You’ll Lose the Blues in Chicago

Unfortunately, I grew up knowing next to nothing about my Dad’s side of the family. He moved from Chicago (and his family) to Arizona in 1984 and lost contact with most of his relatives. The only exposure I had was his parent’s wedding photo and a group picture taken around 1900. Then, a few years ago, I found boxes of old photos and papers in my dad’s storage. I started piecing things together and, with the help of places like ancestry.com, created a family tree going back as far as my great-great-great-great grandparents. As a graduation/Christmas present my Dad took me to Chicago so we could meet some of his cousins. I was really nervous… I thought it was going to be awkward and they would think I’m some weirdo. Instead I discovered I have a huge extended family of AMAZING people!! I seriously had the BEST time hanging out with them, even though it was only for a few hours. It was amazing to meet people with my same last name and that looked like my Dad! I grew up with a Dad that seemed to come from nowhere – no similar looking parents or siblings, or even aunts and uncles. Needless to say, it was bizarre to be confronted with this:

(my dad is on the right)
They even have the same name! I also met my Dad’s cousin on his mother’s side. He was really cool too! I learned a lot about the Persian side of my family from him.

  
(please ignore the 1986 jacket I had to borrow from Scott, lol)

So, aside from spending time with my awesome new relatives, we did quite a bit. My dad drove us around so we could re-visit all the places of his and my mom’s childhood/teenage years. We visited many graves of relatives I’ve been researching, including my great-great-grandmother who is a hero of mine. I had so much delicious food (Italian Beef, gyros, Chicago pizza) that I almost burst. I even had my first White Castle slider! We went to the Sears Tower, of course, and rode the L. We also went to The Art Institute of Chicago where I saw artworks I’ve been studying for years. I spent WAY too much money in Little Poland on Polish books and paraphernalia.

As fun as all that stuff was, the best part was meeting my “new” relatives and visiting graves of relatives I never got to meet. Easily one of the best trips of my life!!

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Engaged!

Eric and I are engaged! You probably already know, because I’ve splattered it all over every social networking type site I’m a part of … sorry about that, by the way. I’m just so excited and happy!! I’ve been smiling uncontrollably, randomly dancing, and clapping like an idiot for a week now…

Many of you have asked how he did it, but it’s kind of a long story. I’ll summarize it like this: he took time off work when I didn’t have work or school. So last friday (the 13th, haha) we spent the whole day together doing a bunch of my favorite thing, including: playing video games, watching spongebob, going to my favorite restaurant (Ah-So). Then he took me to my favorite place, a bookstore called Half Price Books, where he bought me books (the best way to a Susie’s heart). On the way home I was thinking about how it was one of the best days EVER, when Eric drove right past our house. and took me to a park right next to our house instead. He then took me to the exact spot (in the park) where he first said “I love you” to me years ago. There he gave me an amazing speech (I’ll spare you the mushy details), and asked me to marry him. The ring was my grandmother’s wedding ring (whom I am named after but never met), and my mother’s wedding ring. Now it’s mine and I love it! Not as much as I love Eric :) 

The ring: (as usual, click to enlarge)

 

I can’t stop daydreaming about Eric, so I constantly have this brain-dead look on my face, like so:

When I don’t have that far-off look in my eye, I have my “OMG WE’RE ENGAGED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” face:

 

The wedding won’t be until next fall, because we’ve been saving up money for a house, plus I’m graduating and Eric has exams… I’m really in no rush to start planning a wedding anyway hahaha. Anyway, YAYYYYYY!!! I’M SO HAPPY!!!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Eric is Sexy

Eric is so damn hot, sometimes I feel like I’m dating a model…. I think this picture I took (at Audra & Zach’s amazing wedding) illustrates that point!

I’m not done resizing the few pictures I got from the wedding… It’s hard to take pictures when you are part of the bridal party! I’ll post those when I’m done 🙂

Flagstaff/Grand Canyon Trip


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Hey everyone! Eric and I are back home 🙂 For those of you who didn’t know, we went on a little trip to Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon for a few days (We left on Nov 9th and got back Nov 12th). I bet you are dying to know what we did….(HA) so here is a summary of the two busiest days:

Saturday
– We woke up and drove straight to the grand canyon, while listening to awesome Navajo music on the way up
– Once we got there we hung out at the most popular point and listened to all the different languages… very few people were speaking English. Eric and I decided we wanted to look Polish instead of American so we started saying all the random Polish words knew. Hopefully there weren’t any Poles there because we said a lot of not-nice things lol There was a huge group of Japanese tourists with a Japanese tour guide and I followed them around and actually understood some of what they were saying!
We spent most of the afternoon driving around and hanging out at different spots. We even climbed down into the Canyon a bit and just…. hung out and enjoyed the scenery.
– On the way home we stopped at the Little Colorado River Gorge, which is absolutely beautiful. We took a lot of pictures and chased a rabbit around!
– Then we went to Outback and had a huge delicious dinner. The waitress left us at our table for 20 minutes without taking out order, so we got a free onion blossom (MMM). It was happy hour “two-for-one” deal so we got blueberry martinis – DELISH.
– Then we went to Barnes and Noble and I got three books that I’ve been wanting for a while now (Three Musketeers, Amsterdam, and Slaughterhouse Five). what is better than buying books?
– Then we went to the Lowell Observatory. Not only is on top of a mountain kind of far from the city, but the city has laws against how bright lights can be so that the astronomers don’t have ‘light pollution’ problems. So.. when we got out of the car we almost passed out because we could see SO many stars – EVEN THE MILKY WAY!!! It was absolutely amazing, I wanted to cry…
We got to look in two big telescopes – one pointed at a comet, the other at the Andromeda galaxy. Then we got to look through the really really big telescope and as the M15 Star Cluster – it was so cool!
– When we got back to the hotel we watched Jim Gaffigan’s DVD “Beyond the Pale” and laughed til we cried. We had to keep pausing it because our stomach muscles hurt from laughing and we couldn’t breathe hahaha

Sunday
– we woke up and went to Denny’s where we both got the lumber jack slam, which I hadn’t had in FOREVER – it was sooo good. Plus I had delicious hot tea because it was cold outside.
– Then we went to a grocery store and bought a bunch of fruit n stuff for our picnic later.
– On the way to the Wupatki ruins I read my “Amsterdam” book – it was beautiful writing as usual.
– We went past Sunset Crater as we drove towards Wupatki ruins. Then we got out and did all the walking etc required to see the ruins – and it was SO worth it! They were beautiful and we could actually go inside them in stuff, which they don’t usually allow at places like that…
– After we were done climbing around we sat down and had a little picnic.
– After all that we were tired so we hung out in the hotel room for a while. Then we went to dinner and the movies. We saw Dan In Real Life and it was pretty horrible…..
We came back, and fell asleep, and left in the morning.

I took a bunch of pictures but they aren’t all uploaded yet, I’ll post a link when I am done!

oy matko!

Sadly, I finished The Grass Crown a few days ago. I say “sadly” because it was just oh-so good that I tried to savor it as I got closer to the end. One reviwer on Amazon described it as “still more addictive than crack cocaine” – I’ve never tried crack cocaine (nor do I plan to), but I imagine it’s somewhere close to the level of addiction I’ve been dealing with. However, I didn’t like Grass Crown as much as its predecessor The First Man in Rome. It wasn’t because of anything the author did, the story just took a heart breaking turn that I didn’t really like…… but it’s a historical drama and it followed the history faithfully, so it’s not Colleen McCollough’s fault!
I already bought the third book, Fortune’s Favorites, and have been itching to start that one.

I hope everyone had a nice Mother’s Day! Eric and I hand-painted a birdhouse for my mom. We painted grapes on it because my mom loves grape-themed things. We also painted a giant penis on it because…. well, it’s a long story. My mom is cool like that – we can talk about *anything* and joke about anything, including PENISes.
I like to draw peni (i like “peni” better than “penises”) on most anything i can, including mother’s day presents AND mothers:
mom w/ penis drawn on her arm

this was taken last weekend-ish… THIS is why my mom is better than yours! Too bad the flash kind of covered up the peni ..
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY MOM! I love you! 

Quote of the Day: “You don’t deserve to know the genius of Darwin’s Black Box… being a woman and all.” – Eric