Archive for the ‘columbus’ Tag

hope you remember me when you’re homesick and need a change   2 comments

We can all name someone who seems to know everyone.  Amanda (Porter) Carlyle is one of those people.  Every time I was with that girl we would constantly run into people that she knew: A friend from high school, English class, or bar the night before.  At first I found myself envious of her for knowing so many people in our college town, but then one day I had the best epiphany of my life: I’d rather have good friends than hundreds of friends.  Years later I stand by this thought as I wander the streets, mosey around airports, and zone-out on trains, passing possible friend after friend, as well as crazy after crazy.  Touché though since you never know where and when you’ll be your soulmate… or your best friend. 

For most of my life I’ve been blessed with good friends and commonly find myself surrounded with a fair share of friends (aka acquaintances) too.  Actually in high school I was a version of the girl who knew everyone.  A social butterfly.  Over the years many of those friends have faded from my daily life, but they appear in my thoughts ever now and then- certainly some more than others..  A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the never-disappearing impact that friendships/ past relationships have on us.  We’ll call it Fingerprints and you can click on that link to access the post.  I may sound like I’m contradicting myself based on what I said in that post, but I want to elaborate more on the relevance of these friends, which we once considered friends. 

One of the simplest pleasures in life has to be reconnecting with an old friend.  There’s just such a pure joy that seeps through your veins that warms your heart to its capacity after receiving an unexpected call or, in today’s world, that always-appreciated Facebook message.   You soon finding that you’re smiling for no apparent reason with that ‘high on life’ feeling.  You’re at peace in the moment, while venturing down memory lane.  Soon your past doesn’t seem so long ago and you’re surprise how much you remember about that fifteen year old that you once were.  Any anxieties have been extinguished and everything appears so clearly.  You feel whole…again.

Why is that so?  How is it that someone who you haven’t seen or heard from in years can perk you up and make your bad day that much better?

We’ve all heard it before…if you love something set it free and if it comes back to you then it’s meant to beI’m not sure if I see any truth in this not, and honestly based on my own experiences I have to admit that I wouldn’t let anyone go if I had a say in the matter.  I don’t know.  My Magic 8 ball of a brain says to Ask again later.  But I will say that it appears that sometimes you do have to lose someone to realize how much they mean(t) to you.  On the journey of our lives, friends come and (unfortunately) friendships fade as time goes on.  We find ourselves replacing those who knew us so well in the past with news faces guiding us towards our future.  Those peers that you literally grew up with will never truly know you upon graduation day, and those friends that you make afterwards are your bridesmaids, vacation buddies, and children’s godparents.   

So what role do our former BFFs and friends play in our current lives?  Afterall they are part of our journey and therefore play a far more significant role than we would have ever gave them credit for during the days of our innocence and naiveté.  I could tell you a laundry list of things that my friends from the past have taught and how I look back with appreciation on how they’ve helped me in my personal growth. 

When I have the opportunity to go home, with doesn’t happen to often anymore since I’m not longer a 3.5 hour drive away  through Ohio & West Virginia, I hardly ever end up seeing any of my friends.  Every once in a while I’ll run into a friend at Walmart or perhaps see a friend when walking around our alma mater with my mom.  There are friends that I’ll never see again, but I’ll always see them as friends. 

I hope you remember me when you’re homesick and need a change.  There are so many people from my past that I think about to help me get through those rough days when I just need to remember where I came from.  I’m sure you know those days?  Or when someone asks me where I grew up and I responded, “Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania”… I immediately think of friends and those memories in the halls of Hampton High.  And when I tell people who I lived in Ohio for college and afterwards, I think of my walks through Athens, nights on Court Street, and many adventures in C-bus.  

And dare I ask, have my fingerprints left a lasting impression on you to think of me when you’re homesick and need a change?  Sorry, I had to ask.

Song of the Moment: Somewhere Out There by Our Lady Peace

happiness: a right or a privilege?   Leave a comment

I can pinpoint three times in my life where I was truly happy.  The first was in 7th grade, and other than being on successful basketball and soccer teams; having hot, popular boyfriends; and enjoying the company of a surplus of good friends- or so I thought at that time- I’m not really sure what else was so wonderful about that time in my life.  But when I look back on that time, I know I was happy.

The second time in my life was when I began my sophomore year of college, or better put, my first year at OU.  Damn was I a happy girl!  A beautiful college campus, an abundance of new friends, attention from boys, and most importantly, I had the chance to start fresh.  I think you all know the rest of that story, so I’ll leave it at that.

The third time was within the first few months of living in Columbus, which can probably be calculated to fall 2007.  Yep, Buckeye season in C-bus, so how could you not be happy living in the middle of that?  Reconnecting with friends, making new ones, loving my job, and partying on the weekends was everything I always imagined it being- and much more. 

But unfortunately, each of these times in my life came to an end.  To be honest, I always knew that the bliss of Columbus would but wasn’t sure how.  I know write about this from my apartment in Chicago, over a year and a half after leaving my beloved Ohio for The Windy City.  While there have been days and even weeks of positive moments, most occurring during my days visiting friends in back in O-H-I-O or during their visits here, I write now admitting that I am not happy.  I say it again, this just isn’t me.

Earlier today I was laying out on my rooftop deck (I know, I’m lucky) and this thought came to me: Why is my happiness always temporary?  I’m not throwing a pity party here at all, but rather I find myself wondering why this is so? And what can I do to change that?  On Friday before spinning, I gave Julie a much-needed phone call.  I miss her so much!  And it was so nice to hear that she misses me too!  But even knowing that, it doesn’t make it any easier. 

Through our I miss you’s and general catching up, Julie said what she always tells me, “I can never keep up with all of your friends.  You know so many people.” 

My response, “Yeah, but they’re all back in Pittsburgh and Ohio.  I hardly know anyone here.” 

“I cannot understand how that is so,” Julie replied.

Neither can I, Juls.  Neither can I.  As I said to her, Chicago is just a whole different ballgame and I’m a whole different person- not myself at all.  Or at least I’m not myself now…but can I change that?  These past few weeks I’ve been filling my schedule with volunteer opportunities hoping that I can find myself again AND do things that are important to me.  But those are just temporary periods of happiness for me in the big city.  Everything else has me feeling like donutholes…empty.  (I learned that term on So You Think You Can Dance.)

I have another day of Make-A-Wish volunteering at the Children’s Hospital downtown ahead of me tomorrow, and on top of that, I received my first Wish Granting assignment and my Child Life hospital volunteer is this week too.  Throw in a few spin classes, all to be followed by a weekend visit by my parents and I’d be shocked if all of these don’t heighten my mood.  However, will it only be a temporary fix once again?

so many people have come and gone, their faces fade as the years go by. yet i still recall as i wander on, it’s more than a feeling.   2 comments

No matter where life takes me and what’s going on in the little world of K, I find I can always close my eyes, take a deep breath, and imagine my beloved college days in Athens as though it was just yesterday.  For those few moments I am at peace.  Lost in the memories of my past, I feel like I’m home.  I am me. Unfortunately even the best daydreams must end, just as my college days did.  However, last weekend I was able t0 (re)live those days in Athens.  I was fortunate to be able to open my eyes and literally see the memories right in front of me.  I was home.

Last weekend I traveled back to my college town for the wedding of my friends, Bill and Renee; back to the place where they meant and their love began.  A wedding in Athens…what an A.MAY.ZING. affair.  Joining me were my friends/ former OU alums, Mike (my date), Jay, Ashley, Ryan, Meghann, and Steve (aka Rook or Snookie).  I’ve mentioned some of these friends before, but just to fill you in on my friends, this was part of my Senior Year Crew.  Jay and Mike were my roommates; Ryan, Meghann (Ryan’s wife), Steve, and Bill lived across the hall; and Ashley lived downstairs.  Yes, it was like Friends.

After taking the overnight Megabus on Thurdsay, I arrived in Columbus and headed straight to Starbucks to work for a few hours (as noted in a former post).  Lucky me, I was able to spend some time with my Columbus friends during the day.  Jen (Morel) met me for lunch at North Market, and then Elise (friend and former colleague at Children’s Hunger Alliance) stopped by for a chat session.  Before I knew it, the infamous Joe Zummo was strutting his stuff into ‘bucks looking as snazzy as ever.  With my 40 hours clocked in, Joe, Elise and I decided on an impromptu Happy Hour on the patio of Frog Bear & Wild Boar in the Arena District (my former stomping grounds when I lived in C-bus).  Best idea ever!  It wasn’t long after that Ashley, Jay, and Mike arrived to take me back to Athens.  ♥  Because of the craziness that my life has been lately, and all of the other travel, it really didn’t hit me that I was really going back to OU.  But as I drove with my friends, on Interstate 33, through Lancaster… it hit me.  I really was going home. 

Since I thought that I was going to write this a week ago, the plan was to hash out all of the details and the (blurry) memories from our nights out on Court Street.  This is us.  Mostly, the Ohio University Class of 2006.  Four years ago we spent our last night of college together, up on Court Street.  Four years later, we reunited again for more memories on OU alums’ favorite street.  Look at us.  Some of them I haven’t seen in 2-3 years, but could you really tell from this photo?  That’s what I love about my friends.  No time nor distance will ever ruin the bond between my friends and me, and this is why I continuously say that I am blessed. 

Friday Night: (From Left to Right: Jay, Mike, Ryan, Meghann, Me, Steve (aka Rook), and Ashley)  After the rehearsal dinner at the OU Inn, we made our way up to Court Street.  The groom did join us for a few drinks on Friday night but this was the crew that made the rounds- Tony’s; The Junction; The Pub; Pawpurrs; and the C.I.  There were shots (like Tony’s Hot Nuts and Girl Scout Cookies- both delicious) and lethal drinks (Junction Punches and At the end of the night, and again the next morning, the conclusion was we cannot drink like we used to.  Thank goodness for Goodfellas, one of OU students’ favorite late night treats, to help soak up some of the alcohol before bed.  

How did we do it back in college?  Sadly, we probably all drank (a lot) more back then too then we ever will as alums.  Now I won’t directly say that OU is a party school, but there’s definitely a lot of partying going on in that little college town.  I did a lot of reminiscing on Friday night.  Each bar instigated a surplus of memories.  Each familiar face made me think of another friend of mine.  I took a lot of deep breaths that night.  It felt so great to be back.

Saturday Morning: I woke up early to get a work-out in before the others awoke.  Running on the treadmill gave me time to take it all in.  Admist all of the traveling and socializing on Friday, I didn’t get much time to myself.  But here I was, in Athens.  When the troops finally arose we discovered that some were more hungover than others, and unfortunately a greasy breakfast and coffee didn’t help.  Still we managed to get everyone together for a trip uptown for some shopping at College Bookstore and Cross Court Cards & Gifts- which I used to love going to so much!  It was the perfect place to kill time between classes, and I would stop by (Note: It’s sorta a really small town-version of Target like cards and mementos.  Perfect for women.)  We didn’t get a chance to spend much time uptown, but I did get a chance to grab a coffee at Donkey (for Phill) before heading back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding. 

Saturday Evening- The Wedding: I have to say that we all look pretty dapper in our wedding wardrobes- even the guys (jk).  It was a vast improvement from our usual Saturday afternoon attire of tee shirts, sweats, and flip-flops.  The ceremony was in a chuch right off campus, and it was there that we met up with our former roommate, Amanda.  I’m just going to say that the ceremony was interesting; a lot different from ones I’ve attended before. 

I’ll come clean and admit that I was distracted for much of the ceremony.  One reason was because I have always seen Bill and Renee as such a complimentary couple.  They just fit so well together.  They’ve been together since I’ve known them- getting together during their freshmen year at OU- and I know that their relationship hasn’t been perfect, but they figured out how to make it work.  And in my opinion, 1) it’s not easy and 2) the college lifestyle definitely makes it challenging.    But isn’t love about overcoming the challenges, proving how strong your love for one another is?  Then again, I’m single so what do I know?

During the ceremony I began daydreaming about a wedding in Athens…my own wedding.  If I married an OU alum, a particular one for that matter, then I could very well see myself getting married there.  Wait, me getting married?  And to whom would that be? 

Next topic please… 

The reception was in the same building as my former dining hall, Nelson, which was on South Green- my stomping grounds sophomore year.  After dinner I decided to get some fresh air and go for walk on the infamous catwalk (so many memories).  Seriously, part of me felt like I was twenty years old again.  It was surreal.  I was having flashbacks and thinking of my OUers- one in particular.  Should I call him?  I called Libby and left her a voicemail.  Should I call him?  I called Darlene, leaving her a rambling voicemail about how crazy it felt to be back there and how I kept thinking of him, thinking of calling him.  (The message didn’t save due to my new phone.)  Walking along the catwalk, I made my way to Dougan (my sophomore dorm).  Feeling caught up in the moment, and a little tipsy, I went to see if the door was unlocked.  It was.  Before I knew it, I was on the second floor of Dougan looking at my old mod.  (Note: The photos here are from when I took the others back later in the evening, and others during the reception.  I love that last photo of the boys!)

During the reception Mike and Jay introduced the game Bros Icing Bros  to us ladies.  Unfortunately for him, Rook was the likely victim of the game, which continued throughout the night.  Icings 2 & 3 were mastered and conquered by me and Ashley, respectively.  After all of the years and shit that we put up with, this is how we finally got the respect of Mike and Jay.  

Bros Icing Bros: Icing #1 (Photos 1-3, at reception).

Icing #2 (Photo 4, at reception). Icing #3 (Photo 5, at Tony’s). 

 

Saturday Night: After venturing to Dougan for a trip down memory lane (pictures above), we hiked through East Green, up Morton Hill, through College Green, until we came upon Court Street.  The walk itself was a trip down memory lane.  How many times did I make that walk- sober and not-sober? 

I love the intersection of Court & Union.  It was love at first sight for me when I first came upon it during my orientation back on July 18, 2003.  There’s a diagonal crosswalk in that small little town.  I cannot remember seeing another- even here in Chicago.  Sometimes I’ll create my own in this one intersection on the back streets in my neighborhood, always thinking of Athens when I do…but it’s not as special.  There’s only one diagonal crosswalk that I love. 

We made our way to Tony’s, beginning the Court Street Adventure- Night #2 off with a Tony’s Hot Nut, and then a water and coffee for me.  The lovely bride and groom joined us for a nightcap, which was quite a site to see as Renee was still in her gown.

I swear I wasn’t that drunk.  I promise you.  I remember leaving Tony’s and running into another bridal party, which I just so happened to know the groom!  (Long story.)  After that little occurence, the group went veered off as Mike, Ashley and I headed for some substance at Goodfellas.  Then, I believe, we walked down to Courtside but with 2 o’clock approaching we decided to call it a night too.  Not being able to reach the 1 cab in Athens (okay, there are 2 cabs total), I was able to talk the kids into walking to the hotel (approx. 20 minutes).  That was the best decision that we made.  It was a walk that the three of us will never forget.  Nothing of significance happened,  other than Ashley and Mike deciding to call and order D.P.Dough when Avalanche was closed.  Didn’t we just have Goodfellas?  My mistake. 

Anyways, back to the walk, words cannot describe how remarkable it was.  Ashley pointed out that we can see the stars”, something that none of us typically see in our cities.  As funny as it sounded at the time, she was right.  There was something so peaceful about that walk home.  I, myself, was ‘me’ in that moment.  It’s something I am always searching to find (again); something that I always seem to naturally find when I’m back in Athens.  I cannot describe it but know what it is because of how I feel when it’s there, within me.  I hate to say it, but ‘it’ is there when I’m around (a) certain people too- which is why I am still hoping to find/reconnect with ‘it’ again. 

Sunday Morning: I won’t say too much about the morning because I hate saying goodbye to friends and to Athens.  We headed back up to Court Street for brunch at Bagel Street and one last stop at Donkey for much-needed caffeine for the ride home.  Because of the bus schedule in Columbus, I decided to drive back with Ashley, Jay, and Mike to Cleveland and take Megabus back to Chicago from there that evening.  (Yes, it was a long day.)  We said our goodbyes to Meghann and Ryan before making our way to the car. 

Much to my own surprise, I handled everything fairly well.  No breakdowns.  No tears.  No depressing heart-to-hearts.  I love Athens.  I always will.  But there’s no place for me there anymore.  As an alum told me once, while I was still in school, “Athens isn’t about the place, it’s about the people.”  Without all my friends there, it’s not just my Athens anymore.  My old dorm, house, and apartment are still there, as well as my favorite bars and special spots; however, without the people who made OU so unforgettable for me, they’re just mere buildings and landmarks. 

Let me just say this…not like you have a choice.  This was probably the 2-3 time in Athens that there was no chance of Casey being there.  Every other time I ventured back, he was at least enrolled at OU and therefore he could very well be there.  But this time, knowing that there was absolutely no chance of him being there (especially with him residing in Denver now), I found myself wondering, what if he had never been there at all?  How different would my life be?  He is part of my Athens, the Athens I hold near and dear to my heart.  Although I wish he played a different role in my Athens story, and the ending was more happily ever after than maybe, someday we’ll see each other again, I am glad that he was part of my life, and in a way still is.  And since I’m down-right exhausted, I can get away saying this: If he wasn’t meant to be in my life for a serendipital reason, then heaven help me, I honestly have no idea what the reason could be. 

On that note, I’ll finish this post by saying: Athens, once again, you made me fall more in love with you.  I’m not sure how you continue to capture my heart, but I promise that no matter how far I go nor how many cities I see, you will always be ‘the one’ for me. 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The title of this post comes from Boston’s More than a Feeling.  And here’s the Scrubs’ version of More than a Feeling, that is appropriately dedicated to the Turk & JD of my life, my former roomates/overindulgent airbanders/ forever friends, Mike & Jay.

athens to chicago in twelve hours   Leave a comment

I woke up in love Athens, OH and very, very soon I will be going to bed in Chicago.  I finally arrived home after almost 12 hours of being on the road and it feels almost as A.MAY.ZING. to be lying in my bed right now as this weekend was.  Almost A.MAY.ZING. but nowhere near as much so.  Athens, OH…it feels like home.  Different, but the same.  I’ll share many more details in the coming days.  I really need to go to bed because tomorrow proves to me be a very busy day, but fortunately no Skokie for me. 

Congratulations to Bill and Renee!  And a special thank you to my friends, Ashley, Mike, Jay, Meghann, Ryan, and Steve (aka Rook, or Snooki) for making this weekend so memorable.  It was great to be home with you.  Also, thank you to Jen, Joe, and Elise for spending time with me in Columbus on Friday. 

P.S. So I had this brilliant idea on the ride home today…an idea marked by exhaustion, I’m sure.  However, it was a good one and I’m only mentioning it on here to remind myself to g0 forth with this little plan.  It really is a favor, and one that can actually benefit the person being asked to perform the favor more than me; however it requires me to place the initial request.  Okay, I’ll spare you from listening to my rambles even more.

Good night.

you’ll be the prince and i’ll be the princess. it’s a love story, baby just say yes.   4 comments

The Princess has officially married her Prince Charming.  The Princess, formerly known as Kristin Young, is now Mrs. Kristin Comyns.  Congratulations to Kristin and Jim Comyns!  What an A.MAY.ZING. wedding!  Now Kristin is one of my best friends and I have known Jim for 3 years now, so of course it meant a lot to me to be celebrating their wedding day, but I was also fortunate to be surrounded by several friends that made their wedding extra special for us all.

Let’s start at the beginning since I wasn’t able to write much during my weekend trip to my beloved Columbus, Ohio.  I landed in Columbus around 7 am on Friday morning and headed to my landing post (Starbucks) for the day.  As planned I had lunch with Jen (Morel) at Tip Top in downtown Columbus.  Perfect lunch of Spicy Corn Chowder, House Salad, and Sweet Potato Fries…not to mention wonderful company.  I love spending time with Jen so much!  Oh and she gave me this little surprise gift.  How perfect is this!!  She found it at TJ Maxx in Columbus, but it’s a Chicago Starbucks bear.  I’m going to name him Oscar because of (Oscar) Wilde’s- the first bar we went to when then Morels were in town last week.

Jen dropped me back off at Starbucks to work the rest of the afternoon; however, shortly after the infamous Sleepy Sean (Sean O’Neill) stopped by for a visit.  So, yeah.  Sleepy Sean.  Where do I even begin?  I’ve always said that he just reminds me of (his own) cartoon character.  Doesn’t The Nonsensical Adventures of Sleepy Sean sounds like a show that captivates your attention?  (My creative juices aren’t flowing right now due to lack of sleep last night so this will have to do.)  On that note, he’s a story for another time…but a great guy nonetheless.

After Sleepy’s always attention-grabbing exit, (which was more low-key than those in his younger days at OU), I got a few hours of work in with some Columbus/Ohio friends calling in between.  Eventually Jen (MacPherson) swung by to pick me up, and off to Easton we went.  Oh Easton, how I miss thee.  After taking advantage of Starbuck’s half-price Happy Hour and loading up on some much-needed caffeinated happiness, we ran around to a few stores.  It was at Macy’s where I spotted ‘the dress’.  Now I brought a total of four dresses with me on Megabus, pretty certain that the strapless pink one was ago- especially after getting approval from Alisha and Darlene.  However, when I spotted this one, I just knew.  And when I tried it on, no other dress existed.  It was cute and, more importantly, comfortable.  Perfect for a wedding and all-night reception.  Not only that but it went perfect with the silver shoes that I needed to break in for Julie’s wedding next weekend.  AND, it has pockets!  Love love love it.  I included this photo of me with the lovely bride so you could see the back.  And for more support and comfort, I opted for the straps on my bra.  So yeah, I figured if Carrie Bradshaw can pull it off, then why can’t I?  No honestly, I just didn’t want to figit with it all day so if the bra straps bother you then so be it.

Shortly after purchasing the dress, my friend, Jacquie, made her way up to the renowned outdoor shopping center.  The other Jackie was there with her boyfriend, Dan, so we planned to have dinner at The Cheesecake Factory.  Jackie and Dan ended up eating so us three girls were on our own.  It worked out well because I haven’t see Jacquie since moving and I adore her.  She’s an OU alum too, but I didn’t meet her until we were both living in Columbus (through my former roommate, Tony).  Jacquie is also a Child Life Specialist, and the one responsible for introducing m to that wonderful career. 

We had a great dinner just catching up and I hope that if I move back to Columbus, that she’s still there.

After dinner Jen and I headed back to her parents’ house, which was my home for the weekend…and actually my second home when I was living in C-bus two years ago.  Her parents are A.MAY.ZING. and I miss them so much!  Somehow I hadn’t seen Mrs. MacPherson since I moved to Chicago, and I only saw Mr. MacPherson a few weeks ago by chance.  I had a great time chatting with them and drinking Mr. Mac’s infamous homemade red wine.  (Delicioso.)  After a glass of wine with the Macs, Jen and I poured ourselves another and headed to the hot tub which proved to be the perfect ending to a perfect day.  Good friend, glasses of wine, and a hot tub!  I am a lucky girl.

And yes, with one of my best friend’s wedding the next day, the inevitable question, “If you were to marry someone tomorrow, who would it be?” did get asked and answered.  Blame it on the alcohol.  I believe we also put in 27 Dresses before bed, but I believe I only lasted ten minutes.  (Don’t worry, we watched it on Sunday night.)

We woke up to the wonderful aroma of Mrs. Mac’s homemade breakfast.  She is so A.MAY.ZING.  We watched last week’s Grey’s and ate our omelets.  (PS. Grey’s was fantastic and I will be watching it again soon…and either quoting and/or writing about it on this blog.)  After having a little lazy time, we ran out to (I heart) Meijer for little shopping, stopping at Smoothie King before heading back.  Before I knew it, I was rushing to get ready…and a little stressed.  Fortunately everything worked out and once Jen’s date, Neil, we had a quick photo shoot (I told you Mrs. Mac is fantastic and multi-talented.) before heading out to Worthington. 

The wedding was beautiful.  The bride was beautiful.  It was just such a wonderful ceremony.  Jim and Kristin seemed so happy.  And yes, being brainwashed by 27 Dresses, I found myself looking to see Jim’s expression when Kristin entered into view.  She was so stunning! 

I’m only admitting this because I don’t see the shame in it.  Yes, I got a little teary-eyed at times.  It was just really special for me to see them both so happy.  And additionally, during the ceremony I did find myself imagining what it would be like to get married…maybe/possibly even imagining a certain groom.  Maybe…

After the ceremony we headed down the road for the reception.  It was there that I met up with my faux-date for the evening, Charlie, who is a good friend of Jim’s.  I hadn’t seen Charlie nor his friend, Sean since I moved to Chicago and it was good to catch up with them.  Jackie and Dan, Jen and Neil, and Sean’s girlfriend were also at the table.  Here are photos of the others in case you are interested.  That’s Jen and Neill in the first photo, and Jackie and her beau in the second. 

We chatted and had our first drink (drinks for Jackie and Dan) before the bridal party made their way into the reception.  It was so adorable.  They came into the theme from the Price is Right, with Mr. and Mrs. Young beginning the mayhem.  Mrs. Young was so happy and just kept jumping.  I love her so much!  (That’s them in the photo on the right, by the way.)

After the others made their entrance, including my beautiful bridesmaids, Sarah and Ruth, the bride and groom made their way in the reception hall.  I love that I was able to capture their happiness in this photo because they were both radiating the entire day.  Just writing that gives me the chills.  (Not kidding.) 

After thanking everyone for coming, Jim’s best man, Jimmy took over the mic and gave a little speech for the couple.  And then it was the A.MAY.ZING. Maid of Honor’s turn.  Now I could say so much about Ruth but in essence she is like a Big Sister/ Inspiration to me.  She has that strong personality, but a huge, caring heart.  And this was evident in her speech.  It was wonderful.  What started off as good old-fashioned fun and slight humor, with Ruth putting on this fireman’s cap and having the bridal party chant, “The Ruth, the Ruth, the Ruth is on fire,” soon turned into a tear-jerker as she expressed her love and happiness for her best friend and Princess, Kristin, and her Prince. 

Seriously, I love my friends!  In Pink’s song Glitter in the Air, there’s this one part that goes- Have you ever wished for an endless night.  Well, that’s how I felt about Kristin and Jim’s wedding.  It was just such a special night for us all, and seeing them so happy was enough to make us all want this night to continue forever.  So many memories with such special people.  I mean EVERYONE was in good spirits.  Heck, we even danced to the Electric Slide and Ricky Martin’s Livin La Vida Loca. 

Just as the weekend, this night is a little blurry.  Sure there was alcohol…I mean afterall it was Jim’s and an OU girl’s wedding…but the night was just so much fun that it went by so quickly. 

Their wedding song was Then by Brad Paisley.  And just like on Saturday night, I have the chills just listening to this song now.  What a great song.  Knowing them, I think this was the perfect wedding song for their courtship and future.  He loves that girl so much.  As her friend, that’s all you can ask for.  Someone to love your friend almost as much as you do. 

How do you choose a wedding song anyways?  I mean their love for country music makes me feel like this was a shoe-in, but there are so many options out there.  For instance, IF I was to marry a certain someone one day, two options play in my mind right now…God Blessed the Broken Road (Rascal Flatts or Carrie Underwood version) or At Last (Etta James).  Sorry, I got caught up in the moment.  Moving on….let’s talk about…

SHOTS!  Captain Morgan Shots to be exact.  So I really have no idea how this happened, but all of a sudden the DJ or Jim are making some announcement saying that if anyone wants to take part in the largest group shot of Captain Morgan for the Guinness Book of World Records to come onto the dance floor.  Now at first it was pretty much Jim, Kristin, us girls, and other friends and family members…but before I knew it, well about 80% of the attendees were clasping shots of Captain and trying to stand on one leg.  I have video proof, or at least my version of it, but you may just have to go to my 20sb or Facebook page to see it instead since this doesn’t want to upload through here. 

Spirits were running even higher than before after that.  People were dancing left and right to niece and flower girl, Megan, had a blast to.  Oh to be young again!  And songs such as Down, Shout, Cupid Shuffle, and Jump, Jump– which Jim’s apparently Charlie is a Michael Jackson aficionado and made his way to the dance floor after encouragement from Sean and Jim. 

And then, the ‘clever’ DJ spun a semi-familiar tune called Single Ladiesmaybe you’ve heard of it?   Before we could grasp it, the madness of the bouquet toss was upon us.  Jen, Sarah, Ruth, Jackie, Christie, and I made our way to the dance floor, standing behind the three younger girls that were there.  Thank goodness Kristin knows better about her dear single friends (and the unlikelihood that any of us were next…atleast not Ruth nor I) and so she aimed right for the little girls. 

The same was the case for the garter toss, with Jim aiming right for his ring bearer/ nephew, who actually slid to catch it.  Those the highlight of this moment was when Kristin’s older brother, Matt, came over to a gleeful Jim- as his hands were ready to assume the position- and did the I’m watching you/ Barney Stinson move. 

After taking a short break to rest my high-heeledd feet, I was immediately summoned to the dance floor with the dedicated of Murder on the Dance Floor to the “OU Girls”.  This is one of the songs that we enjoyed during our OU days and made it on The Pub Mix (Kristin’s cd).  I love these girls so much!!

In between songs, Anna (Kristin’s cousin) took to the mic to recite a rap for Kristin and Jim.  Anna is wonderful and rap was filled with humor, sentiment, and lots of love for her Big Sis. 

After all of these upbeat songs and moments, it was time to slow it down.  I found this to be such a lovely moment actually.  (And I cannot remember the song right now, but it may have been something by Rascal Flatts.  Drawing a blank.)  So the DJ invited all of the married couples to join the new Mr. and Mrs. Comyns on the dance floor.  After a few minutes, he would dismiss all couples that have been married less than X amount of years until the last couple remained.  Being the single girl that I am, I loved every moment of this.  And not only that, but during the song I had a great conversation about dating, love, and marriage with Charlie, who is also single.  Anyways here are a few of my favorite couples that took to the dance floor. 

Carrie and Ben Wolfe.  They’ve been married for almost 3 years (I believe), but have been together since I met them through Kristin, Ruth, Sarah, and Jackie back in my OU days.  They just mesh so well and I really enjoy seeing them.  Hoping to see them in Chicago for a weekend getaway soon!

And here are the proud mother and father of the beautiful bride, Alan and Cindy Young.  Much like the MacPhersons and the Cooks- as well as others- Mr. and Mrs. Young have welcomed me into their family.  I actually had a great talk with this lovely couple later on in the evening at the hotel bar about their own love story.  In short, they went to high school together and Mrs. Young thought Mr. Young was a prick!  (Love it.)  However once she got to know him she immediately realized her mistake and the rest is history. I believe they’ve been married over 40 years and they still look at each other with love in their eyes.  It’s so beautiful.  (Once again, I have chills typing this.)

 Just to share more about my likes and who I am, I love LOVE.  Sure, I can be called a hopeless romantic, but it’s not just that.  I love hearing other people’s love stories: how they met, how they fell in love, their engagement story, and how they knew the other was “The One.”

Back to reality… the reception was nearly ending but that wasn’t the end of the night for us.  Being the Designated Driver, Jen and Neil were fine with participating in after-hours at the hotel bar.  After a little miscommunication and convincing from the always charming groom, we were able to get the bar to stay open til 2 am.  Poor girl ended up being the only bartender and I hope that they tipped her well.  By that time in the night, not too many people were still sober besides me, but I had a ball AND remember all of  it too, including this moment WFT moment with the lovely Anna and her cousin.  As Anna posted on my Facebook wall, most likely with a hangover, “Mulch anyone?”  Only you, Anna. 

People started stumbling up to their hotel rooms and I escorted a drunk and tired Maid of Honor to hers.  Shortly after that the groom announced, “Wife, it’s time for bed.”  Love it.  Doesn’t that make you want to be a wife yourself? 

After deciding that there was no way Jim was going to be patient enough to unbutton all of her dress buttons, Sarah and I manned-up and went with the lovely bride and groom up to their hotel groom…and of course Jim made a comment about getting married and taking three girls to bed.  (He was too tired to make the comment too inappropriate.)  You know it was kinda cool having that moment with Kristin at the end of the night; however, as soon as we were done helping her undo the buttons, Sarah and I sprinted out of the room. 

We said our goodbyes and drove back to Jen’s parents’ house for the night.  It was 3:30 am by the time I got into my sweats and I was obviously ready for bed, but God had other plans in store for me.  Jen got a bit emotional.  Now she was embarrassed and kept apologizing, but I tried to reassure her that it was fine.  Afterall I’ve been there before…trust me. 

Actually, while I wish she wasn’t upset in the first place, I was so happy to be able to be there for my friend in person.  That’s it, Chicago.  See ya!  I’m moving back.

Anyways, I’m sure you know what our topic of discussion was since we were two single girls that just attended a beautiful wedding.  In essence,  Jen and I had a great little heart-to-heart about boys, love, and all that messy stuff in between.  Being sober and wanting to assure her that I was there to listen, I found myself being very honest about my own feelings.  Now I’m only sharing this because it was a revelation for me- the me that tends to keep feelings inside, especially when it comes to boys and love.  Here is the gist of what I said to my dear friend:

Jen, I have been single for a long time and a day has yet to pass when I don’t have a moment or many moments of wanting the fantasy.  As happy as I am for Kristin and Julie, I of course wish that I was engaged to the love of my life too.  But the reality is that it’s not my turn yet.  Sure I have bad days where I think it’s never going to be me, but I try my best to stay positive and remind myself that it will…because I deserve it.  And so do you.  I’ve been in love with someone for over 6 years now and I think about him more than I want to admit.  I hate doing so but it hurts more not to think about him.  Every part of me wishes that I can move on once and for all, but there’s always that part of me that believes that he’s the one for me- no matter how many people tell me that I’m foolish for thinking so. 

You know yourself best (as Alisha said to me), so you are the only one that will ever fully understand who you love and how you feel.  So don’t let others tell you otherwise or make you question what you feel.  And just know that I’ll always be there to listen whenever you need someone to talk to.  Just don’t stop believing because you deserve love.

Unfortunately my body doesn’t know how to sleep in, even when I don’t go to bed until 4 am, and I woke up at 7 am.  Fortunately after a shower and catch-up call with my mom, I was able to get another hour of sleep.  Being as wonderful as ever, Mrs. MacPherson’s homemade breakfast drew us downstairs, where we watched some TV before Neil woke up.  Afterwards we got ready to meet Jen’s friend, Kelly, to see Letters to JulietI think I wrote enough here so I’ll save my comments for another day.  Following the movie, Jen and I headed over to Mass.  Jen had Youth Group immediately after, so I took advantage of that time and ran a few errands.  We then headed back for Mrs. Mac’s baked ziti and watched 27 Dresses until it was time to leave for my departing Megabus…which put an end to this wonderful weekend in Columbus.

Weddings are so bittersweet, but I have to say that other than a few moments of wonder “what if” and daydreaming about a certain boy or two, I was really okay with my single status.  I was surrounded by so much love this weekend and truthfully I’m just so blessed to have what I have.  My only wish is that they all came back to Chicago with me…but maybe I’ll be back in Columbus with them (soon).  Mr. MacPherson even asked the inevitable question, “So when are you moving back?”

I wish I knew the answer to that….and if I am.  Thanks for an A.MAY.ZING. weekend, Columbus.  I miss you!

walking in wrigley   4 comments

To get the full effect of this post, you need to be like me and have the song, Walking in Memphis, playing in your head.  The lyrics may not be 100% applicable, but I kept hearing the chorus play over and over again.

I woke up early this morning to get a workout in before meeting a high school friend, Stef, for brunch.  Stef has been living in Chicago for 4 years, which I discovered through Facebook when I first moved here; however, we’d only communicated over email a few times since then. It wasn’t until my mom ran into her back in Hampton (my hometown in Pittsburgh, PA) that we finally made concrete plans to meet up.  My mom and her had a great conversation, only to realize that Stef and I have been going through many of the same things- ie. pros and cons about life as a twentysomething year old, single female in The Windy City.  Anyways, Stef happened to catch en episode of the new show, Chicago’s Best, and discovered Hearty Boys in Lakeview/Boystown at 3819 N. Broadway.  I got the Lemon Berry Cous Cous (A little too sweet, but wonderful.  Served with fresh fruit and yogurt.) and Stef had the Morning Shepard’s Pie and Roasted Pear Bellini. Check out Hearty Boys for yourself at http://heartyboys.com/hearty/index.html.

I love what Steve the owner says on the video: People are freaks about brunch. Yes sir!  I could eat brunch food at any time during the day.

Stef and I had a good time catching up over our delicious brunch, and I really think this is the beginning of many future brunches and hangout sessions with her.  As I said over brunch, in lieu of our conversation, it’s not easy being a young single female in this city.  Like my parents, hers put pressure on her to ‘make friends’ and do not understand what it’s really like to live here.  Honestly, for all of you tourists who love Chi-town, keep it that way!  Because once you move here, it’s an entirely different place.

After brunch I decided to make the best of a gorgeous Sunday morning, and since I was in the neighborhood already, I headed over to Wrigley Field to take some photos and enjoy the warm weather.  Oh by the way, I should mention that there was a Cubs’ home game.

This is the first site of Wrigley Field that I saw, with the El just so happening to be running through my view at the time.  As I got closer to the stadium I was surrounded by Cubs fans.  For those of you who have never been to Wrigley Field, it is perfectly implanted into the middle of a neighborhood (Lakeview/ Wrigleyville).  To paint a visual, walking through the neighborhood always seems to remind me of the the Short North/ Victorian Village neighborhood I lived in back in Columbus, OH.  It’s a fairly residential area for Chicago, but then all of a sudden there is one of the most famous and popular MLB stadiums.

While the history of Wrigley Field and enjoyment of Wrigleyville’s bar scene, I cannot find the words to fully describe the atmosphere around Wrigleyville on a Cubs’ home game day.  It’s magical. Especially right now at the beginning of the season on a gorgeous day like today.  It’s moments like these when 1) I love living in Chicago; and 2) It feels like home to me.

I spent about an hour walking around the stadium taking photos (some for my dad), browsing around the Cubs’ stores (no purchases made due to current financial woes), and interacting with fans and vendors. (One vendor called me ‘beautiful’ and another said ‘my day is better now’ after responding to his hello…yes, both were far from my ‘type’, but not homeless so I guess this counts as getting hit on.  Unless they were drunk.)

I really could have spend all day walking around and taking photos, but I decided it was best to head back to my apartment.  It’s about a 20 minute walk from Wrigley, and I opted to explore unfamiliar streets in hopes of discovering new things and places…making me feel more comfortable with my neighborhood.  It’s funny.  I’ve been here for 18 months now and there is so much to explore!  I realize that after last weekend’s adventures with Julie, Laura, and Morgan, and it’s days like today where I’ve acted upon that thought instead of thinking.  This is evidence that the dreamer has become a ‘doer’.

Last summer I applied for a job in Columbus and was 99% sure that I would move back if offered the position.  (Which I wasn’t.)   However, (literally) during the final interview I discovered that I was ready to move back and/or I wasn’t ready to leave Chicago.  It’s been almost a year and I know that ‘that feeling’ was more than just instinct.  As I said to my mom this weekend, I can see myself moving back to Columbus one day, but not today.  Even though my life is far from perfect, I do believe that I’m where I need to be.  For some reason, Chicago is helping me grow in ways that I never even knew were possible.  As my mom said,  and I love her for recognizing this, “You wouldn’t be able to grow like this if you were in Columbus.” She’s right.  I compared Columbus to Kent State- where I went to college my freshman year (meeting Julie).  At Kent & Columbus, I was in my comfort zone (in multiple ways); however, I wasn’t really challenged.  I am someone who needs to be challenged. Chicago challenges me every day, and that’s what is helping me grow- stronger and braver- and become who I’m capable of being.

That makes me think of this graphic that Adriana emailed me last fall/winter, in the beginning of what has become a beautiful friendship.

You are where you are because that’s where you need to be.  And if you need to move on, you’ll move on.

I have this hanging up at my desk at work and I cannot tell you how many times I really look at it to ease my anxiety/disgust.  I hope it provides you the same comfort that it provides me.

On my walk back to the apartment, I thought of Alisha and how great it would be to explore the city with her- giving her the opportunity to take photos (which is her hobby and talent).  Actually, when I got home I decided to invite her and her family/friends to Chicago this summer and hopefully we can figure out a weekend that works for them.  I also saw a guy who in the distance resembled Casey.  I used to have such a difficult time in a situation like this, but instead of looking awhile (out of discomfort/pain) I kept looking.  He is part of the person I was and still am…and for that I will always be grateful.  Last year it was so painful, but here I am today letting go of something I deemed impossible for the last 6.5 years.  Writing this now, I can finally say that I’m letting myself live and (trying to) love again- and let someone love me.




about last weekend: girls just wanna have fun (part 4)   1 comment

Hangover.  That’s what the five girls in the hotel room in downtown Columbus were experience on the morning of Saturday, April 10th.  For some reason, we woke up around 7:30 – 8:00 am and the madness began a little bit after.  Okay, maybe some of us/them were still drunk because it was it was a complete shit-show for the next few minutes.  There’s never a dull moment with these girls.  And out of respect, I won’t go into details- even though I doubt they’d even care. 

We showered, got dressed, and cleaned up the hotel room before heading out to grab some breakfast up at Easton.  Sarah, being Sarah, was craving McDonald’s so she headed that way why Jackie dropped me off at Starbucks (of course) before we drove up to one of our favorite places.  Apparently the girls wanted burgers at 11 am so we headed over to Red Robin with Kristin and Ruth.  (Sarah already ate so she went shopping instead.)  After ordering our meals, the quote of the morning belonged to Jackie- much to our surprise.  “Can I order a beer?” (Barf.)  Prompting Ruth to ask, “Can I get one too?”  (Barf again.)  I had to take a photo of this, which Kristin in the background making the expression that I was feeling. 

Breakfast was good, but being a breakfast food kinda girl I would have preferred Bob Evans over the grease.  Ruth had to get back to Lancaster for family photos and Kristin was ready for a nap, so Jackie, Sarah, and I headed up for some shopping at Polaris (a mall in Westerville- near Julie’s parents’ house).  We spent awhile in Forever XXI before being shopped out and decided to head to L-Town ourselves. 

Sarah had to get to her bridesmaid dress fitting (for Kristin’s wedding), leaving Jackie and I to fend for ourselves.  So what did we do for our date?  Manis and Pedis at the ever-so-lovely Lancaster Mall.  While waiting for our walk-in appointment, I dragged Jackie over to Spencers.  Jackpot!  I found so much stuff for Julie’s upcoming Bachelorette Party that I was hosting in a week (at the time…now it’s in 3 days!).  I should say that Julie is definitely a girl-next-door, Christian girl so this Bachelorette Party is definitely Rated G- maybe a bit PG since alcohol could/most likely will end up playing a role.

After our extremely relaxing mani (for me) and pedi (for Jackie), we ran to Meijer (I heart Meijer) to pick up some chips and guacamole (I heart guac) for the cookout at Ruth’s house that her parents were hosting for us and their family.  Instead of indulging you in all of the details, I’ll just say this: Ruth’s older brothers (who both have kids) were trashed.  Apparently they finished a bottle of Grey Goose in two hours.  At first they were very entertaining, but then it got to be too much.  I enjoyed my time with her family, especially being able to spend some time with her nephews and extremely adorable niece.  Baby fever continued.

We ate and hung out for a bit, but then Carrie drove me back to her house to shower and get ready for  the night out at Cricket’s.  I really want to tell you all about Cricket’s and our infamous nights there, but I could go on all night.  Instead I’ll give a brief description by saying that it is (was) the bar to be at in L-Town and the location of many late nights (including one ending at 5 am with the sun coming out…not kidding…it was classic.)  If those walls could talk…

Unlike many other nights, this Saturday was an extremely low-key night Cricket’s, which was just what we needed.  We were all so tired from the previous night and tomorrow was the Bridal Shower so we had a busy day.  But we still stayed at Cricket’s for awhile, but really just enjoyed some great conversation and girl time (with Ben, Carrie’s husband).  Cricket’s was empty, so Matt (manager & Kristin’s long-lost crush) made his way over to our table frequently.  In my opinion, he’s a good guy, but I know Ruth has her own opinion.  After talking to Matt about the infamous Brave Bull shots that we first had two years ago, he made them for us- all of us.  In fact, he sent them over on a paddle with our server.

Now I honestly don’t know the whole story, nor am I sure I want to, but apparently L-Towners/loyal Cricketers enjoy using the paddle and/or spatula in that bar (?).  I’ve witnessed it on a few occasions, but I absolutely have no idea how it got started.  Oh well.  We stayed until about 1:30 am or so before Jackie, Ruth and I got dropped off at Ruth’s parents’ house.  We had every intention on going in the hot tub when Sarah got there, but after putting our pjs on…yeah, it was bed time instead.  Before going to bed though I had a great conversation with Ruth…one that I’d be looking forward to.  See, Ruth had lived in Chicago during grad school and moved (from Chi-town) for a position with the Air Force shortly before I relocated.  (Bummer.) 

I’ve communicated with Ruth since moving here and been open about how difficult the adjustment has been and my anxieties about living here.  It was comforting to hear Ruth say that she experienced many of the same issues when she came here, and that it took her about a year (or more) to really feel okay being in Chicago.  I wish she still lived here.  Like many of my other friends, gives me unconditional love and support.  Her strength makes me strive to be stronger.  In fact, so every time Ruth would come back to Lancaster/Columbus while she lived in Chicago, I’d always tell her how I admired her for moving to a new, big city by herself.  I’d say, “I wish I could do that.”  Well, it’s because of her that I did do it and I’m here, in Chicago, now.  So truly, thank you, Ruth. 

I woke up Sunday morning on Ruth’s parents’ couch.  Jackie was showering so I joined the Sharp ladies in a conversation.  While Ruth got ready, I had an wonderful conversation with her mom.  We talked a lot of things in general, but got into this great conversation about mothers/daughters and how much she misses Ruth- being that she lives in San Fran right now.  Her mom even teared up.  The whole time I thought about my mom, and how much I miss living near her.

Sarah eventually came to pick me up to run errands before Kristin’s shower.  We ran to Walmart, picking up TP for a shower game.  By the time we got to Kristin’s parents house, her family was already there setting up…and to my surprise, Jim was there too!  I hadn’t seen him since I moved.  Let me rewind.  While living in Columbus, I spent a lot of weekend nights out with Kristin and Jim, and about 1-2 per month Kristin and I would go visit Jim at his restaurant, Tria.  I’ll stop from going on a trip down memory lane for now.

Jim and the men headed out for beer…I mean golf…leaving us ladies to have some fun of our own.  The Young’s basement was transformed into an elegant party fit for the princess herself.  She even had a throne!!  It looked gorgeous and added a lot of decadence to the shower.  Kristin was in her glory, as was her mom.  There were about 30 women there- family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors.  I’ll spare you from hearing the details of the shower, but let me share some memorable moments.

So this is what the TP was for.  Me and some of the younger attendees (Jim’s niece and family friends) were the victims in the dress the bride game.  It was actually a lot of fun, although my dress didn’t win- but A for effort to Carrie and Christie.  And what about Kristin’s Dolly Parton dress?  (Yes, this was the product of Sarah and Ruth having too much fun with TP.)

Following the game, we headed back inside to allow Kristin to open her gifts.  Now I’m sure you don’t want to read all about that, so I’ll just share a few special ones (that I happen to have photos of). 

So Kristin’s cousin, Anna, who is one of her best friends (and a sophomore at OU), drew a picture of Kristin’s baby, George (her dog).  Kristin immediately teared up, and I think Anna and Mrs. Young may have too.  It was very sweet.

And perhaps the most touching moment, for me, was when Kristin opened this gift from her mother.  It’s a heart-shaped white wicker picnic basket.  There’s a story behind it.  When Kristin and her mom were shopping at the mall one day when Kristin was in middle/high school, she saw this at Things Remembered and fell in love with it.  So Cindy went back and purchased it, waiting until this special occasion to give it to her daughter.  Tear.  I mean how sweet is that?  That is something that I would do…and probably my mom too. 

The party ended shortly after.  Sarah was having dinner with my family, so I headed home with Carrie to spend time with her and Ben before my late night trip on Megabus back to Chi-Town.  I have to say that Carrie and Ben are such a lovely couple.  So gracious, warm, and easy-going people.  I felt like such an inconvenience making them deal with me, but now I know that’s just what friends do.  Sarah arrived back a few hours later and we headed downtown to catch the bus.

Much to our surprise, the bus was there when I arrived.  The weekend was so exhausting, but since I was able to get wi-fi I decided to stay up for awhile and check/respond to email.  However, I finally got my eyes closing and decided it was time for good night.  But the always-adventurous Megabus had different plans for me.  No joke.  At 2 am-ish, we were forced to unboard the bus at a gas station and mosing around like Zombies for at least 30 minutes while they filled the bus up with gas.  Seriously?  We finally got back on, after I downed a whole bag of trail mix.  (I showed the evidence in a previous post, just so I knew it wasn’t a dream.)

The bus arrived in downtown Chi-town on schedule around 6:30 am.  I was exhausted.  And I had to work in 90 minutes.  Knowing that and the fact that my luggage was broken, I hopped in a cab.  And shortly arriving back at my apartment after an A.MAY.ZING. weekend in Columbus, I hit up my favorite Starbucks and chatted with my barista friends…letting them know that I’d be back later for more caffeine.