Not-So-Fun St. Paddy’s Day Fact

I’ve never really been big on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Sure, I grew up on the (suburban) side of Chicago where Irish heritage reigns supreme. I just don’t belong to that group. At all. And I kid you not when I say it took me physically being in Ireland for the date March 17 to stick in my head as being St. Paddy’s Day.

Not only do I have my non-Irish heritage working against me, but in the not-so-distant past, I developed an allergy to beer.

Yup. You heard me. I’m allergic to beer.

This isn’t a doctor-approved diagnosis and is something I unfortunately grew into rather recently, evidenced by above picture of the shamrocked Guinness I enjoyed during a 2010 trip to Ireland. Just after moving into my first post-college apartment in the city, I started feeling sick a lot after nights out. I figured that, no longer being in college (at a Big10 school that oft tops the list of notorious party schools, no less), I had lost my ability to have as much as often. But one night, after having -I kid you not- one beer with a friend and being sick all. damn. night. I knew there was more to the story.

My roommate suggested I might be allergic to beer, and that she knew a person who had a beer-specific allergy. Having never felt sick after partaking in my favorite food group, carbohydrates, I never thought beer alone could be the culprit.

And so, after a few not-so-scientific (and so-not-recommended) trials of eating tons of pasta one day, and sipping a beer the next, I discovered my allergy. Not wheat. Not gluten. Just beer.

What. A. Bummer.

So not only am I decidedly not Irish, but I can’t even share in a green beer with my friends who are on this most celebrated of Irish-American holidays. I will take a pint of your finest cider or Chardonnay, though.

And I definitely partake in beer-related accoutrements whenever possible.

So have a beer for me, and one for you, too, and enjoy this day (that’s almost over) for all it’s worth!

Wednesday Warrior

If ever a day of the week deserved this declaration, today is it.

I work part time at my library job, which means I haven’t worked more than four (non-full) days in a row in, well, over a year. No complaints. Except that this week, due to a coworker being on vacation and another one being sick, I am on day 3 of 5 of my work week and wowza, do I not miss this much.

Except for the fact that, the busier I am, the more productive I seem to be able to make myself. No, I haven’t gotten myself back to the gym just yet (I know I KNOW), but between my jam-packed eight-hour workday, condo building board meeting (where I was approved to Chair the Pet Committee- more on that soon!), and dinner… I am still somehow finding the will to blast out a bunch of e mails I’ve been meaning to send, pour myself a glass of prosecco (my new evening beverage of choice), and get some writing done. I might even cap it all off with some reading. Who knows! The night is young! And I don’t have to be to work tomorrow until 2pm (the joys of librarianship).

That five year plan… we all have a tentative one, right? Well, certain parts of mine are more tentative than others. What’s certainly not tentative? I know that I want to run for office. Do I know which office? Of course not. Do I know where this office (city vs. suburbs) will be? Not that either. But I know I want to make a difference and these past few months have taught me that I have what it takes to speak up and be heard and be an agent of change. Enter an opening on my condo’s board for not only members of a Pet Committee, but the Chair position. Sign me up! I have experience on (and running!) an executive board back from my sorority gal days (y’all are looking at a former Veep, no lie), but I figured I could do with some refreshing of Robert’s Rules and use some “real life” experience, so when the opportunity presented itself… I did not throw away my shot.

Also note, I can never control myself when it comes to making a Hamilton reference. And y’all, I am seeing Hamilton for a second time this Sunday! You read that right: a second time. Me. Because, in one of the luckiest moments of my adult life, I won the Broadway Chicago Hamilton lottery and scored myself and John $10 tickets to a show this past November! That night, emotions were post-election high and the view was extremely obstructed, so while I enjoyed every single second of it (while also sobbing through an entire mini pack of Kleenex and straining my neck), I am so very excited to see it once more. With a more centered view. And Wayne Brady as Aaron Burr.

I’m willing to wait for it. *wink*

I hope your Wednesday has been swell, and that your downward glide into the weekend is quick but not so quick that you lose track of it and go spiraling into a tree.

…that escalated quickly.

Quick! Before I have another random thought!


Coincidences (Don’t Tell Me The Odds)

There’s this thing that happens to me all the damn time.

The backstory is that I consume a lot of media. Books, documentaries, online news resources, really horrid television, podcasts, magazines… I have favorite resources and genres, of course, but I try to consume as much as I can and as widely in taste and viewpoint as possible both for my job and to satiate my own curiosity.

The more I consumed, the more often I found this damn thing would happen where I’d find a coincidence in two (or more) seemingly unrelated things I’m consuming concurrently or within a short amount of time. And I’m not talking about a coincidence like the main person’s name is the same or that they occur in similar times or places. I’m talking really specific similarities that I would never have bet on finding in both entities, especially given how closely in time I am consuming them.

At first I took pause, chuckled at the odds, and went on my way. After it happened a few more times with really different medias are very niche topics, I took serious note. Because whether I chalk it up to pure unintentional coincidence or some divinity or the universe trying to lead me in a certain direction… this phenomenon in my life now stops me in my tracks. Because it seems the odds are in my favor in a way I don’t quite grasp.

When someone else mentions this happening and I agree, or when I mention this happens to me all the time, I can never give a specific example because I flat out forget. Because I am a forgetful person.

But no more. Because from now on, I’m keeping track:
pp93092John and I started watching two Netflix documentary series: The Eighties (of CNN’s decades series) and Chef’s Table. One night, we completed an episode of The Eighties (Tear Down This Wall) and decided to watch something lighter to end the night. We flipped on the next episode of Chef’s Table in our cue. This one happened to be on Tim Raue. Who lives and works in Berlin, Germany where, apparently, the Berlin Wall was a huge factor in the stifling of culinary progress during the eighties that he has singlehandedly revived.
And sure, given the two topics of these two docu-series episodes, the coincidence is clear and this is one of my less ineriguinging examples… but you have to admit, those two exact episodes coming up in our cues concurrently?
Um… what are the odds?

Here’s more:
My husband is a Mark Cuban superfan and I must say, dude’s got some bright ideas. Not to mention he’s rich AF. One of Mark’s most famous quotables is this, “Don’t follow your passion. Follow your effort.” I have to say, especially after hearing what he has to say on the matter, I certainly agree.

51ffe3o7xll1The connection? I recently read (listened to the author-read audiobook, so quotes are not exact) Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame). In it, one of her most prominent points echoed so similar to my husband’s role model. Liz implores readers not to follow their passion, but their curiosity. Which, when she described her own experience with this tactic, curiosity sounded a lot like effort.
And sure, it shouldn’t be surprising that two people known for their life of successes in their fields would have similar mindsets when it comes to getting stuff done. But it was on that wave of familiarity that Liz, again, prompted a switch in normal mindset. She notes that people will ask what you would do if you knew you would not fail and, in turn, asks a different question: what would you do if you knew you would fail?
61vynfxepplI liked it. I held onto it for later. I moved onto my next book, an anthology of essays called Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World (edited by Kelly Jensen, who I follow on Twitter and has rocked my world thusly). One of the essays within is from Texas politician Wendy Davis (of abortion rights filibuster fame) where she poses this, I kid you not, “Have you seen that quote from American pastor Robert Schuller,’What is the one thing you would attempt if you knew you could not fail?’ His words, of course, were intended to inspire us to tap into our dreams for ourselves. But I would ask a slightly different question: What are you willing to fight for, even if the odds are stacked against you, even if you’ll most likely lose?”

And this coincidence, unlike the Berlin Wall one, wasn’t just a timing aspect. Who ever could have known that the idea that struck me so hard in one book on creativity would emerge in the very next book I read on feminism?
What are the odds?

Wednesday Warrior


Today is the Women’s Strike, an ongoing participatory day spurred by the Women’s March on Washington. To participate in A Day Without A Woman, we are encouraged to:
Wear red in solidarity
Not engage in paid or unpaid work
Not spend money, with the exception of small/women-or-minority-owned businesses

I was scheduled to work the day of the Women’s March on Washington. If I wasn’t, I would have participated in Chicago’s sister march with 250,000+ of my allies. However, I made a decision that holds true today: if I am scheduled to work and the situation is not absolutely dire in terms of a march/strike/protest, I will go to work.

My profession in and of itself, a public service, and the position I hold in that profession, working with children in a diverse community, make me unable to believe it is a better use of my time and resources to March or Strike or Protest than it would be to Serve. I did not March (but I stood in solidarity) and I will not Strike (though I stand in solidarity).

Not only will I not strike from my paid position out of respect to the position itself, but because I also stand in solidarity with my other part-time, hourly paid employees who do not earn sick time or PTO to use or who simply cannot afford to take the day off work. I will be frank: were I not married to my husband, whose salary is good, I would not be able to afford to take the day off of my job, either (thanks, huz!).

What I will do:
I will wear red in solidarity. I’ll even paint my nails and lips red.
I will refrain from spending money. I am committed to drive directly to and from work, not passing go or collecting $200. My coffee thermos is ready and waiting, my gas tank is full, my lunch is made and packed, and my groceries for dinner have been purchased. Granted, I will do some browsing on Etsy of women-owned boutiques (I am really feeling this African print clutch, y’all. And this antique skeleton key necklace. And I received this dog cutout book for Christmas and I know you need an initial cutout book in your life.)
I will stay off social media. Seeing as I work a full shift and Wednesdays are crazy busy for me, it will be easy to avoid the internet at large on this day. The exceptions (as usual) are this blog post (pre-scheduled) and Instagram (because I rarely find it as stress-inducing as say… Twitter and Facebook).
I will cook and write, which are forms of unpaid work (at this point in my life), but are also enjoyable pursuits to me that I see no reason to limit myself from.

I hope that, had you head of A Day Without a Woman before just now, you chose to participate in whichever way you were willing and able to. That, after hearing about it now, you alter your day in any way you are willing and able to fit the movement. I additionally hope that you will join me in not casting judgement on others based on their level of participation. And I hope that, together, in glorious unity, we can continue to press forward in the name of progress, equality, and justice for all.