It's 1:30AM here in Chicago. It's snowing and lovely. Today I worked then went to a punk rock hair salon
where they serve you beer and a healthy dose of Ozzy while they style you up. Right now my house is decorated for Christmas. We have 26 stockings hung for my roommate's enormo family and I've made my housemates listen to Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas more times than they can count. Right this second my dog is snoring loudly on her red, white, and bones-themed bed by my side. When I go to my bed that I'm too lazy to properly fit with sheets so I just kind of lay on top of a pile of them in a mangled mess, she'll come jump into the pile too because I have little regard for what her trainer told me to do. Just before I go to sleep, I'll say "Goodnight Pumpkin Pie" and she'll lick my cheek before settling down and I will go to sleep feeling lucky right down to my spine.
That probably won't happen for another few hours. For now, I'm working from my home office which faces our backyard where every tree is covered in ice. We have a tiny wishing well behind my house and it's still got scrape marks on it from earlier in the day when a friend and I went outside and made snowballs from the ice on top, throwing them at the dog while she leapt in the air to eat them. My house smells like a mixture of brownies, burnt popcorn, and apple-mint tea leftover from the spontaneous Tuesday Hong Kong-themed movie night that just wrapped up here. This kind of thing happens frequently and when I talk to friends about why I'm happier with this city than I have been anywhere else, it's hard to describe exactly why little things like ice scrapes and dog snores and temporary tattoos my salon hands out and watching Project Runway each week huddled under blankets with friends make all the difference. They just do. While it's quickly approaching soul deadening cold-level winter, I feel warmer than I ever have before. Chicago, you've treated me far better than I deserve.