Monday, November 30, 2009

Turkey Day Recap (Mainly in Pictures)

Thanksgiving was a lovely, noisy, fun time with my family. And because I'm too lazy to write about it all, instead I'll post some pictures here for you to enjoy. (And to add to my laziness, these are not even pictures I took--so I have to give credit to my niece Stephanie for taking them. Thanks, Steph!)

All but one of my siblings was able to make it to my parents on Thanksgiving. (My oldest brother lives in Utah, so it's not as quick a trip for him as it is for the rest of us.)

And just to show how much we love each other... :)

Even my littlest cutie-pie nephew, Almanzo David, was there. (That's my lovely Mamacita holding him.)

And here's Almanzo's "big" sister, cute little Valerie--and yes, she's playing with a flyswatter. Even though my parents have boxes and boxes of toys for the young'uns, the flyswatter toy was the biggest hit of the night!

And of course, my adorable niecey Nora Lu was there. She is growing up so fast!

So if Thanksgiving is meant to be a time of fun and love of family, I would say that this year's Thanksgiving was a great success!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Many Small Thanksgivings

At Thanksgiving, it’s natural for us to be grateful for our family and friends—the loved ones in our lives.

But what about those people who touch us in small ways, throughout the year? I’m very grateful for those people—the people who make our lives brighter in little ways, every day.

Like our morning doorman, Danny. Danny is in his 80’s, and yet every morning he opens the door for us, and with a big smile on his face, says, “Good morning. How are you doing? Are you alright? Have a good day!” Every single weekday, without fail (unless he’s on vacation), he greets us cheerfully. It always makes our days brighter. I’m very grateful for Danny.

I’m grateful for the security guard at Walgreen’s, who always smiles at me and gives me a cart (and later returns it to the cart corral for me), and sometimes jokes around with me, saying stuff like, “Wow, you got done with your shopping fast today!”

I’m also grateful for the woman who stocks shelves at Walgreen’s (yes, I am a regular at Walgreen’s—can you tell?), who is always pleasant and helpful to me, even when I’ve asked her if she can “check in the back” for canned mushrooms or Diet Mountain Dew or skim milk for the third day in a row…and who even offered me some valuable advice once when I was having a really crappy day, telling me that she’s realized that things always work out better when you have a positive attitude.

I’m grateful for the old guy who works behind the counter at Quizno’s, who, when I couldn’t make up my mind about what I wanted to order, and then ended up spilling my soda all over the floor, was infinitely patient with me, and just smiled pleasantly and said, “It’s okay, just leave it, take another soda,” and wouldn’t even let me try to clean it up.

I’m grateful for the guys at Lake and Union Grill, who always greet me with a pleasant smile and make sure (without my even having to ask) that my chicken salad has no onions or olives on it. (I like onions, but I don’t want my coworkers to have to smell my onion breath. Olives are just plain disgusting.)

And I’m grateful for the very cheerful, friendly cashier at Arby’s, who is the very definition of excellent customer service. She is probably the friendliest, most personable and efficient fast food worker I’ve ever met. And if she’s bagging your order, you can be sure that it will always be 100% correct, and that you won’t be missing a Beef ‘N Cheddar sandwich or an order of curly fries when you get home. If someone else bags the order and they forget something, she’ll apologize up and down and give you a free order of fries. Whenever I walk into Arby’s and see her working behind the counter, I’m instantly happier.

People like this, even though they may not be solving all the world’s problems, they are making the world better, in their own little ways.

And I, for one, am very grateful for them.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Struggle Continues...

I want to lose weight.

Doctors say that in order to lose weight, you should eat right and exercise.

So I guess playing around on Facebook for three hours and eating half a box of Strawberry Shredded Wheat cereal isn’t exactly the right plan, is it?

Sigh…I’m off to exercise now.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Seemingly Human

Iwanski hates it when I refer to him as “Daddy” (to one of our cats).

“I am not that cat’s Dad,” he says.

But that doesn’t stop me. I always tell the cats to “Go by your Daddy,” or “Ask Daddy to feed you.”

Recently, this has spilled over into my dreams.

One night, as I was sound asleep, I dreamed that our cat Autumn walked up to Iwanski, who was sitting in the recliner, and said, “Hi, Daddy!” in the cutest little kitten voice. (Yes, she spoke English words in a little kitten voice. Trust me, it was cute.)

When I woke up, I could have sworn it was real. I actually looked at Autumn, who was curled up at the foot of the bed, and said, “Autumn, can you say ‘Hi Daddy’?”

She just stared at me and yawned.

So much for that.

But I’m not the only one who’s had human-like dreams about Autumn. One night, Iwanski dreamed that Autumn was piloting a plane on which we were passengers. Apparently she was even wearing tiny pilots’ goggles.

Another time, Iwanski dreamed that his boss had hired Autumn to be an insurance claims analyst at his job. In the dream, she was sitting in a chair in a cubicle with a stack of files in front of her.

The thing is, between our two felines, Autumn seems to have more “human-like” qualities. She is spunky, tough, and alternately sweet and loving, and cranky/bitchy. I’m sure that if left alone in nature, Autumn could totally survive on her own. She is one tough cookie.

But as for Hattie, she is just a perpetual helpless kitten. She is terrified of pretty much everything (balloons and being taken outside of the apartment are her biggest fears), and her life is spent eating, lying around, and rolling around on the floor, whining for her “people” to pet her fat belly. (I like to refer to her as “Whine-stein.”) But she’s an extremely sweet cat. She’s just not as “human-like” as Autumn is. If left alone in nature, Hattie would probably run, terrified, up a tree, and would never be heard from again.

There’s no way that I’d ever let Hattie pilot my plane.

Autumn, maybe.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


According to the comments on my last blog post, it seems that not everyone knows what Swedish Fish are—and I am considering it my duty to inform all of you who have not yet tasted this sweet little delight.

Truth be told, up until a year or so ago, I had no idea what Swedish Fish candy was, either. When Iwanski mentioned one day how much he liked Swedish Fish, I assumed he was talking about some gross fish like herring. But it turns out, he was talking about candy!

I thought that perhaps this type of candy was only sold in the Chicago-area, since I had never heard of it growing up. But I noticed that some of my blog buddies who live in other states seem to have heard of it, too. Perhaps it’s only sold in certain states.

Anyway, without further adieu, here is what Swedish Fish candy is:

It’s a unique gummy type of candy in a fish shape. But it’s not exactly like other kinds of gummy candy—according to Wikipedia, Swedish Fish are one of the few gummy candies that contain no gelatin. Who knew?

Most Swedish fish that are sold in the U.S. are of the unique “red” flavor. It tastes sort-of cherry-ish, but not exactly.

And it’s YUMMY!

Now I know you’re all going to run out and buy some Swedish Fish. I should totally get a commission on this, don’t you think?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Iwanski's Favorite Things

Being Miss Healthypants, I tend to harass Iwanski a bit about eating healthy. (He might say that I harass him more than “a bit,” but hell, that’s my prerogative. It’s in the job description.)

However, on his birthday, I decided to skip the harassment and actually encourage unhealthy/yummy eating. Hence, here’s his birthday present from me…

The bag of “Iwanski’s Favorite Things” contained the following items:

Bite-Size Milky Way Bars

Old World Wisconsin Beef Stick


Swedish Fish

Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey

Synder's Pretzel Bites

Honey Roasted Cashews

King Cobra Malt Liquor

Amazon Gift Card

Wendy's Gift Card

Fresh Olives

I had a lot of fun gathering up his favorite items for this bag, and Iwanski’s already had some fun sampling some of the products.

And I even learned something today. Swedish Fish are actually kinda good.

Happy Birthday, Iwanski!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Honey!

Tomorrow is Iwanski’s birthday. Hooray!

I can’t even explain how much I love this man.

He is caring, loving, fun, hilarious, handsome, brilliant, creative, and talented. (He’s also silly, as evidenced by this picture.)

I thank God every day for him.

Happy Birthday, honey! I’m so happy and proud to be your wife.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


In my lifetime so far, I have won a writing contest (in 7th grade), played a musical instrument, graduated college, married my favorite person in the world, taught middle school students for two years, moved from a town of 1,000 people to a town of 40,000 people to a city of three million people, written on a blog for one-and-a-half years, acted on stage, and also acted in a short film.

But despite all of these accomplishments, there is something I have never been able to do.

I have never been able to blow a raspberry. You know, that noise you make when you put your tongue between your lips and blow? Nope, I can’t do it. No matter how hard I try, I cannot blow one.

This is truly embarrassing. I’ve seen two-month old babies blow raspberries, and I can’t do it. When I try, all that comes out is this pathetic little “thuh” sound. It is quite sad.

Iwanski has even tried to teach me how to do it, but alas, I cannot be taught.

I guess there are just some things that I am not meant to learn.

Like how to pronounce words in German. My good friend Buck, who at one point was giving me voice lessons, tried to teach me one night how to pronounce/sing words in German. He tried for several hours, but I just couldn’t seem to remember the right sounds for the various letters.

It was actually surprising that it was so difficult for me. After all, I had taken a foreign language class (Spanish) in high school, and learning how to speak Spanish seemed to come pretty easy for me. And after all, my family is pretty much 100% German (there may be a little bit of French in there, but we’re not really sure), so I would think that speaking German would be in my blood. But alas, it is not. I am a dufus at speaking German. Der Dufenstein.

I remember several years ago, when I had my very first audition at the acting school where I had been taking classes.

They handed me the script a couple days ahead of time, and I began looking it over.

And there, in the script, I saw that my character not only had to speak German, but also had to blow a raspberry!

I was horrified.

I called my friend Buck in a panic, asking him to help me pronounce the German words, and then I sat home trying to speak German and blow raspberries for several hours.

Finally, the moment had arrived. I actually thought I did pretty well at speaking the words…but then it came to the raspberry. I stuck my tongue between my teeth and began blowing.


That was it. I think I ended up blowing more spit at my fellow actor than actually making any sound. I felt my face grow red with embarrassment, and I stumbled over my remaining lines.

Needless to say, I didn’t get the part.

And honestly, I was relieved.

I really didn’t want to call attention to the fact that I, a twenty-nine-year-old woman, couldn’t blow a raspberry.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Cereal's Cold, But Why Do I Have To Be?

This morning, I woke up and dragged my ass out of bed and into the kitchen (with a brief layover in the bathroom).

I was only wearing shorts and a t-shirt, and my legs felt cold, so I wrapped our Cubs throw blanket around my middle.

I took the milk out of the fridge, the cereal from the pantry, and a bowl and spoon from the cupboard…and then attempted a balancing act of carrying them all over to the table in the living room, while still holding the Cubs blanket around me.

It was then that I realized something. I NEED A SNUGGIE!

With a Snuggie on me, I could have had both hands free to carry my breakfast paraphernalia into the living room. I would not have had to struggle! (I know, I know, I could have made more than one trip from the kitchen to the living room, but that would just be too much work at 7:00 in the morning.)

For weeks now, I’ve been saying that I want a Snuggie—and I’ve only been halfway kidding about it.

Now I’m not kidding at all. I want one.

I love love love the fact that when the Snuggie came out, it was just a big joke—and now it’s attracting somewhat of a cult following. And I am jumping on the Snuggie bandwagon!

Here in Chicago, they actually have organized Snuggie pub crawls—where everyone has to wear a Snuggie during the whole thing. I SO want to go on a Snuggie pub crawl.

Then the other night on David Letterman, he had on the band Weezer, and they all were wearing special Weezer Snuggies! I kid you not—check it out! (You can even buy your own special Weezer Snuggie online.)

I really get a kick out of seemingly goofy products that for some reason people start to like.

Remember legwarmers? Why the hell did those ever go out of style? I would so totally wear leg warmers today.

Hmmm…apparently I just like products that make you warm…and leg warmers seem like a pretty good way to keep your legs nice and toasty.

I could just see myself walking down the street wearing leg warmers and a Snuggie. I might not be the picture of fashion, but hell, at least I would be warm!

P.S. In case anyone is wondering, I’m partial to pink Snuggies.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Very Proud Wife I Am

Hello all my bloggy friends…I just wanted to share with you my husband’s latest photography book, which I love!

Check it out at (His prior photo book is also shown at the same link.)

It could be a good Christmas gift for someone special in your life…I’m just sayin’.

I am so very proud of him.