Wednesday, July 28, 2010


When Kev and I first started dating, he had a tv in his bedroom, and when we started spending the nights together, I realized that this was pesky. Kev liked to fall asleep listening to White Sox highlights, which was problematic for two reasons:

1) I am a Cubs fan.

2) Falling asleep with the tv on gives me a raging headache when I wake up.

After many negotiations and general grouchiness, we've given away the tv, and switched to sportsradio before bed. I feel this is a good compromise. Kev gets his sports fix, I don't get headaches, and The Score talks about all kinds of Chicago sports, not just the White Sox. Everybody wins.

Last night, a caller called in and made the comment that "White Sox fans are real fans, and most of the people who go to Cubs games treat it like going to a bar where they can get drunk and check out babes." I could make lots of comments here about the general jerkiness about this statement, however it's one that I've heard lots of times- from Kev, from other Sox fans, from other callers on the show. However, the comment also made me start thinking about how you define what it means to be a "real" fan of a team. When I dared to comment on Facebook about my love for Blackhawks hockey during the playoffs this year, my brothers quickly labeled me a "bandwaggoner" despite the fact that I have put in three solid seasons of watching most of the games, sometimes with Kev, sometimes with our rabid hockey friend Colin, and sometimes by myself.

I have thus decided that "real" sports fans are the fans that meet two criteria:

1) A real sports fan can identify AT LEAST 5 current players on the team.
2) A real sports fan has watched/listened to at least 20 minutes of a game their team is playing in by themselves at least one time in their lives.

Real Fans are fans that are interested in what happens to their team every year. Not when their team is good, not when their team sucks, not only when it's trendy. A Real Fan is interested in the team for the love of the game. The Real Fan enjoys going out with a big group to watch a game, but they can also enjoy listening to the game on the radio in the car by themselves on the way home from work, or on their couch covered in cats. They don't base their fandom on who else is interested, or are only interested if they have a cute shirt to wear. They love it for lots of reasons that they have decided make sense for them.

I'm sure Kev is going to give me grief about daring to write about sports. I'm sure my soon to be law student brother would find a million ways to argue with these two simple rules, but I don't care. As far as I'm concerned, if you pass these two categories, you're a real fan of whatever team you pick.

Go Cubs, Blackhawks, Bears....or whatever you like. Just be real.

Friday, July 23, 2010


It's nice to have a partner that teaches you things in a kind, calm and supportive manner, like today's gchat conversation about our new grill.

me: stupid fill the propane tank do I just pump from the pump into the tank?
Kevin: NO!!!!!!!
you exchange it
for a filled one
me: oh
Kevin: ha ha ha
me: good thing I asked
Kevin: oh my God
me: well, its not like it comes with instructions
Kevin: I know, but I'm glad you asked
me: you're welcome

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Yesterday, I reunited with some people very dear to my heart, and as I stopped and thought about it, I realized they are related.

For starters, my lil' sister came home from studying in Chile for six months. I'm so proud of her for going somewhere off the beaten path, and also incredibly jealous. I've studied in Mexico and Costa Rica, and I'm also a travel junkie. I get antsy if I don't have a trip planned, and I have a life goal of seeing as much of the world as humanly possible. I have a collector's lust for amassing connections with people and unique experiences from as many different societies as possible. My sis traveled throughout South America during her time there, hitting Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay (I think) and the northern desert and Patagonia regions of Chile. She spent the last three weeks of her trip backpacking the Inca trail, and met people from all over the world. While I'm happy for her, I'm also very selfishly jealous. I don't know when (or if) I'm going to get to embed myself in a culture the way that she did again.

As some of you know, I teach ELL at a school with students from many different walks of life. Most of the time I love my job, and I'm fascinated by the diverse set of students and teachers that I work with. I also get to use Spanish every day, something that makes me incredibly happy and allows me to connect with a wide array of parents and students. In fact, last night, after dinner with my sis, I stopped by a local bar and caught the tail end of a summer happy hour (gone way late) with my favorite friends from work.

While we were sitting at the bar, we all started talking about the fact that most of us are now tenured and in grad school. For teachers, this means that many of us have put on the "golden handcuffs"-we're moving up the pay scale, and may be pricing ourselves out of other jobs in other districts. In effect, we've consciously or unconsciously acknowledged the fact that we're all probably going to stay at our school for the foreseeable future. As we talked about this, we all realized we had something in common: none of us, when we took our jobs, thought that we'd stay at our school for more than a year. Not because there's anything WRONG with where we teach, but because we are all (like my sister) travel nuts. We figured we'd spend a year or two in our midwestern district, and then go back out into the world. Many of us considered taking jobs teaching English in foreign countries, and almost all of us have plans to visit another country for an extended summer trip in the near future.

Before I met Kev, conversations like these with my work pals would have sent me into a panic. Committing to a job? Cutting back on my months abroad? Buying a HOME instead of planning a trip? Now, while I might travel less, I have a partner in crime to explore with, whether it's different neighborhoods in my city or different countries on a trip we plan together that has meaning for both of us. While I might not be taking trips that reflect my own selfish goals, traveling with Kev leads us to go places and see sights that I may not have chosen, but that lead me to new and different thoughts. I've learned that part of growing up means expanding your vision of where your future will take you, instead of planning your life through the lens of your own vision.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


This morning, Kev set his alarm, got up, and got ready for work. Believe it or not, I actually got up with him to say hello before he set out for his day. If you know me at all, you know that I love to sleep in, and you are shocked. To be fair, I think Kev was too, since I had my rabid lioness morning hair, my glasses, pajamas, and a squint on. I even got out of bed and grabbed some water. More than that, I even had a pleasant chat with him about the Wii tournament starting in his office today and how he better not bring shame on our family name by daring to lose. Why you ask? Because I won't see him for the rest of the day. Or the week.

No, neither one of us is traveling. Somehow, after our relaxing, wonderful, fantastical honeymoon-esque weekend we spent up north at the lake this weekend together, we came home and realized that our weekend is full of plans. Tonight, I'm going to book club and then to see a friend's band play late-night, while Kev stays home and rests up because it's a work night. Tomorrow night I have class and won't be home until 9. Thursday Kev has softball and won't be home until 9ish. The worst part of all of this is that while one of us is out, the other one will be home alone covered in cats. Oops.

I know that weeks like this happen all the time, but for us they usually happen during the school year while I'm working too. I also know that it's not a huge deal, that we will still see each other for a little bit on Wednesday and Thursday evening. There's just a small, irrational part of me that gets nervous when there are a lot of days in a row where we aren't spending any real time together. I used to be Ms. Independent, and now I'm Mrs. No, REALLY, how was your day? I think I get so antsy during weeks like this because it makes me scared that I'm going to miss something important in Kev's life, or that he's not going to "get" something I'm telling him because he wasn't there. I'm neurotic like that. In my heart, I know we're going to be fine, that it's not a huge deal, that it's healthy for us to be separately busy sometimes. In the back of my mind, though, is a little voice nagging at me to get find other moments to make up for it.

Why am I even bothered by this at all? What has happened to me? Has marriage really, *gasp* changed me?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Just a Little Different

I'll be honest, I've never been known to be a super-clean person. Our old place on Roscoe was a pit for a ton of reasons-me being super busy with work and school, the cats shedding profusely, parties that we threw and never really cleaned the way we should have after. The last month that we lived there was the worst-boxes, clothes to donate, and unopened mail everywhere. Kev and I were super busy that month too, trying to pack, going out more than we probably should have, studying like madmen for our finals.

The last few weeks at our new place have brought a big change both in Kev and my habits, and in our relationship as well. Kev has been sort of trying to put his laundry away, and I've been opening my mail as it comes. We've even both been putting daily time into tidying up, and after three weeks, our bedroom still has a floor that you can see. I'm kind of shocked. Since we now own this place, I think we have a greater incentive to keep it looking like a real house, rather than a place that college kids could happily call their own.

Being in the new place also seems to have brought Kev and I closer together. I'm not sure if it's because we've finally achieved a goal that took over so much of our time and sanity for so long, or if it's because we're just settling into married life. We're a little more open and honest about how we're feeling, and since we're pretty broke after the move, we're spending more time cooking or grilling out with friends instead of spending money at crowded bars and snooty restaurants. The tornado pace of the last year, and especially the last 6 months that we've both been in grad school has helped us to prioritize and make the most of the time that we do get to spend together.

This past weekend, Kev and I were talking about this past year, and all the madness that has passed. In one year we got married, started grad school, battled my RA, survived stress at work, and bought a house. Kev turned to me and said he hoped that things would slow down this year, but I somehow think that this is only the beginning.