On Voting, Enthusiastically

Four years ago, I was in Chicago when then-Senator Barack Obama was elected as the 44th President of the United States of America. I cried tears of joy then, and I will most likely cry tonight (whether or not the tears will be tears of joy remains to be seen).

Social media is abuzz with messages, but mostly, I’m seeing status updates urging people to vote. I love this. I’m 24, smack dab in the middle of the demographic that people worry won’t vote. Honestly, I don’t understand. I was thrilled to register to vote, and even  more thrilled to vote. I’m still thrilled. I got chills today just thinking about how wonderful it was to cast my ballot last week.

I encourage everyone to do the same. Get chills. Go vote. Be an active part of something that’s bigger than you are. Only then are you entitled to complain about the government for the next four years.

On Resuming, Blissfully

I rarely lose my voice, so the silence that fell over me this week was uncharacteristic and unsettling. I have fully recovered and am back to being my bright, very busy, and occasionally grumpy self. Of course this means I’m exhausted.

On Tuesday night, I met a friend for tea at the coffee shop where I spent most of my high school and early college years. A cup of steaming Earl Grey with a touch of honey and a moonlit walk to the park near the coffee house led to hours of discussion and ended with me spinning on the playground apparatus that they don’t install at playgrounds anymore because of safety concerns.I spun around, growing dizzier and dizzier while I stared up at the trees.

I always used to mark the coming of summer by how the leaves grew. In the middle of winter, you could see straight up to the sky if you were laying on the spinning thing, and as the spring stretched into summer, the leaves grow until they form a thick foliage canopy until you can just make out the glint of the moon through the leaves. It’s so predictably cyclical – the growth, the death, the empty, the emergence, the growth…and so on. It’s the best. Apparently, adulthood has made me less prone to enjoying the dizzying stomach sensation, though, because I had to steady myself after I wobbled off the spinning thing, and I felt a wave of nausea rush through me. But I smashed the feeling with the glorious nostalgia, and we walked back in the middle of the quiet, dark street.

Last night, I played arcade games at the 1Up, a bar downtown. I didn’t grow up with video games, so I’m not sure how to play them, or even comfortable playing them, particularly in public. My friend Ely came down from Boulder because he’d never been to 1Up and because we’ve been meaning to hang out for like three months. (We do this regularly – we’ll be like, hang out soon? and we’ll keep pushing back plans until we finally manage to meet up. The system works, though, and I imagine I’ll see him again some time next quarter.)

I was hesitant to play video games. Normally I just watch. (I think it’s cheaper and less embarrassing.) But Ely wanted to play games with me, so we played Rampage (maybe it’s called that, maybe not) – where you are a donkey thing and have to jump and smash and stomp and kick buildings and airplanes and people. It was awesome! And I was not bad at it considering I was just randomly pushing buttons.

Invigorated by my success at building-smashing and general mayhem, we went and played shooting games. I’m terrible. I would get like 19 kills and Ely would have about 85. I also kept shooting our guys – a big red X would appear every time I did it. I complained that I had no problem hitting our team, but that I couldn’t hit the enemy to save my life. Still, super fun.

But we were really there for giant Jenga. Keep in mind that Ely is 6’6″. This tower would eventually get up past his eye-level. I won 2 out of 3 games. He would stand, incredulous, after I would gently pull a block from the tower. “Fairy fingers,” I told him. Actually, I’m just very lucky.

 

On New Opportunities, Sadly, Fondly, Excitedly

This post is a love letter to one of my best friends, who’s off to intern abroad for the next six months. I hope she has an absolute blast perfecting her Italian while eating gelato and canolis and kicking ass at what she’s doing.

I’ve known her since I was fourteen. We got close during geometry class our sophomore year – we were absolute hellions to our teacher – and then traveled to Europe together on an amazing forensic science trip between our junior and senior years of high school.

We went to Chicago together our senior year. She was visiting her boyfriend, and I was falling in love with the lake. We ended up going to the same university. Even though we’ve had very different life experiences, we’ve been able to maintain and strengthen our friendship through the years.

Honestly, some of my best memories from college are from my senior year. The Irish, the Ginger Summer (parts one and two), bar trivia, adventuring, accidentally driving to Wisconsin, the Boston trip, the last night and the sunrise that wasn’t – those are the moments that shape the beautiful memories of my time in Chicago.

I have come to rely on Madeline for advice, for adventure, for a good laugh. Sometimes when I’m really stressed out, she’ll appear in my dreams and yell at me, so I’m pretty certain that she’s my super ego. She is the logical half of our duo, the rational one who always has the right answer. I respect and value her opinions at all times, and have looked to her as a source of strength when I need it most.

I’m so lucky to have a friend like her.

There was a flaming bowl of rum punch involved. That may explain why the picture is so off kilter.

San Francisco, summer 2010, singing “Wonderboy” at a karaoke bar. Are we awesome at karaoke? Absolutely not. Did we rock? Of course.Wonderboy, what is the secret of your power?

The Chicago Mustache Bash:

Spray painting the Irish’s van. Sally, as the van was called, had no working speedometer or gas gauge. The Irish had gotten her for $400 and paid a guy in beer to fix her when she broke.

The first night we went out with our new Irish trivia buddies, they picked us up in the van. I was certain we were going to die when they opened the sliding door while we were on Lake Shore Drive and yelled “air conditioning!”

(The Irish got stopped trying to get back into the US from Canada because they had spray painted “We’re here illegally” on the side of the van.)

South Boston, 2010. A trivia adventure.

Downtown Chicago, 2009. Maddie’s family was in town. Things got wild. This is my favorite picture of us. 

On Parking Tickets, Sadly

I just hate seeing the little yellow envelope neatly tucked into my door, or placed underneath my front window wiper. (Last week, it was dark, and I thought it was just a club advertisement, so I didn’t do anything about it until I got home. Thankfully it didn’t blow away.) My blood boils. My heart begins to tighten in my chest. My eyes narrow. My lips set into a thin line.

I just hate seeing the subject line: “City of Denver online ticket payment confirmation.” My blood boils. My heart begins to tighten in my chest. My eyes narrow. My lips set into a thin line. I highlight the message and file it under “Receipts” in my gmail folder, and then I sigh and try to soothe my bruised soul and bank account.

Stupid parking tickets. I haven’t gotten one since May – Google informed me that I haven’t visited the “pay your parking tickets online” page since May 21. I thought I was killing it this summer. Apparently, I was/am not.

It’s also split street sweeping this week, so I’m worried that I’m going to fail at something. Dodging the 2nd Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of the month gets difficult when the month starts on a Wednesday. This week, I’m tasked with avoiding one side today (great success!) and another tomorrow, and then next Tuesday, I’ll have to do the same. I think that if I were mayor (or even just more motivated), I’d propose legislation regulating street sweeping so that it would be set days (1st, 2nd, and 3rd of the month, for example) rather than second Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, etc.

However, I’m sure the constant Katie Barry revenue stream fills the hearts of the city government employees with pure glee, and who am I to deny them that pleasure?

On Sunday, happily

Mom's blanket

My mom has been working on crocheting this blanket for years. We tease her about it, but it’s almost done! Congratulations, Mom! (Whenever I look at this blanket, all I can see is my Aunt Sally tearing out rows of work that had to be re-done. I worry that we’re going to get to the end and she’s going to do the same thing all over again!)

Wake up, Carlos!

I love waking up to this.

Microfiche Reader

Since I’m back in good graces with the public library, I’m attempting to take advantage of the resources there. (You should see the stack of books on my nightstand. I’ve got ten to read in the near future and I’m thrilled.) Kevin and I were wandering around downtown yesterday when we ran into the microfiche/microfilm area. So of course, we opened one of the filing cabinets. I had stumbled upon the IRS files and picked one that looked interesting – it was the only one I could see that was filed backwards in the cabinet, so of course I grabbed it.  We fumbled for a bit trying to figure out how to work the reader (4 years of college and I never once had to do anything microfiche-related), before realizing that we were at the microfilm reader, which wasn’t going to do us any good. Twenty seconds later, we were in business.

It’s a good thing that the Rosenberger case was the one that we decided to read through. It was fascinating. The petitioner had been arrested with a bunch of drugs and cash in 1979, so the IRS decided to calculate his taxable income based on the value of the drugs.

It was hilarious to see that his occupation was listed as “DEALER” on his tax forms – I had no idea that this was a possible scenario. More hilarious was how they went about these calculations with such formality. The value of the drugs equated to “earned income”.

He later (much, much later) sued because he wanted them to drop his income to a lower level. But he ran into a problem because he had no receipts (from the drugs).

I love the way that the reader feels. It’s like an overhead projector. It’s like old and crisp and somehow much more interesting than scrolling down the results from a Google search. I could spend hours just digging through the files and reading. It’s simultaneously nostalgic and new.

Great afternoon.

Friday.

Ah, beautiful weekend ahead.
For once, I’m not entirely bogged down by babysitting plans.
I actually have some unscheduled time ahead of me this weekend, and I’m positively giddy about it.

After a miserable yesterday, I woke this morning feeling entirely refreshed. I was literally up and cleaning my house at 7:30 am.
It’s looking a little better.
Mike and I need to be better about keeping up with things like the kitchen. It’s gross. I rarely eat at home, and so I push it all off on him. But the pile of dishes keeps growing, and it’s really grossing me out.

I am the designated bathroom cleaner. Maybe it’s all the babysitting, or the years spent making faces while mopping Dairy Queen, but I am not scared of bathrooms.
Hair from the drain? 99% chance it belongs to me, so I’m not scared. Toilet cleaning? Meh, it’s just bleach.
That stuff I can do.
(And I do regularly.)

I even had a load of laundry and some clothes hung up before 9 am.

Carlos was running around chasing his toy mice. I can’t tell if I love him most when we are just waking up and he is laying on me and yawning, or if he’s sliding on the wood floors chasing something. He’s definitely got something very seriously dignified about him, but he’s also childish, when he’s stretched out lengthwise with a mouse between his paws, having just somersaulted into a wall. (God, I love him. I’ll never let anyone take him from me.)

It was all very cute.

We are expecting canine company this evening. I’m terrified. I adore Ely’s golden Archie, but I’m also not so sure how I feel about forcing Carlos to have to adapt to a dog.
Given that Carlos is so wonderful at adapting to strange situations, I’m hoping that once they realize it’s probably going to keep happening, both animals will relax around each other. Archie is curious about Carlos, and even more curious about his food. (Apparently wet food is like crack for all animals.)

Based on how Carlos reacts when he sees any dog, I’m assuming he was attacked by one or more during his Chicago years. And so I understand his fear of Archie, but I wish it wasn’t so bad. While I’m assuming he’ll just run and hide, I’m also worried about a confrontation happening. Carlos can be very nasty when provoked. And I’m not sure Archie would be prepared for that.

Alas, we have to get to the Rockies game first. I’m not going home after work; I’ll meet Emily at the DU light rail station at we will head down from there.
And then after the game? God only knows how we’re going to get my car home.
And get the dog home.

It shall be an adventure. I’m not sure if I should start stressing now, or just wait until it’s happening and roll with it.

I’ll wait.
In all honesty, trying to balance Emily’s needs with Ely’s is going to be a hot mess.
This might get interesting.

And Madeline is in town tonight. And she’ll be out after. So I’m just going to give the rest of them my keys and go dance. (just kidding. or am I?)

Happy Friday!

Juice.

It went well.
Of course it did, I was foolish to think it wouldn’t.

I slept badly last night. Tortured by dreams that I couldn’t escape from, I woke to find myself in an uneasy melancholy. Apparently, I was talking in my sleep all night. I’m upset by something, I know what, and I don’t know how to let it go except to give it time.
Time. Screw time and feelings. I hate not knowing what other people are thinking. I hate wishing I could have something I can’t. I hate that I had it for just a second before life got in the way.

I drove downtown this morning to make sure that Emily got to her law school open house alright and realized how much this city has meant to me. In a strange way, I belong in Chicago. I’ve never loved Loyola, but I’ve loved Chicago. I have a fascination with the train. I still love the train. There’s something so raw and unguarded about it, something so connected and yet so fragile and broken. You are forced to sit around people you don’t like, forced to interact, or merely to react to the those around you. It’s beautiful. It’s dirty. It smells. It’s so satisfying and so stressfully slow. I love to sit with a book, lost for half an hour until I feel the train start to descend past Fullerton, the slide into the tunnel. Then the darkness comes and the rattling is somehow magnified by the proxomity of the walls.

But what is home? Everyone’s moving back and forth and here and there, and I’ve realized that as much as I’d like to stay here, for awhile, I can’t. I want to be in Colorado, to start my life there. Even though the city begs me to stay, I’m afraid if I do, I’ll never leave. I can’t fathom the idea of trying to raise children in a city like Chicago, and although it would be a wonderful place to get my social work grounding, I’d prefer to start my career somewhere comfortable.

Blegh, another blog with no purpose, only rambling. Perhaps the morning can bring a sweeter sleep?