An Instagram Story

This is Cailloux.

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She’s what we like to call a Puerto Rican terrier, or “sata”. It’s an original island breed. They are smart and gorgeous, and the sweetest you’ll ever meet! She’s a rescue, so she’s also fiercely loyal and trusting. Four years ago, we embarked on our first adventure… we moved to Chicago.

She agreed whole heartedly, and traded in the beach fur for a winter coat.

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She didn’t always like them. She didn’t really like the boots either, but she did see squirrels…

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The solitary squirrel, a rare opportunity for Cailloux, and she seized it!

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We fell in love with Chicago, but after 4 years the adventure had to come to an end. And again she was ready to help. (Without opposable thumbs she was more there to provide morale.)

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Trusting as she is, she jumped right in! We moved back to her home country of Puerto Rico for the summer.

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Boxes arrived.

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Long sunny walks started…

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And then, Cailloux’s favorite activity… beach!

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She’s finally back home, she has a big yard.

The point is I’m leaving soon, and this time Cailloux can’t come on the adventure. And I’m going to miss her because she’s a great furry companion. At least, when I was living on my own, I felt less crazy about talking out loud. I wasn’t talking to myself, I was talking to my silent partner. And I’m going to miss her goofy little fur ball.

So, here is a series of very self-indulgent Instagram pictures I took of Cailloux.

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Star Wars and Weekly Potpourri

Did you hear about the tanorexic mom who took her 5-year old daughter to get tanned and gave her 2nd degree burns? What about the grandparents who attached a power wheel car with dog leashes to their SUV and towed their granddaughter around? Yep, those were the headlines of the week. A week that will be book ended by nerds’ favorite holiday: International Star Wars Day.

Get the pun? God, it’s funny. Also, I am including myself in this brigade. I may have been speaking like Yoda for most of the morning, and quoting the movies. (I don’t appreciate your judgement.)

It’s also Cinco de Mayo’s Eve, the sound of mariachis, the smell of tequila and jalapeños fill the air. There is also the anticipation of regret in the air…

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It’s also the first week in May, so in remembrance April here is her story in pictures:

During a lunch break with nowhere in particular to go Laura and I ventured to the French Metra Market. It’s the closest you can get to a Parisian getaway without actually getting on a plane while you’re in the Midwest. We had some lovely tarts (lemon meringue and the other one that all I can remember is MMMMmmmMMMMM.)

Then on the last day of the month I met RACHEL DRACHT!!! Along with the lovely Grief Bacon girls, we heard her read some of her hilarious memoir as well as answer some questions. Then she signed my book, I totally lost my cool, and enjoyed some drinks and jokes with the Baconettes.

OK, so this picture is from yesterday (and I look really tired) but it was so much fun! It’s the last days of Alexis in Chicago, and we need to make the most of them! So, we first had dinner at Adobo in Old Town (he had a Margarita craving) and then on to Benchmark for great people-watching.

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Soon to be updated with Wedding #3.

The Things You Do To Me, Spring

Blame it on the sudden furor of Pinterest or the many shows on HGTV my mother made me watch (that’s right it always goes back to blaming the parents) but my subconscious has suddenly re-awakened my need for DIY projects.

Most of the blame might actually fall on the lovely sunny days we’ve had in Chicago, and the fact that Alyson and I live in a garden level apartment. That’s right, the change in the air has made me… optimistic and bright! Ugh, Pollyanna is unleashed again! I spent an hour an a half at Home Depot choosing colors, flowers, and other DIY necessities. (I could’ve spent more time, but I was hungry, and I calculated how much money I was actually about to spend. I am no longer aloud inside Home Depot without supervision… same thing happened with Sephora, Blick, and Staples/Office Depot.)

Some of my Home Depot loot.

Funny story: Back hurts miserably because we found out that the tree is all shallow roots followed by a pretty sweet layer of stone. Can’t dig very deep… flowers ended up in outdoor pots. Hands got dirty, job well done. (I’m only showing the pretty pics on the blog, though – I don’t sweat. Or there’s no evidence of it, at least.)

I also got some flowers for inside the apartment. I got really into “The Secret Garden” when I was young and have been unable to shake off the fascination with English gardens.

AH, darn literature (*shaking fist in the air*)

After shopping, cleaning, planning, and planting I cooked myself a nice lunch. Well-deserved, may I add, and with those gorgeous flowers for a lovely background. How can you not be happy with flowers?

Ah, painting the bedroom. That will be left for the upcoming week… there are other pressing matters coming up this weekend like eating cheese and drinking beer (both of which I gave up for Lent.) I’m such a bad Catholic this is the time I choose to make up for it – or it’s when the guilt kicks in, whichever comes first.

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After the back breaking manual labor of the last 2 days (we really took “spring cleaning” seriously) I woke up today for an extra personal training with Monique and Mike. I agreed to it, totally my fault, by the way. So, up early on a Saturday morning, Mike decided the nice weather meant we should do a little boot camp-style section in the kids section of the park. I. Will. Never. Look. At. A. Kids. Park. The. Same. Way. EVER! I’m in pain, I better be gaining a lot – and not in pounds! It all comes back to maintaining weight, food, and wedding parties, doesn’t it? Oh well,I guess there are worse things in life.

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Doggie Post!

No! Sit. Sit. Sit. Sit. Sit! SIIIIIIIIIIIT!!!!! Wait. Sit. Down. Down. Sit. Wait. Wait. Can you wait? No!

And that’s how the conversations with Cailloux go almost every day. Tired of the monosyllabic, boring and often ignored conversations and commands Alyson and I decided to enroll them in doggie training. Which ended up being more human training for the four-legged companion.

So far, we’ve learned how not to repeat commands and when in doubt, give them a treat! We’ll have to measure the amount of treats against her meals… I don’t want her losing her girlish figure!

Cailloux paying attention in class.

Dottie finally sat.

The training classes have been great. We enrolled them at Tucker Pups in the West Loop. It means we have to drive there, which is yet a new challenge for Cailloux. She’s getting better, but I think Dottie helps her. Dottie loves freaking car rides – she jumps everywhere, including in front of the steering wheel. Well, we’ll take each challenge separately.

Cailloux knows the “sit” and “down” command, we’re working on her “wait” skills… apparently the hardest to master. But when she does get it: TREAT! So simple, isn’t it?

Here she is at the park, sitting and waiting:

How could you not love that face?!

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Fallen Angels

Leap Day did not get the head start I expected. The furry inhabitants (Cailloux and Dottie) fell from their adorable heaven.

The messed up our living room area rug beyond repair (and unbearable smell.) Alyson had to throw out the rug altogether. Needless to say, we were NOT happy or pleased with their behavior.

So, even when we were staring at this…

And envisioning this…

Action had to be taken. They’re crated today… and starting classes ASAP!

My guilt is strong, but I must stay stronger.

Case of the Mondays…

Mondays aren’t always at the top of my list in “fun” days. They usually start with staring at documents and computers hoping to make sense of it all… not always successfully.

This is what the back of my cubicle looks like. As you can see I have a GIANT calendar, which means I’m kind of a big deal… A GIANT calendar says: “Look at me, I’ve arrived. I’ve got dates to keep and deadlines to meet.”

Then, when I’ve patted myself in the back for being awesome I turn around, and reality sets in. I put my glasses on, start drinking the coffee (because it’s free at the office), and go through my e-mails. Is it strange that I’ve now found a strange sense of satisfaction from clearing my Inbox to the point of getting down to one page – NO scrolling? Maybe, but I say take the little victories and run with it. Also, this is when my iPod comes in really handy. For some reason I always think of ‘American Psycho’ and Christian Bale putting on his Walkman to work at his desk – except that I won’t go into murdering sprees, PROMISE! (That’s why there’s cupcakes!)

There are some days where I could even see myself screaming loudly in the office…

That’s when I get all “live-your-best-life-Oprah-mandate” and get centered. Yes, corny and cheesy, but it keeps me level headed, and it keeps you alive… not entering an ‘American Psycho’ induced murderous rampage. Also, I like corn and I like cheese, so shut up.

With all of those disclaimers out of the way… Yesterday I headed over to the Art Institute Chicago to break the monotony of the beginning of the week.

As I previously stated, cupcakes make me happy. So, at the museum I stopped by their café and got me a cupcake! It’s a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting, and the thought of it is making me want another one. I paired it with a delicious double shot espresso (because let’s face it, what’s chocolate without coffee?) and a great book. My sister recommended this book by Roberto Bolaño (Nazi Literature in the Americas) and so far it’s delivered.

I had some time left during my lunch hour, and even though it was chilly outside, it was so bright that I thought it was only fair I take a stroll. The Art Institute is right next to Millennium Park in Chicago… How could I not?

That’s what I’ve ultimately decided: I need to take full advantage of this city. It’s easy to get lost in the monotony of the work flow, but life is too short not to parade around like every little thing is not awesome. Judge me, go ahead… I’m still smiling. Isn’t the architecture in Chicago worth stopping and admiring? It makes art accessible to public, and what public art can mean.

Then, I headed over to Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor and did the tourist-y thing… Again, because, why not? Just for giggles, and to see my reflection – although somewhat distorted.

All of that within an hour… and refreshed enough and with new-found patience to head back to the office.