Monthly Archives: December 2014

Oh 2014, It’s Been Bittersweet.

This year started off really effen terrible. I guess the best way to review it would go something like this.

The highlight of my year started exactly one year ago today when I received the best news I’ve ever heard in my life. For the past 22 years my brother Jason has been undiagnosed with a genetic disorder along with his 18-year-old brother Sean. When describing the boys to people my parents and I would compare their movements to Cerebral Palsy, but that wasn’t what they had. Their characteristics such as muscle spasms, the way that they eat, and the way they get around are all the same but they have completely polar opposite personalities. Over the years my family has experienced moments where we all feel like science experiments. We’ve had skin removed for testing and liters of blood drawn, but eventually it was all worth it. We received a call on December 31, 2013 from Dr. Kravitz, a Neurologist at Rush University in Chicago. She left a message on our answering machine that she finally had a diagnosis for Jason and Sean. My mom cried. How could you not? She called me at work and as I was standing in a bank vault I learned that my brothers are the only ones in the United States that are missing the Genetic Mutation BCAP 31. It happens to be in the arm of a protein and carbohydrate gene. Six pairs of that Gene are missing. There are 6 boys in France that have this. The oldest being 22, almost Jason’s age. Jason seems to not be as involved as the 22 year old. I want to bring awareness to this situation and I hope that 2015 brings that. On the not so bright side, I am a carrier of this gene. I always had a feeling, but the confirmation felt like a kick in the crotch and it brought tears for my eyes for a minute. That was until I put a bright spin on my thoughts. It’s pretty cool to think that I can create my own daughter using science thanks to gender selection and gender counseling…but not for a while.

Later that night we went to my Aunt and Uncle’s house out in Algonquin, IL. It was New Year’s Eve, so naturally we were celebrating the good news and wishing on a happy and healthy year. However that was not the case.

At the time my grandmother (mom’s mom) was suffering from pancreatic cancer. It was heartbreaking to watch it eat her right in front of us. After being told in the month of February that they couldn’t do anything else to fight the cancer, she quickly got worse and passed away in hospice on March 7, 2013. Waiting in a hospice center for someone to die feels like Hell’s waiting room. It’s the saddest thing to know that every patient in there had hours left until they were carried away in a hearse. It will drive you insane having to wait for a loved one to pass.

In April of last year I celebrated my Grandmother’s memory by going to Las Vegas. I remember telling her that I was afraid to go because I was scared that something would happen to her while I was gone. She told me not to worry. I didn’t have to. I went there with her back in 2004 for my eighth grade graduation and we had a great time. I thought of her a lot while I was out there.

In May, my Great Grandmother, aka Nana, aka my mom’s grandmother passed away after a long battle of dementia and old age. She was 96. This woman once had the health of 10 horses and outlived her daughter due to cancer. Although she didn’t quite remember who was who my grandmother visited her the most. My Nana was a religious Italian woman. It just so happened on the night my grandma died she called her name several times. Shortly after, she started to stop eating, she didn’t speak much and then she passed on May 17, 2014. Two days later, my Aunt’s Greek Uncle passed away. We were so tired of the whole “death” thing that I grabbed a pamphlet for a “Career in Funeral Service.”

In June, I was the proudest sister in the world when Jason graduated high school. It was a happy moment that was much needed and he celebrated with a cheeseburger from his favorite restaurant. I also went with my cousin and her husband to get tattoos, which was quite hilarious. I was tempted to get another one myself.

In July my dad and I bought new tickets for our Chicago White Sox game because we got rained out on the 30th of June. I just so happened to buy tickets for Elvis night without even realizing it. It was a great game and I got to watch plenty of Elvis impersonators fall from the sky.

In October I got to ride a bull at the Mall of America and make an ass out of myself. I also got incredibly drunk at my cousin Jesse’s destination wedding in Minnesota.

In November I had a very memorable birthday week with the people I love. My birthday was Monday, November 17th and on Sunday my cousin and I bought some booze, took a train to get some Cuban food and then got tipsy at Eataly and ate cheese for two hours. My dad picked us up around 11pm and we drove around for about an hour and a half learning about architecture from my dad. I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my first hour as 25 doing anything else. On Monday my boyfriend took me to Glazed and Infused because that’s where I wanted to go. We then stopped for two of my favorite things in this world, tea and sandwiches.

In December it was warm as hell and I finally got to take my little Seanycakes to see the Lincoln Park Zoo lights. He was as excited as I hoped he would be.

The holidays were hard. They always are. As you get older they are not what they used to be and it’s sad to realize that the world can’t be viewed through rose-colored glasses anymore. Each year brings a new chapter of life and you just learn from all the bullshit. It really does make you a stronger person.

To end on a light note, by December 31, 2015 I would like to have a full-time job that doesn’t feel like work and to take a few vacations that last longer than 4 days. I would also like to be financially set for my future and 20lbs lighter.

Happy New Year Everyone!

DÖNERMEN SERVE THE LARGEST OPEN-AIR CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL

After debuting their truck at an event titled: “Dark Lord Day,” the DönerMen are bringing their Turkish street food to Daley Plaza for the 19th annual Christkindlmarket, Chicago’s largest open-air Christmas festival.For this season the men have ditched their “demonic designed” hand-painted truck for a wooden booth. This may be a blessing in disguise, considering they are dishing out Döner kebabs next to a group of French nuns selling pastries.

That paragraph alone should make you want to read the rest of the article.

Click here for my third and final Roaming Hunger article for 2014!

Squeeze Me and Juice Will Come Out

Last Thursday I decided to take the Blue Print Renovation Cleanse. I mentally prepped all week to starve myself for one day…and by 8:00 at night I was eating a quart of guacamole with a spoon.

The whole reason I even did the cleanse was because I’ve been on a juice kick lately. Obsessed, if you will. I saw the Blueprint box at Whole Foods for $54.99 and knew that was a steal compared to the $75 online. When I walked into work the day after posting on Facebook about starting it, the first thing my boss asks is, “Does it make you shit?” The answer is no. But it sure makes you piss like a race horse all day.

I had to drink six bottles in one day, so I was drinking one bottle every two hours since I started mid-afternoon.

I drank my first juice at 11:15am. It was green and made up of organic romaine, organic apple, organic celery, organic cucumber, organic spinach, organic kale, organic parsley, organic lemon. It was delicious. My favorite part of the cleanse was the fact that I was eating exactly what was in the bottle and nothing more.

Here’s what I remember about the rest of the cleanse.

12:15pm Drink #2 – Pretty sure it contained organic pineapple, organic apple, and organic mint. It was a different flavor  from the first and it was refreshing to know that every juice would taste different from the last.

2:30pm Drink #3 – Another green juice. My mentality after drinking this one was, “YAY! I’m half way through.”

4:30pm Drink #4 – Spicy lemonade was my least favorite. It’s literally a blend of lemon juice, agave and cayenne extract. I had to force myself to sip it, because it was so bitter. This one was the hardest to swallow.

5:30pm Drink # 5 – C.A.B. aka carrots, apples, and beets. I’ve never had beets before but this was good stuff. Although I had already drank 4 bottles of juice, my stomach was screaming for food. One of my co-workers ordered a chicken caesar salad that was smelling up the kitchen and I wanted it. I wanted it all. My mentality at this time was, “Oh thank god, I’m almost done.”

8:00pm Drink #6: Cashew Milk was a refreshing sweetener since I had been drinking nothing but tart juice all day. It tastes like a nutty horchata because of the agave nectar, cinnamon and vanilla extract…all organic of course. My mentality at this time was,  “HOLY SHIT I DID IT!”

The juice kit is supposed to come with instructions. Mine didn’t. I hit up the FAQ on http://www.blueprintcleanse.com and found a cheat sheet by Googling “Foods I can eat while on the Blueprint cleanse.” The only thing that appealed to me out of celery, carrots, etc…was 1/4 of an avocado. 1/4? What the hell am I supposed to do with the rest of the avocado? Instead I just ate a whole damn container of Whole Foods guacamole.

Bottom line…I won’t do it again. I’m just going to add juice to my diet. I have at least one bottle of Evolution Fresh juice in my fridge at all times…until I buy my own juicer. I’m too far gone in fat ass mode to starve for a day.

Overall, I didn’t even feel rejuvenated. I felt exhausted and I just wanted to sleep.

If you are looking to start a juice cleanse read a lot about it first and don’t just dive into it. Your body will thank you if you follow the directions…otherwise you will suffer.