Thursday, January 12, 2006


I've been contemplating a move to Chicago for a while. There are a limited number of grad schools in the country that I can go to, and Chicago, Boston and New York have the best of them. Or at least, the ones I am most interested in. I'm sorry, but I just don't think I can live in Ohio. I've been to all three cities, on both field trips for school and actual vacations. Boston was wonderful but it didn't really click with me. New York is of course amazing, but completely overwhelming. I just can't imagine living in New York. The thought of paying that much money to live in that small of an apartment is unfathomable.

I've always loved Chicago on every trip I've ever made there. The most interesting thing is, every single person I've mentioned the move to has gotten a really big grin on their face and said "I love Chicago, it's such a great city." It's good to hear. So far the only negative comments I've heard are "it's cold as hell", "traffic is horrible" and "it's expensive". All of which I knew. I've lived in Michigan for 24 years, I can live with cold. Surprisingly, Lansing gets less days of sun than Chicago, and the average winter temperature is only about two degrees colder in Chicago. I don't plan on having a car, and Anthony will just have his Fiero, so it should be relatively inexpensive to drive, and we both plan on using the El for just about all of our transportation within the city. It won't be cheap, but paying more to live in a city with some culture and a nightlife is more than worth it.

I'll be kind of sad to leave Michigan. I was born here and always lived here. I've never moved more than 45 minutes away from where my parents' live. I have some wonderful friends. I know the area. I've found the neat shops that I adore. The Oriental Mart, Tuesday Morning, Sushi Ya, and Beaners. I know where to find the cheap groceries, the weird and fun decorating stores, the good coffee, and inexpensive amazing sushi. I know what parks are nice to take a late night walk. I know every inch of campus and the ideal gardens to photograph. I feel like I'm finally settled in here. So why do I want to leave so bad?

Sadly, Michigan is starting to feel like a dead end. The job market is awful and the economy is struggling. 85 percent of college grads leave the state after graduation. And Lansing isn't exactly a hotbed of cultural experiences. It's hard enough finding a pizza place open past 1am on a Friday or Saturday night, or a nice restaurant open at ALL for dinner on Sundays. The best theater is at the Wharton Center. But, they're Broadway touring shows, the same that could be found in any city of a decent size. I'm ready for independent shows with actors just starting out, jazz clubs on a Friday night and clubs that have a little bit more to offer than drunken frat boys.

Ask me if I made the right decision sometime next fall after I've hauled Anthony's two huge aquariums up 4 flights of stairs, walked 6 blocks in the rain to get to the El, and when I realize I have $1.50 to my name after paying the bills. I can almost guarantee I'll say, "yeah, I can't imagine living anywhere else.".

Monday, January 09, 2006

Christmas Break

Since I haven't had the time to post in the past few weeks, I have a lot of catching up to do. The day of my birthday I headed home for break. Every year my parents and I go see "A Christmas Carol" at Meadowbrook around my birthday. This year we figured out that this was probably the 17th time I've seen it. This year we took my aunt, who absolutely loves the story. It was nice to see her and we went out to dinner before it. The production was fantastic, as always, and I never get tired of it.

The next morning I went to work at the meat market. I won't say much about it, other than it was as I expected. Pure unadulterated hell. Anthony ended up working there for three days. He now knows why I hate it so much. They let me leave a few hours early on Christmas Eve which was amazing. It made the rush to get to the other side of the state a little more tolerable. They also sent me home with a whole ham and two pounds of shrimp. They pretty much immediately got frozen in smaller portions so I shouldn't have to do much grocery shopping for a while. Yay! When I got home I took a shower, threw on clothes, put a few things in a bag and headed out the door. We got to Kalamazoo by 8pm, stopped at Trevor's to drop off Earl Grey Truffles that we made. I was loved and drooled on by Julian, Trevor's fantastic dog. He's a huge hairy sweetheart of a dog. I am much more of a bunny/cat type person but I would be thrilled to take Julian home. He's hilarious, sweet AND well-trained. We stopped by Scott and Kendalyn's to drop off their truffles, unfortunately they weren't there, so we headed out to Anthony's parents' house.

When we got there the whole family was still there. We had a quick dinner and opened gifts. I can truthfully say I've never been stared at by 30 or so people while I open gifts before. Kinda freaked me out. But I got a delicious Wasabi and Pear candle and a cute evening purse from Anthony's parents. Plus cards from some of his siblings, and lots and lots of cookies. Two of his nieces fought over who got to sit next to me, it was kind of cute. Most of the people left after a few hours and we stayed to talk to his parents and brother until about 1 am.

Armed with a large thermos of coffee Anthony decided to drive back to my parents' house instead of stopping in Lansing that night. I slept most of the way home. It was foggy as hell though, so it was a bit of an interesting drive for him. We got to my parents' place around 4 am and snuck in. They didn't realize we were there until the next morning when we woke them up.

Birthday Dinner Success

My birthday dinner was lovely. Lots of very good friends showed up. We had Cranberry Topped Brie with French Bread, two kinds of homemade spaghetti (one vegetarian, one with meat), a fabulous walnut, pear and spinach salad with raspberry walnut dressing brought by Erin and Kyle, molasses cookies, and chocolate chip and butterscotch chip cookies from Smitty. Chris brought some fantastic sausages that we had with mustard and horseradish, and a bottle of champagne. Plus a ridiculous amount of wine and mead brought by various people. We had a fire and sat around in the living room eating, drinking and talking. Later, the boys played cards while we girls sat in Katie's bedroom horrifying the guy Katie is dating with much talk about sex toys. I also got several wonderful gifts. Erin made me a grey fleece scarf with a mermaid on it, and blue earrings. Katie got me black satin pj pants with a Chinese design, and lotion called Moonlit Path, one bottle with really thick body lotion and the other that is very shimmery. Suzette got me a chocolate candle in a tin that is decorated with vintage style pictures and naughty sayings. I also have a Christmas cd from Smitty that I have yet to listen to. Ooops. All in all, it was a wonderful dinner and I am so glad so many people could make it.