Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Snow in the city

It's been a while. A thick layer of snow is covering Chicago. It's pretty.

As you know or may not know it was Thanksgiving last week. E and I were at my in-laws in Ohio almost all of last week. And that's my excuse why I haven't blogged. 

To be quite honest with you - it's not a very good excuse because my in-laws do in fact have internet but oh well.

The good news is that it was a productive week for me. Not only did I experience my first real American Thanksgiving (in America because I have celebrated with American friends in Holland before) but I also made my own Christmas decorations, bonded with my new nephew, did some driving and got a haircut.

But let's start with the first one: The Thanksgiving dinner
My mother in law spent literally the whole day cooking. She made cheesy broccoli, stuffing, gravy, rice, baked sweet potato with marshmallows, of course Turkey, cranberry sauce (which strangely to me comes in slices), salad and brownies as a dessert (I now know where E has gotten his brownie making talents from). My mother in law makes incredibly rich food all the time. They are originally from the South and southerners love their butter. Every time I eat at my in-laws I go into a coma after the meal. In America the Thanksgiving dinner is supposed to 
be the fattiest, most filling, most indulgent meal of the year - so you can imagine how I felt after a Thanksgiving dinner prepared by my mother in law. I couldn't sleep all night, my stomach hurt so much. And I hadn't even eaten that much, knowing that I would regret it.
It was very tasty though.  See the photo and please be aware that the turkey is already cut up but this wasn't even half of the meat.

Christmas decorations are expensive here! So I decided to make some of my own. We are planning to have a tree this year, so I will need a lot of decoration. My plan was to buy cheap stuff and spray paint it silver and/or glittery. In Chicago they do not sell spray cans because they worry that it might be used for gang wars (I hate when they have all those glittery Christmas grafitti). So when we were in Ohio I went and got some spray paint. I also bought a bag of pine cones and some stars made of carton (to spray silver). Since I wasn't sure if I could bring the cans on the plane, I did it all right there. I might have ruined one of my mother in laws little tables though. Sorry about that. 
I don't have a picture of that yet but I will post some pictures before Christmas when we have all the decorations up.

My new nephew is really cute. He was born 12 days ago - 2 weeks early but he already weighed 5 1/2 kilos when he was born (they actually induced labor because he was so big). I wonder if he still thinks he is in the tummy because he spends pretty much all of the time rolled up in fetus position, asleep. Nothing can wake him up when he is asleep. Maybe the day he was actually supposed to be born he will magically wake up and be a lively baby. Anyway, he is still a very cute boy and I am glad that the "I am still living with my parents" t-shirt I gave his parents as a present fits him.
Unfortunately due to his enormousness my sister in law had to have a c-section and has not fully recovered from that yet. She is going to be OK but obviously she is exhausted and in pain and will be for a while.

I am not sure how many of my friends know that I have a drivers license. I took my driving exam (and passed) a few month before I moved to Holland, so I didn't practice a whole lot in the last 7 years. And I had always been terribly afraid of the streets. I know at some point I will have to drive here though. Once we have children in a few years I am sure we will have to get a car. I actually have to re-take my driving exam here after six month because America does not accept the Austrian license. So I went out with E to drive around Akron and the neighboring towns and I did pretty well. First of all of course all the cars here are automatic which makes it much easier. I never really liked driving a manual and changing gears. Also with age I lost the fear, I got much more confident and much more alert. I used to have real issues concentrating on the road and I feel that I am way more focused today than I had been. So we went driving three times. I went on the highway, I drove at night, I even drove at night on the highway ... and I think once I practice parking in the city I will be ready to take my drivers license here. I am planning on doing it in February, so I can get some more experience around Christmas and then in Chicago after that.
Being able to drive felt like a real achievement.

As I said above - I also got a new haircut. I have this hairdresser in Ohio which cuts both my sister in laws and my mother in laws hair. It costs 12 dollars to get a cut and 22 dollars to get a cut and style. And I think that woman - who works at a hairdressing chain called Famous hair - is one of the best hair dressers who ever gave me a haircut. So originally I just wanted a trim. I looked like a shaggy hippie and some of my hair needed to go. But then, sitting there and waiting for my hair dresser to be done, I decided I wanted a new haircut too. It's not crazy different. I pretty much got the same haircut I used to have my first few years in Holland. It's shorter in the front and layered all around. My hair definitely looks healthier but I actually have to style it with products and a big brush and blow dry it and stuff which I don't like to do. It also makes me look a bit younger. I have noticed that people treat me a bit different in stores. I am probably imagining a lot of it but I had a funny thing happen to me yesterday.

I was at the grocery store and the girl at the check out had a heated conversation with the bag packing boy. She can't have been much older than 17 and the bag packing boy was about her age. 
Bag packing boy: So when you go out, you hang out with your guy friends?
Check out girl: NO WAY! Boys are dirty! I don't trust them, when I go out, I go out with my girlfriends only!
Bag packing boy: Why you don't trust boys?
Check out girl: Well, you can't trust them, they all have dirty minds and will totally abuse a situation when you are like drunk and stuff! All girls think that! Girls don't go out partying with their guy friends! 
Bag packing boy: I don't know ...
Check out girl: TOTALLY! Boys are nasty! Right? (looking at me) When you go party, you go out with your girls, right? Because boys are nasty! 
Me: Uhm, yeah (hiding my wedding ring because I feel flattered she thinks I am still a young party girl who is afraid to be molested by her guy friends)
Check out girl to bag boy: See!

So here is a pic
ture of my new haircut plus my nephew.

I actually tried to blog live from Starbucks today. I was completely unlucky the first time. I went and even got a large coffee, so I would have an excuse to sit there for a while and do my blogging and stuff (since I have this beautiful iBook I should also use it as such and take it outside sometimes) but by the time I got my coffee the place had completely filled up and I could not get a seat. So I walked into a different neighborhood and there was a completely empty Starbucks. By that time my feet hurt from walking a lot and I decided to go there and have a cup of tea. Once there I wanted to log into their wireless but it didn't let me. Anybody knows how to use wireless at Starbucks? I know they have free wireless but how do I use it? Or is it p
ossible that not all Starbucks have wireless?

If you have any idea, please let me know!

I did use the time there doing some picture editing though.

And after that I went to a thrift store (cheap second hand store). They had tons of worn out, expensive brand shoes. There was a pair of Manolos for 7 dollars but you could see it had been worn quite a bit. There were many pairs of Ferragamos but they were from the 70s and looked like old ladies shoes. And they also were quite worn out. I asked myself is it better to buy used shoes that once were really expensive or cheap shoes that are new? So far I have been going for the cheap new shoes. But nevertheless I had never seen a pair of Manolos for 7 dollars ...
What would you do?


Maria said...

hihi We know what Carrie would have done I think : ) Personally I would never buy used shoes, maybe the old owner had warts or nasty feet. A purse, on the other hand I think yes.

The Austrian said...

I didn't see bags there but I found a consignment store close to my house that sells used (but look like new) designer bags.

Right now they have at least one Balenciaga Motorcycle Le Dix bag for 240 $ and a ton of other bags from 100 $ on - all with certificates of authenticity. I know what I will spend my first paycheck on once I'll get a job.

Anonymous said...

Hi Aline! Anne showed me your blog! I don't think Starbucks has free wireless. I think you have to sign up for an account or be a t-mobile customer or something like that. At least a couple of years ago it wasn't free, but any of those friendly cashiers can probably answer it for you! good luck ;-).

The Austrian said...

Hey Kathryn!
Nice to have you on!

I found out that you need a Starbucks card which you then need to register with t-mobile. I got the card but haven't done it yet.