Oct 4, 2013
Jesse

In Which I Reward Myself for Surviving a Third Year

It’s that time again! The time of year where I reward myself for completing basic survival tasks and cover the highlights of the last 365 days. Today Yesterday, October 3, is was my three-year anniversary of living on my own.

I’ll be honest: I almost didn’t have an award ceremony this year. Not because I don’t like collecting badges to celebrate my achievements, but because for the first time, this whole “adult” thing feels like something I am, not something I put on. (Not to say I’m getting better at it or anything. I might argue that I peaked in year two and it’s all YA novels and frozen dinners from here.)

However. I like the idea of rounding this out with year three, and besides, how many formal occasions does a girl get to attend? Cue pomp, circumstance.

We went for a low-key, no-curtain look this year

***

The Hey, What Happened to Your Roommate? Award

You know what's fun about far-away friends? The mail.

This one time, I met a girl on the Internet and we decided to be roommates. It was an excellent decision, and worked out nicely for some time until she moved back to the Internet. I have mostly forgiven her, and that’s mostly because she sends me enough animated gifs on a daily basis that it’s almost like having a roommate.

***

The I Thought You Already Had a Cat… Award

She's a lot fluffier than this picture implies

No, but I can see where you might be confused. I catsat for a few months, which gave me the opportunity to warm my landlord up to the idea of me having a cat. Then I gave that cat back, panicked about commitment for a few weeks, and then I brought home Bernadette. She is not technically named after the book, the song, or the Peters, but the fact that I’ve spent a lot of time with each of those things in the last year heavily influenced my decision.

Can I gush for a second? Yeah I can, it’s my blog. Ok, these three years were the longest I’ve lived without animals (barring the mice) ever. It was unpleasant. I was raised with the understanding that animals are essential, so not having any around felt unnatural. I had to resist the urge to dognap dogs on walks. I day-dreamed about cuddling the canadian geese that hang out in parking lots. (They are totally hug-sized. And shaped. Like huggable footballs with necks. I stand by this.) So, now I have my Bernadette. She has transformed from a crabby middle-aged lady in a cage to practically a kitten. There are few things as satisfying as loving a scared little creature until it learns it can trust people again.

***

The Didn’t You Blog About Finding a Church Like Two Years Ago? Award

So, they gave me this little cross necklace when I joined. Wasn't that nice of them?

Yeah, but that didn’t work out. Instead I bounced around for a couple more years and tried to figure out what exactly I was looking for. I never really decided what that was, but I seem to have found it. I enjoy going to church for the first time since college. I look forward to it. It’s refreshing and sets me up for the week. It’s a good church.

***

The So This Is Why You Talk about Tacos So Much Award

True friends help you attain your dreams...like your dream of owning a brass armadillo

As I was looking back for defining moments over the last year, I realized that I had been to Austin, TX, twice. In fact, one of the reasons that I forgave Roommate for leaving me was that I would get to visit her there. In my two trips to Austin, I saw: tacos, longhorns, bluebonnets, queso, street art, internet friends, Book People, bronies, tacos, stars both big and bright, yarnbombing, BBQ, cacti, irony, a parade of lowriders showing off their hydraulics, tacos, Zooey Deschanel. In my two trips to Austin, I did not see: the famous bridge bats, brass armadillos. In my two trips to Austin, I firmly believe I saw: Ryan Gosling. You people should just believe me. Also, tacos.

***

The What Is It With You And The Celebrity Sightings? Award

It was way to warm to be wearing a felt hat in Texas, Zooey. That was your tell.

For many years, my biggest brush with celebrity (outside of organized meetings like book signings and Disney World character breakfasts) was that one time Oprah’s Stedman ran into me while crossing Michigan Avenue. Then, in the last year, I’ve had three distinct interactions. Now, I’m not saying that celebrities are more special than other people, but I am saying it is fun to see people that you’re used to seeing on giant screens and in magazines completely out of context. Stars! They’re Just Like Us!

1) Ryan Gosling, while walking down South Congress with Sharone and Christine. This is questionable, but I like things in threes and I know he was there that weekend, so we’re going with it.

2) Zooey Deschanel, while standing in line at the a Austin airport. I heard someone talking in ZD’s voice, turned around to look, and a very small, very shiny person in over-sized sunglasses and an unseasonably warm hat clapped a hand over her mouth. She had to take the hat and glasses off for security and looked terrified that she’d be besieged by adorable Austin-dwelling Zooeyites. I have never been so grateful to not need sunglasses and a bodyguard.

3) Anne Lamott at the Picasso in Chicago exhibit at the Art Institute. There I was, minding my own business, trying to appreciate noses on multiple planes or something, when I said to my friend Kristin, “Um, that lady. The blonde one with the dreads. Is that Anne Lamott?” And so commenced a 20 minute very cool, covert Anne Lamott-stalking period. After a little while, I got up the courage to say hello and tell her how much I (and my mom) appreciate her, and she thanked me and turned the conversation to Picasso, and how amazing it was just to be in the same room with something that great. Her whole face crinkles when she smiles.

***

The Was I Supposed to Ask About the Tomatoes? Award

Actually, my watering can is shaped like a duck and isn't really functional. I might get a big-girl watering can eventually.

I mean, you don’t have to. But, yes, I did grow a plant that produced food which I could eat. It was good, but next year I should probably remember to water more.

***

And that’s this year, approximately. It was a learning year more than a doing year, really, but that’s ok. Do me a favor and bring your programs out with you. It makes clean-up a lot easier for the ushers.

In case you’re wondering, here’s my first and my second award ceremony.

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3 Comments

  • Catsat is just a really cool (and surprising) word. Congratulations on successfully completing year 3! I hear the traditional gift is 13 DVDs of the Schlitz Playhouse of the Stars.

  • Jesse,
    Congratulations on your third year braving to world on your own. I appreciate being able to attend your ceremony. I was looking to the reception afterwards but missed it somehow. I did not get a program as they were all out by the time I came. I knew it was going to be standing room only and should have come earlier. I tried but they expect me to work sometimes for my paycheck. 6 awards is pretty sweet. My guess is you may have to move to have room to put them all. I do hope your 4th year starts well and you enjoy it a great deal. My the winds of Chicago always be at your back. :)

  • Just got back from a week in Austin…say plenty of tacos and no Ryan Gossling but did see the famous bridge bats ~ great city!

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