Do you know how long someone who is as sarcastic as I am would last in prison? Suuuuuuch a long time.

This morning, after cursing Mr. Swirley for finishing off the skim milk, I considered mixing water with whole milk so I could eat my crappy cereal. I went as far as filling up a glass with water and decided to scrap the idea and ingest 45 million calories for breakfast. Followed up by a diet coke. This, my friends, is how the next ten days will likely continue.

Our awesome ride started last Thursday with a late night hospital trip with Ho-Ho. Mr. Swirley and I were able to convince to her to go in with us by gifting not one but TWO tubes of lipstick and an economy size bottle of hair gel. We are still iffy as to the duration of her stay, but the nurse said the average patient stays 30 days to ensure the med cocktail is up to snuff. I received no less than FIVE calls yesterday from Ardie; it’s going to be a long month. Plus it’s $12.00 to park at RUSH’s parking lot every time I visit. Doesn’t that seem a little insane? Although Mr. Swirley asked  me while I was between contractions if it was ok to pay to park in the Swedish Covenant hospital lot while on our way to the delivery unit, so I am probably not one to ask about reasonable prices for parking since I am pretty much willing to pay zero.

Friday we packed up the house and drove to Madison for our 15 year high school reunion. I was actually pretty proud of the fact that KML and I only had to stop once to give the kids some reprieve from the drive…and we didn’t lose either one!  The reunion went well, though the morning started out poorly with the car packed up the keys nowhere to be found. I know, you are are super surprised. Family fun picnic, followed up by a happy hour and then a very welcome night of rest sans kid thanks to Tommy D. We headed back home early Sunday morning and spent the day running errands for Ho-Ho and avoiding cleaning. When I visited her later that night with an armful of new clothes, she demanded I return the capris because she is too embarrassed to wear them due to the spider veins on her ankles, but that, according to her, is not vanity trumping comfort. Meanwhile, she has no problem sporting a soaking wet poncho around everywhere to keep cool. She also informed me that my grandfather will happily pay $2000 for saline injections to collapse the veins although my grandpa hasn’t bought new pants since 2007.

Today EK woke up at 4:30 AM and Mr. Swirley left at 6 for a seven to ten day business trip. If you are looking for a time to visit Chicago and spend time in a cat hair-ridden condo, this is your lucky weekend. Please.


p.s. In case you were wondering, swim diapers DO NOT hold liquid. So don’t run out of diapers and try to use them because you will fail miserably.

The end of the world.

Today is the last warm day for the foreseeable future. Part of me wants to hibernate until next June in an effort to avoid angering friends and family with my constant stream of obscenities directed at old man winter. The other part is kind of excited about snow and watching Mr. Swirley fling Ellis around in a sled while I sit in a warm car. I like to call this “indirect participation in the rearing of my child.”

Ellis now dances in circles. Not like waltzing around the room but instead twirls until he falls backwards and just stares at the ceiling waiting for the stars disappear. It’s pretty awesome. Well to watch. I imagine it doesn’t feel that great but that isn’t enough to stop young EK. He also can eat with a spoon (sort of) so I guess I can’t really call him uncivilized any longer. Except for that whole pooping his pants thing he is so fond of. His favorite words all start with B: Big Bird (“bi buh”), ball (“ba”), bye bye  (“buh buh”…slightly different than “bi buh”). He also calls everything dada, teases me with mama once in a while, says up (“u”), all done (“ah da”), octopus (“ahkta”), dog (“dah”), cat (“ka”), car (“kah”)  and can growl when you say “lion” plus make a few other animal sounds. He usually says “dada” over and over again so the few words mentioned above break up the conversation a bit. However, I am pretty sure that if anyone else talked with him his “words” would sound like babble…I didn’t realize I would be a poorly paid interpreter when I signed up for this whole motherhood thing.

Last week we took a road trip to Madison to visit sweet baby MP. She is awesome. I would post pictures but I don’t know if I am allowed so just trust me…she is a tiny peanut and I ate her face.

Badger on a dairy farm.
That’s weird. Ellis eating dirt? and KML being a lovely lady?  Just another day on the farm. 

We also hung out with DHLaGro and Aunt Sio – and the new addition to their family L’Roy (they call him Leroy but I like L’Roy better). He is giant and they are trying to teach him to not eat babies since he will end up being a 150 lb slobbering beast of a pup. So far he is succeeding…barely.

L’Roy and EK kicking it at Hilldale.
Just Dave.
 EK and I also went to a baby shower and took a hayride around Olin Park. I mean, how much more Midwestern can we get? Hayrides? Dairy Farms? College football games?Ellis also highhandedly destroyed a UW-Madison sports memorabilia whatever store and I just stood by. I was that mom chasing after kid while apologizing to the clerk and sweating from embarrassment. The 200 Bucky stickers EK through on the ground ended our visit to the store…but not before I held a kicking and screaming child while purchasing ONE sticker and a tee-shirt. When I commit to a plan, I follow though – good decision or not.
Just a dude hanging out at the Lake Monona docks.
Sometimes I get oddly sentimental when I visit Madison and have a little too much free time to myself. It’s strange to grow up and go to college in a place and just leave. An incredibly egocentric part of me expects the city to stand still, and I have a hard time reconciling the nearly 15 years since high school graduation. I don’t know what is wrong with me but I am pretty sure this part of me won’t fade for a long time.

Overall it was a great trip – just strange at times then brought back to reality by calls from Ho-Ho demanding I drive back to Chicago IMMEDIATELY to switch out her pill box because she was blinded due to “tanked” medicine. It couldn’t be MS? That’s crazy talk. It’s not like loss of vision is a common manifestation of the disease that can be expected when you  refuse disease modification drugs. No. It is clearly more rational to believe someone came in and swapped out your meds.

After a mild freakout yesterday, I headed out there to see her condition for myself. I can tell you that she is 100% full of crap. She can read the tiny print on her medicare card but cant walk half a block to Walgreens to pick up meds because she “can’t see”. After an argument she relented because I am pretty sure she recognized how ridiculous she was acting and merely wanted to inject a little drama into our lives. Plus I brought her birthday presents from the family and that will cheer anyone up! What did she get? Two bottles of perfume which should last about a week, a bunch of make-up she can grind up with her pestle of a make-up brush, a scarf that will likely be stolen today and a walmart gift card. Woo-hoo! Jackpot. I have yet to tell Mr. Swirley but we are going to spend his last flex day of 2011 in Oak Park celebrating Ho-Ho’s 53rd birthday with a lunch and trip to the Walmarts. He will be thrilled.

 Even with her recent antics, I love the woman. I may want to shake the color out of her hair, but I’ll keep her.

Ho-Ho and EK August 30, 2010.

тойдың мезгілі

For a second time in five weeks, I decided to ditch my family for some fun times on the east coast. After only a few days at home following our Memorial Day weekend adventure, the Swingens rolled into the Second City and I rolled out to our nation’s capital. Of course, while I was gone, baby Swirley decided to hit another milestone and started to climb stairs (with a lot of encouragement and can only go up.) Still, what? It’s absurd. He also now (indiscriminately) waves. I missed both of these first, but did get to sleep in until 7 AM three days in a row. Jealous much?  Yea, me too. Of Mr. Swirley. However, I would like to state for the record that I left Capitol Hill. Can you believe it? I am maturing before your eyeballs.

Anywhoo, did I tell you our new office building is amazing? I did? Well I am telling you again. It is just that unbelievable. I almost want to stop working at home and set up shop in a second floor office with a private balcony. Almost. I do like eating cereal out of a box in my pajamajams a little too much to give it up (I will give you one guess as to what I am doing right now).

Blogger still sucks so I can only post vertical pictures.

Third floor walkway and rear offices

Atrium – looking up from the second floor
Atrium – looking down from the third floor
What could have been my 9-5 home.

I also visited with my friends Tim and Karin who reside just across from Barrack’s Row. Tim is a marine and slightly bonkers, but in a good way. He told me that although you can legally purchase a gun in DC, there is no longer anyone that can register it for you. Luckily Artem snuck in before the gun guy quit and purchased himself a fancy firearm to set next to him while he watches PTI. For reals. On a side note, he and his wife are heading to Kazakhstan later this summer and I could not be any more jealous.


On to Friday where I hit up Olney, MD to live the dream. I went to a green belt ceremony; hung out at Baskin-Robbins with a bunch of hooligan kids who refused to purchase anything from BR and were subsequently harassed by a rent-a-cop; and, got my ass kicked in a Cage Fitness class. I loved every damn second spent in the People’s Republic of Maryland except for that part where I couldn’t walk for TWO days after the fitness class. Holy hell people. Have you danced your ass off after a particularly arduous work-out? I mean, I know I am (severely) out of shape, but I imagine I felt like Barbie does when you twist her legs round and round 360 degrees at a time.

I love my co-worker’s kids. A lot. Like I would totally call them up to hang out on any given weekday. I hope EK is that cool or else we might have to start all over.

Baller Berman.

Saturday also marked an important day for my colleague and friend, big Rick (aka Richard M. H.) Dude got married to the Cat in lovely church ceremony and now they can have Jamerican babies who will likely be giant engineers with a passion for the Big Ten. Wedding summary – they went through with it and crab cakes were served at the reception. They also misspelled Rick’s name at the reception site which, combined with the crab cakes, helped me enjoy the event from soup to nuts. I can’t decide if I will continue to call Rich – Rick or Richy – I love both names so very much. I also love the couple.People shouldn’t be this nice.

Bliss. If this were a video you would see them posing for the photo, then Rick hugging me and accidentally pulling my already too short dress up a little higher…in front of Sherman (bossman). Yikes.


The years of working with our Russian friends has rubbed off on one of the three guys pictured below. Hint, it’s not the actual Russian.

Berman, Ortiz and Sherman Flirchner

And to document the event for our newsletter – Voila! P.S. That is indeed a dress I am sporting. I wanted to clarify that fact for you, since at first glance you may think it’s a handkerchief. On a scale of zero to tramp I think it’s about a four. Fine, six. 

Apparently I cannot get enough canapes…wedding #2 was scheduled for Sunday. After the crabcake wedding, I took an hour-long metro ride back to DC and had the honor of sitting next to a girl who was telling her friends that she relies on Facebook for all of her news because the regular news is “too depressing.” Although I didn’t drink much at the wedding, I found myself wanting to vomit all over her. I didn’t because, as you might know, that would be grounds for arrest by the Metro police. Fascists. Though I have to say it is an exceptionally clean public transit system. I then took a cab ride with a driver who was texting while driving and I gave him the old one-two. Oh yea, I dropped the “I have a baby at home and don’t want to die line.” Five hours later I was high-fiving team Turner for my DCA drop-off and head to ‘sconsin for some FWC nuptials.

The wedding was perfect. Everyone says that, but it really was. WI countryside + beautiful weather + wonderful friends + super cover band = best night in ages. Plus the Hometown Sweethearts promised to learn “Pony” for the next FWC event. I love me some Ginuwine.

Could she be any lovelier?
some of the Family We Choose
Yes, we match. How ’bout it?
The Andersons roll with their handmade quilts.
What’s on tap for our anniversary weekend? Car repairs and cleaning. Oh yea, we are gabballers. Look it up.

Contradicting myself.

Today, Ms. Marie reminded me of my love for the group, Band of Horses (BOH). I accept they are long-haired, bearded dirty hippies. I have finally forgiven the dirty hippie fan that not only touched my back with her music-festival going bare feet, but also spilled beer on me before their 2009 Lollapalooza concert. And I have even been able to look past the fact that although BOH were not yet a “huge” band, their set started 45 minutes later than scheduled (yes, I know Lou Reed went over. It’s Lou Reed. Deal.) However, I can’t seem to come to terms with BOH playing four songs into Jane’s Addiction’s set – the headliner and founder of the music festival. Not only did it create a horrible cacophony of electric guitars and helicopter engines, but pitted Jane’s Addiction fans against BOH fans – I don’t think we have to guess who would win in that fight. Needless to say, Perry was, umm, fairly put out.

Yet I still like BOH. Below is a short ditty I like to hum along to while thinking about how dirty I feel for simultaneously liking and hating this band.

And here is Perry and Dave doing their thing @ Lolla: