Swoon there goes your boyfriend

It all started when I was eight years old. A boy used to tease me at Sunday school. After church we would go back to my grand-parents house and I remember telling this to my grandma one afternoon. She goes Julia, boys tease the girls that they like. He likes you.

In college my dating life consisted of a twin size bed, brunches and a heavy night of drinking.  Late night pizza was often involved.  I even had a guy tell me that for Valentine’s Day he was going to drink with his buddies and proceeded the to ask me what time he should stop on by after. Just what every girl wants to hear. I slept with the dorm phone to my ear that night. I didn’t want to take any chances. Swoon.  I thought back to the lessons of my grandmother, but she wasn’t around to ask. I decided he likes me. He showed up around 3:00 a.m that night. When I sent him an “email” saying I think we should become exclusive, aka please just acknowledge my existence in front of your friends, he goes I kind of like what we have built up right now. I enjoy being single it’s fun. Built up here? I mean, what does that even mean? In the words of Cher….  “I feel like such a bonehead.”


My parents are about to cross their 30th wedding anniversary this week. They met in the pre technology age or the “less ways to get mad at your boyfriend and let him know it” age. You could only yell at him when you saw him, and by the time you got to his place, you might have gotten over it. Today there are several ways to let him know within seconds: email, text (a personal favorite), voicemail, twitter, this blog, or in an extreme situation “defriend”  or write an ambiguous status update on facebook. That outta show him. My mom told me they never fought and had better things to do. She says, “Julia when you get mad take a step back, don’t react emotionally”. Mom, but I totally paused! I don’t see my mother back in her early twenties laying with her cell phone against her head waiting for her boyfriend to come over. She still doesn’t have one. She said that when they were dating he called her up and they went out. They went to the zoo and took weekend trips up to Door County. He was actually pretty sweet to her. They had bbq chicken at his place. This doesn’t seem to correlate with what my grandma said. Isn’t he supposed to tease her if he likes her. I explicitly remember her saying that.

My boyfriend was the first guy to ever buy me flowers . I remember thinking who is this guy and what are these strange courting rituals. I was out with some girlfriends and when I came home my roommate was like these came for you today. I looked at the flowers and smiled, but the thought “is this guy psycho” ran through my head a thousand times. I turned to my roommate and said but do I have to call him. And she said god Julia, yes. He is being nice. He is a nice guy. I called him up said “thank you. they are beautiful”. We have been dating ever since.   He never teased me. He always acknowledges me. He is really nice to me. Grandma, I hope this means that he likes me. Several months later I told him no one had ever bought me flowers before.  I think that he was surprised, but kind of liked that.

My friend and I have spent many years laughing at the past. At all the “swoon, as if” people that have come in and out of our lives. Why did we do it? It’s hard to really know. What we agree on today is that it should be simple. It should be what my parents have had for the last 30 years and what my grandparents had the last 60. These days the only teasing that goes on in my home is about my mom not having a cell phone. She says her cell phone is on the wall. You will find my mom at yoga Saturday morning and my dad at the library reading a free copy of the Wall Street Journal, followed by a trip to the farmer’s market.  He brings her home flowers. I often catch them early in the morning talking on the patio with their morning coffee .  And sometimes they sit in silence. If my mom is mad she will let him know before she tells Facebook. Actually, she doesn’t have an account either. As If!

Happy 30th Anniversary Mom & Dad. May we all the see world as you do.

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I think I might be the Voice of my Generation. Or a Generation

Back in college I was asked to write a piece about myself in my creative writing class. I titled it “the Game“. I didn’t quite know where to start, so I started from the beginning. I had a fortunate upbringing, took family vacations and my mom made my bed. And packed my lunch for school. So I wrote about that. I wrote about how that sheltered life shaped me. How college had changed me. I wrote about how the guy I met at the bar called me, the girl with bleach blonde highlights, exotic looking as I french inhaled a cigarette and ordered another miller light on tap in a frosted glass. I wrote about what an independent woman I had become. How I abandoned that sheltered lifestyle and grew into my own person. And how I hadn’t felt this liberated since my parents sent me to overnight camp in the sixth grade.  I submitted the composition for critique in class. A girl raised her hand “It was good. But the character wasn’t likeable.”  I thought, wasn’t likeable? We are talking about my life here. The character is me.

I’ve been out of college now for over five years and think about that essay. I believe I earned a B+ on the overall composition.  I look back on my college days with fondness and nostalgia. Only I wasn’t independent. I thought I was, but the real world isn’t about that. I thought being away from my parents for four years was my independence. That drinking beers made me an adult. However, it was the challenges I faced after college that have changed me and given me my real independence. Today, I’m unlike that girl that I wrote about. But sometimes I miss her.

I have recently started watching Girls, which is a show on HBO. Hannah is twenty four years old and has just learned that her parents are cutting her off financially. She pulls all the stops to ask her parents to reconsider. I think she even tells them that she will be all right financially just as long as she doesn’t eat lunch. I think at one point in my life I had said the same thing to mine.  Hannah says, “I’m the voice of my generation”. Hannah, get in line.


There was a time I was Hannah. Which is why I find her character so hysterical and relatable. Maybe at times even unlikeable. Today I don’t use my “buy now pay later” card. I drink wine when it’s accompanied by dinner, on occasion without. I don’t use alcohol as a social lubricant to talk to men. I rarely wear heals. I pay bills on time and have to make sacrifices when times are tough. The earrings I’ve been eying at Anthropologie will have to wait. I have failed more times than I like to admit.  I don’t like to settle or blame others for my shortcomings.  I think about the food I eat before I eat it. And I enjoy cooking. As long as the sacrifices are not my health, family, and my friendships with the people that I love I know that anything else thrown at me I can handle. A bottle of wine might need to be accompanied with, but nonetheless, I can handle it.

If you still don’t find my character likeable that’s okay. I hope we can be friends someday.

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Ross is Wearing Leather Pants

There is no denying it.  This  has been a record breaking June/July in Chicago my friends. My gal pal went into work the other day with pants on, she goes Julia, I feel like that Friends episode The One with all the Resolutions,  where Ross wears leather pants to go out on a first date with Elizabeth Hornswoggle . And he is hot. And his pants have suddenly shrunk and stuck to his body. I am hot!  I couldn’t agree with her more. I am more of a skirt/dress person than a pants gal, but the heat has posed some challenges for this skirt lover as well. I miss the days of walking to work without feeling like my legs are sticking together. Or my bangs stuck to my forehead, because  I actually did take the time to blow dry my hair this morning. And my bangs were  most certainly dry when I left the apartment.


Don’t get me wrong I love the summer. And the beach. And love time spent on decks with a grill, baseball games, and outdoor concerts. I know that come November when Mr. Tom Skilling announces the expected 3-6 inches of snowfall that will fall, I’m going to long for those 100 degree days of hot beach sand between my toes. Or drinking a Summer Shandy outside of Corcorans. Even taking Mollie for a nice long walk by the Chicago Historical Museum where there are plenty of squirrels for her to go around. . However, just not today. Today I’m just hot. I’m like my friend, only in a skirt. And like Ross. Sorry to my boyfriend, but no hug for you today.


Ross: They’re still, they’re still not coming on man and the lotion and the powder have made a paste!

Joey: Really?! Uhh, what color is it?

Ross: What difference does that make?!

Joey: Well, I’m just—if the paste matches the pants, you can make yourself a pair of paste pants and she won’t know the difference!

Pass the lotion please. And the powder. My skirt is stuck and it’s like a volcano in here. Hope they make grey paste to match my skirt.  Stay cool out there, Chicago!

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On Our Nation’s Birthday

As America is about to celebrate another birthday I like to reflect on what the Fourth of July means to me. Of course who better to talk about the Fourth of July than our friends at Saved by the Bell. The Fourth of July episode of Saved by the Bell took place at Malibu Sands, where all my friends on my first “grown up t.v show” worked that summer. Zach and Stacy’s romance was beginning to blossom. And Malibu Sands was about to host it’s Annual Fourth of July Pageant where Kelly, Lisa, Jesse, and Stacy entered to win prize money. Screech was asked to dress up as Uncle Sam. And Zack was one of the judges of the beauty pageant.


When the finalists were asked what the Fourth of July means to them there were a range of different answers. Lisa said Fourth of July means “ fun, fireworks, and 50% off sales at all major department stores” (this is somewhat ironic seeing as her outfit consisted of a red leather bra with matching skirt. Fully equipped with a red, white and blue bomber jacket).  Jesse says something about how we stole the land from the Native Americans. Her Statue of Liberty costume was a bit distracting from the overall message. Stacy talked about fireworks and spending time with friends and family. She looked like a firework while saying this. Finally, Kelly said the Fourth of July means “celebrating our nations birthday and the people who gave their life up for one thing, Freedom”. Her outfit was a mix between Minnie Mouse and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Ultimately Zack’s deciding vote crowned her the winner. Luckily this wasn’t a fashion contest.

Tomorrow is our nation’s birthday. Whether you are spending it with Family. Friends. Or both. Whether you just see it as a day off work. Or an excuse to drink and watch some fireworks. Or whether you hate America and want to move to Canada. Remember where this country started and how far we have come. And have yet to go. After all, we are all a work in progress.

Happy Birthday America. I’m pouring one out for you.

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Donna Martin Graduates!

Well Comcast you have done it again, Soapnet is no longer. No More “Breakfast in Bed”. No way! I’m counting down my top Beverly Hills 90210 moments as I bid Farewell (and a big high five) to my friends at West Beverly High. (luckily I have all 10 seasons on box set.) I had a bulletin board dedicated to Luke Perry. I hope you did too.

(1). “Isn’t it Romantic”

Brenda: You Don’t drink do you?

Dylan: Only on Family Reunions.

(2).  “Slumber Party”

It is not a slumber party. It’s an evening of female bonding, right Mom?

(3).  Fire and Ice

I’ve had the time of my life…have you?

(4).  “Something in the Air” Donna Martin Graduates

Tell Superintendent Ephardt that summer registration is going to break the record this year.Donna Martin Graduates!!

Fail Donna, Fail us all.

(5).  “Back in the High Life”

It’s you, It’s always been you.

(6).  “Mr. Walsh Goes to Washington”

I like being in your world, Brandon. I wanna stay in it.

(7).  “Hello Life, Goodbye Beverly Hills”

It’s no a trip around the world But I think we could take quit an adventure together.


Go for the Brass Ring Kelly.

(8).  “One Wedding and a Funeral”

Oh my god, look what they did to her Brandon.


Dylan leaves the 90210. Well I’m going to miss him. Yeah we are all going to miss him Donna.

(9).  “Heaven Scent”

Either Mariah met Kelly in a past life or you poured your heart out to her in lonesome city Texas.


(10).  “The Long Goodbye”

It’s our ring. That day at the jeweler I didn’t want anyone else to have it.


(11).  “I’m Back Because”

Look who is back. Hey Kell you surprised to see me?                Very……


I’m seeing Matt Durning Attorney at Law,  now.

(12).  “Ode to Joy”

When was it we fell in love? When were eighteen? Sixteen? Maybe ten? I don’t know, ’cause the truth is, I can’t picture a time when I wasn’t in love with you.

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Did I do that?

No you didn’t….

But he did….

Actually so did he….

Oh and so did they…..


I sat in my studio apartment last night watching my worst nightmare unfold right before me. Not only were the Miami Heat seconds away from winning the NBA Champsionship, but Lebron James was moments away from winning his first title. Getting his first ring. Able to say to all the haters out there, I’m King James and this is my team. And we are not going anywhere.

The NBA Championships have always held a place in my heart and the Bulls are my team. I remember all those ballet recitals where the dads would carry around their portable radios listening to the game. Dad, I noticed. I was just shy of ten when the Chicago Bulls brought me my first NBA Championship and thus starting our love affair. I know I was young, but I can still remember the look on Jordan’s face.  I can still remember the total shock and the “I can’t believe we are here” factor. The Bulls were the Champions. Played against the best and beat the best. Just the way basketball should be.

When I saw Lebron hold the NBA Championship trophy and when the first words to come out of his mouth were “ it’s about time,” I knew that the game that I once remembered loving was not the same. Or maybe it was but at the time I was too young to realize it. Must feel good to be King. The Bulls will be coming for you next year.


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Your Girl is Lovely Hubbell

I recall a time back in my early twenties when I got the one way ticket to dumpsville “it’s not you it’s me” talk. How rude! I cried to my friends. I called up my mom to cry some more. My best of friends suggested beers. I spent several lonely nights at home blasting The Promise by Tracy Chapman. Let me tell you never believe a promise made over cheap Margaritas and sub-par Mexican food.  The next morning I woke up and will never forget the dream I had.

I was hanging out with my exes best friend. We were talking and I was like what did I do? What did I say? I just don’t understand this at all . He responds, you want to know why? And he grabs this colorful painting off the wall. He says to me, see this painting? I respond, yes. He pulls out a bucket of white paint and a paintbrush and he begins to cover over the entire painting with it. I yell at him what you are doing, that painting is so beautiful. He goes Julia, this is why he broke up with you. He wants you to be like this white painting.

I never forgot that dream or the significance it would have on my life for years to come.

I was watching an old episode of Sex and the City, called Ex in the City. It’s the episode when Carrie finds out that Big is engaged to someone else. His fiancé is a much younger, beautiful, rich & sophisticated woman with less curly hair. Carrie is at brunch with the girls talking about Mr. Big’s new leading lady, and goes I’m a Katie girl. When the ladies don’t understand what she means by a Katie girl she explains it’s from the movie “The Way We Were” starring Robert “Hubbell” Redford. Katie was married to Hubbell. She was outspoken, confident and intelligent with wild curly hair that she wore straight during her marriage. Hubbell preferred it that way. She didn’t say the right things or was the most beautiful girl in a room. But her personalty made her attractive. Carrie was a Katie girl. And Big was her Hubbell.


In the end of the episode Carrie spots Big with his new fiancé, she goes up to him, brushes his hair back much in the same way that Katie did to Hubbell in the final scene of The Way We Were. Carrie says “your girl is lovely Hubble.” Big says “I don’t get it”. Carrie says, “And you never did”.

He was my Big. And I was just another Katie girl.  I saw him several  months after the break up, with his new lady, and I wanted to say to him “your girl is lovely Hubbell.” But I didn’t. I know the inner Carrie in me wanted to.

A couple years ago my roommate and I made a list of all the guys we dated. The good. The bad. The names it took us a little longer to remember. But we decided that the men of Sex and the City can be applicable to the dating scene in the real world. And it goes like this.

Mr. Big “The Emotionally Unavailable Guy”

Aidan “The Nice Guy”

Berger “ The I can’t remember his name “Non-Factor” Guy”

After many years I have a man in my life who accepts my inner Katie girl and I wouldn’t settle for anything less. Ka-Kaa- Kaaa, Katie. Can it Be.

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