We had 4th row seats on the first base line. They're getting 3rd row behind the plate. Good times. So I showed her more pics.

Read the scoreboard on this one. It's from when their pitcher got taken out in the 4th inning. Priceless.

I love bonding with co-workers. That is, when they are worth bonding with. 'Nuff said.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Craziness At The Hair Salon

Anyone who knows anything about black culture in America (or who has seen Barber Shop or Beauty
Shop) knows that the buildings in which folks get their hair done is always full of shenanigans.

Barber Shop 01Beauty Shop

 The last time I was at the beauty shop, something unexpectedly ridiculous happened. Well maybe it was expected.

I'm sitting in the chair getting my locs twisted.
This isn't me, but that's what we all looked like in the shop.
There was a woman there getting her hair dyed. She was under the dryer when a young man walks in and hands her a piece of paper. She looks at it.

"What the hell?" she asks.

"The cops gave it to me," he replies calmly.

"They gave this to you?! I got a ticket?! Why didn't you stop them?"

"I was just sitting there and they gave it to me. Do you want it?"

"Nah, take that shit and go back to the car. Damn, boy, why you let me get a ticket?!?!"

After he walks out the shop, she turns toward all of us and says, "why let me get a damn ticket? Him and his cousin sitting in the car and they gon' let me get a ticket. And the boy run track!"

We all began cracking up. Things quickly turned back to discussion of my wedding and the wedding of another one of the stylists who's getting married the same day as me (yay wedding twins).

Shortly after that, no more than 20 minutes, the young man comes back into the shop. This time, he's accompanied by the cops.

"What's going on?" the woman asks.

"Is this young man with you?" asks the cops.

"What did he do now?" asks the woman.

"I didn't do nothing. They just wanted to tell you how to not get another ticket," responds the boy.

"Wait, you brought them in here because I was about to get another ticket? Why didn't you tell me that the first time?"

You could see how mad she was getting. The cops then explained she was parked in a zone that was no parking from 4p-6p (dumb Chicago laws) and she had to move her car or she could get tickets every 15 min until 6 pm.

She hopped out her seat and went to go move her car. The cops and the boy walked out before her. Before she left, she turned back to say, "I thought he was in trouble. I was about to tell those cops he wasn't with me. Lol, good thing I asked questions first!"

We again cracked up laughing. Ah good times. Even though I'm at the shop for hours once a month, the entertainment value is certainly there, even without me keeping my nose stuck in my Kindle. It's like reality tv but less megalomania.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Back On The Exercise Bandwagon

I've been getting back in shape, y'all. Cue pleasantly surprised applause. Crickets? Darn.

Well, I haven't been doing it for very long, so there's a chance I'll fall right back off again, but I have hope. The other bride bloggers on have inspired me to not neglect my fitness just because I've got more demands on my time right now. Here's what I've been up to:

I haven't been eating the best diet, but I haven't been eating too badly and I certainly haven't gained any weight. I do have the lucky (I think?) benefit of the opposite of stress eating. When I'm stressed, like I've been with planning this wedding, I don't eat. I will go all day and night and then it occurs to me to eat. It's not that I even get hungry, it's that it crosses my mind that it's been 15+ hours since I've eaten.
I've also been staying away from junk food and fast food for the most part. It's just that pesky home-made baked goods that get to me. I can't help it, I like baking for my man. Easy appreciates it, so I'll keep doing it, just maybe a little less.

Exercise @ Home
My Wii Fit Plus is my best friend. I want to keep it up, but it's hard to find the time when there's so many other things I could be doing at home. But I took some time out of my day yesterday to exercise, and I hope to keep it up the on my next day off. Wish me luck!

Exercise on a Date
Easy and I took a long walk after dinner the other night. It was romantic and sweet. And it was a good exercise. I felt great after that walk. I wasn't tired like I usually am after a big dinner. I'd love to make that a routine to get in some exercise on date nights. At least while it's still warm. I'm not going for a one hour walk in Chicago past October. Maybe by then we'll go jogging instead.

Exercise Away From Home
Starting today, I'm going back to yoga classes. I figure if I go right when I get off work to the early morning class, I should be able to work it into my schedule without losing sleep or anything else. I'm going to try it out this weekend since I work three days and see how it goes. If it goes well, it will be my new plan. Toned thighs, I will welcome you back to my world shortly.

Future Hobby/Plans
I miss rock climbing and ballroom dancing. They were great ways to exercise and have fun. I'll work them into my schedule at some point. Sooner rather than later, I hope.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Not Accepting That The Honeymoon Could Be Over

Easy and I have been having some issues lately. I don't want to go into detail, but let's just say they've been big enough where he's questioned more than once whether I would leave him over it.

I think we learned a lot about love and trust and communication in this past week. We learned the actions that match our feelings and words. I was confronted, for the first time, with the depths of my emotion and just what that meant for us as a couple.

After spending years as an emotional dwarf, I've been opening up to Easy about things more and more. Feeling betrayal wasn't something I was prepared to handle. Now that I've been forced to, I honestly feel stronger coming out on the other side of it.

Been tested by fire and emerged stronger. Maybe that means the honeymoon phase is over. Isn't that usually what happens? Reality sets in and suddenly all your fantasies about how things could always be happy float away, like so many hot air balloons.

But I refuse to accept it. Easy certainly wants us to stay in our honeymoon phase forever. I think we can. Knowing that any and every blow to our happiness won't keep us from finding that place again makes me even more confident. Nothing will stop us from looking like this for at least part of every day.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Engagement Party For The Ages

Our engagement party was amazing!!!!

There were all these little details there that I can't imagine how my mother pulled off. It was this fantastic party that brought together all the people Easy and I love all into one place.

It alleviated my fears of how well our two families would mix. It also set the stage for a rocking party come February.

I definitely want my wedding to be a big party. Now I really believe that's a possibility.

Up next is writing all the thank you notes for the party. I hate writing thank you notes, but I'm really so grateful to everyone for coming, I will just suck it up and go for it.

Although the party went well, I'm really glad the next event isn't until December. I'm interested to see how that will play out with so many women from my family and Easy's will fit together into one event.

Trying to keep down the stress in life isn't as easy as it usually it. Wedding planning stress, plus short-handed-at-work-whilst-also-training stress, plus settling into life with the fiance stress is a lot. We're trying to stay grounded, and so far it's working.

What should I do to deal with the stress that doesn't involve alcohol or something reckless?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Best Weekend Ever!!!

This weekend should one of the best ever for Easy and I. We had a great week last week between me finishing a huge section of training at work and Easy getting job offers plus finishing recording his CD. And now we have an amazing weekend!

Our engagement party on Saturday. A baseball game on the 4th row on Sunday. I just know it's completely fitting that we should enjoy the hell out of this weekend.

I hope to have lots of great pics to share when the weekend is over.

What are you doing this weekend?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Like A Baby

Not like a baby like that. Well, actually kind of like that. Jake was noisy and uncoordinated. I'm like a baby, at least according to Easy. Just not quite that way.

I am like a baby in that once my basic needs are met, I'm good. I need to be fed, not sleepy, and not cold.

He laughs when he sees that I have a huge attitude and then I eat a sandwich and turn back into Glinda the Good Witch, instead of the alternative.

I never noticed that about myself til he pointed it out. But it's definitely helped me assess my moods and what I need to do to be a more pleasant person more consistently.

I know some people are really even keel and even-tempered. That's never been me and now I know why. All I need is a nap, a sandwich, and a sweater to go through life almost permanently happy.

Anyone ever find out interesting things about their quirk through another person?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I Finally Had My Girls' Night Out...

...And it kind of made me feel old. This was actually a while ago, but I"m just now getting around to blogging about it.

My girls came and scooped me up and we headed to Navy Pier. <a href="">Michelle</a> wanted to go to Margaritaville, so we were all down to try it.

I haven't been able to drink tequila since an over-indulgent experience years ago. I can put away tequila shots with the best of them, but it couldn't touch my tongue.

I don't know what the Margaritaville people put in their drinks, but I'm all over a good margarita now since that night. I had a very tasty drink and I've been back on the tequila bandwagon since. I still love you tequila shots, but you're no longer my only agave option. Winning!

There was only one bad thing about the night. My girls brought a new chick to the party. She was sweet and I liked her a lot. After the night, Michelle called to tell me the girls who brought her (her cousins who I call Thing 1 and Thing 2 in my blogs) wanted to apologize for the new chick because she's normally not like that.

"Not like what?" I asked. I found her to be funny and sweet and cool. Apparently, Thing 1 and Thing 2 neglected to tell me their friends was recently un-engaged. They say she's usually more talkative than that and they're sorry she was a wet blanket.

I'd love to see this girl when she's her normal self 'cause I really liked her. But I definitely added Thing 1 and Thing 2 to my list of people who make bad decisions. We spent a good portion of the night talking about my fiance Easy. I was recently engaged at that time.

I didn't bring him up, the twins did. They wanted to congratulate me and then proceeded to ask a ton of questions about him and us and being engaged. Had I known what their friend had been through, I wouldn't have even encouraged that line of convo. I love talking about Easy, 'cause he's wonderful, but not in front of a recently un-engaged girl. Sheesh.

We ended the night early, but we still had fun. We just came back to my apartment and cracked open some wine and beer. It's definitely not the same list of activities (or order) we'd do for a night just a couple years ago, but it was really enjoyable. Getting older isn't the worst thing in the world.

Flaky friends, only Gloria has excuse.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Back From The Dead!

My phone is back! Oh yeah!!

<iframe width="425" height="349" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

I'm feeling very happy because I don't have to shell out unexpected money to get a new Blackberry. I already had to do that last month for my car breaks. Goodness, this being an adult thing isn't all it's cracked up to be.

I knew that, but I prefer to focus on the positive. And I'm positively happy my phone decided to just start working again.

I miss my friends. I need to catch up with them. I've barely updated <a href="">my other blog</a> with info on their love lives.

And my parents would normally be concerned I'd fallen off the face of the earth. But their new son, Easy is waaay better at keeping in touch than I am. So they know I'm alive 'cause they both talk to him a couple times a week. I think it's pretty sweet actually.

Even though there's so much going on all the time with friends, family, work, romance, and wedding, I finally feel like I can breathe. Maybe it's because I"m getting in a groove. Maybe it's cause Easy and I finally settled an issue that's been hanging out in the background for a while. I'm not sure entirely, but I feel good.

I'm tired as hell cause I only got 3 hours of sleep last night, but I feel good.

I have a very busy weekend coming up with this engagement party, but I feel good.

My apartment still isn't completely unpacked, but I feel good.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Used To Be Something of a Rover

That video is from Guys and Dolls, it's one of my favorite musicals. You should really watch the whole thing, but this scene in particular took on a new meaning for me the other day.

I was watching the movie in my new apartment, and Easy came and joined me about halfway through. When that scene in the video came up, I cracked up laughing. Since the first time I watched this movie, I wanted to be seated next to my significant other so I could be amused by that line.

They really point right at the camera. I still chuckle when I think about it. This happened back when we first moved in together, so that was the end of June.

This sparked a conversation about the changes expected and unexpected about living together. We expected that we'd enjoy each other's company. But we didn't expect to be so happy about it. Even after we spend an entire 24 hour period together, once we separate, one of us calls or texts the other to say, "I miss you already."

We also expected we'd make a good team in the house. We mostly do because of our ability to divide up housework and responsibilities. The hardest thing for me to get used to is how much stuff he uses. Toilet paper, toothpaste, floss, milk, you name it. Easy uses it in ridiculously comically large quantities.

But we're working on better utilization and other solutions. He's trying to use less floss. I agreed not to get upset about his use of toilet paper considering the alternative (yuck!), and now we buy milk two gallons at a time.

An unexpected change was how we consult on our schedules. I wouldn't call either of us fiercely independent, but we also are our own people. An unexpected change was that we both sort of naturally started checking with each other before we make or change plans.

I wonder what other changes we'll begin to notice as more time passes.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Reunion Concert And Phone Woes

It wasn't a reunion for me that I'm talking about. It was for Easy. His friends from high school started a group in which they each played an instrument. Saturday night, they had a reunion concert.

It was at Easy's church. It was really enjoyable. It was gospel music with a jazz flair. I was glad to go with Easy to this concert. I got to spend more time with his friends and bond with them. I also got to chat wedding planning with the sister of Easy's best man.

Here are some photos from the event:

They had a wonderful video that played before and after the show. That is their symbol for MV8.

They started playing and I was immediately enjoying the show. Good times.

Oh yeah, Easy doesn't just play alto sax. He also plays the flute.

And he raps. Well, he hasn't really done it since high school, but he's good at it. He could win a cipher still I bet.

This is the group members who were there for the concert, plus all their friends from high school who came to the show.

This is the five who played in the concert. There are three more who couldn't make the show. I'm hoping they'll play the next one.
They are currently planning on having another show around Christmas. I think it will be even bigger and better and I can't wait.

I love that I'm marrying a musician who's actually talented and undertakes ventures that are easy to support! It would be hard to support an artist who wasn't that good at what they did...

Moving on the phone woes. My Blackberry is acting up. The keyboard is functioning improperly. I really only turn it on to try and check my voicemail. Each time I put in the battery, I have about 3-8 minutes of proper functioning before it goes hay wire.

I'm not due for a phone upgrade until October, so I'm contemplating what to do about the phone. I'm definitely sticking with BB, and I want the flip phone, but I just don't know if I can shell out that extra money right now. Le sigh.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Missing My Mister

Easy is a musician. Did I mention that? Well, he plays the alto saxophone and he has a music group called Quatuor de Force, a jazz quartet.

He's been writing music and this past week he's been practicing with his group to record a CD. That's right, he put together an album. His music is amazing, and if you like jazz or neo soul or just good music, you'd love what he's written.

While he was working on actually recording the music, I didn't see him for days. He and I haven't gone too many days without talking since we decided to date exclusively last October. Even when he was in Europe for a month, between gmail and video chat, we still spoke almost every day.

Though Easy has been busy recording his album, it didn't take 24 hours of each day. I worked Wed-Fri though and slept almost the entire time I wasn't at work. Add to that the fact that my BlackBerry has given up on cooperating with my desire to use it for any purpose other than an alarm clock, and we have no way to communicate.

I was missing my man like crazy! Getting home from work on Saturday morning after my shift ended made my heart swell. Being away from him sucks!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Back To Your Normally Scheduled Programming

Hi people! Welcome to the first blog post I've written in weeks that has nothing to do with my wedding planning! If you want to read about my wedding planning, you can click my weddingbee icon on my blog page or <a href="">click here</a> or see my wedding blog (which has all the same posts) <a href="">here</a>.

Moving on. So, my life has been interesting outside of the wedding. I've been training furiously at work. They moved up my training timeline so I was training for three different parts of my job, with three different trainers, all at once. It was a lot. A LOT.

But I finished one part Friday morning and another part Friday night. Two down!! I got hired to do a job that requires three phases of training. I'm now officially signed off on everything except the last phase.

This last phase is very involved and will take a couple months. But we dove in head first at work Friday night and I'm very excited to be started on this. I want to learn as much as possible. Every part of the job of the tissue and organ donation process is important. But every piece I am involved in makes me feel like I'm doing just a bit more to make a difference in peoples' lives.

If I had to decide today, I would definitely make a career out of the job I currently have. There are so many options for career paths that the choices would keep me interested throughout my career. And the opportunities for advancement are vast as well.

Right now, I'm leaning more toward applying for Master's Programs in Health Administration. I've been wavering back and forth between that and getting and MPH. It feels really good to finally have some direction in mind. Score one for figuring out my next step in life!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Put On The Kettle!

Hello hive!

I'm Miss Kettle. I'm so excited be here. I wish there was a way to convey through words the extent of my joy. I could try, but I'm not a writer, I'm a scientist. My grasp of spelling and grammar is no small feat in itself, so I will accept that proper word choice is just outside my grasp.

That, my new friends, is why God made Google. It's my best buddy on the Internet. There's nothing Google can't do. Well, that's not true. But there are no Internet needs of mine that it can't meet. The best example of this was when Mr. Kettle went to Europe for a month last winter and we were able to talk on the phone and video chat -- for free-- through Google (technically gmail, but it's the same thing). But I digress...

Through Google, I can find pictures to try and express my joy.
Image via
Nah, that's not really it. But I am having fond memories of my childhood while also wondering why in the world my parents let me watch that show!
Image via
Yeah, now that's more like it. This joy is not mine alone because Mr. Kettle is really excited too. He was very supportive of my plan to be a Bee and almost submitted the application for me. Thank goodness it was still too soon to apply because I wanted to go over my application myself and have my voice shine through.

Now that I've done my very best to express how happy I am to be a Bee, let's talk about how I got here. Mr. Kettle and I first discussed marriage very early on in what was a short courtship. It was the night of Mardi Gras that we decided we'd be married by that time the following year. Almost immediately after that, I started looking at wedding websites and Google sent me to Weddingbee. I fell in love instantly and had dreams of being a Bee myself one day.

Mr. Kettle and I overshare, so I told him of my new obsession with wedding websites and surprisingly, he didn't back off the discussion of marriage or the development of our relationship. Possible "crazy" label avoided. Winning!

When we were officially engaged (he liked it so he put a ring on it), I realized there was only a short amount of time before we were at the 8-months-out-mark and I could apply to Weddingbee. Well, they rejected my first application pretty quickly. I was sad, very sad.
personal bmp
I didn't cry, but I was wondering why I couldn't be fascinating enough to catch their attention. I took another look at my blog and tried to figure out what to do. I began tailoring my blog posts as if I were actually a weddingbee blogger, which meant more pictures, more details of how I arrived at decisions, projects, and feelings.

As soon as four weeks passed (technically a few days before..) I submitted a second application. Then it was all wedding blogging every day. My personal blog became wedding central. Mr. Kettle spoke of how I "better be a Bee blogger this time after all this". He is very passionate you see.

But it paid off! I got the e-mail from Pengy (I call her that 'cause everyone else does) and I was over-joyed. I was at work when I read it so I had to do my best to contain my glee. It was hard. Real hard.

I called Mr. Kettle and after a bit of phone tag, he got the good news. He was just as happy as I was. Then we hashed out what my icon would be. Knowing that he would have to be Mr.______, he wanted something that was manly. He didn't say that outright, but I got that vibe after he ruled out both bracelet and petit four.

He wanted ticket, But I really wanted sunhat. He probably frowned (we were over the phone so I can't be sure) and then we played a game we're very good at. This game is called compromise. We decided on an icon that fit us as a couple and one that both of us would be proud to be the Mr.______ and Miss ______. Ultimately, kettle it was.

We drink a lot of tea, so I think it fits. We're very warm, we like bright colors, and with all the music we constantly have around us, the tea kettle whistle fits us too.

I look forward to months of blogging and having you all go with me through this planning process. I've already done some DIY projects and I will be glad to share those with you.

Here are the Kettles (and our cat Belle). These are both personal photos.
she thinks she's people
he's turned me into a pseudo-cuddler
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