Tuesday, July 31, 2007

BlogHer & the Fire Dept..

BlogHer was all I wanted it to be and more. My life, y'know, reality... on the other hand, got in the way. In honor of Monk, which probably makes me really old, "Here's what happened".

It all started on Thursday Night at the awesome party that SV Moms put together with the help of Yahoo. It was great to finally touch and talk to the virtual friends I've made in the last few months. Our fearless leaders, Jill & Beth, put together bags full of swag that could make any woman cry with joy. From peanut butter to nipple cream, blouses to DVDs, they covered it all. Some highlights for me were that I met two bloggers who actually live just a few blocks from me. What fun. When I first arrived at Viand, I checked in with the hostess. I told her I was there for BlogHer and she lit up and said, "You guys are a fun group". Little did she know. Little did we know. Anyway, I met so many fun blogger sisters that it's really hard to remember. AND, for a girl who was offering to print business cards at the show, I think it's pretty hysterical that I forgot to bring some with me to the party. 2 hours flew by and we were all enjoying succulent food and libations. I was driving and still needed to finalize some details for my booth so I grabbed my bag of swag and went home. (It's hard to be a good girl all the time. The party at the W really sounded like fun)

***Note*** This is where my BlogHer fun filled weekend lets reality sneak in again and again.

Unbeknown to me the valet at Alina drove my car into something white and hard and smooshed in the back left corner of my pretty van. However, at this point, I'm so happy with my new found friends and my bag of swag and the fact that I started blogging that this little fact doesn't present itself to me and the valet, I guess, didn't fee it pertinent. I wish I could say that THIS was a big deal but ahh, this is just icing baby.

I went home, did my work for the show and layed my head for the night around 1am. The fact that the boys were supposed to spend the weekend at my folks AND the reality that that had to be postponed until, perhaps, Saturday didn't even spoil my fun. I adjusted for their care and that worked out pretty well. (always looking for a silver lining)

I arrived at the show on Friday and had the best time. I met Bloggers who I've enjoyed reading for such a long time. My husband and I worked pretty well together in the business card booth and it was SO nice to hear the repetitive positive feedback for just having the forethought of offering the service at the show. He left in the afternoon and I was able to enjoy some of the show and the cocktail party. I was like a kid in a candy store. I was so thrilled to finally meet and talk to Tracey Clark, Pasta Queen, Kristin Chase, Friday Playdate, and so many more. I also got to meet a slew of others that I promise to post links to as soon as I tend to what you are about to read.

I finally hit the wall of exhaustion mixed with giddy about 9pm. I made my way down to the courtesy shuttle (aka luxury motor coach) and tried to get a cab. I was UNsuccessful and decided to hop on the shuttle and after getting dropped off at the "W", planned on getting a cab there. I'm always thinking! Anyway, first stop, City Centre, next stop, The W. The bus driver offered to take me home. Third stop...my house. I would post a pic but he was adamant that he would get in trouble and I hope none of my blog sisters will turn him in as he provided quite a nice service that brought his big bus down my little street as if it were a little coupe of some kind. I only wish my kids could have seen it but they were snoozin' and in for some real excitement the next day.

Finally, my folks got rid of their debilitating viral colds and were able to take the boys for the last day of the show. Hubs and I dropped them off at Nana & Papa's house around 7am and then made our way to the show. We got our booth all set up and even enjoyed some breakfast. Around 9am I got a call from our tenant who lives on the first floor of our two flat saying that she smelled something funny and that she thought she heard an alarm in our apt. I called my parents who, thankfully, made their way, with the kids, to the house and they saw smoke pouring out of everywhere. They called 911 who sent 4 engines, an ambulance and the Chief of the Fire House immediately. When they arrived they didn't know exactly what was causing all the smoke. They broke down the basement door and then a window. Smoke was pouring out so much that 2 days later my neighbor, two doors away, says his house still smells like smoke. The fire department continued up the building. My tenant lost some ceiling in her kitchen. Then, up to our apartment. The source had been found. Somehow the toaster oven had a short or got turned on and my bag of swag was on the counter. Unfortunately, It, along with a bunch of other cool stuff got tossed into the sink and now looks like this....

If you look hard enough, you can see the wonderful shirts and perhaps the nipple cream I was looking forward to checking out. I have to say - My house still smells like smoke - Every surface. However, I believe that that bag of swag may have saved my house. Perhaps it sheltered the fire from reaching the newspaper that was also on the counter. Our house has to be scoured and I have to deal with all the insurance details that go along with a fire but all in all, no one was hurt and we still have our house. (always looking for that silver lining) Honestly, Blogging may have saved my life, my family & our house!

My sweet hubs left the show and went to meet the Fire Dept and clean up lots of the house. I love him for that and so much more. I dealt with what I could from the show and tactually continued to enjoy the show. He finished up and then joined me back at the booth. I was able to witness Amy sedaris' humor. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting a delightful person & blogger, Jen Lemen. The party at the Children's Museum was fun and the fact that I won the Sk*rt giveaway of chronicle books was perfect timing. Tracey Clarks books were left off the list but here is her shout out.) I promise to link to all the titles when I come up for air and close this insurance file.

My hubs and I enjoyed the fireworks on Navy Pier and a bit of Venetian night but finally caved and headed to our hotel to pass out. I awoke to breakfast in bed and then to a party that was donned as my husbands boss's party but ended up being my 40th surprise party. I've never felt more loved in all my life and I can't wait to write all about the party and the "background story" soon. Adjuster is at the door, must run. I LOVE my BLOG!

Monday, July 23, 2007

What a difference a DECADE makes

One of my dearest friends emailed me today to see if I was enjoying my last day of my 30s. I stopped, froze is more like it. It seemed so real to me. On one hand I don't feel like what I envisioned 40 to feel like. I do feel youthful but still too tightly wound. I'm sure that angst ages me and not in a prolific way.

July 24th, 1997 - I was with my family as I celebrated turning 30. Personally, I was preparing to walk the Chicago Marathon as a quest for such an auspicious milestone. I've always set goals for myself. I'm also known to doubt myself and then surprise myself for the same goals. It's quite a contradiction and yet, it somehow adds excitement to my harried life. It's just how I'm programmed.

At the same time I was single. Dating a lot for a change and enjoying a young single city life. My sweet dog was often my after work companion. It was difficult to make my overworked work life mesh with that of a human. All was pretty good but secretly I wanted more...the fairytale. A husband, 2 kids, a yellow house with a front porch and a white fence...pickets optional and of course a dog.

What a difference a DECADE makes.

July 24th, 2007 - I now sit in my home, which, albeit not yellow, is a nice shade of khaki. Although my dog of 12 years has passed I've been blessed with a husband who helps me remember what it feels to be loved. We've shared in the experience of making and raising 2 gorgeous sons who can make me laugh and exhaust me all at the same time. It's probably not such a stretch that 10 years ago I drove a Jeep and now it's been replaced with a minivan. The dog, who will someday join our family WAY down the road has 2 goldfish in it's place for the time being. Work is still too many hours but in a much more fulfilling way. A new position starting next month is very exciting.

My personal goals change frequently. I'm getting much better at making them attainable instead of impressively overachieving. I don't find as much fun in that stress anymore. I'm getting closer and closer to being good to me. Putting myself on the to do list. Resting, eating better, feeling free to laugh, celebrate and not be so goal oriented. Finding the joy in my children while not letting it be the only joy in my life. Balance. I'm working towards balance.

I feel like this last ten years flew. So many life milestones. It scares me that my next decade will be at 50. Only I would plan a mid life crisis. I'll have to add that to the "I'll work on it list"

I did it. I've got the fairytale I longed for. I'll have to be careful what I wish for in this next decade. Being goal oriented can be dangerous. Here's to balance, peace and happiness.
Happy Birthday to ME!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Time Out Harry Potter

I'm not the biggest Harry Potter fan but I do love a kid free night out with my husband. When you add the fact that this was free and before anyone else got to view the film....I tell ya, I got goose bumps. I'm not hard to please, I know. The icing on the cake was the fact that we saw it at the Navy Pier IMax theatre which meant that we saw it on a humungo screen AND...got the full experience of watching a portion of the film in 3D. Way cool.

Oh, I'm sorry, you want to know how all this happened. I wish I could tell you that I knew people or that I was cool or that I was even lucky. Bummer, I can't fess up to any of those. However, good news...you could be cool and lucky too. Check out Time Out Chicago, and a host of other major cities in America and several other countries as well. They have a great feature that allows them to email you free movie premier tickets. We responded to one such email and poof...we were in the VIP line.

I must say, I, like Harry, Ron and Hermoine have certainly aged since the last installment of the series was on the big screen. For the movie rendition of the 4th book, My husband thought it would be great to see the first showing at midnight. I was very pregnant and at the time enjoyed myself but hated everyone, including him, the next day. This 5th book experience was a much improved... better for our marriage too.

I won't waste anyone's time giving away secrets or tidbids about the film. Go see it. You'll enjoy yourself. I did.

PS - Being at Navy Pier got me all excited for BlogHer. Hope to see you there.