No Blaise: Thank you.

November 25th, 2015

Here I am writing my obligatory “I’m thankful for..” post the day before Thanksgiving. It is so cliche, but also one of my favorite posts to write. I all too often look over the things I’m thankful for and turn immediately to the things that make me angry, and the things I haven’t accomplished yet. But Thanksgiving is the holiday to stop and take a look at what I have, rather than what I want.

I am thankful for the support net I have sitting under me, also known as my friends and family.

I’m thankful and so terrified that I’m almost done grad school.

I’m thankful for the 27 years of life I’ve lived and the experience it’s given me.

I’m thankful for social media that keeps us aware of the atrocities that happen around us. I am thankful that it can serve as a call to action.

I am thankful to CPS teachers who are working their fucking ass off despite being the toilet of the city’s budget.

I am thankful to the judge that ruled the video of Laquan McDonald be shown to the public so that we all could get a taste of gruesome and unapologetic his murder was.

I am not thankful that it took 400 days for the public to see it.

I am not thankful for Rahm Emmanuel and his suppression of the truth in Laquan McDonald’s murder. This can only lead me to wonder what else he and his administration is hiding.

I am thankful to all the organizations and activists who carried out the protest last night in the name of justice for the minorities in our city. I am grateful that the lit fuse of Laquan McDonald’s murder turned into their beautiful explosion of an outcry and demand for justice.

I am thankful to the activists who led this afternoon’s rally to #FreeMalcolm, and I am thankful for their message of love and understanding. I am almost hopeful because of them.

I am thankful that the charges against Malcolm London were dropped. I am not thankful he was arrested in the first place.

I am grateful to the Black Youth Project for sharing examples of their resilience with me. I am thankful to them for contributing to my understanding.

I am thankful just to be here.


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No Blaise: SRM 9020

November 11th, 2015

Unless something sounds so fun I can’t pass it up or I’ve paid for a ticket to go to it, or both, I try to spend my weekend nights on the couch. This past weekend I had a ticket to go see Small Black on Friday night, which falls under the “too fun to pass up and  I paid for it” category so I had to make up for lost couch time on Saturday night, so I decided it would be the perfect time to finally see the movie Inside/Out.

What a perfectly normal thing for a childless 27 year old person to want to do. Luckily I’m friends with people just as weird as I am, and so I wasn’t alone on the couch Saturday. I was also the only one who hadn’t already seen the movie, so am I the cool one in this scenario?

Probably not.

Saturday rolls around and Katie, Anika, Gina and I are hanging. I decide to make some warm cider with whiskey in it to remind myself that I am of legal drinking age even if I am a five year old on the inside. After we’re all settled with our blankets and alcohol to keep us warm, I go to the On Demand feature to try and find the movie. Then I go to “rent” it for $4.99 and end up with an error message.

Error message SRM 9020, to be exact.

I call the number on the screen to try and solve this problem, and it of course sends me to an automated system. There I am, screaming “yes, yes, no” and the last four digits of my social security number into the phone and finally I get to the automated part where they start asking me what’s wrong and what error code is showing up.

“SRM 9020″

“Did you say, SRM 9001?”


“I’m sorry, please repeat.”

“SRM 9020.”

“Did you say SRM 9010?”


“I didn’t catch that. You can say things like “error” and “SRM 9020.”

“Are you fucking kidding me.”

“I’m sorry, please repeat.”


“I didn’t catch that. You can say things like “error” and “SRM 9020.”

At this point I have my eyes closed and I’m trying not to kill everyone in my vicinity as my friends chat next to me about age appropriate things. The “please repeat” and  my screaming continues before this system finally figures out how that they’re about to turn me into a domestic terrorist and so they transfer me so I can talk to an actual person.

The woman who picks up immediately asks me the information I had just spent the last five years of my life giving to the automated system. By this point my voice is at a 10 on the “first world problem annoyance” scale, and this poor woman they transferred me to is catching the brunt of it. She tells me she’s going to put me on hold while she tries to figure out what the issue is, but before she does she tells me,

“Don’t worry ma’am, I’m right here.”

She comes back on the phone calmly and tells me that it turns out my bill was due on the 29th of October and I have to pay it before I can rent any movies.

Fuck that.



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No Blaise: Falling Back

November 4th, 2015

Between school, work, drinking caffeine at all hours, and my wine obsession, my sleep schedule is pretty much always on the rocks. On any given day my energy level usually fluctuates between unable to speak (morning) to unable to stop talking (mid day) and then into a strange combination of the two where I mostly talk about things I find strange about the world. Yesterday I sent out a mass text asking my friends if I thought pumpkin pie was a staple at thanksgiving because people were trying to get rid of their leftover pumpkins from Halloween.

Life altering stuff.

I bring all this up to show that my mental infrastructure is a fragile thing, and daylight savings was pretty much the big bad wolf. It didn’t help all that when daylight savings hit us all, I was in Michigan which has a different timezone than my home slumber state of Illinois. Also, why is gaining an hour of sleep on a Sunday such a big deal? Give me an hour of sleep on pretty much any week day and I would literally start the “I love Daylight Savings Campaign”, but I’m too neurotic to sleep in on the weekends so an hour extra of anything means pretty much nothing to me.

The complete darkness by 5pm though, there’s a mood booster.

You may have gathered that this week has been particularly rough sleep wise. I’ve essentially woken up every morning this week and been all “DID I HIBERNATE THROUGH WINTER, WHAT DAY IS IT, AM I LATE FOR WORK, WHERE’S MY PHONE!?”. This wake up doesn’t deviate all that much from the norm, the last three questions pretty much happen every morning, but the addition of feeling like I’ve slept through an entire season has been a nice touch.

What’s to be done about my being a total grumpy ass, you might wonder…

Could I stop having matcha lattes at all times of the day? No, because they’re my current caffeinated drink phase and so they’re also my life blood.

Could I stop scrolling through instagram and frying my brain for an hour in bed? No because no.

Could I stop drinking wine and beer up until the moment I get into bed, and sometimes while in bed? No because that’s how I RELAX.

Any suggestions on how I get through these dark days, no pun intended, should be kept to yourself because I’m too tired to listen.

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No Blaise: Adult Halloween

October 28th, 2015

Like the rest of the things in my life, it has become increasingly less important to me that I go out to raging parties, and much more important that I have constant access to a seat on a couch. My weekends are good indicators of that, and our attempt at a Halloween party last year definitely proved that our laziness in socializing is costing us in the “friends who will come to us” department. So, rather than calling these new Hallows Eve traditions depressing, I’ll just go ahead and call it “Adult Halloween”.

I think my freshman year of college I went as a sort of slutty police officer, but since then have almost exclusively been dressing up as men. Ace Ventura, James Franco in Freaks and Geeks, a unisex Skeleton. I’ll just go ahead and check off another box on the “reasons no one is interested in me” form before we move on…

This year, after deciding to not be a couple costume with my dog, I came up with the idea for Belle to be a flower. As time progressed and I drank wine every day my ability to be creative dwindled and I just decided to go ahead and be a flower too. Another checked off box on the above mentioned form.

Luckily Katie volunteered to join our “bouquet”, which in my mind made the matching costumes with my dog less pathetic. Then Dustin came over last night I peer pressured him into also joining, and then into giving me intense feedback about what he thought about the costume. This included him being forced to try it on at midnight.

And a third box gets checked…

Even more adult that my helicopter mother behavior, is the fact that we’re all going to spend Halloween up at Anika’s house in Michigan. I will of course make an abundance of Halloween themed things, because who needs to do homework in grad school? Then we’ll all drink Halloween themed drinks, and beer, and get drunk together in a house with plenty of couch seats.

Boo! We’re grown-ups!

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No Blaise: Sizing Up

October 21st, 2015

This past Saturday I went shopping in search of skincare, winter clothes, and “walking” shoes. Anika and I decide to wander around the North Ave. & Sheffield area because it’s packed with all sorts of stores, many of which have skincare, winter clothes, and “walking” shoes. Some of them even have all three.

Our first stop was DSW and after cruising the clearance section, I went over to the woman’s athletic shoes section, and after finding nothing to my liking, I made my way to the mens athletic shoe section. Neither held my next pair of “walking” shoes so we left and made our way to skincare and winter clothes stores, and I loaded up on both of these things.

I’ve got at least two months worth of face masks now. And eye masks. And sleep masks.

I was ready to collapse and head home, but Anika convinced me that a trip to Nordstrom Rack would be worth our while, so I loaded up on Starbucks and a bagel and cream cheese that was 90% cream cheese.

As I shoveled this all into my mouth, I walked up and down the aisles of the clothes section of Nordstrom Rack, unable to touch anything because I was literally covered in cream cheese. Luckily, Anika decided to try some things on so I could sit down in the section usually reserved for men who were dragged to the women’s section and are now waiting for their girlfriends/wives/sisters/moms to stop popping out of the dressing room and asking if they like something. I got a seat next to a man heavily engrossed in his phone and ate the rest of my bagel.

Once Anika had finished trying on clothes and I cleaned myself off, we were ready for the shoe section.

When I say “walking” shoes I mean that I’m looking for shoes usually reserved for someone who exercises, but I’m going to wear them while chasing an almost two year old around the neighborhood. I call it “The Toddler Method” of getting in shape, and it requires very nice “walking” shoes.

I browse the women’s section for a little while, but they don’t really have what I’m looking for. So, in my traditional fashion, I mosey over to the men’s. Where, coincidentally,  a lot of attractive men are also shopping for shoes.

Hi guys, what size are you?

I go to the size 8 section of the men’s, since that’s my conversion size technically. I try on a few things and they’re a little too small, so I slide down a few inches to the 8 1/2. Those are still a bit tight, so I move into the size 9 territory. When those are still too snug I am like what the fucking fuck is happening right now.

Here I am, a single woman, in the 9 1/2 section of the men’s shoe section, asking men to “please move” so I can get to the shoes I want. For myself.

Breezing through the trauma of this sizing debacle, Anika ends up finding a beautiful pair of New Balance in the 9.5th realm of hell. I grab them and scoot right on outta there.

Once home, I put on a face mask, turn off all the lights in my room, light some candles, and mourn my femininity.

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No Blaise: Quarter Crisis

October 14th, 2015

I’m in the midst of either week 4 or week 5 of this quarter of grad school. I’m not sure which because everything feels like a blur and my life is falling apart.

So far it’s been filled with 90% homework & pure panic, and 10% heavy drinking. The heavy drinking percentage is likely much much higher because 100% of the time I’m panicking I’m also drinking wine.

This is my second to last quarter of classes before beginning student teaching, and I can describe my mental atmosphere about it as “the shit hitting the fan”. As my student teaching approaches, so do all the clearance tests and fingerprints and medical tests I have to get together. The fingerprinting and Tuberculosis test I should pass with five stars, unless all the street cleaning parking tickets, money I owe my old therapist, bad dates, and drunk eating have finally caught up to me in the form of me being a wanted criminal crawling with disease.

That would be the cherry on top of an already melting sundae that is this quarter.

The clearance test I mentioned above I’ve already taken once and, you guessed it, I failed. The days before I spoke with my classmates who’d taken it and asked if they thought it was hard and most of them said, “oh no, you’ll be fine.” This probably didn’t mean I should’ve drank beer until 11pm the night before my 9am test, but tomatoes/tomahtoes.

After spending however long it took me to answer 125 questions on a computer screen while essentially asleep is how long it took me to take the first time. I then got greeted with a print out as I exited that projected my score was “not pass”.

So, overall that was a terrible day.

Now I was supposed to pass this test by November 1 so I could have academic clearance aka so that I could student teach when I have planned. But, I took the test on Sept. 25 and for whatever reason the state of Illinois is making me wait two months until I can take the test again. They also make you go through a rigorous process of paying for whichever Illinois Licensure test you want to take, and then you have to get approved which takes about one business day, and then you can register to test. And I’m just like, who do they think is going to pay $125 to take this extremely annoying test unless they absolutely had to, and why they fuck do they make you wait two months?

I know you were all worried, but as it turns out I am not the first person to have failed this test way too close to deadline and I was able to get an extension on my clearance date. I can re-take the test on Nov. 24 and as long as a I pass, I’ll be cleared.

As long as I pass.

Now that I’ve backed myself into a very frustrating corner, I pretty much had to go to tutoring for this godforsaken test. I walk into the Academic Success Center to schedule a tutoring sesh, and wouldn’t you know the person I’ll be tutored by is named Nora.

Future, is that you?

This past Tuesday morning I rushed over as I like to do in the morning, or anytime really, in order to make my 9am appointment with other Nora. She asks me where I am in my program, when I planned to student teach, and then exclaims, “Oh, so passing this test is a huge deal for you.”

Uh, yup.

She confirms my suspicions that the test is made up completely of trick questions and I can’t be tired when I take it or else I’ll just glaze over the details that will lead me to the right answer.

Check, and check.

Her helping me prepare for the test was her having me do a bunch of practice tests, and then grade them in front of me, then tell me why I got wrong what I got wrong. It turned out to actually be really helpful.

At the end of the session she told me that as long as I wasn’t tired when I took the test, I would most likely do just fine.

Well, I’m always fucking tired so what the hell do I do now!?

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No Blaise: Belle-y Ache

September 30th, 2015

It’s no secret that I am an obsessive dog mom. This is partially because I own the worlds most neurotic dog and partially because I am the worlds biggest control freak.

It’s quite the combo.

This past weekend some of us, including Belle, went up to Michigan. This trip was 90% relaxing, and 10% Belle digging up the yard and then getting into the leftover bbq ribs at 3am. Her digging is a pretty random habit, but as it turns out she can dig a pretty deep hole for having such short legs. So if we’re sticking to percentages, I am 98% annoyed at her digging and 2% kinda proud.

The real issue of the weekend was the whole 3am rib feast she got into. This rib feast led to her being up night whining in the bedroom when she couldn’t get back out to the rib feast, and then her refusing to eat her dog food the entire Sunday, and eventually she realized eating crap and then not eating her real food would make her feel terrible and irritable and so she took it out on everyone on Sunday night by being generally an asshole.

Here’s where my dog mom habits got kicked into overdrive.

I immediately got on Pinterest and searched “homeopathic dog remedies”, and the amount of results that came up were astonishing. It seems I am just one drop in a large pool of dog parents who would spend hours giving their dog a therapeutic bath and then hand feeding them pig dicks.

Thankfully, the above mentioned was not a cure for Belle’s “generally an asshole” diagnosis and I could skip feeding her animal genitalia. This time.

When it seemed like Pinterest wouldn’t be able to solve my problem, something I’ve never experienced before, I walked over to the local dog store to ask him what he thought I should do. I went in and sort of browsed around the remedy section of the store until I looked lost enough that the owner came over to ask me what I was looking for. I explained that while taking a 3am potty break this weekend, by dog had gotten into some ribs and was now acting like a real bitch. No pun intended.

I was already holding coconut oil because all the dog blogs told me it worked wonders on basically everything a dog could ever suffer from, and the store owner agreed with the online community of dog owners aka my best friends. He also suggested that I give her a little bit of tripe with her food, as it’s an immune booster.

Immune booster? Check please.

So I left the store with a jar of coconut oil and three cans of tripe aka cow stomach. Pretty gross, but not quite genitals.

I still had some hours in my workday so I couldn’t run home and pile all of these remedies on Belle’s food like I wanted to. Upon reflection I am genuinely ashamed of my excitement level about plopping these animal insides and oil on top of a dogs food. But here I am.

It’s worth it to mention now that before the whole ribs fiasco, I had already been putting a spoon of sweet potato and a spoon of wild salmon on top of her dry food. So now I was adding two other toppings to her breakfast and dinner, making it a total of five different ingredients that went into her breakfast and dinner.

On a good day, I’ll pack myself a lunch that would consist of maybe three different things. But here I am feeding my dog a four topping pizza two times a day.

Who owns who, am I right?

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