April 30, 2009

Not So Economical After All

Two weekends ago as Mike was pounding nails into our remodeled back door I stepped out for a little home remodeling of my own. I headed to our local Bed Bath & Beyond to use a gift card I'd received. Adjacent to the store was a TJ Maxx, so of course I had to take a quick peak there as well.

My quick peak sent me to the dressing room with 11 items in hand, mostly shirts. While browsing the rack, I realized I was sorely lacking in summer work shirts. I allowed myself to purchase five of the shirts I'd tried on knowing these five shirts would add more than enough to my summer working closet.

Over the past two weeks, I've worn all of my new shirts with the exception of one. Tonight I mustered up the energy to throw a couple loads of laundry into the wash, mainly because my clothing options for tomorrow included a formal suit, workout clothes or a strapless evening dress. As I pulled my load out of the washer, I held up one of my new shirts. It was about half the size it should be. I pulled out another. It's now a half shirt. Offfffffffffff course.

I honestly do love buying clothes from TJMaxx. I'm a bargain hunter and enjoy spending about half what I normally would on my clothes. I get a sick satisfaction knowing that a $60 shirt I would have passed by I can now purchase at for a measly $15. Basically, I'm cheap... err, frugal. That $15 shirt though, isn't really cheap if I wear it one time and then ruin it in the washing machine.

You see, the downside to a TJ Maxx purchase is that their shirts are not always properly labeled. The two shirts I just ruined didn't even have tags displaying their fabric. Apparently, I am not fabric savvy.

I was planning to take some clothes to goodwill this Saturday. I'm adding my two new, clean shirts to the pile. Some little girl is going to have two very nice, business casual summer tops.

April 29, 2009


We got the word. I work for really good attorneys, and our judge didn't need a trial to determine the other side had no merits for their argument. In short, no trial. My life will resume as regularly scheduled.

I must have been incredibly exhausted at the mere thought of trial because I went home last night, made dinner and then decided I was going to rest my eyes for about five minutes. That five minutes turned into three hours, and I eventually gave into the slumber and went to bed. Essentially, I went to bed at 7:30 p.m. So if this is my life resuming as regularly scheduled, bring on the satin sheets and comfy pajamas!

April 26, 2009

The Calm Before the Storm

This weekend was either the start of something good or it was the end of my social life as I know it. I just won't know which until Tuesday.

Tuesday is the day that I find out if I'm going on trial or not. Our judge hasn't quite made up his mind yet. If this case goes, then I'm booked solid in terms of weekend and evening engagements until mid-June. If this case doesn't go to trial then I get to keep my social life and hopefully have more weekends like this past one.

Chicago didn't have great weather this weekend. If the old adage of April showers bring May flowers is true then May will be in full bloom. I can't complain though because when I needed the weather to come through it did, starting with Saturday morning.

This was the second time I tried to meet some friends in the park for photos. Last time we were met with hail. This time we had windy, overcast skies, which were actually perfect. The good conditions gave me a chance to experiment and get down and dirty in the grass. Here are four of my favorites shots from the 200+ that I took.
I have to thank my friends Carly and Bun because they really could not have been better. I truly had so much fun. And I might possibly have some more of these shoots coming my way. I attended Carly's baby shower today. As part of my present, I gave her a CD with a slide show of all the images set to music. They played it for everyone and the two pregnant ladies at the shower both wanted to know if this is something I might do for them.
The other event I attended this weekend was the Ravenswood Run 5K. And dare I say it, I think I had fum. What? What's that you say, Amy? You enjoyed running this morning? Why yes, I believe I actually did. It's possibly because the weather held up and there was no rain. Although that wouldn't have mattered. Given I bailed on my last race due to inclimate weather, I wasn't missing this one - rain, sleet, snow, hail, excessive heat, tornadoes... I was going to run. Imagine how happy I was to wake up to mid-40s temps and no precipitation. The race was great in another way too. It was local. Instead of hailing a cab or taking public transit, I got my bike out of storage and rode a few blocks south.

You may remember my goal for this race was under 33 minutes. And my finish time was...

Seriously. Thirty-three minutes and one second. Two seconds away from my goal. That's all. Two measly seconds. I ended really strong and flew over the finish line. If only I had known how close I was I would have started sprinting about 10 feet sooner. If that isn't motivation to get a Forerunner, I don't know what is.

I take comfort in the fact that my pace was 10:38 min/mile. I don't remember how I've done in previous 5Ks, but I'm pretty sure that's a personal record for me. And really my sub-33 minute goal was based on running 11 min/miles. I forgot to factor in the 0.1 mile in the 5k(3.1 mi.) race so I was still on target. All in all, I'm pretty pumped even though I finished two seconds slower than I wanted.
In a very large, all inclusive nutshell that was my weekend. Come back and Tuesday to see whether or not I'll continue with such jammed packed weekends/posts or if from then until June I'll have regular updates of how many hours I'm working each day.

April 23, 2009

California Dreaming

Mike has often said in my company that he finds it humorous how I've been to places as far as China but never somewhere relatively local like California. Mike thinks it's a little backwards to see the world before you see your own country. As a man who was born in California and proceeded to live in five different states by the time he graduated High School, he's gotten around this U.S. of A. And that isn't even counting summers. I can't keep track of all the places he's lived when summer residences are factored in. I often express my frustration that I can't make fun of where Mike's from because he's not from anywhere. Sure he was born in California, but he didn't stay long.

I travel, but my 20's have been focused on seeing different countries, not states. While I have flown over the Pacific, I've never actually set foot in it. Barring that fact, I have seen what I consider a fair share of the continental U.S. I've eaten lobster in Maine, rafted in West Virgina, looked out over Pike's Peak in Colorado, swam in cold Lake Superior, hiked in Arizona and met Mickey in Florida - twice. I feel pretty well traveled. Unless you compare me to Mike.

I hate it when Mike's right, and conversely love proving him wrong. There's just something so fun about saying "nuh uhhh." Trust me, I know. I see it in Mike's eyes every time he says it to me. It brings each of us great joy being able to tell the other person they're wrong. It is one of our inalienable rights as co-habitators and partners in giving one another shit. (We always hug it out.) Today I took a step towards saying, "In your face, Mike!" I bought tickets to California.

This trip has been in the planning stages for months. When I saw round trip tickets on Orbitz for less than $300 I decided today was the day to git 'er done. I booked our flight.

The downside to buying tickets today is that we have to wait months to use them. Due to work and weddings, we're not going until late summer/early fall. We fly into LA in late August and out of San Francisco in early September. For that week plus, we'll see family and friends in LA, take time driving up the coast and then see more family in San Francisco. At some point though, probably on our drive, we'll stop and dip our feet in the Pacific. And when that happens I'll turn to Mike, smile and say "Suck it! I'm in California! What do you got to say now!?!"

April 22, 2009

Here Comes the Sun (dodo do do..)

The great thing about working weekends and 10+ hours days is that when I get a night off the free time seemingly spans an eternity.

I got home from work at 6 p.m. tonight and I didn't have to jump back online to continue working. Not tonight. Tonight was mine to do whatever I wanted.

As a bonus, tonight was the first night in three days where I didn't leave work under cloudy, rainy skies. Chicago was as sunny as could be. I didn't leave my office building from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., so I decided a post work run was in order. Yeah, that's right. Running. I still do that on occasion. And if you're curious like my mom was, no, I didn't keep my promise to myself. I did run the Shuffle on a treadmill, but I never did get in that 5 mile outdoor run. It was partially because my back started hurting again after my indoor 5 mile run. Also, I just didn't have it in me. I'd lost my steam by the time the following weekend rolled around - not to mention the weather still wasn't cooperating.

I am however running a 5k race this Sunday. My training, in terms of running, has been minimal. I've been getting more use out of the ellipticals and free weights at my gym. But today, today was a day for running.

When I got home, I right away put on my running clothes and grabbed my iPod. I told myself it would be a nice, easy 2 mile run. When I started running, I thought my pace felt a little fast, but I felt good so I kept it up. And I continued to keep it up to the end.

Sadly because I counted on it being an easy run, I didn't really try to track my time. I did the best thing I could - I added the time of all the songs I ran to.

Total: 21:24 or a 10:42 mile. But actually, it's less! The first song I ran to, I think I started running about 30 seconds to a minute in, so really my pace was more like a 10:30 or 10:15 min/mi pace. That's pretty good for a girl who hasn't run all that much as of late.

I'm not sure if I'm setting an official goal for my Sunday morning race, but I'd really, really like to come in under 33 minutes. I'm thinking it's doable. You know, as long as it doesn't snow.

April 20, 2009

Yes, This Is All I Have

I was trying to think of something small, any short and simple lessons I have learned as of late. And really, only one thing came to mind: my new toothbrush. In the midst of much errand running this weekend, Mike and I did our grocery shopping. I hemmed and hawed for a little while in the dental aisle before finally settling on an electric toothbrush.

It's amazing. My teeth have not felt so clean since my last dentist check up. I'm set to go in for my six month check up in a few weeks and I can't wait to tell my dentist about how great my new brush is. But also, I'm kind of scared to go in. Every time she cleans my teeth, she scolds me for not flossing enough. This is after she has modeled how to floss my teeth and subsequently made my gums spew forth blood like I didn't think was possible for gums to spew forth blood. And if I'm being completely honest, I got this toothbrush in part because I hoped to impress her with my sparkling white teeth. So what's the lesson here? I'm afraid of my dentist. I think. Wait, no. That's not really a lesson.

I'm sorry. This is all I have. I write less and then when I do it's about electronic toothbrushes. But do any of you have one? Or am I alone here? Yes, toothbrushes. This is it.

At least I updated my mini photo on the right side of the page. That will be my next blog post, so rest assured it will not be another post about dental care.

April 14, 2009

Trials and Tribulations

Around this time last year I did not like my job. Disagreements with a few attorneys lead to serious questions about my abilities, my dedication and even my continued employment with the firm. In the eyes of a few influential people I had dropped the ball during the show stopper - during a time when my team was preparing for trial. Trial's the time when a young paralegal just starting out can really make a name for herself. I did, just not in the good way.

Within the span of two days, 80 percent of the work that I had done since my employment date meant nothing. I found myself at ground zero and realizing that any reputation I had built as a smart, hard-working paralegal had been erased. It would take time to regain confidence in me.

Fast forward a year later and I find myself in a similar situation. I'm with a different set of attorneys but we are preparing for trial. I'm working hard. I'm putting in hours. (I even worked on Easter.) I'm doing everything in my power to make sure that when this trial is over (if it happens) I will have proved something. I will prove that I am smart. I am dedicated. And it was one hell of a good idea to keep me around.

This is all to say that blog posting will be light until this trial is over. I'll try to write but my personal life has been sorely lacking over the past week. I am falling into the trap of eating out, not working out and sleeping poorly. Not much I can do now, except grin and bear it. I just hope you can bear with(out) me.

April 5, 2009

Brain Freeze

I think earlier this week I had a lot of ideas for blog posts. But right now, I have none. All I can think about is how the weather screwed up my plans two Sundays in a row now.

Last Sunday it was the Shuffle, this Sunday it was photos. I had just walked outside to meet some friends at a park who had asked me to take their pictures (she's due in May!). As I was rounding the corner to head to the park I heard little pellets of hail hit the ground. And then they started hitting me. And then my friend called to say that today probably wouldn't work for park photos. So I walked back home and did my laundry.

It's still snowing now. It's gross. Just gross. I'm chilling for the rest of the night swathed in blankets and hoping I will see no snow tomorrow. One day at at time. One day at a time.

I am a teeny bit hopeful though. Yesterday I walked around my neighborhood and snapped these sure fire signs of spring.

Too bad presently they are covered in snow.