Chicago

Mish Mosh

I think I’ve hit the proverbial “brick wall” with my daily blog entries. I’m just not at all feeling creative these days and I’m sure it has to do with the fact that I’m just 15 days away from finishing up the promise I made to myself to post daily until the Monday after Easter.

Yeah, I’ve got me some writer’s block going on.

Oh, not that I don’t have things to say (when don’t I?), I think I’m at that state where I know I’m in the last stretch before the home front. And if I. Can. Just. Push myself. A little further …

Today was laundry day. And at the cafe next to the laundromat, there happened to be this sign –>

How can you not laugh after seeing that? Especially now that I’m imagining a future bowl of soup take off on me in the midst of consuming it so it can save the world.

Afterward, it was back to the local coffee house so that Hubby can continue to do some more work without the distractions of the TV at home. Nope … instead we were distracted by looking up scores for the NCAA March Madness Tourney.

Of which, this is the first year I’ve ever did a set of brackets. While I’ve known I’m a sports fan(atic) for a while, I’ve never been too much of a college basketball lover. (Hubby blames it on the demise of Michigan’s Fab Five.) And I could never understand how people could become so distracted on those Thursdays and Fridays of the NCAA tournament. Until now. D*mnit.

Oh, and I just have to send a quick shout-out to my alma mater, Oakland University that did make the tournament this year. Unfortunately they lost in the first round. But that’s more I can say about Hubby’s alma mater. 😛

One more piece of babble before I sign off for the night. And I have to mention it only because it is a rather historic day in Washington DC. I think any American would’ve had to be living under a rock these past couple years not to know what I’m talking about.

Hubby "rockin' it" at the local *Bucks

Yes, I can’t believe that today will be the House vote on whether or not to pass the Health Care Reform bill. And seeing that the key Democratic  hold-out amended his decision based on a last-minute Executive Order from Obama, it’s sounding more and more like this Health Care Reform bill will be signed into legislation by the end of tonight or in the early morning hours.

As a professional clinician in the Health Care arena … let alone one that specifically works for a health insurance company, I’m honestly a little nervous about what this will mean for the landscape of my imminent future. While I will be incredibly relieved that this version of Health Care Reform means that everyone has access to quality health care (because regardless of whether a person is poor or rich, we should all have the basic human right of receiving appropriate care), I’m a little worried of the reality on how this will all be funded.

Again, not saying that I disagree with the concept that every living being should be able to have access to the basic human right of quality health care … I’m just simply stating that if Health Care costs continue to rise at the rate that they do, how will even the federal government pay for it?

My Mom made the comment this afternoon as a spoke with her that it’s because of rise in Health Insurance premiums that have forced those previously opposed to the bill change their mind. She specifically pointed to my employer ( … you know, the one who pays my bills?) as an example.

WTF?! This is Suburban Chi-Town's version of the Leaning Tower

However, what she failed to see (and what most people also fail to realize) is that the raise in premiums is due to the rise in overall health care costs. And rise in overall health care costs is a combination of multiple factors. One which can specifically be directed towards those pharmaceutical companies and high technology companies that produce those multi-million dollar machines that can diagnose cancer just by standing next to it.

I’m kidding, of course. There is no such instrument. But the truth is, it’s these companies that charge US the consumers millions of billions of dollars in order to turn a healthy profit on their end. And when I talk about “consumers,” I mean any person that seeks health care services, the facilities that prescribe these drugs or purchase these instruments, and the health insurance companies.

Where else would these pharmaceutical companies get the money to advertise their medications (A$$-effects anyone?) And how else would they continue to make the profits by keeping the patents to these medications for years and years (and years), and charge hundreds of dollars for their “Brand Name” drug when it could be made more readily available for generic distribution (and therefore cheaper to the consumers)?

So yes, this is more the reason I’m concerned about the current Health Reform bill. Because, quite frankly, it really doesn’t discuss any reform when it comes to health care spending.

Another Random Chicago Pic

And maybe it’s because I’ve seen both sides of the equation … both as a Registered Nurse working in the hospital and as a RN Case Manager working for the health insurance company …  trying to assist with finding resources for those un(der)insured patients in order for them to be safely discharged home, that I absolutely know Health Care Reform is needed.

I just hope that somehow with the passing of this bill, that these other issues will also be addressed. Especially now that those “bills” (as in the bills that typically get sent to the individual who received services and/or the health insurance company, if they have any) would be the responsibility of our government.

Whew. Okay … this was a much longer post that I anticipated. But hey … perhaps this means I’ve plowed through that brick wall?!

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In German today, here’s my Daily Lenten exercise.

Eine gute Tat des Tages: Uhm … I’m honestly not quite sure I did a Good Deed today. At least not yet. I guess I’ll have to do something before the day is officially over. Hmmm … perhaps walk our Kozzy-girl when we get home? So Hubby can continue to work? Yeah. Think I’ll do that.

Gefühle der Dankbarkeit für den Tag: Well, today I’m grateful for Hubby who did a stellar job in helping out with the laundry today. Especially since I’m not feeling a 100% today. I’m all achey and clammy. Uh-oh. 🙁

Okay y’all. Time to sign off for now. Until tomorrow …

No Schedules Allowed

It’s finally Friday night and I’m so happy that the weekend is finally here. So what if the weather is supposed to be crappy weather all weekend? So what if it’s probably going to be spent doing laundry? Or, worse, work?

All I know is that I’m not going to be held to a specific schedule; not going to be pulled into a last-minute meeting. Not going to have to deal with a constant barrage of emails and IM’s. And even though there is work to be done, the fact that I’m going to be able to work at my own pace just totally makes the whole weekend!

So this post is going to be short tonite; no fluffy stories or reflections about a child-free life. Tonite is all about keeping up with my Daily Lenten promise.

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Today’s Good Deed: While walking the mutt-ster this morning, I managed to find a dollar bill on the sidewalk. After looking all around me to see if there was anybody in the vicinity that might have lost the money, I picked up the dollar and put it in my pocket. And no … the good deed wasn’t that I returned the dollar to the person who lost it. I actually made it a point to give it to my co-worker who, every work day, passes the same hungry homeless man on the way to her commuter train station. I figured that he could use the dollar more than I could.

Today’s Gratitude: Can I just say one word? Friday. 🙂

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One more thing … couldn’t resist putting a photo of this up here. Thought this was one of the coolest concepts I’ve seen in quite awhile; perfect for the annual dyeing of the Chicago River for St. Patty’s Day. Click on the picture to find out more about the Ad Agency behind the concept.

Out of My Shell

Nice Sunny Chicago Day ... Last Summer!

It’s gorgeous outside. And I know this, despite being locked up under artificial lights since 8:30 this morning, because I’ve been unchained from my desk for a lunch time break. I couldn’t let the beautiful day go by without soaking up some of that sun.

I’m getting a head start on today’s post only because I will be attending my second Meetup for the week; another one about Bloggers in the Chicago area. This apparently is one of the bigger groups (300+ members), so I’m a little hesitant to see how personal or unpersonal this event will be.

In any case, I suppose it’s a good thing to get out there in this city. After a over a year of being here, I need to find a balance between work and play. And seeing that this was one of my problems back in Detroit, I figure it best be something I correct now.

It’s amazing how the older we get, the harder it is to step outside of our shells. Somedays I’m still amazed how I managed to pick up and leave the only city I’ve ever known and start over. And having a job waiting for me was definitely a blessing in disguise; because, if anything, at least that provided me with the ability to interact with people and relate to them on some common ground (the job, our backgrounds as Case Managers, etc).

This hasn’t been the same for Hubby. While he continued to have free-lance jobs and interact with people either online or on the phone, there wasn’t much face-to-face interaction in his day. (It probably was more face-to-laptop screen or ear-to-iPhone interaction more than anything.) While I encouraged him to work outside of our apartment where there were more chances of human contact, somedays he was too busy to leave his home-office. And somedays, he preferred only furbaby interaction instead.

Either way, it’s a good thing that he discovered Meetup.com. It’s a site that allows people to search for communities and events by interest; narrowing it down to a specific location. And because Chicago is a rather big city, there happens to be more groups/communities available that suit his interests. So for the past (almost) three months now, he’s been attending various events and beginning to build his network.

Now is the time for me to start doing this. And seeing that my interests lately have been more towards writing more and blogging, it makes sense to go to this Meetup tonite. I have no idea where this blog will take me, but I truly hope that I can at least learn some tips of the trade in trying to get my blog out there and read more often.

Wish me luck!!

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Whew … 17 more days and counting until my Lenten journey is over! Go me!!

Good Deed Du Jour: Today we had another inservice at work for the entire staff. Unfortunately, the majority of my in-house staff wanted to go together; which I couldn’t allow because our phones needed to be covered for potential incoming live calls from our Customer Service area. But since two staff members left behind had really expressed interest over going to this topic in the past, I told them I’d cover for their phones and get our telecommuters to cover the phones as well. Both of them were very grateful!

Gratitude Du Jour: Thank goodness for warm sunny days! Nothing like a little bit of sunshine to give us a taste of Spring … which officially begins on the 21st! Yay!!

Amateur Night

My Dad tries to "Poll Dance" in Vegas on the shuttle ... It's his Amateur Night! LOL!

How is it that I managed to attend my first Meetup group event on the eve of my blogoversary? And how perfect that I joined a group called Chicago Blogs?

Yes, Hubby finally managed to drag me (although not kicking and screaming) to one of his Meetup events. Which, seeing that it just happens to be about blogging, seems perfect as a Meetup Virgin.

WOW, did I learn quite a bit about the “geekier” side of blogging! From SEOs (a term I just learned tonight) to marketing my blog in various manners … I feel as if I’m quite behind on my learning curve for blogging. But that’s okay. Because that’s what this group is about; which is to learn from each other and share various experiences.

Seeing that I had never been to a Meetup event before, I was initially quite nervous. Although I’m the “outgoing” one between Hubby & I, there are still times that I can be quite shy. But from the moment Hubby & I arrived, we both felt quite comfortable.

So thank you, Marty, for being such a gracious host. And seriously, it was incredible to meet such a great group of people with various experiences in the blogoverse. Looking forward to picking your brain for more ideas … especially now that I finally have a registered domain!!

And now comes the time-consuming part (mostly on Hubby’s end) of designing and developing my blog …

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Well … seeing that it’s the eve of St. Patrick’s day, might as well go for an Irish version of my Lenten Activities:

Dea-Gníomhas an Lae: Today’s good deed was all about encouragement. Not only was it about encouragement to some of the new folk I met tonight; especially those that have just entered into the world of blogging … but it was also about providing feedback and confidence to all of my employees as we met one-on-one today.

Bhuíochas ar an Lae: I am grateful for the opportunity to meet new people. Being new in a city is not necessarily a bad thing … it’s just the older I get, the harder it is to meet other people outside of work and outside of my profession. So being able to meet new people and find common interests? Yeah … that’s just the whip cream on top of the banana split!

Okay all, that’s it. I’m barely keeping my eyes open at this time … Good night!

Spare Parts

I actually started writing this post on my iPhone on the drive from Chicago to Detroit. Ah … The wonders of modern technology!

Click on to the picture to find out about this "store front"

Typically on the 5-hour drive, Hubby usually gets the “honor” of being behind the wheel. And there’s something about his driving that usually lulls me to sleep. But today, despite staying up late last night and putting in a six-hour work day, I’m surprisingly wide awake. Maybe it’s the Real Fruit Berry Slushie from the Sonic in K-zoo? Nah …

In the past, whenever we’d go on long road trips, Hubby & I would make it an event. We’d stack up the CD’s and pack some snacks and have so much fun. And in between Van Morrison and CCR songs** Hubby and I would have these incredible conversations about our life together, our future, and our hopes & dreams.

Not that we still don’t have awesome conversations now on our round-trips between Chi-Town and Motown; it’s just that they don’t always happen during every trip … Especially with Hubby’s uncanny ability to make me so nice and relaxed when he does the driving.

And because those conversations were really in the earlier years of our relationship, there was more to find out about one another. There was more about us, as individuals, to share. There were more dreams of the ideal future to discuss.

There was none of those shared worries or disappointments. There was no shared heartbreaks for futures that weren’t realized. There was only hope.

It’s because of those things that these awesome conversations happen less … But when they do, they are so much more exciting and fun.

Today, Hubby & I had one of those fun conversations. Since learning more web apps, he’s been dying to either a) start up and design his own blog, or b) take my blog and move it to my own domain so that he can have all the fun in playing around with it while designing it. Now I’m totally for Option B here*** but I’d also love to see Hubby write his own blog as well.

Anyway, a couple days we were trying to come up with potential names for his blog. Unfortunately, we never came up with any that would “stick.”

Today on the drive to Detroit, I came up with a name that I thought would make for a great new blog title … For me. Except when I told Hubby about it, he thought that I was talking about a blog title for him.

The title? “Spare Parts” which would have been great for an infertile living child-free like me, who still has all her lady parts. Except … well, except they just don’t work. So yeah. Spare. Parts.

Hubby, on the other hand, thought that I was talking about a blog name for him, where he’s just the “spare part” to me. In which  he proceeded to say to me, “What does that mean? That I’m so old and broken? And that I’m replaceable? For newer parts?”

He was serious, and yet I couldn’t help but laugh.

“Of course not,” I told him. “I was talking about myself!” and then I explained to him the reason I came up with the name.

But that still didn’t stop Hubby from calling himself as “Spare Part” for the rest of our drive home. Or referring to particular Hubby behaviors as a “Spare Part” behavior. Like, for instance, the fact that he has a tendency to ask multiple questions at one time as “Spare Part questions.” Or heading in the wrong direction towards the freeway as “Spare Part directions.”

Later on that night, as we were closer to home I told him that he was irreplaceable. That there was only one Hubby for me. And if anything, I was the one who was replaceable … with my broken parts.

And of course he told me that *I* had no spare parts; that I was perfect the way I am. Most importantly, he told me this: The two of us separately can be seen as “spare parts.” But together … well, that just makes us whole.

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Now … for my daily Lenten activities:

Today’s Good Deed: At work, I had scheduled a vendor meeting for my entire team (not my first choice of days during the week). This, unfortunately meant that my telecommuters had to come in to the office for the day. Hubby gave me the brilliant idea of bringing in some treats for the team. So we stopped off at Dunkin’ Donuts on the way to the office and picked up a dozen donuts; for no other reason other than to celebrate that it was Friday and that we were all together in the office. The best part? As I stepped out of the elevator, three of my team members were waiting to climb on to go down for a morning snack. And guess what they were going to buy? That’s right peeps … donuts! Hubby obviously had a sixth sense about stopping for this particular snack.

Today’s Gratitude: Every time we go back to Metro-Detroit, we make it a ritual to meet up with our friend, J. And of course, we try to meet up at our favorite local tavern for some good burgers. Tonight was no exception to our meet-up, but … being a (questionably) good Catholic, I refrained from eating meat on a Friday during Lent. (I know! What restraint!!) I may have mentioned in previous posts that we consider J one of our closest friends; so today I’m grateful for this friendship and the incredible conversations we have whenever we get together.

So that’s it for today … it’s actually quite late as I’m finishing up this post. Truth be told, it’s already Saturday early morning … but since I technically didn’t sleep yet … this is still Friday’s post. And that’s how I’m going to date it.

So there. <sticks tongue out>

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** Because there’s something about those classic rock songs that just make you wanna sing them at the top of our lungs while driving long distances …

*** Hey, why not?! It’d be relatively free for me!

Proud Pet Owner

There’s this high school in Chicago with an  incredibly large lawn right down at the end of our street. It kinda like the “old skool” schools that remind me of Rydell High from “Grease.”

Official Clubhouse for the DEC

In any case, the huge lawn of this school also serves as a dog park. It comes in pretty handy when we’ve gotta take our Kozzy-girl out for her “business.” But not so great when there’s a whole gaggle of other dogs out there as well.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, our Kozzy is not exactly the most socially adept dog. Both with strangers and with other dogs. With us, she’s the sweetest affable dog around … but with others, she’s such a nervous nelly; which in turn makes her aggressive. So yeah, she’s not exactly welcomed at the dog park.

In fact, Hubby & I have a name for the group of pets and their owners. We call them the DEC. Or the Doggy Exclusive Club. Of which Kozzy & her owners are not members.

But thanks to unyielding patience on both our parts and the help of tips from watching “The Dog Whisperer,” Kozzy has made a breakthrough tonight. That’s right, peeps; I think Kozzy actually made a doggy friend. And it happens to be this fluff-ball of a puppy that belongs to the family in the apartment building a few houses down. It’s a good thing this furball is the antithesis of Kozzy; he’s friendly and verrry non-aggressive. So much that Kozzy actually let him sniff her and let Kozzy sniff him … all without any growling or barking!

I KNOW! I was sooo amazed!

Of course, after that … I just had to test out the DEC. And, unfortunately … the amount of pets and pet owners at the park must have overwhelmed our Kozzy. Which, of course, resulted in Kozzy being overly anxious and overly aggressive. But … at least I managed to calm her down before heading back home.

Despite that little hiccup at the end, I am so proud of my Kozzy-girl. It’s taken awhile, but I think she’s finally adjusting to city life!

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And now for the Daily Lenten Special:

Good Deed Du jour: The first Wednesday of the month is typically “Free Inservice Day” at work. It’s where our Clinical Trainers arrange for some sort of vendor to come out and present on a healthcare-related topic. With that comes free Continuing Education Units (CEU) to keep up with our Nursing License and Certification for Case Manager. Oh, and lunch is usually provided as well. However, the amount of food that’s provided is usually waaay too much for me to eat in one setting … so I tend to either share it with someone or bring it home.

Today I decided to give the other half of my chicken pita sandwich and cookies to someone else who needed it. And that would be the homeless guy that happened to be sitting outside of the Borders Bookstore on Michigan Avenue. I’m sure this guy probably gets a lot of handouts throughout the day, but at least I know that I’ve given food to someone who could use it.

And here's my Kozzy-girl!!

Gratitude Du jour: Even though I already expressed gratitude for having Kozzy in our lives; today I am thankful for all the things that having to care for Kozzy has taught me. While patience is the number one thing that Kozzy has taught me, there’s another important lesson I’ve learned for her. Because of Kozzy, I’ve learned how my emotions and moods affect others. With humans, it’s not as blatantly obvious to see how an anxious or bad mood can affect other people around you.

With pets … dogs, in particular … they can pick up on emotions right away. If I’m happy and excited, then chances are Kozzy is the same. And when I’m angry or anxious … well, you bet that Kozzy starts exhibiting her anxiety. And because of this exercise, I’ve learned to be more conscious of how my disposition affects others. So thank you Kozzy, for that lesson.

Dedicated

I am so dedicated to completing the month of posting daily (although I started to lose the whole “Ties” theme midway through), that I’m currently writing this with my eyes half-closed.

I’m so looking forward to this weekend, just so I can catch some Zzzz’s. Not only have I stayed up late pretty much every night since the Olympics, but it feels as if I’ve been running non-stop at work this past week. Needless to say, I am exhausted.

So before I literally fall asleep with my head on the laptop keyboard, let’s get down to business:

Today’s “Good Deed” for the day involved speaking with one of those interesting homeless guys on the streets of Chicago. Because Hubby had a conference until 4:30 downtown, we made plans to meet at the local Borders Bookstore after I got off work. And since I had enough of work today, I left my office a half hour earlier (with the blessing of Big Boss, of course) And as I stood outside the store patiently waiting for Hubby, this completely harmless Homeless Guy (HG) came up to me and started talking with me.

Now, normally I would give any stranger that came up to me (let alone one that appeared to have bathed in liquor) a rather disparaging look and dismiss him or her. But since it was Friday, and HG appeared friendly enough, I decided to humor him.  After about 10 minutes of bantering back and forth about me being “full of it” (he didn’t believe I was married) and about trying his best to do what he thinks is right … Hubby finally showed up; probably much to this guy’s chagrin. And after a brief three-way conversation, HG reluctantly let Hubby & I go on our merry way.

Of course, Hubby had to tease me about how he couldn’t leave me alone for a minute; that I always seem to attract the opposite sex … of which I immediately corrected him by saying that I always seemed to attract the “best” of the bunch. Hah!

At the very least, I hope I provided HG a little bright spot in his day. I’m sure that most people either ignore him as they walk on by. Or they do what I normally do on any given day. Sometimes I think that people just want to be heard, so I’d like to think I indulged him with that opportunity.

As for what I’m thankful for today? Since I’m so frickin’ exhausted, I’m just quite happy that one thing I get to “indulge” in every weekend is the ability to sleep in or wake up on my own time. If there’s any bright spot about living child-free after infertility, this is definitely one of them!

Okay, that’s it. I’m done for the night. Hope you all have a wonderful Friday night … and may you all have the opportunity to sleep in. Even if it’s just for a bit!!

Oh NUTS!!

Somedays work feels like Mr. Stay Puft

Proton Pack Day #2. Except today I was remotely putting out fires from home; which definitely had its challenges. But ask me if I minded doing it from home, and I’d tell you that I would find a way of putting up with the challenges in order to take advantage of this benefit. It’s just too bad that I’m limited to working from home only one day a month. Boo …

Anyway, because I worked from home today I did not have much opportunity to do any new Random Acts of Kindness. Instead, while taking my puppy-girl for an extended walk (after my work day was done), I once again spread some goodies for the Chicago wildlife. Well … the birds and squirrel variety, anyway — none of those “back alley” city wildlife.

Squirrels are funny creatures; more so, it seems, in the city. Hubby & I have had the conversation before about how squirrels in Chicago seem just a bit different than squirrels back in suburban Detroit. First of all, the colorings/markings on Chicago squirrels are remarkably greyish-brown; more of a hodge-podge of various squirrel colorings. And then there are those suburban Detroit squirrels, which tend to be either reaaallly brown or black.

Meet City Squirrel (Chicago)

And because I grew up in suburban Detroit in the decade following the 1967 Detroit Riot and during Coleman Young‘s five terms of Mayor (both circumstances that contributed to the massive segregation between city and suburbs, caucasian and non-caucasian), it’s a silly observation that Detroit squirrels should be so … well, black and white. Add to the fact that up until the last decade or so, it was rare to see a black squirrel past Eight Mile Road* … that’s irony at its best!

But regardless of ra- … I mean species , the big thing that we noticed about city squirrels and “country” squirrels*** is the personalities. Suburban squirrels (at least in all other areas of the Detroit area other than Ann Arbor) are rather timid. They are easily frightened by anything and everything. Whereas, their cousin, City Squirrel just loooves to come up to anyone or anything … especially my dog.

You know, the same dog that has anxiety issues? And totally gets nervous/aggressive when other pets are around? Yes, City Squirrel loves to antagonize her. (My poor Kozzy-girl … ) They love to stand in direct path of her and make clicking sounds in order to get her attention. And then they looove running away the minute Kozzy starts pulling on her leash and barking at them.

And this is Suburban Squirrel

Some days it’s absolutely hysterical. And then there are days, like today (as I tried to feed them), that it’s downright frustrating!

(Remind me again why I was trying to feed them? Oh yeah, for my daily Lenten *good* deed … NUTS!!)

As for what I’m thankful for today … I guess because we’re quite tight in the wallet lately, I’m grateful that I have food to put on our table and food to feed our pets. While City & Suburban Squirrel can probably scrounge off the land (they’re raised to do that) or fill their tummies with scraps given to them by suckers like me, at least I don’t have to go further than the closest grocery store to get mine. And how about all the other people I see in the streets of Chicago? The ones asking for spare change just to get food? The same ones that are grateful for any leftovers that other humans give to them? That just makes me even more thankful that we have what we have.

Okay … that’s it for the night. Think I’m going to crash now, so that I can be prepared to fight more fires tomorrow. <sigh>

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And finally, meet City Squirrel II (Detroit)

* Yes, that IS the road that is referenced in the famed Brian Grazer/Eminem** movie. This road in Detroit is literally (and figuratively) the dividing line between city and suburbs.

** Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon: I have a friend who actually went to HS/Middle school with Marshall … well, at least until he dropped out!

*** Remember City Mouse and Country Mouse? Meet their kissing cousin, Suburban Mouse! LOL!

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Today, I am Polish-Filipino

If there’s one thing I love about Chicago, it’s the fact that they share a lot of the same traditions as Detroit does. Today just happens to be one of those days.

I had a co-worker back in Michigan that moved from the East Coast. The first February in Detroit, she recalled how she’d be reading the newspaper and would stumble upon this word that she had NO idea how to pronounce.

“Pack-zee? Pass-key?” That’s how she thought the word would sound like. “And what the *heck* is ‘Pazz-ski Day’ anyway?”

My fellow Detroiters and I laughed when we heard that statement. “Poonch-kee,” we corrected her. But really, we couldn’t fault her because … well, unless your Polish, you probably wouldn’t know how to pronounce “Paczki.”

For those of you that aren’t familiar with what a Paczki is, it’s a deep-fried piece of dough that is typically filled with either crème or jelly. Sounds like a regular doughnut, doesn’t it? Except it isn’t … it’s made out of especially rich dough containing eggs, fats, sugars and sometimes milk.  So basically it’s a lot more calories than your typical filled doughnut.

Paczki Day started as a Polish tradition in which a typical Polish-Catholic would make batches and batches of paczki to try to purge any ingredients that might spoil during the Lenten season. And, of course, what better day to get “rid” of all those extra paczki than to make Fat Tuesday the official day for these treats?

This tradition carried over to the US, and in particular the Midwestern states, where there are large communities of Polish-Americans. Detroit, in particular, has Hamtramck; a city of Polish descendents within the city of Detroit. And Chicago, apparently also has a multitude of Polish neighborhoods; which is collectively known as Chicago Polonia.

And why do I know so much of the history of Paczki Day? Well … let’s just say the Catholic Grade School I went to comprised mostly of Polish-Americans. So much that this Filipino-American knew more about pierogi and sauerkraut than the typical non-Polish-American. 

Seriously … our Grade School’s Annual Festival comprised of your typical Midway rides, a beer tent and a Polka contest. (And no … I do  not know how to Polka. But I have been taken around the dance floor a couple times!)  In fact these same co-workers (who helped me tease our East Coast transplant) have all but named me an “Honorary Pole” for knowing a little too much of Polish traditions!

So yes … I just thought I’d bring a little history to y’all non-Polish peeps and any non-Midwesterners. Have a wonderful FAT TUESDAY and a Happy Paczki Day!!

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