Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Not quite as catchy.
Let's recap a banner year in the life of a Lolly, yes?
January- Began a five month production process with Dog & Pony Theatre for their critically acclaimed "As Told By the Vivian Girls." Understudied all seven female leads. Optimistically thought this would be a nice, easy project to stay in the game whilst planning a wedding. And Chance's baby sis Scout Delilah was born, bringing my total kiddos to five- a nice, good nanny number. Also, MY baby sis Emma visited!
February- My nephew Cole Sebastian was born! I visited him later in the month and cried for a week after I left him. Also, I joined Chicago Dramatists as a Network Playwright and wrote my first piece for Instant Theatre.
March- My twin sibs Rachel and Emily turned 21. While the previous ages had not delayed the availability of alcohol, it was celebrated nonetheless. I went to Boston for a bridal shower fit for a princess [Lolly] with a bachelorette to boot! Attended Coltrane's christening the next morning- feelin' fine, thank you- (with Peej as his godpappy.) This month also marked my second with Chicago Dramatists and Instant Theatre, this time as a featured playwright at the Museum of Contemporary Art! Woot! Also, I became a Catholic. This is quite important to note as it also meant the addition of the name Magdalene into my moniker. I love new names.
April- Bachelorette with the Chicago gals! Keep in mind that the gargantuan Dog & Pony show was STILL rehearsing... every night at this point. Plus, our apartment was awash in stationary samples and bridal paraphernalia. Like open bottles of whiskey. Also, I wrote for Instant Theatre again. (Hey, a good gig's a good gig.)
May- The show finally opened! I performed! I also managed to get hitched to a guy who way surpassed my adolescent hopes and dreams- seriously, if P.J. had been an 80s heartthrob, he'd have been postered between Def Leppard and Jonathan Brandis. Had never been to Virgin Gorda either, so that trip was pretty spectacular. And I got a new last name- after much discussion I decided to keep my middle name, my Catholic name AND my maiden name as a new middle, making me...royalty, I'm pretty sure.
June- 28, baby! Awesome garden party (complete with home-grown strawberries). Got health insurance and a REAL doctor (wow). Went back to Instant Theatre and basically enjoyed the beginning of my first married summer, i.e., camp. And, you know, I started a blog.
July- Summerdance! Movies in Grant Park! Street fests, garden parties, and sleeping bag stargazing in the backyard. Cape Cod with the Flynn fam and, on the way back- MEETING THE BAND SURVIVOR IN THE AIRPORT. As you do. Followed up with a trip to Wisconsin for a Schoeny lakeside weekend and a trip to SEE BOSTON IN CONCERT. And Styx.
August- "Prom" with Nat and Rachael on a cruise from Navy Pier! Glamoroo, much? Wrote for Instant Theatre again, as well as performed in a one-act play opposite P.J. for 20% Theatre at Strawdog. It was about zombies. But it was also about love. Also, my new niece was born! Miss Mary Claire Schoeny, belle of North Carolina.
September- Held our first ever yard sale and made BANK- quite possibly from selling everything we valued as "nice" before the wedding. Saw Andrew Bird in concert and rocked out. Wrote another piece for Instant Theatre as well as a novella for Donald Bellisario. Yes. Plus, added a 2-year old gal named Morgan on my Jack-Jack days, bringing my weekly count of babies up to six! (Okay, this is getting ridiculous.)
October- Took a master class at Chi Dramatists with Mia McCullough and became a MUCH better playwright (I like to think so, anyhow). Traveled to Pittsfield for the benefit concert of which my Dad is the bandleader. Rocked out. And P.J. turned lucky number 27! We dressed up for Halloween and gave out candy to trick or treaters as well as thousands of bikers. Seriously.
November- Big sis Kate turned 30 in Boston! P.J. and I celebrated by seeing Martin Sexton in concert in Chicago. Also, playwriting classes must have paid off, because I was chosen to be the first featured playwright for Local 75 through Chicago Dramatists. Home for Thanksgiving with the Flynns and attended a nutso 10 year reunion. Also, finished another full length play. A GOOD month.
December- Back with Instant Theatre! Enjoyed the heck out of prepping for Christmas with P.J. and our Chi friends this year: mammoth tree, ugly sugar cookies, Sex & the City night with Kat and Annie (what- it's festive!) Had an amazing Christmas week with the Schoenys in Cincy and am loving the bejeezus out of my new grey Anthropologie boots from my thoughtful husband (You know, the ones that were sold out? And then the ones that I found and put a hold on? And the ones that suddenly "disappeared" from the store? That he knew nothing about? Yeah, those.) Also, as far as rad gifts go, my Sirius satellite radio from my folks has saved no less than three longer than average treks across the midwest- the last through an ice storm, making the Cincy drive (usually 5 hours) a whopping 11.5. Feliz Navidad! Or, as my nephew Quinn puts it- Police Navidog! This month also brought us our first new home- Albany Park, here we come!
Good times all around. And now? I'm getting ready to go play with some of my best friends in the world, in one of my favorite cities in the universe, listening to the best radio station ever broadcast onto speakers- Hair Nation.
(Happy 2009, everyone!)
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Yesterday my little gal J turned 6 years old. I've been her nanny for 5 1/2 years! (That would make me...23? Yes.) I gave her a pretty green amber pendant of a shamrock on a sterling chain- J and I are really into good luck charms and she knows about different stones and what sort of mystical things they do. (Also, if you ever want to be impressed, ask her about fairies. She'll tell you about details like shoes and houses and elements and their creation...way more than any Disney-esque story. Also, ask her about long division.)
She loved the necklace and wore it to school this morning, but she seemed a little sad on her way out the door. I asked her what was wrong and she told me that she didn't like this whole 'growing older' thing. I reminded her that being a big girl was cool because she could do stuff her baby sis couldn't. She replied that she never wanted to drive and didn't need her own computer (honest to God) so why couldn't she have just stayed five? Six was the oldest number ever, she said.
I felt badly lying to her about how wonderful being an adult was- some days I wish I could have stayed five as well- but wanted her to be excited about growing up. I wracked my brain.
"J!" I said. "You know why I love hanging out with you?"
"Because even though I'm older I get to pretend that I'm five or six and we have a great time! Why worry about the number? Just enjoy how young you feel."
"I like to be true to myself, Kiki."
Signed, Kiki the disillusioned old person.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Well, excellent news. Yesterday the stitches were removed from my arm and the scar seems to be healing straight! Phew! What DID sting, however, was the 20 buck copay for a five second procedure (that, regardless of what "medical professionals" may tell me- I could have done by myself.) I mean, it's not like I begged for this appointment...no no! They made me come back! I was all for glue stitches but NO...apparently they were afraid I was a BLEEDER. (I am.) Calloo for centipede-shaped scars. (You know, with the line for the body and the stitch holes kinda like little legs...no? Okay.)
And I apologize for the teaser opening. But hey, anyone within a 20 mile radius of my apartment (or with a solid t-mobile to t-mobile plan) heard me scream in joy last night, anyhow. We reached an accepted offer with the sellers of our new home! For about 139k below their original listing price! Which is a lot lot lot of money- hey, so is the accepted price but just THINK about how broke we COULD have been! Compared to how broke we're GONNA be! We spent the first subsequent hour calling and emailing everyone we know (and yes, this includes leaving Facebook messages- don't hate on progress) and the second hour having a beer and playing Mortal Kombat on Wii. The third hour was spent looking at paint colors (Keely) and looking at real estate we did NOT buy (P.J.). The fourth hour was spent sleeping (Keely) and scouring public records of the property that we're certain was a rash decision (P.J.). Now we get to do all those grownup things like hire an inspector, have our attorney look over the contract and agree to not buy anything else for thirty years.
So, uh, it looks like we're buying a house in Albany Park- barring, of course, an inspection that shows bodies in the cellar, rotting walls or a resident ghost. I REALLY don't want to live in a haunted house.
That kinda thing is for your early twenties.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Now where were we...?
Ah yes. I was in the midst of my high school reunion, being informed that my aging innards might be oh-so-dusty (Seriously. Who has ALL of their children in this day and age by 28? No one living in a major metropolitan area, I'll tell you what.) This made me feel good.
What DID make me feel good was reconnecting (I hate that word) with an excellent pal whose book I stole in high school. We reminisced about junior year English and at the end of the night I still refused to return his book. Oh, we laughed and laughed! Later that night I went out to a karaoke bar (I never went to bars when I lived in Pittsfield so I feel a little delinquent doing so to this day) and entered to the sound of...my younger twin sisters being announced to sing! I ran onstage with them and we all screamed a song together gleefully. (I'm sure the audience said to themselves, oh, isn't this fun? But who's the short one with the coat?) Good times, drinking and singing with the baby sisters. P.J. sang his signature 'Folsom Prison Blues.' Technically, it's Johnny Cash's signature song, but P.J. does an excellent version. People even took pictures.
On the way home (around hour 12) we enjoyed getting stopped for one hour at the Indiana/Ohio toll booth- why no Easy Pass, Ohio? And what reason could there possibly be for stopping so long on a straight road where no one's turning left, right, or down? Give them your money and, you know, drive already! Were they checking the cars for immigrants from the east coast? My bladder was angered at this border. I almost peed on the side of the road, but as P.J. pointed out, since the cars in front and behind us weren't moving either, it would be quite the free show.
But we had the amazing early Christmas present from my folks of Sirius satellite radio with the nifty car attachment! Hello Hair Nation! Goodbye, P.J.'s sanity! We also enjoyed such gems as Rick Dees' Weekly Top 40 from Nov. 22nd, 1993 on the '90s channel. (It was superb to hear stuff like, "You can see Janet's latest tour- called 'Rhythm Nation!") By the end of the 14th hour we listened to each other fume in silence at the utter stir-craziness taking over the car.
I managed to edit and get one play out the door (computer?) late that night and begin outlining the second draft of the play for Local 75- (it has recently occured to me that I may have been legally insane when I "wrote" the first "draft".) Needless to say, I was not at my mental claritiest for the next couple of days. But I finished the outline on Friday and am enjoying a couple of days of not writing full length plays. I am, however, going full steam on three short stories and three one act plays, all with deadlines prior to the 22nd o' December. (Remember when I said I wanted to be a writer? I kinda meant to spread it out a leeetle bit more.)
On a Christmas-y note, 2 year old Jack told me that he's asking Santa for a piano and a mustache. When I looked confused he pointed to his mouth and added "Hair on da lip."
We're getting into the Christmas spirit in the ol' Roscoe Village with the behemoth of a tree that we purchased yesterday. From Ashland and Addison. And walked home. (For those unfamiliar with Chicago's mid-north neighborhoods, that's a good mile from our house.) We kinda felt like the Monkees in their opening sequence where they push the hospital bed across the intersection. Some people laughed with us- others AT us. (P.J. said the latter were bitter, unhappy people who were going home alone.) And as I had had minor arm surgery this weekend and am the proud owner of large, black stitches, I wasn't the helpiest helper in the whole "carrying the tree" thing. I mean, I DID it, but P.J. probably wishes he could have just hoisted the whole thing and ran. Plus, I get cold easily. And my fingers lose circulation.
The tree we chose was one of the few on the lot under $120 (seriously, for a cut tree?). In fact, it was $35 and the branches were frozen straight up. The guy told us that it was our lucky day, as this one had been mispriced. She was gonna be a full balsam, he said. I soon knew that he hadn't been whistlin' Dixie (although that would have been quaint) as the tree "settled." Quickly. Once we set it up in the living room we continued to inch it out into the center of the room little by little. As the branches unfolded towards the floor we soon realized we could no longer see the potted plants on the window sill. Or the arm of the couch. Or the cats. So come see our lovely (and admittedly awesome-smelling) tree in what used to be our living room! (I've started calling it the tree room where we sit near the tree.) There's tons of glitzy ornaments on it as well as a sock monkey or two. (Wearing elf hats, of course, there are RULES.)
We saw a house yesterday morning that I am NOT GOING TO JINX by talking about. Let's just say that I NEED THIS HOUSE. (And we're putting an offer in tonight.) Omg.
And a final, fluffy note to end on (who doesn't love final fluff)? I was having a horrific nosebleed on the train yesterday afternoon (yes, yes) and a girl sat behind us with a lapdog in a bag. I was pretending not to bleed and P.J. was pretending the piece of paper I was holding to my nose was a tissue of some sort (I was caught unawares!!) when the girl took the pup out of the bag and began conversing with those around her. One guy offered to buy the dog. She responded in a singsong voice that she couldn't part with her Geejee. (Weird nickname, but whatever.) Someone else finally asked her what the dog's name was...and honest to God, had I not been gushing blood I might have said something.
"What's her name?"
"Oh, this is Keely."
No, really. That's terrific.
As it has been two weeks since I've blogged, I'm going to break this into two posts. I have a lot to recap, apparently. Let's bring it back to November 22nd, 2008, shall we? (Happy birthday, Mom!) Let's all make the Wayne's World time transition fingers, yes?
Thanksgiving week was an exercise in how much family it is physically possible to see in a finite number of days, as well as a looong experiment as to how vast I-90 truly is. (It is large.)
P.J.'s niece's christening was on Sunday in Cincinnati so we heartily enjoyed the 20 hours we spent in town. Being as we had not really slept in the week leading up to Road Trip '08, we managed to faceplant for almost 10 hours in the third floor Ozzie and Harriet beds that were designated to us. (Who needs a husband? I had a twin bed and three blankets! Plus, I could reach over and high-five him if need be.)
We hit the road on Sunday early evening and drove through the night, making the trip in a little under 12 hours (we had to stop in ridiculously quaint Willoughby Hills, Ohio, for a stationary meal and so I could pee twice. I have a child-sized bladder. P.J. probably could have made the trip in 9 hours without me.)
A highlight of the drive occurred when we became a tad hysterical and thought each other were brilliant. This took place in Waldameer (Pennsylvania? Ohio? Guam? I'm not sure which, I wasn't driving) and we decided that Waldameer was the best place to visit, for all of its residents were very old and charming. They would tout old-fashioned values and invite you to stay awhile. An actual conversation:
P.J. (in a pitched voice): Come to Waldameer, you love Waldameer...
Keely (pitched): Churn some butter...
P.J. (higher pitched): We'll let you sit on the porch and churn your own butter...
Keely (normal): Okay, now you're being the guy's wife.
P.J. (indignant): I was always his wife!
And then we fought about which of us made the best Waldameer resident.
We also perfected a few duets, ask us about those sometime. Better yet, ask P.J. to whip out his Aaron Neville impression at the next party. For it is fantastic.
Thanksgiving itself was lovely, mainly because every person in my immediate family was within a two foot radius of me for the entirety of the trip (I don't know how it's possible, either) and also because I gorged myself on my parents' amazing cooking; I ate three salads a day with this fantastic buttermilk ranch dressing my mom sells, let alone how much I consumed at the actual "meals" and the intermittent "snacks." Seriously, is food just better at home? I'd probably throw a stick at you if you offered me ranch dressing anywhere else. Well, maybe not, as that would be rude. But I usually do not care for it!
My dad made great fires in the front room all week (so I could write for 2 hours a day <---not happy about it) and my mom and I somehow found time to watch "In the Good Ol' Summertime," an excellent Judy Garland flick and a tear-jerker. (Well, at least for my mom. She cries when she's happy. Me, I only cry when I'm scared, sad, injured or confused.)
Got to hang out with my main men Quinn and Cole (Q-Dog and Coltrane), who are a whopping 2.5 years and 9 months, respectively. They are also up at the crack of dawn everyday. Even weekends and bank holidays. They're lucky to be so darned attractive- I didn't even mind getting woken from my futon in the sunroom to the chorus of "Auntie Kiki...you 'wake?"
My 10 year high school reunion was on Friday night and it was a TRIP. P.J. trumped everyone else's date as I knew he would. Jen and Lori looked lovely as I knew THEY would. Some people did not age well and THAT I did not expect. (As P.J. pointed out, when you peak at 18, where is there to go?) A dude I asked out every day for a solid year (to an answer of definitely no) approached me and told me that I looked 'stunning as always.' (!) Really? Always? I can recall once or twice (or all of 8th grade, for example) where this was not the case. Also unexpected- a girl whom I complimented on her two young kids frankly (and out of left field) told me, "Keely, I have to tell you this. You need to have your kids before you turn 30. I'm a biology teacher, so I know." (Plural kids? Whaa...?)
Stay tuned. The evening did NOT end there...