On Las Vegas

I won’t lie, I was apprehensive because this was our first “Cousins Trip.” I have known these people my entire life, but hanging out with them has been relegated to family events, not adventures.

And this was most certainly an adventure. There was a lot to fit into three days, and since it was Ginger’s and my first time, I didn’t expect to do much more than the typical touristy stuff.

Oh man, my feet are sore. I wanted so badly to wear heels (who wouldn’t?), but due to the broken toe, it appears that any closed-toe shoes are impossible. (I still haven’t heard the final read on the toe x-rays taken last week, but regardless of the doctor’s decision, the pain is way too real to ignore – which I thought I would be able to do for beauty.) We walked and walked and walked. We saw so much more than I thought possible.

There was pool time, eating time, show time, sleep time, alone time…all in all, it was a really great vacation with some really great people.

On the way home, there was a girl traveling alone to spend the summer with her dad. Her mom was trying to hold in tears at the gate as she said good bye and her little sister ran up to give her one last hug. I saw the girl try and be brave with a “Don’t cry, Mom, it’s only two months.” But as soon as she was headed down the jetway, there were tears welling up in her eyes.

A woman a few years older than me was standing right by the girl and asked her if she wanted to sit together. They ended up talking for the entire flight. I think it was incredibly selfless and sweet of that woman to spend some time making a girl feel a little bit more comfortable and a lot less scared.

Quickly, some pictures:

Beetle at the airport, DIA

(This Beetle is on display in the Denver Airport. It was hand-beaded by several families over the course of many weeks. It’s beautiful!)

(The security guard after the Blue Man show. He was pretty much amazing, and I told him so.)

(I liked this flower.)

(my grumpy face. By the time we got to the airport, I was exhausted and more than ready to be home. Finding out that our flight was delayed was more than frustrating.)

Wynn, Las Vegas

(The Wynn, Las Vegas)

Black cat

(I’ve never left Carlos alone for very long. Three days was the longest. I was nervous, especially since he got out and ran to hide in the basement during our 5:00 am departure on Sunday morning. We got back to a very grumpy Carlos, although I was thrilled that he was very much alive. He had taken his collar off somewhere along the way and i still haven’t managed to find it. – old picture)

(The Las Vegas Strip)

(Sorry Ginger, the eyes looked so creepy when I tried to fix them!! I still think we both look beautiful!)

(Caesar’s Palace)

(Mike and I thought it’d be fun to wear hats. It wasn’t.)

(I touched a Blue Man!! Better yet, my favorite Blue Man! Something about his eyeballs was super cool.)

(And of course, there was pool time. Mike said he felt like Jason Segel in Forgetting Sarah Marshall because of the fruit we started collecting. It was cute.)

And now, I’m off to work! I am so late, so I expect to be there quite a bit later than usual tonight. I have a giant project that absolutely must be completed by tomorrow night  I am hoping that I can overcome the exhaustion and rock today.

On Bacon Ice Cream, Dejectedly

I’m panicking this week. Normally, my stress level is about 25% higher than my peers. (That’s on a good day.) This week, for some reason, there’s a nasty frisson coursing through my veins. I feel it tingling at my fingertips, nagging at my cerebellum, squeezing my stomach.

Whatever it is, I’m not sure, but in situations like this, I find myself overwhelmed to the point of inactivity. Rather than channel my anxiety into productivity, I find myself captivated by the inane.

For example: I started this blog post intending to blog about my disappointment with the dessert I had the other night. I then attempted to write about adulthood and why it sucks. And now, I’m off on panicking.

So let’s make this all three of them, and then I’ll be able to say that at the very least, I got one thing crossed off my list today.

You’ve already heard about the panic that threatens to halt my forward progress into Tuesday, supposedly the most productive day of the week, so perhaps now you’d like to hear about why adulthood sucks.

You’re probably an adult. Presumably, you’ve survived 24. Being 24 feels like being in the trash compactor in Star Wars. All sides closing in, it’s do or die. And while I doubt that I’ll be crushed by a giant trash compactor any time soon, I do feel the pressure to be everything at once. Being all things to all people is impossible, as Barack Obama is slowly learning.

But most things seem possible. My goals in life are thus: don’t be a dick, give something back to this planet, be happy, eat as much chocolate cake as possible, have a family, do something I love (but that also is financially rewarding enough to provide for travel, and  health care, and retirement, and emergency expenses, and food, and cute pants), and be satisfied with who I am at the end of every single day. Okay, so that’s pretty doable.

But here’s my one problem with the here and now: there’s too much. I work three jobs. I love my family (and therefore spend quite a bit of time with them). I have a social life (which I also happen to love). I travel. I have a boyfriend (…ready for it? I love him, too). I want to read all the blogs and all the news articles in the world. I want to understand pop culture references. I want to make time for bubble baths. I want to travel. I want to learn. I want to explore. I want to savor.

But seriously, how does one find time to do all of that and sleep at night? Between the influx of necessary-to-stay-relevant knowledge and my attempts to embrace adulthood, I’m overwhelmed. But it’s do or die, so I will complain and whine and then I will look back at this age when I’m 30 and think, “Man, if only I was 24 without a care in the world again” and be ashamed that I bothered to do so much stressing. I will realize that I have been flourishing all along.

But, whether or not I’m flourishing is a topic of discussion for a later date. The real reason you’re here is bacon ice cream.

Bacon Ice Cream, Nutella Bread Pudding, The Pullman

I was in Glenwood Springs with my mom and aunt this weekend, and for a belated birthday dinner, we ate at the Pullman.

The food itself was delicious, but I was one hundred percent dissatisfied with my dessert. Nutella bread pudding and bacon ice cream. My god, how can you go wrong? Well you can. And they did.

The bread pudding was dry without any hint of chocolate or hazelnut flavoring. The bacon ice cream was….indescribable. It was the kind of dish that you take a bite of and then smack around in your mouth trying to figure out what it is you might be eating. No distinguishable flavor. They’d have been better off garnishing a scoop of vanilla ice cream with bits of crisp bacon. I mashed the ice cream around on the plate. I was sad. More than that, I was disappointed. I’d rather just have spent the $7 on a jar of Nutella and a package of bacon. I would have been so much happier dipping a piece of bacon into Nutella.

On Chicago, hurriedly.

more about this adventure later, but here’s the Chicago part:

I flew from Denver to Chicago after work on Friday. He picked me up at the airport (with champagne!). Saturday: we saw his grandparents and then he had a going-away party at his house. Sunday: we had brunch with his family; then I had a nap while he packed the car; then we had going away dinner at his mom’s house. (It was really cute because both of his parents came. It was sort of like when both of my parents came to my college graduation party. You’re shocked, because you haven’t seen them in the same room in years, but you’re also really proud of them. And happy.)

And then we left. It was midnight and the moon ahead of us, wrapped in clouds, led the way home.

Midway Airport by Night

Swisher picked me up with a bottle of champagne, a sandwich, and some cookies. We sat in the back seat as his brother drove us back to Lincoln Park.

It was the best airport pick-up a girl could have hoped for.

Hancock Building, Chicago

The city.

Katie and Matt at Fado's

We went out downtown Friday night. Swisher’s brother wanted to meet up with some of his friends, so we ended up navigating through the crowd at a hip bar downtown. Ugh, I hate feeling like I’m wearing too much pants. Also, I dread summer because I’m so pale. Mini-dresses look good on me, but not as good as the tan women.

Overwhelmed by the crush of bros that was the hip bar, we ended up at Fado’s, one of my favorite Irish bars. The night was perfect. Absolutely, one hundred percent perfect.

Belmont Harbor, Chicago

We visited his grandparents on Saturday. The view from their apartment over Belmont Harbor enchants me. I could watch the lake all day. His grandma remembered that I liked watermelon and strawberries, so she had some waiting for us when we got there.

Thai food

On Sunday night, Swisher’s brother made a Thai feast (sans peanuts so Swisher wouldn’t die). It was delicious. Beyond delicious. There were fried fish balls, curry, mango sticky rice, noodle dishes, lettuce wraps. We played a few rounds of Catchphrase before we left, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite games.

And then we left. There were tears and hugs and a general overwhelming feeling of love. It was good.

On Birthday Weekend, Happily

Danger, look out for autos

Walking back to the car from trivia on Thursday night, I came across this sign. And for some reason, it struck me. Autos.

Friday night was amazing. Sushi for ten followed by bar hopping. By the end of the night, I was surrounded by my favorite people and I was sipping Hendricks and tonic in my favorite bar. Life is good. (The facebook caption on this picture reads: We picked the drunkest man in the bar to take our picture. And it’s true, I did. I’m surprised that we’re not more blurry.)

Bathroom Graffiti

I bonded pretty hard with a girl who was practicing her seductive poses in the bathroom. I was laughing to myself at the sink, and she saw my reflection in the mirror. She hugged me a few times while we laughed.

I love bar graffiti. Sometimes it’s silly, or rude, but sometimes it’s thought-provoking or just pretty.

Big Blue Bear in Denver

On Saturday, Anne wanted to go see all of Denver’s weird art installations. So we went and saw the Blue Bear at the Convention Center, the dustpan and broom by the art museum, the red chair and the horse by the library, and the cows by the art museum. I climbed a cow, and while jumping off, nearly fell into a puddle of mud. Quick reflexes saved me by less than six inches.

Mountains

On Sunday, we drove to St. Elmo, a ghost town outside of Buena Vista.

Door at St. Elmo

St. Elmo is not a ghostly as I would have liked. We pulled in and there was a tour group of ATVs preparing to depart. We were able to get out and walk around, though, and the exploration turned out to be just what we were looking for.

St. Elmo Ghost Town

It’s creepy to see the fake flowers in the windows of these buildings. Beyond creepy. Anne and I both agreed that the vibe in the town was way wrong for attempting to sneak into any of the buildings.

View from a boarded up window.

St. Elmo, Colorado

 

Mattress springs at St. Elmo, Colorado

Mattress skeleton!

Tiny Town Train

On our way back, we went to Tiny Town. Of course we rode the TIny Town train. The lady at the concession stand asked us if we had children with us. We exchanged looks and said we didn’t.

My five-year old self has an image of Tiny Town that is far more magical than the experience that my newly twenty four-year old self had. Tiny Town is still an adventure, but it’s good for about ten minutes of adventure.

Favorite parts?

The train ride! The temporary tattoos purchased in the gift shop and applied in the picnic area!

Rainbow over Colorado

After Tiny Town, I drove Anne to the airport. On the way, we were treated to a double rainbow. I’m about to sound like a nine-year old girl clutching her brand-new Lisa Frank folder, but I had forgotten how awesome rainbows were.

Swisher and I cooked dinner together on Sunday night. I was terrified. He’s a good cook, and I’m less than proficient in the kitchen. We made carbonara (my choice and so full of calories!) and salad. We were supposed to make banana bread, but had so many leftover cupcakes that we decided to just eat those instead. He brought me red velvet cupcakes and gorgeous flowers on Friday! I came home to those and a clean kitchen. Is he good or what?

Honestly, I’m thrilled about life right now, but I’m so exhausted. I hate that I look at the calendar and see that it’s already scribbled in for nearly a month. I know that I’m lucky to be so loved and so busy, but oh man, I’d do nearly anything for a free day to lay in the park with a book and a jug of iced tea.

On Swisher, anxiously

His plane touches down next Wednesday. I’ll be at the airport waiting. Last time he flew in was marvelous – he saw me and hugged me and kissed me right at the baggage claim. I was too excited to even think. I was wrapped in a hug when I opened my eyes and saw a grandmother smiling at us. I knew then.

This time is different. This time it’s so much more. This time will be strange because ten days after I pick him up at DIA, he’ll be picking me up from the Midway. Then we’re doing what we’re calling “The Trial Road Trip” which he imagines will be miserable and I imagine will be a wonderful adventure. And then, for the next few months at least, he will be in the same city as me for the first time in two years. I’m thrilled. I’m beyond thrilled. I’m also incredibly nervous and excited.

I think he’s terrified, and if he’s smart, he should be.

Katie Barry in Chicago

On Simon, on the occasion of 80,000

I drove the long way home yesterday, and to my immense satisfaction, pulled up to my apartment building just as he had hit 80,000 miles.

(I have no idea why it looks like it’s raining in my car.)

At six years old, he’s all grown up. I’ve had him for nearly 50,000 wonderful miles. We go everywhere together, and I imagine that I will keep him until he dies, or until I have kids, or something else gets in my way.

And of course, on this most excellent occasion, Simon found himself in the shop, having an oil change and some transmission issues. A few months ago (six months? nine? I think it was summer but who knows), I was driving down Colorado Blvd when my car freaked out. Now, I’m not one who has any experience in dealing with car problems, so my car jerking and shuddering and jumping all over the place while the D light was blinking was positively terrifying.

I called the Honda dealership. Of course, I should have anticipated their response: “That normally doesn’t happen in a Civic. We normally see that in Odysseys and Pilots.” Alas, they informed that it was a pressure switch in my transmission and that I need to bring my car in. “Can I drive on it for a bit?” I asked. They told me that I could, but I’d probably get terrible gas mileage.

Here we are so many months later. The D light stopped blinking and the never did the shuddering jumping jerking business again, so I never brought it in. But it’s been worrying the back of my brain, as transmission issues do. The gas mileage has remained pretty steady, so no complaints here.

I took the car into my mechanic, who’s basically the best mechanic ever. He calls me to tell me that he doesn’t really feel any loss of power when he drives. I cut in about the D light. “The D light was blinking!? No one told me about that! I’ll call you back!” The phone went dead. He called me back about a half an hour later to tell me that yes, it is a transmission pressure switch error code but it’s also another error code.

But then he tells me not to worry, because it’s not bad enough to deal with. (I love this guy. He’ll let you know what’s urgent and what’s not.) I still need to be super vigilant about my transmission, because at the first sign of trouble, I’m going to need to replace something about the solenoids and the pressure switch, or worse, the whole damn thing.

I’ve got his blessing to keep driving on it and he’s going to give me the name of his transmission people. So, Simon and I shall keep adventuring until it’s time to do some serious surgery. At that point, if it’s the $400 repair, I won’t hesitate, but if it’s the entire transmission, we’ll have to do some serious thinking about whether or not it’s worth it. But for now, I’m still just as excited about him as I was the day that I got him.

I bought Simon when I was 20. It was February 4, 2008 (yeah, I guess that’s weird, but it’s a date I’ll never forget). When I turned the car on for the first time, the odometer read 33,111. I knew right then that I had to have him. (That, and the fact that I spent as much time as I could in my Grandma Mary’s car when I was a kid because she had a digital speedometer. I thought her car was the best ever. And yet, somehow, I’d managed to get a digital speedometer of my own! Luckiest girl ever, I swear.)

Simon at night, with bubbles. Illinois. 2009?

Simon, at dusk. Illinois, Halloween, 2010.

(side note: Old Dave may have been right about the sex appeal [or lack thereof] of Birkenstocks.)

In the four years that I’ve had him, he’s been crushed, crunched, cracked, and spray painted. He’s hit bugs, curbs, rocks, potholes. He’s driven and driven and driven. And I have loved every single minute of it.

Simon in Wisconsin, barely. Winter/Spring 2010.

Simon reflecting in Rocky Mountain National Park, June 2009.

Oh and the best part?

80,000 miles divided by 6 years is 13,333.33 miles per year, on average. It’s just one of those things that was meant to be.

On New York, fondly

I know that I’m a terrible trip blogger. I get home, get so busy doing other things, and then forget. So, for your viewing pleasure, a quick photographic journey through my New York adventure:

KatieBigPiano

FAO Schwartz in New York City has a giant piano. For the low price of $250,000, it can be yours. (I am currently arranging financing and clearing my living room.)

Street food!

I am a huge fan of street food but NYC has weird onions. A fellow semi-Chicagoan thought that I had committed some serious sacrilege and put ketchup on my dog, but trust me, I asked for a hot dog with onions and mustard. Not sure what the sauce was (probably ketchup disguised to fool the faithful), but it was delicious.

Allen Ginsberg Apartment

Outside Allen Ginsberg’s apartment. I was more interested in the tree than I was in the building itself – Katie’s a huge fan of all things Beat and thus, our pilgrimage there was important to her. Perhaps I need to dive in and see what it is that enchants her.

Katie

Speaking of enchantment, isn’t she stunning?

The first night, we managed to delete all of the pictures on her camera. (I’m 99.999% sure that it was totally my fault) She managed to track down a camera cord and we downloaded some software that allowed us to recover the pictures – I’m so grateful for her quick thinking and her approach to the situation. Also, it’s really creepy to me that you can recover deleted pictures. But I guess it’s definitely a good thing, too.

On Cupcakes on a Plane

This article reminds me of my own attempt to classify a certain foodstuff as a solid, rather than a gel.

For the record, I totally disagree with the author of this article. Considering the fact that I accidentally got a 20oz bottle of water (filled approximately a third of the way full) through airport security last week, I’d argue that they’ve got more important things to do than catch ladies with cupcakes. You know, things like actually follow the spirit of these regulations rather than the letter and see how that fares for them. Nit-picking about frosting isn’t going to help until we’ve set a precedent. I am going to need signs with pictures showing me that I cannot bring Jell-O, or frosting, or hair gel, or whipped cream, or mousse. I want those juxtaposed right up next to the axes, knives, handguns, and scissors.

(Advice to the lady: open the jar. Lick all frosting. Close jar and continue with your screening process. Eat cupcake sans frosting in future.)

10/2012 @ 3:36PM |2,753 views

Cakes On A Plane: Cupcakegate And You

Photo Courtesy of Consumertraveler.com

By now you’ve heard of the Incident of the Confiscated Cupcake. It seems that one Rebecca Hains, of Peabody, Mass., was returning home from Las Vegas last month, when Transportation Security Administration agents confiscated her cupcake on the grounds of excessive frosting, which the TSA classifies as a gel.

On the one hand, dude, it’s a cupcake! On the other hand, the incident raises questions about both airport security and the American diet.

The diet first. Call me a curmudgeon, but despite the trend sweeping the nation from Boston to Beverly Hills, I firmly believe that a cupcake should never be more frosting than cake. Go back to the old-school cupcake-to-frosting ratio, and I’m convinced that the percentage of obese Americanswould decline from 33.8% to, oh, say, 33.75% (hey, you gotta start somewhere, right?). Plus, too much frosting is just gross. If this requires TSA enforcement, then I’m all for it.

Seriously, though: although regular readers know that I don’t have much sympathy for ham-fisted TSA tactics, this time I come down on the side of the folks in blue.

Turns out that this was no ordinary cupcake. It was in a glass jar. Who the heck carries a cupcake in a glass jar? And TSA rules on glass jars containing gels are clear: no larger than three ounces, packed together with your other gels and liquids in a clear, quart-size plastic bag. Ms. Hains’s cupcake, no matter how darling, violated these rules. If the cupcake needed to be in a jar, she could have put it in her checked luggage. If she needed a dessert in a jar to eat on the plane, how about honey-roasted walnuts?

“When you think about it,” writes TSA blogger and erstwhile security officer Bob Burns, “do you think an explosive would be concealed in an ominous item that would draw attention, or something as simple as a cute cupcake jar?” Makes sense to me. Read the rest of his post here.

Bottom line: if you need to take cakes on a plane, how about just carrying them in the box they came in?

source: Forbes

I don’t know about you, but cupcakes in a jar sound amazing to me.

I have been on a weird kick lately where I’ve been trying to fully embrace the adulthood that’s threatening to overwhelm me (you should see what I bought off of Amazon.com today – six boxes of tea, a novel, and two seriously motivational career woman books….I’m rolling my eyes at myself right now. I have not yet subscribed to Amazon Prime, so some remnants of my youth remain.)

But this means research. I’ve been reading cooking blogs. I’ve been reading design blogs. I’m hoping that in ten years (or, more realistically, thirty to forty), when I can finally afford a house/condo, Future Me have some sense of structure, order, etc. I think this means fashion, so I guess I’d better work on dressing myself before I work on dressing my house. (I realized last night that Kevin hasn’t seen me wearing makeup in days. It might even be weeks. I’ve fallen into a rut, mostly.)

But….cupcakes in a jar remind me of cheesecake in a jar, which is going to be my first project once I get all settled back into my apartment (with Carlos, of course!)

This must happen this weekend. The moving, not the cheesecake making. Baby steps.

Virtual Picnic- Cheesecake in a Jar

by JAMIE on APRIL 22, 2011 

(snagged the pictures and the recipe from My Baking Addictionwhich I am totally addicted to!)

Post image for Virtual Picnic- Cheesecake in a Jar(photos from My Baking Addiction)

Cheesecake in a Jar

YIELD: 4-6 servings depending on size of jars used

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
zest of one lemon
2 packages cream cheese, 8 oz each; room temperature
2 large eggs; room temperature
¼ cup heavy cream
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup fresh berries

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

3. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with your paddle attachment, combine the sugar and lemon zest and mix until the sugar is moistened and fragrant. Add in the cream cheese and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream and vanilla and mix until smooth.

4. Pour batter into canning jars until about ¾ of the way full. Place jars into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the sides of the jars.

5. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, the edges will appear to be set, but the center will still have a little jiggle to it.

6. Carefully remove the cheesecake jars from the water bath and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Once the cheesecakes are completely cooled, place them into the refrigerator for at least 5 hours. Top will fresh berries and serve.

NOTES:

– For glossy berries, simply add 1 tablespoon of hot water to ¼ cup apricot preserves. Blend until combined and thinned out. Place the berries in a bowl and gently brush and toss the berries with the apricot and water mixture.
– If you are not a fan of lemon, simply omit the zest.
– If you are missing the graham cracker crust, serve with graham sticks.
– The jars pictured above are Weck (7.4 ounce) Tulip Jars.

On Chicago, belatedly

Lately, my life has been one of those hectic, crowded places. Sometimes, I worry that there’s not enough room for me.

Last night, after work, I cancelled plans to meet a friend and took a long bath instead (apparently, it’s possible to literally steam the cover off of a Vogue magazine). Carlos has been very much not in the mood to love me lately, so I’ve decided that we both need a change of scenery and will be relocating back to my apartment this weekend. That was supposed to happen last night, but instead, I laid on the couch and did absolutely nothing. It was wonderful.

Tonight is a lot of rearranging. I haven’t had my car since I left for Chicago; it’s been languishing in Mom’s driveway. I need to get that back, obviously. Kevin is going up to the mountains this weekend, so he’ll need his car and I very much miss driving Simon, who feels so much less like a Mack truck than Kevin’s SUV. I need to get myself ready for the weekend. Sadly, I wish I had exciting plans to report, but instead, I’m babysitting nearly every moment that I’m awake. 3 families. 4 “shifts”. 3 days.

I’m always excited to babysit. I never view it as work, really, but it does tend to take up quite a bit of time. I’m going to put the money toward my New York trip next weekend, which I am absolutely thrilled about.

Anyway, I feel like I never get to properly describe my Chicago visits. I get too busy with everything else and reminiscing about the trip falls by the wayside. Chicago was wonderful. It was a perfect weekend. I saw a lot of people (of course, I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted to see, bummer), and had a blast.

I ended up helping with a music video shoot on Sunday, so that was exciting. I got to stand on the rocks in one of my favorite places in Chicago (no, not the Bean, the Peace Garden!) and dance around awkwardly while wearing a wig and some rather scandalous clothing. It helped that the weather was beautiful that day.

Between the shoot and the airport, I stopped at Swisher’s.  There’s nothing like saying hello to a friend’s parents while your makeup looks like you’re going clubbing at 3 in the afternoon. Thank goodness for makeup removal wipes – those things are amazing. Carry them everywhere when you travel. Just have them on you at all times. They’re all-purpose cloths sent from Heaven.

Saturday, I went to Wisconsin with Anne. We went to see the Mars Cheese Castle, which used to be this amazing, kitschy place but is now just a touristy castle – they seriously redid it to be a castle, but they do have $1.50 meat sticks, so you know I was happy. I also got some white cheese with cranberry in it, a 6-pack of Spotted Cow from my favorite Wisconsin brewery, and some chocolate. (I’m attempting to recreate the experience I had with the Fairview cheese from South Africa and can’t do it. The white with the apricots was some of the most amazing cheese I’ve ever tasted. I can’t get close.)

After we were done at the Cheese Castle, we were like, well, we drove all the way out to Wisconsin, we should probably drive some more. So we googled. Anne found http://www.custardlist.com, a website which lists the daily custard flavors around the state. Seeing that some place called Oscar’s had m&m and cookie dough, we were off toward Milwaukee. Yes, it was better than Kopp’s (although Kopp’s makes some darn good custard), and I got two scoops for less than $2.50.

Saturday night, I went to play with Patrick and Maddie, who had a hotel room downtown. (Maddie’s explanation of why they couldn’t stay at his apartment is one of the funnier things I’ve heard lately.) Anne’s apartment has a problem with hot water, so I was relieved to find that the Embassy Suites was fully stocked with towels and all the hot water I could want. (I did want, so badly.) Swisher met us for happy hour and then we went out to a bar nearby. I was exhausted, so we ended up back at the hotel with snacks and wine. It was the perfect night. I was sad because my friend Adrian was having his annual “Fried, Fried, Fried” party – it’s exactly what it sounds like – and I was looking forward to eating all the things. However, I would never make it up to the North side. Instead, I fell asleep on the couch at the hotel.

Being back in Chicago was like suddenly realizing that you lost something. I have lost my memory of the street names (not all of them, but finding myself staring at the Chicago theater on State street and wondering which way to walk was a disconcerting feeling); I have lost the flow of the trains, my balance as they stop. I felt my hand reaching out to clutch the pole in a panic as we slid into one of the stations. Being back was like going home. Swisher took me to the train, took me down Lake Shore Drive. I used to drive that every single day. This time, all I could do was stare around. The park. The lake. The river. The buildings. There’s something wonderful about the way the city looms above you, around you. It sinks into you, a little. You’ll never be able to take that bit of Chicago away.

I remember being in love when I was 19. I remember the way that I threw myself into it; the way that logistics stopped being paramount; that no distance was too far, no amount of separation too much. I want to love the way I loved when I was 19. It was pure. It was admittedly one of the most imperfect relationships you could imagine, but it was so real, and it was all-encompassing, and it was beautiful. When did I lose the ability to throw caution to the wind and jump in?

On twitter, Jell-O eggs, and Easter

I swear I’ll stop blogging in ten minutes, but in light of recent weird twitter postings, I have to tell you a story:

So this morning, something monumental happened (he loves me!) and of course, I panicked and got weird. While I was being weird, I was reminded of a poem that I wrote in high school about this very situation (funny enough, I acted the exact same way then). I tried to google it to find it and instead, wound up with one result.

Of course I clicked on it.

Apparently, the University of Iowa spent some time logging tweets about airport security during the first quarter of 2010. I made it into their files. Hilariously enough, my tweet from March 30, 2010 reads:

11314516444 KatieMaryBarry 3/30/2010 10:49 AM My first year not going home to see the family. On the plus side, I don’t have to try to get Jell-O eggs through airport security. #Easter

Why does this make me laugh?

Every year my Aunt Jan makes Jell-O eggs for Easter. They’re my favorite. They’re weird and slimy but so cute and who doesn’t love Jell-O? (The evidence is mounting that I’m an 80-year old in a 23-year old body.)

I was flying back home to Chicago with my bag of leftover Jell-O eggs. Of course I was going to take them home with me…waste them, are you kidding? This was right during the implementation of the liquid/gels prohibition and of course, the TSA man stops my bag of eggs.

An argument about the matter state of Jell-O ensued, with him claiming that they count as a gel and me claiming that they’re a solid. (Technically, he may have been right.) Finally, I made him feel them because they were still cold from the refrigerator. My logic? No idea.

Then, I told him I would eat the entire bag right there at the checkpoint. (I’m always this sassy [antagonistic? obnoxious?] at 6 in the morning, trust me. One time, my mom got a thumbs up from a random because I told a dude – who would not shut up about how he got to carry a gun because he was with the sheriff’s office – to please keep it down in the waiting area. Complete with bring-it-down silencing hand motion.)

He let me through and when I got back to Chicago, I’m 80% sure that the eggs had gotten overheated during their ordeal and were back to a sticky-goo state and therefore inedible. Bummer. (No one tell Aunt Jan! There’s still a 20% chance I enjoyed them!)