Monday, August 31, 2009

For the first time in 28 years...

This is the first summer in my entire life that I haven't spent a significant amount of time at my grandparent's farm. It's one of my favorite places in the world. There is no sense of time there. No stress.

In fact, I have only been back once since the beginning of last August. I was there briefly at the beginning of last December when my parents and I stopped to see my Uncle, cousin and goddaughters on the way to my other uncle's funeral.

Growing up, my bother and I would spend a week at the farm "working" for my grandparents. And while we did a lot of work, we also had plenty of time to play. We spent many days in the bean fields, the garden, the grove, a few adventures in the Boyer River and mowing.

Mowing their place has always been something I've loved to do. As kids, my grandparents had 3 riding lawn for each of the grand kids, so we could all mow at once. Then, we would undoubtedly end up chasing each other on them. As I grew older, I loved to mow because it was just you on the mower and it was a great place to think. For hours on end. One of my grandpa's favorite stories to tell was how he looked out one night and I was mowing the apple orchard with the head lights on the mower, because it had gotten too dark out. He'd never seen anyone use the head lights on the mower before and it made him laugh. Really, I was leaving the next morning(to drive back to Chicago) and I was far too stubborn to not finish mowing the yard before I left. But stubbornness, that's a trait I got from him.

As he got older and my grandma was in a nursing home, I always told him I was going to get him a puppy to keep him company. After pestering him about this for a long time, I asked him what he'd name the dog if I brought one home to him. Without a moment's thought, he responded "Nuisance, because that's what it'd be." I died laughing.

Maybe it's the farm. Maybe it's him that I miss. Maybe it's a combination. He was not a perfect man, but he is the person I often have in my mind when making decisions. His approval always meant the world to me. And it still does.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Inglorious Basterds

I'm not even going to tell you about the movie. I almost didn't go see it because I don't like Brad Pitt. Don't like him at all. I went and saw it to support Paul Rust. It's a little bit surreal every time I see him pop up on the big screen.

So, the movie is about to start and this large sweaty man plops down next to me. Ok, there is the "leave one seat in between rule" for a reason. And there was room to leave a seat. So, large/sweaty man and his girlfriend occupy the seats to my left. He makes phone calls and talks incessantly throughout the previews.

I do not like talking during movies. At all.

It's so bad that I almost asked him if he planned on talking during the movie. I should have. That's not even the worst of it. Every time an actor or actress said "Oui" during the movie, he said it out loud. What? Weird. Oui.

He also smelled very bad. There were four distinct smells coming from him:

1) body odor

2) apple cider vinegar

3) cheap woodsy cologne and

4) baby powder.

And I have distinct memories of these smells because he flopped around like a beached whale during the entire movie. Could not sit still. 153 minutes of constant movements that would, in turn, move my chair. Every movement sending another waft of something awful my way. And a few times he was bouncing up and down clapping.

This man was by far the worst person I have ever had the pleasure sitting next to in the movie theater. I recommend the movie but make sure you secure a good seat.

(500) Days of Summer

Absolutely loved it.
One of my new favorite movies.
Go see it.
Figure out why I like it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fall I come...

My fall seems to be packed with more fun weekend events than usual. Here's a sneak peek at some of the things I'm doing(and yes, you will notice the theme of FOOTBALL!)

*Last weekend, I helped to close out the summer with a trip to my friends lake house where we had an absolute blast, despite it raining the entire weekend.
*On Monday Megan and I are headed to the bridal store to pick up the bridesmaid dresses for her wedding. I am sure my parents will be very excited to store the dress in my closet at home after the wedding is over. It is already overflowing with the ridiculous amounts of bridesmaid dresses from weddings past. You may or may not know, but the movie 27 Dresses was actually based on me. ;-)

*Sept 11-13 is the annual Lens Family Fun Weekend in Chicago. My dad only agreed to come if I could promise him the Iowa/Iowa St game at a bar.
This was two years ago at the Iowa/NIU game at Soldier Field.
I'll be making my yearly return to Iowa City Oct 2-4 with Megan to go to the Iowa game. We are making the short trip for Megan's birthday to relive the glory days of college.
Megan eating her own finger while tailgating a few years ago(we call her fingers the sausages and my brother convinced her to do this).
Meg, my brother and his wife Jill at the Iowa/Wisc game a few years ago. It was so cold that day...and obviously Jill is a badger fan, as she went to UW for undergrad. I will always hold that against her.
Bundled up for 7am tailgating before the Iowa/Wisc game.
*On a non-football related front...Megan's bridal shower is Oct 25th. I'm sure it will be a blast...any event involving her family usually is.
*I'll be in Columbus Nov 13-15 with my family for our tradition of attending one out of town Iowa game every season until we hit all the stadiums in the Big Ten. This year is the Iowa/OSU game at The Shoe. I am extra excited because Aaron is finishing up med school at OSU and will be tailgating with us. Last year was Iowa's blowout of IU in Bloomington.
Aren't we a cute little family?

Thursday, August 27, 2009


it's the new rob thomas album.
get it.
love it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Actor's Studio Questions

These ten (10) questions originally came from a French series, "Bouillon de Culture" hosted by Bernard Pivot. They're better known as the questions that James Lipton asks every guest at the end of "Inside the Actor's Studio."

1. What is your favorite word? I have several, but one of them is juxtaposition

2. What is your least favorite word? panties

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Creatively: random things trigger this
Spiritually: witnessing occurrences that are too amazing to just be a coincidence
Emotionally: seeing selfless deeds being done

4. What turns you off? poor manners and poor grammar

5. What is your favorite curse word? jesustittyfuckingchrist

6. What sound or noise do you love? almost anything nature related(leaves crunching under my feet, waves crashing, wind blowing through the trees)

7. What sound or noise do you hate (dislike)? loud chewing

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? work to improve living conditions in a lesser developed county

9. What profession would you not like to do? podiatrist(i hate feet)

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
I don't think about stuff like that.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Music to my ears

It's no secret that I've always had questionable taste in music. When I was on the conveyor belt in the baby factory, some worker fell asleep and forgot to put the music chip in brain. With that being said, I'm still going to share with you what's been playing on my iPod lately. Feel free to judge all you want.

Nelly- body on me
MGMT- time to pretend
Laura Izibor- don't stay
Luda- what them girls like
David Kroll- only memories
Erin McCarley- pony(it's ok)
Gloriana- wild at heart
Luda and T-Pain- one more drink
Keith Urban- sweet thing
Jack Ingram- barefoot and crazy
Company of Thieves- oscar wilde
Billy Currington- good directions
Colbie Caillat- fallin for you
Greed Day- 21 guns
Cobra Starship- good girls go bad
Flo Rida- jump
Uncle Kracker- smile
Beyonce- ego
Rascal Flatts- take me there
Keri Hilson and Kanye- knock you down
Jason Aldean- big green tractor
Jessie James- wanted
Katy Perry-waking up in vegas
Carolina Liar- show me what I'm looking for
Rob Thomas- her diamonds
Kings of Leon- notion
VOTA- hard to believe

and always a smattering of brett dennen, taylor swift and zac brown band.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I've got a little extra wattage in my smile this week

If you weren't already jealous of my great life, you might be after reading this...

* Tomorrow Aaron is flying in just to go to lunch with me! Ok, so he's not flying in just to go to lunch with me...I think he is giving some super intellectual speech for the AMA but I still get to go to lunch with him! Yay!

* Friday night I get to see Megan! Sadly, I don't get to see her all that much since she moved out to the suburbs. I know it's so much closer to work for her but I miss her dearly and all the fun adventures we would have together. Living with her was one of the most fun years of my life. We could entertain ourselves for hours doing positively nothing. We also had amazing wine and scrabble nights...I need more of those in my life.

* On Saturday I get to have lunch with the Godfrey clan. Shiner is one of my former bosses and greatest life mentors and one of the most amazing people I have ever met. I absolutely love her and her family. I can't believe Elaine will be coming to Chicago to tour Northwestern...I met her the summer before she was going into first grade! It really makes me feel old. She is one of the most beautiful, smart and well raised teenagers I know...and without much surprise as she has amazing parents.

I'm a lucky girl. :-)

"Good job walking"

I love my job. I love the kids. I love my co-workers.

Two years ago at our work Christmas party, one of my co-workers told me a story about something I did earlier that day, that I was completely unaware of and she found quite funny. It was early December and we had a particularly unruly and impulsive group of Team One(12 years old and under) boys. They needed all the support, encouragement, praise and reinforcement of ANY positive behavior possible.

As the boys were walking from the front of the unit to the back after a group, I simply said(and I sincerely meant it), "You guys are doing a really good job walking." As it was highly unusual to see this group of kids actually walk from point a to point b with out spinning, running, skipping, hopping or dropping to the floor and rolling around. My co-worker said at that moment in her head, she thought to herself "Where do we work that we say things like "good job walking" and it is the only compliment you can come up with?" Needless to say, it is now the running joke between her and I to compliment each other on doing a good job walking and have a hearty chuckle.

So, if you are every running short on nice things to say to a person, I would recommend going with "good job walking" and think of this story and maybe, just maybe have a little chuckle of your own.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Megan and Dames

Apparently, it's a Mulvey kind of day on my blog. Darrin(aka Dames) and Megan have had their wedding website up and running for a while, but I don't think I've given it a shout out, yet.

I love these two. They are by far my all time favorite couple to hang out with. This picture was actually taken the night before they got engaged. What isn't written in the "engagement story" portion of their site is that Megan pulled me into the bathroom at the ugly sweater Christmas party we were at and told me she thought it was going to happen the next day. I called her the next morning and she had convinced herself that it wasn't going to happen. I still thought otherwise. Love my gsm.

Down the Road

A world premiere written and directed by Braden LuBell starring Marika Engelhardt and Patrick Mulvey.

Maddy and Lee are young, bright, and beautiful - and exactly what each other have been looking for. It only makes sense to build a life together. But when their well-laid plans are stalled by inevitable surprises, each attempts to navigate a slippery slope of optimism and compromise - until their present looks little like the future they always wanted.
August 14,15, 21, 22 at Strawdog Theatre's Hugen Hall, 3829 N Broadway, Chicago, IL. All shows start at 11:30pm and will last about an hour.

$15 suggested donation at the door.

For reservations or questions contact Marika and Patrick at
**I am going this Friday July 14th. If you are interested in going with me, let me know.

Joey and the Stinkberries

You may think this sounds like a great name for a band...and it might be, but it's actually referring to a very traumatic event in my life that I was very recently reminded of by none other than Joey himself.

Let me set the scene for you. Joey and I were friends in college. We met freshman year when we were both engineering majors...a major that didn't last for either of us. We had all of our classes together courtesy of a program called "courses in common". The university's theory was that by giving several people all of their classes together they would form bonds. Well, it worked.

The University of Iowa had other genius ideas as well. Like planting some pretty trees in the Pentacrest. The drawback to these trees is that in late fall they drop these berries onto the ground, which is fine unit they are stepped on and break open emitting a rancid vomit smell, hence the reason we called them stinkberry trees.

So it's a unseasonably warm day in December and Joey and I are headed to our Engineering Calculus(with the infamous Freddy G as our professor) final which we had spent hours studying for. As we prance through the Pentacrest on our way to final I give Joey a friendly nudge and I must have caught him at just the right time, because he was knocked completely off balance and fell into a large evergreen tree. I start dying laughing because I think falling is the funniest thing ever. Joey did not think it was quite as funny, because I was 10 steps in front of him when I heard feet pounding on the pavement behind me. Here comes Joey, grabs my backpack and twirls me around at lightening speed to which I go flying to the ground....right in a GIANT pile of mashed up stinkberries. I now have rancid vomit smelling stinkberries on the back of my jeans and on my hands. With no time to run back to change and a final looming ahead of us, we continue on to see what Freddy G had cooked up for us. Let me tell you, stinkberries don't wash off your hands well and it was very hard to concentrate on that final smelling of stinkberries. The only consolation was that Joey sat by me and had to smell me the entire final, too.

And that, my friends, is the story of Joey and the stinkberries.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Artichoke-Potato Medley

Straight from Vegetarian Times(Sept 2009)

Okay, okay, okay. I haven't made it yet...but I will. Soon. I just got this issue in the mail today and I'm reading it at work. Had I gotten this before I went home last weekend I would have made it for my parents because they love artichokes.

  • 1 pound small red potatoes, quartered
  • 2 10oz boxes frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
  • 1 1/2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (4tsp)
  • 3 Tbs. chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 tsp. sweet or smoked paprika
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, chopped, optional


  1. Bring potatoes to a boil in a large pot of salted water. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 5 minutes, or until potatoes are just tender. Drain.
  2. Return potatoes to saucepan; heat over high heat with artichokes and oil. Cook 5 minutes or until vegetables start to brown, stirring occasionally. Add olives, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest and paprika. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cook 5 minutes more, or until fragrant and heated through. Serve garnished with chopped eggs, if using.

metal mouth

At the beginning of July I was briefly in the hospital with tonsillitis and strep for which I was given IV clindomycin, then took it orally for 10 more days.

Ugh. How awful.

The night I was in the hospital, I woke up several times in the night with the worst cold feeling, metallic taste in my mouth. Bad enough to wake me up. That's bad. I attempted to use the hospital provided cranberry juice cocktail to wash this taste out but to no avail, it was coming to me through my blood stream. The bad taste lessened in the 10 while I took the abx orally...thankfully.

The bad news is that it did a number on my taste buds. Nothing is quite as flavorful as it was before. Food has lost it's allure. It makes me less interested in cooking, because I know what I'm making wont have much taste. Today, I woke up and had no desire to even go near food until I made myself eat something at 3:30pm, because I know my body needs food. This might sound great, but it's not. It sucks.

I want my mouth back.

It's 4am...

Yes, it's 4am. I'm at work. Finally, time to update the blog.

Last winter, my dad came into the city for a day and we did fun and exciting things like going to the flower and garden show together. Ever since, my mom has wanted to come in and spend the day with me as well. So she did. We did fun things like go to dinner, go shopping and a lot of walking.

After putting mom on the train, I headed straight to the Lincoln Park Zoo. Aaron was in town and we met up to see Pat McGee, Bret Dennen and Matt Nathanson play for the Jammin' at the Zoo series. It was a slice, until it started pouring rain 2 songs into Matt Nathanson's act. We grabbed a cab and headed to Court's where Aaron made us some amazing(ly strong) margaritas in honor of National Tequila Day. Then, we headed out for a fun night in the city.

The next weekend I headed home for a long planned trip at my parents(unlike my previous trip there). It was nice to have a few relaxing days at home. I spent my afternoons reading on the back patio and soaking up the sun. One night mom and I even went on a beer run bike ride to the Casey's General Store by their house. When we got back, I then convinced my dad to go for a ride with me. Our ride ended with a little less of happy ending and a trip to the ER when he thought it would be a good idea to leave the comfort of his bike seat for the harsh reality of the hard cement road. A possibly damaged rotator cuff, broken pinkie and dysfunctional tendon later, he's off the golf course for at least the next 3 weeks.

I'm back and have a wild week at work and it doesn't look to be slowing down until after the weekend is over. Hopefully more regular updates to come.