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.

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.

gym class hero

I just found out my old high school gym teacher’s son is playing with the Blackhawks for the Stanley Cup tonight. I cannot imagine how proud Pops must be. Maybe almost as proud as Xmas 1996 when he asked for a nose hair trimmer and used it, along with packets of red ketchup, to scare his family into believing he had somehow ripped his nose apart. I heard that story on the sidelines of one of the zillion classes I sat out due to me “forgetting” my shoes. I guess even back then Skille was priming young Jack to blow off face injuries.

Sorry for all the attitude Mr. Skille. Good luck Jackie boy. Chicago is rooting for you.

Ice Ice & Babies

This weekend marked our second Memorial Day weekend back in the Midwest and was a excellent reminder of precisely why we chose to return to the promise land. We departed Chicago early Friday morning to make it to Madison before an 8 AM conference call with work. After working for a bit, we visited the usual State Street haunts and headed to the Memorial Union or some delicious Babcock ice cream and sitting. After a very energy consuming afternoon, we decided to head back to Ms. Kaiksow’s so I could take a nap while Mr. Swirley relaxed and watched an episode of Magnum P.I. Also of note, Friday marked “take your brat to work day” – more on that later.

Saturday we met up with Tbone for a walk around the Capitol’s Farmer’s Market – then with Katie Marie and One T for a little more of the same. Mr. Swirley took off to watch some ultimate and visit with old friends and we just spent time ogling pretty plants and bitching about the crowd. Later on, we all convened and headed out to Elliot and Brooke’s potluck on Lake Mendota. Given that a number of folks were running in the Madison half-marathon/10K early Sun. AM, it seemed like a great opportunity to load up on carbs, celebrate Elliot and Brooke’s engagement and harass each other in general. As was expected, it was a superb evening. Why? Because pretty much everyone we wanted to see was in one spot with lawn games, grills, a ridiculous number of potato salad options and a pontoon boat to boot. If we could only retire now life would be perfect.

Alas, Friday night had to come to an end and everyone prepared for race day. Early Saturday, Mr. Swirley, the GM, KML, the Jeff, one T, JohnnyMic and I met up and headed to the starting line with our crafty signs. I can tell you how to make one if you want to be amazing friends like us.

7:30 AM signaled the start of the race for runners and breakfast time for us spectators. We then ran to catch sight of our very fit friends at the four mile marker. We found ’em and yes, and they were still going strong (as evidenced below by Mr. Swirley’s mid-stride ultra hip thumbs up)

We then headed to the finish line to await their arrival and I am pleased (and proud to report) that not only did all four runners successfully finish, but met (if not exceeded) their respective targeted pace. They also obliged me in sporting their Madison Marathon medal (which apparently weighed about a zillion lbs) for a few pics in the thousand degree weather.

We all decided that we hadn’t sweat enough during the day and headed to the World’s Largest (only?) Bratfest. It is everything you would dream a Bratfest to be and more. It first started as a fundraiser in the Sentry Foods parking lot -$1.00 brats/hot dogs incl. soda. Pretty sweet. It has now blossomed into a full-fledged carnival with multiple music stages and record setting brat sales (world record set in 2009 with 208,752 brats sold in three days). Don’t lie, you now heart WI as much as I do. Although it was hot, my cankles were totally worth it if only to see our friends’ babies – Fi and Mr. D-K. I want to eat both of their little faces.

Once my own face melted off we decided to rest for a bit out in Sun Prarie. After another round of naps, Mr. Swirley and I headed back down to the terrace for a six hour epic sitting venture with the FWC. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Terrace, it is quite possibly one of the best places on earth. It faces the lake, offers beer, brats, ice cream and other treats and above all, an incredibly relaxed and social environment. My only complaint, and it’s a big one, is that until just recently the Rathskellar (adjacent to the Terrace) boasted the best ice on the face of the earth. I don’t even think there exists an adjective to property describe the awesomeness of the ice there. It was my gold standard to which all other ice cubes were/are compared. And last night, I found out that the machine was replaced. I know, tragic. Shook my world for about 15 minutes. I even talked to the cashier about it but he had no idea what in God’s name my problem was. So, I guess I should let it go…and I will, after I show you a picture of the new ice. I hate it.

All in all it was an excellent weekend – a recharge that was sorely needed and a chance to see friends at their best. We are looking forward to seeing everyone again for our baby shower – a Bastille day themed party to celebrate baby Swirley’s liberation from the womb.