Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Friends, family, countrymen.

As you may or may not know, Brian and I have finally embarked for several months in South America. While I suppose that there is always the possibility that I´ll write an entry or two on this blog while we're gone, I´ll most likely just be posting on our new travel blog, La Llave Grande. Photos, stories, the occasional video, and an explanation of the name can be found there. And updates will be frequent, I promise!

Here's a video of me petting an iguana.


video

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Brain hurty.

I don't have all that much to say right now, without going into a huge thing about how stressful these last few days are turning out to be before we leave for an amazing trip! Let me just say that I am NOT complaining. I am fully aware that most people do not get to take four-month trips to South America, and that it's going to be outstanding. I just wish it was Monday and whatever I didn't get done just was going to have to be done by someone else! Brian is in the same situation, so when we get home at night (after doing actual work, like "jobs," rather than trip preparation-y stuff like getting malaria pills that, while not necessarily fun, is still pretty exciting), we just whine about all the crap we have to do, wish we had hours just to pore over a guidebook and figure out exactly where we might want to go, feel guilty that we didn't get enough done that day, and fall asleep much too late.

So anyway, here are some really random exciting things:

-Dave and Shannon moved to Chicago over the weekend!! I love them. Even though they have more stuff than God.

- Brittnye has a really cool blog and a while ago she posted about one of her favorite artists, Francine Turk, and then the artist contacted her and wants to meet!

- I get to go to REI tomorrow and buy packing cubes! I think they're going to save my life. These are the kinds of things I get absurdly excited about.

Time to start the final Harry Potter so I don't have to lug that baby on the plane...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

...and then, Susie got married!

I cannot describe to you how much fun I had at Josh and Susie's wedding. My best friend in the whole wide world married an amazing man, surrounded by all my other favorite people, with an awesome soundtrack, at a summer camp!!

That's right! And she looked good.

Many times that weekend I heard people exclaim "How will anyone ever top this?!" And the answer is, they can't. However, they can certainly imitate it. So, to make things easier, I used Josh and Susie's wedding as a model to create my own guide of exactly what to do if you want your wedding to be the awesomest:

- Surround yourself with all of your favorite people, preferably for a whole weekend.


- Hold a competitive event, like the "Josh and Susie Wedding Olympics" held the day before at the camp, to the delight of all the guests. Include physical challenges, beer, and lots of trivia.


- Stuffy rehearsal? Nah! What you want to do is have a rehearsal barbecue, full of delicious food prepared and planned by Zack and Susie's fam.


- Bonfires: Have more than one, first of all. And at them, do things like make s'mores, listen to mandolin, and watch impromptu fire dances.


- Try to have a ketubah signing. I'm trying to figure out how I can do this even though I'm not Jewish, cause it's so cool. You might think it's going to be a quick, legal-ish thing, but everyone present, who think they will cry at the ceremony, will lose it 20 minutes early. (No photos, we were all too busy crying...)

- Make your ceremony super personal and gorgeous. If possible, have your brother play mandolin, and have it officiated by your mom's cousin, who is a cantor and who not only sings beautifully, but makes everyone cry with her personalized, inspiring words.


- Have yummy food!! And an ice cream sundae bar!

- Make the dancing the best EVER. Have a DJ who looks like he's not having fun, only because he's SO SERIOUS about keeping the party going. Groom must do a chair dance, a breakdance, and a spotlight slow dance with his best guy friend. Try to end the night with "Total Eclipse of the Heart," a song so perfect for the moment that everyone on the entire dance floor spontaneously begins a slow interpretive dance, ending in the bride and groom being lifted up by their friends and slowly spun around, symbolizing their love rising above everything, or perhaps they themselves aligning like the moon and the sun in an eclipse. Heh.


Congrats Sus and Josh, I love you both!

Monday, August 20, 2007

First, we went to Vieques...

So we're just back from a long, ridiculously fun, wedding-filled two weeks away. The first leg of our trip began on the beauuuuutiful island of Vieques, a tiny little place that's part of Puerto Rico. Vieques has a turbulent recent history due to the fact that it was used as a U.S. Navy testing site for many years, but thankfully the Navy was protested out a few years ago. Now, even though the island is still dealing with serious after-effects, it is a simply gorgeous, mainly untouched place filled with secluded beaches and wild horses, not to mention the coolest bioluminescent bay ever.

Anyway, that's where we began, for the wedding of Anna and Eoin. I couldn't imagine a more apropos setting and celebration for the most laid back, fun couple ever. The wedding itself was a lovely, heartfelt ceremony on a beach, followed by a reception at an amazing villa on the island. And this was no stuffy reception. The DJ groom and his DJ best friend, not to mention their crazy Irish companions, kept the party going for the entire night, and partway through, everyone threw on their swimsuits and jumped in the pool, MTV Spring Break-style. I always thought destination weddings were small, intimate, quiet affairs, but clearly they don't have to be!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Don't get mad/If I'm laughing/Blame the caffeine...

Thanks, Hot Hot Heat, for articulating how I've felt many times this week! Don't really know what I'm writing about, just seemed like a good time. I should do that more often.

It's been a crazy week, full of late nights and early mornings (because of my new improv class and practice for the upcoming rowing race this weekend, respectively). But you know what wasn't like that? Our vacation in Door County last week! That's right, the Conways have done the globetrotting thing, torn up the Mediterranean, not to mention the East Coast, with cousin fun, uncles' crazy stories, and general zaniness in their various attempts to reiunite as a family. Logically, the next stop for Conway Fest 2007 was...Wisconsin! My aunt and uncle just got a beautiful house by the bay up there, and to celebrate, the seven children in my dad's family and their spouses and offspring descended on the penninsula and took full advantage of beautiful weather, yummy food/wine/beer, outdoor activities, and water. It was one of those vacations where you feel rested all the time, and whatever you choose to do with your day is always the perfect choice. We went up for the 4th of July, but I also celebrated the big 2-6 there (on the 7th), with a cousins-only pontoon ride the day before, and Dad-and-Annie-made pancakes on the actual day. Siiiiiiiiiiighhhhh. Lovely.

Pontooooooon! And Annie's tatooooooo!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Edumacation.

Three years ago, Brian and I were just getting to know each other, going on dinner dates and trying to always look and sound sweet. Something I often forget is that he was also just beginning law school. He was negotiating a new place, bringing home amazingly large textbooks, going to writing seminars, and meeting a sudden new group of friends, all while we were figuring out who we "were." It was a crazy time, now that I think about it.

Know what else is crazy? The fact that two weeks ago, Brian got to put on an enormous, awesome robe and octagonal hat and stroll through a beautiful, tree-filled quad to receive his law degree! He was also given one of those super cool academic hoods (one of few reasons I regret electing not to attend my grad school commencement...). It was all quite exciting. He may always be fairly relaxed about grueling things like law school, but it was not an easy achievement, and I--and many others--are so very proud of him. Now all he has to do is pass the bar (no big), and we are outta here!

Doesn't he look happy?

Congratulations, JD!

Monday, June 04, 2007

It was raining, but he didn't seem to want an umbrella.

This little guy was sitting on the bench at my bus stop this morning.

And he didn't even move over to give me room to sit.




Monday, May 21, 2007

Giraffes riding tricycles.

Andy came to visit this weekend! Among other fun things such as brunch, drinking, and toffee-covered peanuts (in reverse order), I showed him the moped, and he looks nearly as silly on it as Brian!

Speaking of silly:

Lefties with Giant Noggins
or,
Maybe The Best Picture of Us Ever

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I am proud. And exhausted.

Are you in the Chicago area? Do you like theatre? Yes? No? Who cares! Come see our play anyway. It's called Origami Wings, and this is a very bad version of the promo postcard:


When I say "our" I actually mean a group of kids between the ages of 14-18 who may or may not see me as a director, friend, authority figure, or influence of some kind.

In case you don't know, for the last eight months, I have been working at a place called Free Street with my friend Paul, teaching theater and writing to a group of high school students. They were part of a city program that pays high school students to be involved in the arts, which basically means that the students literally get to be working artists well before they will ever realize how ridiculous and unheard of that is. So we eventually wrote a play, which is very cool and, in my opinion, nothing like regular high school theater. We had two shows this weekend, and have three more next weekend, May 24th, 25th and 26th.

Check the website for more details. It's past my bedtime.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Moped Diaries.

One: We got tickets to South America for September! This has long been a plan, but we finally buckled down and made reservations. Chicago to Guayaquil, Ecuador, baby.

Two: In a fit of impulsiveness and spring fever, we bought a moped! It was definitely old, cheap and a great deal from some kid selling it on craigslist, but it runs wonderfully and has already provided hours of fun and entertainment, both to us and to the people on the street who stare and sometimes laugh. Here's what 6'3" Brian looks like on it:

Check out our sweet hog.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ouchie.

Brian and I started rowing this week, me for the first time in about a year and a half, and him for the first time ever. So far we've been practicing indoors on ergometers (rowing machines) on account of rain. It's exciting to begin again.

And we are in pain.



Instrument of torture and occasional fun.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Goodbye Blue Monday.


Kurt Vonnegut, one of my favorite authors, died last night at the age of 84. I wish I could write about him more eloquently. So it goes.

I first read Vonnegut, like many, when I was assigned Slaughterhouse Five in a high school English class. I devoured it, loving that it was funny and political, and had a unique voice and absurd characters (Kilgore Trout, anyone?). I suddenly realized that I shared that love with my father, and that many of Vonnegut's novels, long-ago read and dog-eared, had in fact surrounded me on shelves at home for my entire life. Eventually, his short stories spoke to me too. I adapted one ("The Long Walk to Forever," a tale the writer himself described as "a sickeningly slick love story from The Ladies' Home Journal, God help us") for the stage in college, an experience which led Graham Atkin to talk to me about directing, which in turn made me think seriously for the first time about maybesomehowperhaps pursuing a career that involved theatre in some way.

So I guess Vonnegut influenced me--like countless others--in a lot of ways, some direct, some not so direct. Here, for no particular reason, is one of his drawings of an asshole:

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some reading and re-reading to attend to.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Aaand, the old shelves are back.

It could not have been more like a TV commercial.

Over the weekend, Brian and I got super motivated to overhaul our closet-sized, closetless guest room/office in order to make it an efficient storage and workspace, as well as a place where more than one visitor can stay at a time. We scored a ridiculously nice (like, handcrafted pretty wood) futon on craigslist for 50 bucks, including delivery. We couldn't believe our luck, so we cleared out all the junk that had accumulated in the room, and set to work on our most space-saving task: wall-mounted shelves. which involved multiple hardware store trips for things like toggle bolts, but finally we drilled the massive holes it required and installed the track on the wall that would hold the metal strips and brackets. We sighed and gazed at our new storage with satisfaction.

Anyone who knows me knows that I usually take an absurdly long time to do things like pack, unpack, and organize. So it was incredible that this changeover happened in the space of about a day and a half. I eagerly spent much of my day on Monday going through our crap and deciding the most efficient, user-friendly, and attractive way to arrange books, office supplies, and a printer on our new shelves--of course breaking it all up with the occasional objet d'art. We patted ourselves on the back; how clever are we for utilizing all that untapped vertical space! At one point I put yet another (cute, striped) box on the shelf, stood back, and mused to Brian that I was a little afraid about the load-bearing capacity of the shelves. How did we know how much was too much? The wall is a bit crooked, so how did we know whether wobbliness was normal, or cause for alarm?

"Really, it's fine. It's just that the wall is a tiny bit curved, so it looks weird, but it can definitely take weight. See?" And Brian demonstrated by pressing with just one finger on the bottom shelf, looking at me with an expression of calm certainty. He was right, these things were strong. I once went through a whole year of college with every textbook I owned balanced precariously on several shelves that were mounted into nothing but a thin piece of drywall, so unstable that I dared not breathe on them, and I never had a problem.

My nod of agreement turned into a tiny yelp. We barely had time to lean backward as we were assaulted by a sudden crashing and watched in horror as one side of the shelves collapsed completely. All of our books, files, cute boxes, and printer fell completely off of the wall and landed in a heap on the floor. We stared, panting, at each other and at the earthquake-worthy mess on the ground. I let out a panicky giggle.

I half expected a voice-over to pipe in as we surveyed the damage with confusion. "Got shelves?" or "Need help?" would flash across the screen in front of our helpless expressions, followed by information for businesses or services designed to assist schmucks like us. The next day, we filled the drill holes.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Love in the library.

Audrey and Scott got married last weekend, and the ceremony and reception at the Harold Washington Library were beautiful. Ever since I was a kid I wondered what it would be like to have a wedding there, and this one did it well. The Winter Garden was filled with yummy food, music, and 1000 votive candles.

While reviewing my photos of the evening, I realized that one distinct theme emerged. Not the happy couple, nor the toasts, nor the first dance. These pictures documented, by and large, the fact that Brian had a lot of fun that night. And this is not because I am his girlfriend and like to take pictures of him! No. As you'll see, not only was he in the wedding party looking sharp in a tux, but he also found time to dip his mom:


Dance with the bride (while she's being filmed by wedding paparazzi, or so it seemed by some of their behavior and bright lights):

Grab the groom's ass:


And strike poses like this:


Throughout all of this, of course, we worked on our emerging wedding dance choreography (wherein we make up a new ridiculous dance at every wedding we attend, especially when there's a band playing) and took full advantage of the post-dinner, post-dessert chocolate fountain. We had lots of fun together.


Me encantan las montanas!

We skipped town and went to Vail over St. Patrick's Day weekend...a far cry from dancers, parades, and green beer, but well worth it. We had such a great time once again! I'd never been to Colorado, and was of course blown away by the mountains:


We also definitely felt the need for speed, so Brian and I both got helmets this year.

Hot.

So we skied during the day, all day, then came back for the traditional hot tub and dinner, followed by wildly competitive board games. There were plenty of other antics, several of which involved this jacket, inexplicably left in the rental house:



And then there was this fiasco...

...which was when everyone who was still awake at 3am on our last night attacked those sleeping with all of the weird mountel animals on the wall in our rental house. I, in case you couldn't guess, was one of the ones sleeping (and, incidentally, blindly swatting at that stuffed "jackalope" that my dearest boyfriend is holding close to my face).

So, in conclusion, we had a blast. I needed a little vacation more than I thought, it was 60 degrees and sunny the entire time, and I was inundated with breathtaking views and hilarity at every turn. I can't wait to see where we go next year!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Leading lambs to water...

I've been downloading a fair amount of music lately, and I've come across a lot that I like. I'm no snob, but I have to mention a few. Beirut, for instance, with its gypsy instrumentals behind indie vocals, is incredibly interesting, as is the newest (not that new) Belle and Sebastian album. And you know who else I heart? Mickey Avalon.


If you haven't heard his music, he's this crazy glam-trash-rapper whose lyrics are pretty dirty (sort of like a male Peaches), and as Brian points out, he says his own name a lot, but all that is totally part of his scandalous charm.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Well, hello there.

It's spring...

...and I've been sick of my blog's look for a while. This is only a temporary solution, I think. I need to become better at the technological side to get exactly what I want, but now at least we're not assaulted by all of that blue-green mishmash. Ugh. I'm not sure if I should switch services (to typepad or wordpress or something), or if I should just work a bit harder to learn ways that I can customize and personalize my blog a bit more. Thoughts? Help with html/ideas for easy blog customization? Feel free to leave them in the comments...

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I haven't posted in over a month!

Eek! Does anyone even read this anymore? I apologize, I really do...I just have to make a better effort to post more often, even when I feel like nothing interesting is going on.

I did, however, spend Presidents Day weekend in the Bay Area, visiting with many of my top favorite people ever in the whole wide world. I stayed in Oakland with Dave, Todd, and James, and visited San Franciscans Allie and Lizzie. Todd had a birthday party full of exciting tapas and drinks and music and dancing, and the rest of the weekend I pretty much spent either enjoying a meal or in transit to a meal, which is just the way I like it. I managed to eat homemade tapas, Thai food, gelato, pork chops, French bistro brunch, New Age-y Berkeley food, and Indian food. (That description may have been entirely for Susie Schutt, I'm not sure.) Mmmmmm. And the weather was warm and I walked in Golden Gate park and through the Mission, and jogged in Oakland, happy and sans winter coat. And the best part of all? Sus was there with me! We reunited on the West Coast and had a lovely little tryst. Our long distance relationship is going very well, I must say:

Hetero life partners, 2gether 4eva...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Boxes

Okay, I hope you've seen this. We here have been humming the song for weeks. If you haven't seen it yet, watch it immediately, because it is also very important that you watch this immediately after. That little gem has apparently already been viewed by over a million people, who knows how quickly. Thanks to the lovely Abbey (aka La Palta) for making my week.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Bonne Annee!

Well, hello there. Happy New Year! I have, indeed, been back in town for a week now, but I can't be expected to write a "January" blog post if the 55-degree weather keeps confusing me into thinking it's a different season, right? Clearly, overcoming procrastination was not one of my New Year's resolutions. Whatever.

Anyway, Quebec 2007! First we went to Mont Tremblant to ski for a couple of days, testing out our ski legs and new gear. This here is my favorite picture:


Dramatic, n'est pas? And here's Brian looking wicked hot in his one-piece:



So after an exhilarating (and freezing) two days on the slopes, we set off for a few more days in Montreal, where it is beautiful, full of francophones, and yes, also quite cold:



We did visit the basilica, the art museum, the campus of McGill, and Old Montreal. But in general we spent a great deal of time just walking the city, which was a great way to experience it, and also the perfect reason to stop every twenty minutes for un cafe au lait.



We were even lucky enough to meet a hip Montrealer who worked in a store full of vintage and handmade clothing, and she directed us to two nights of fabulous dinners and a really fun New Year's dance party. Oh, and I must recommend Chez Phillipe, the wonderful bed and breakfast where we stayed and had absurdly good food and pleasant conversation every day. The place is decorated with comfortable, trendy Ikea cuteness and each room is named for the fruit whose color is represented in the paint on the wall. The best part? Our room was called the Mango Room!

So that concludes my short photo description of our lovely little trip. I may be physically back in Chicago, but I'm still mentally somewhere else. It's a good state of mind.