Friday, October 31, 2008

Personal stories of voting

Funny column by David Sedaris, one of my favorite authors, from the New Yorker on the subject of undecided voters.

He described his first voting experience as thus:

Because I was at college out of state, I sent my ballot through the mail. The choice that year was between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. Most of my friends were going for Carter, but, as an art major, I identified myself as a maverick. “That means an original,” I told my roommate. “Someone who lets the chips fall where they may.” Because I made my own rules and didn’t give a damn what anyone else thought of them, I decided to write in the name of Jerry Brown, who, it was rumored, liked to smoke pot. This was an issue very close to my heart—too close, obviously, as it amounted to a complete waste. Still, though, it taught me a valuable lesson: calling yourself a maverick is a sure sign that you’re not one.

This got a little personal because I, too, voted by absentee in my first presidential election while away at college. I, too, made a colossal mistake in voting for Ralph Nader because I was unique and couldn't possibly do something so pedestrian as to vote for a common party. (In defense of my 18-year-old self, I'm sure I deeply believed that I agreed with Nader's policies, even if I wasn't supremely clear on them.)

The column also made be remember a long lost blog post from my livejournal days describing the first time I voted at a polling place. Here's where Mr. Sedaris and I some differences in our respective first times entering a voting booth.

Nov. 2nd, 2004 | 09:30 am
mood: Proud and Patriotic!

I voted today!

I gotta say, I was pretty excited about the voting thing. Yeah, for the whole change our world, blah, blah, blah reasons, but also cause it's the first time I got to vote in a voting booth! Well, except for the time I voted in the presidential primaries with Jennifer Kennedy in Sharonville, but that wasn't a real election.

Ever since I've been away from home, I've voted via absentee ballot. I gotta admit, putting a stamp on an envelope and opening the mailbox never gave me much of a thrill. I never even got the requisite "I voted today" sticker! This is why I woke up today and was genuinely looking forward to heading to the Athens Township Building to cast my vote.

I'm not sure if I was expecting big, blue-curtained booths, stony silence of resolute Americans doing their duty or what. I was even prepared to be vigilant and indignant if someone challenged my voter eligibility. Turns out, the booths were just a row of uncurtained (boo!) plastic library cubbies that you stood in while you punched out a flimsy little card representing all your choices and beliefs for the future of your state and country.

Adding to my disappointing reality of voting, the poll workers never ONCE gave me any lip or threatened my civil rights in any way. In fact, they were downright helpful and courteous! I had Jesse Jackson's number on speed dial, and I didn't even get to use it! (Okay, maybe I actually had the Voter Protection 1-800 number written down on a post-it at the office, but I was prepared dammit!)

Even though I was a little disappointed at the easy and non-mysterious venture that is voting at the polls, I have to admit, I did feel really good walking out of the building.

I, Kristin Sutter, was doing my duty as a concerned, informed, American citizen, and my vote could help shape our society and the future of our country. Things could be better, rights protected, people saved all because I drove around the block and filled out a punch card before heading in to work for the day. Voting is my right and my privilege.

And besides all that, I finally got a sticker!

Ew, I apologize for being so disgustingly positive and cheery there. I can't help it. Even when my polling place was a bar on the corner when we first moved to Chicago--with the smell of stale beer hanging in the air while I performed my civic duty, I couldn't keep a skip out of my step as I headed to work after voting.

Elections just bring out the optimist in me, I guess.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


When playgrounds were made out of concrete, metal and old tires.

When I used to spend hours searching for and downloading music instead of just stealing it from Andy or friends.

When cooking used to mean frozen mozzarella sticks in the oven and Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup on the stove.

When it was vitally important that my AIM profile reflect my emotional state at every hour of the day.

When eating 15 peanut butter cups in half an hour seemed like a great way to spend 30 minutes.

When snow wasn't scary.

Our cornucopia runneth dry

This was the last week for our CSA share (Community Supported Agriculture) until next year. Homegrown Wisconsin, a collective of farms, was our share provider, and we only bought a half-share which means we picked up our box of produce and goodies every other week.

It was such a fun experience (and sometimes a little sketchy) to cook with produce and ingredients we'd never seen, heard of or cooked before. (Surprise! I love roasted beets! Who knew?) A couple times we scrambled to look up photos to make sure we'd correctly identified everything.

I just realized I'd never posted a photo of our haul, so here's what we got this week and an idea of what we get every two weeks. (Earlier in the season we get more in volume, but I like the later stuff because we have more variety and the items have a longer shelf life.)

That's butternut squash, potatoes, a big bag of spinach, dried mint, delicata squash, carrots, a pie pumpkin, apples, onions and the biggest sweet potato I've ever seen.

We signed up for an egg and cheese share as well, so we get a dozen fresh eggs and 1.5 lbs of Wisconsin cheese (there were many grilled cheeses served in our apartment this summer).

I'm already planning a curried carrot and apple soup along with some veggie macaroni and cheese. Maybe a butternut squash and caramelized onion tart, too. These delicious decisions are why I love the CSA and why I will miss it so.

At least it's soup season now and if there's one thing I love to make... it's a killer meatloaf.

But I guess I'm pretty good at soups too.

**Psst! Weekend and wedding photos/stories are coming soon, I promise. I just have to get all my photos together.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Perfect bedtime story

Not ashamed to admit that I got a little teary at the end of Obama's media blast extravaganza.

Tonight I dream of a United States of America for the first time in 8 years.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Time Waster

I know you may have already seen it, but I've been there two times now and still like all the clicking there is to do.

Palin as President.

In other news...

So long, suckers! In 2.5 hours, I'll be on my way to the airport for a wedding weekend in Philly.

Hopefully my flight doesn't get canceled due to the imaginary blizzard my mom swears is heading toward Chicago RIGHT. THIS. MINUTE. Yeah, remind me to slip a Xanax into her coffee tomorrow morning.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My NyQuil in Shining Gel Capsule Armor

It's here.

The dreaded first cold of the season has officially arrived.

Now, instead of packing for my brother's wedding in Philadelphia on Thursday, I'm debating the pros and cons of chopping off my nose with my coworkers.

As a frequent cold and allergy sufferer, my nose and I have always had a very tenuous relationship. I'd have ended it years ago if it weren't for that whole facial mutilation thing.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Electric Boogaloo

Milo's taken up breakdancing as a new hobby.

Sweet b-boy moves! Check out that body-contortion commitment.

OR, he's doing some impressive gymnastics to keep his body from touching the water in the bathtub below.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Letting the air out

So I was all ready to tell my tale of the flat tire I got on the way home from work last week.

Andy trying to fix the tire even though the lug nuts were rusted on.

How an angel came to help us in the form of a giant, bald man named Al and his beagle, Dixie (who had severe abandonment issues and would not let me hold her more than 2 feet from Al, howling that incredible, ear-piercing howl of which only beagles are capable). Al's giant tools gave us the torque we needed to release the lug nuts and we were ready to go! Except the wheel was rusted on. A call to AAA for some roadside assistance, a few, internet-researched, good and sturdy kicks at the wheel and a canceled call to AAA later, the spare was on.


Until the next morning.

Yep, that's my flat spare you see right there.

Blah, blah, sob story and some time later, I had my tires all fixed up for a mere $20 by the amazing guys at All-Day Tire Shop.

Seriously, if you get a flat, go here. They'll patch it and you'll be out of there in under 20 minutes for $10. I gave the guy who fixed my tire an extra $10 since I was amazed at how fast and cheap it was. Plus, he only had one arm. I know. He was awesome in so many ways.

Um, so yeah.

That seemed like a a pretty big deal at the time.

Let me just emphasize that SEEMED right up there in that previous sentence before moving on.

Because, look what happened today.

R.I.P. Ellie.

The good news is that it wasn't my fault, no one was really hurt and I get to buy a new car.

The bad news is that my car is totaled, I won't get much for it even though it was running fine (and nevermind that new battery or the new brakes I JUST. GOT. INSTALLED) and... I have to buy a new car.

Hey, another bright spot: the driver's side headlight was burnt out and I hadn't gotten around to fixing that one yet.

Now I'm going to go soak my aching back and neck. I think I might need more than a baby panda to ease this pain.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mental Health Break

I know I could use one after the night/day I just had (post coming).

Just take some time to breathe and enjoy the roly-poly, baby panda goodness.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

School of Rock

A coworker's son attends the Paul Green School of Rock here in Chicago. A couple weekends ago, Andy and I went to go hear them play their "Freedom Rock" concert at Schuba's.

Immediately, I regretted giving up the saxophone after only two years in elementary school.

School of Rock from Kristin Sutter on Vimeo.

The mini-singer in this clip had to only be 12 or so and along with being my favorite lead singer of the concert, he was killer on drums.

(Maybe having kids isn't ALL bad when you consider the possibility of having one that kicks this much ass?)

School of Rock II from Kristin Sutter on Vimeo.

Yeah they were good, but my mind reeled with how much future tail these kids were gonna get. A few already had groupies of tweens squealing after every musical solo and occasionally chanting the names of select teeny-rockers.

I saw the wistful regret in Andy's eyes at having learned the power a guitar has over females so late in life.

Better late than never, babe.

(Better, especially, for me. AN-DY! AN-DY! AN-DY!)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Celebrities Who Care (at least every 4 years anyway)

It doesn't quite have the understated elegance of Diddy's VOTE OR DIE!!!!!!, but it made me giggle.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

It's raining diamond rings!

I'm a little behind on this post, but wanted to shout out a proper, blogging "Congratulations!" to Andrea and Eric who got engaged this past weekend.

Congrats to two of the smartest and funniest people I am privileged to know.