Life’s A Beach

April 29, 2013 at 12:28 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Although sometimes it’s a foggy looking beach that seems like something out of a post-apocalyptic movie.

Scott and I wanted to enjoy the beautiful day we had yesterday so we decided to bike to the beach.  The sun was shining, the birds were singing and people everywhere were out and enjoying the gorgeous weather.  However, the closer we got to the actual beach the drearier it became.  The sun all but disappeared and a hazy, foggy mess was left in its wake.  We looked at each other in confusion as we rode closer to the water because we weren’t quite sure what was happening.  Perhaps the combination of warmer weather and cold water created a mist like something out of a Stephen King novel?  Or perhaps the gods of good weather just wanted to give us a swift kick in the ass?  Regardless, it looked like we were on the surface of Mars with only a few other human survivors.  Or like we were visiting Los Angeles.

Scenic, huh?

Scenic, huh?

In case you can’t tell, there’s two people walking by the lake in this photo.

It was a surreal experience yet we laughed the whole time because that type of weather would hit just as we get to the water.  So we shrugged it off, walked around a bit then made our way back home.  But get this – as soon as we got away from the shore, the skies cleared back up and the sun once again made an appearance.  So obviously there was some weather phenomenon happening close to the water but I’m still not smart enough to know what it was.  What I do know is that the newly emerged sunshine was so warm and pleasant that we stopped for a drink and a snack on the patio of our neighborhood bar.  Maybe next time we’ll see some actual blue skies – fingers crossed, but it looks like this warmer weather just might stay!

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April Book Club Review

April 26, 2013 at 11:57 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

And then there were three.

We initially had six book club members RSVP as a ‘Yes’ for this month’s meeting but when the day arrived, half of them

Her arms are much hairier in real life.

had to bow out at the last minute.  Which kind of sucked, of course, but sometimes the smaller meetings are a little less chaotic.  We met at Quartino, which is an Italian restaurant that’s downtown.  The place was really big and they had an even more spacious upstairs, which was kind of surprising.  Also surprising was the fact that the whole place was packed.  I guess Thursday nights are the new Fridays but they entire restaurant was buzzing and bustling.  It made it a little hard to hear each other but it was a fun environment so it ended up working out.  The three of us also met at basically the same time, which was nice because we could be seated right away.  I was starving so I appreciated that!

The bread they served was really good and I had to pace myself so as to not gobble it all up right away.  While most items looked great, all three of us opted for different pizzas.  They all wound up being vegetarian so we swapped some pieces and each one was good-looking and tasty.  I had some leftovers and the girls laughed at me when I busted out the tupperware I had carried my lunch to work in to box up my remaining slices.  Secretly, I think they were jealous and I couldn’t help but find amusement with just how much I’m becoming like my mother.

The book we read for the month was Bossypants by Tina Fey.  It was an entertaining, lighthearted, quick and easy read that literally everyone enjoyed (for real – all those who wound up canceling made sure to mention that!).  It sounds like of cheesy but I came away from the book feeling like Tina Fey was my new BFF.  It helped that a lot of it took place in Chicago so I felt familiar to begin with.  Also, her stories are self-deprecating and autobiographical, just the way I like them.  I feel like I could write something similar but no one would buy a book about my life because…well, I’m not Tina Fey.  Or famous in general.  Yet!

 

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Fair and Square

April 25, 2013 at 11:00 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Looks like Rhode Island will be beating Illinois to become the 10th state to allow same-sex marriage.  While I wish we could have held that title, I’m just glad that more states are moving in this direction!

Woohoo!

Thanks Rhode Island, hopefully we’ll be right behind you!

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Getting Bent

April 24, 2013 at 10:56 am (Uncategorized) (, )

I recently went to my first yoga class.  The gym I go to has all sorts of free group classes and I made it my mission to attend at least one this year.  Most of them intimidate the hell out of me because I’m clumsy and can only imagine whacking some poor soul in the face with a hand weight or something.  There’s also spinning but my sister did that once and threw up afterwards, which doesn’t sound like my idea of a good time.  So I decided yoga would be a good place to start because I’ve been working out for a while now and am surely more flexible than I used to be, plus I figured yoga might help with my whole clumsy issue.  So I went and wow – yoga is hard!

Damn you.

I am clearly NOT as flexible as I had assumed.  The grandma looking lady to my left helped prove that.  I was proud that I only nearly fell on my face a few times but my self-congratulatory mood deflated as soon as the instructor singled me out to correct my stance.  I did, however, begin to take that in stride when he did it for the third time.  The class was an hour and by the time it was finished I had regained my pride in actually sticking it out through the entire thing.  I may even decide to go again, as soon as my schedule permits.  Apparently yoga is the kind of thing that gets easier the more you do it (much like everything except waking up for work in the morning) so I suppose a little more practice wouldn’t kill me.

If I’m really lucky, perhaps one day I’ll put that grandma to shame.

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Much Appreciated

April 22, 2013 at 11:08 am (Uncategorized) (, )

So the event that I mentioned I went to last week was the Annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner at The Field Museum.  This is the third such night I’ve been able to attend and it was just as much fun as I remembered!

See the dinosaur skeleton and elephant in the background?  Great ambiance!

See the dinosaur skeleton and elephant in the background? Great ambiance!

Scott was my date and we fought a torrential downpour to get ourselves there, but it was worth it.  There was a ceremony to start with where all of the docents who have been there 10+ years received a little recognition (I have 7 years before I can walk that stage) and then everyone made their way upstairs for a free dinner and open bar.  The dinner was really good – a delicious salad, fresh rolls, scalloped potatoes, ratatouille and assorted meat dishes that I skipped over.  There was also a dessert table with ice cream and little pastries…I may or may not have hit that table first.  As for the drinks, I decided to take advantage and enjoy something I wouldn’t normally choose so I sipped gin and vodka martinis all night.  Guess what – martinis are strong!  I had a few and was glad that Scott was driving us home.

We also got to talk to some big head honchos of the museum who made the rounds to meet and greet, as well as some of the other docents I know.  Then I went into Teacher Mode and walked Scott through one of the newest exhibitions, telling him everything I knew about it along the way.  It was a great way to spend a Wednesday night and I’m already looking forward to next year’s event!

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What a Week

April 19, 2013 at 11:12 am (Uncategorized) ()

This link, courtesy of The Onion, pretty much sums it up.

It’s been kind of a nightmare of a week but to be completely fair, this week out of the year has led to many American nightmares.  Both the Waco, TX bombing and the bombing of the Oklahoma City Building happened on April 19th (in 1993 and 1995, respectively).  The Columbine school shooting happened on April 20th, 1999 and then…well just look at where this week has gotten us.  The bombing in Boston, a horrible plant explosion also in Texas and madmen on the loose in Massachusetts last night, prompting a cities-wide lock down.  Not to mention our elected leaders failing to do a damn thing about gun control, but that’s another story.

When I walked out of my apartment this morning, I walked into a snowy/hail mixture that pelted me all the way to the train.  Trust me, I know how meaningless and trivial that is compared to everything else going on but it’s as if even the weather is in on the crappy week.

Of course, we’ll all keep our heads down and keep on going, because that’s what humans typically do in times of stress.  We probably wouldn’t have made it this far otherwise.

Just because.

In other, less depressing news, today is also my mom’s birthday and that’s the best damn thing to ever happen on this date, period.  My mom is awesome and has put up with too much bullshit in her life but she’s the toughest woman I know and an inspiration to me every day.  I really wish I could be at home celebrating with her this weekend but she’s coming to visit in two weeks so I’ll have to hold off my celebrations until then.  However, that doesn’t mean I won’t raise a glass or two in her honor tonight!

Besides, after a week like this, a drink sounds pretty good.

 

 

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Give Me Some SPACE

April 18, 2013 at 11:04 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

On Saturday, Scott and I went to see guitarist/singer Mason Jennings at Space, a music venue in the northern Chicago suburb of Evanston (yes, we had a busy weekend).  Evanston is a nice little town that’s actually a helluva lot closer to us than I realized, so it didn’t take long to get there.  Space is a venue located in the back of a restaurant called Union and it was a great…er, space…to watch a live show.  The setting was small and intimate which was perfect for the songs that Mason sung, plus there was a bar (always appreciated).  Everyone had a place to sit with a decent view of the stage while those who paid more had tables and sat in the center.  Scott and I were perfectly content to sit on the side and hold our drinks in our laps, thank you very much.

This wasn’t a wild and crazy concert with dancing in the aisles but it was a lot of fun and Mason put on a great show.  He was also funnier

Nice, huh?

than I had expected and told a handful of entertaining stories while on stage.  There were people of all ages there too, including a family who sat near us with their small children.  Their little girl started singing along at one point and damn near broke my heart with cuteness!  So it was a fairly laid back show, which was nice.  In fact, the craziest thing that happened was when I walked in on some dude peeing in the unisex bathroom.  You would think that a guy using a public bathroom would take the time to lock the door but nooOOOooo.  I may have blushed for a second, especially when the guy behind me mopping burst into laughter, but that was as wild as it got.

I’d definitely go out to this venue again and will keep my eyes open for cool shows coming their way.  Dr. John, the super awesome and funky jazz musician of New Orleans fame, was actually there last night but I had a prior commitment (which I’ll probably blog about soon) that prevented me from going.  Maybe he’ll come back?  Either way it was great to be introduced to a new spot to check out live shows.  Next time I may even grab some of the delicious-smelling pizza that Union delivers to your seat!

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Hold On To Your Butts!

April 17, 2013 at 8:11 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

On Friday, Scott and I met some friends and went tot he IMAX Theater on Navy Pier to see the most awesome movie of all time in 3D – Jurassic Park.  This has been a favorite movie of mine for many years and this was the absolute biggest, best viewing of it I’ve ever had.  I’m not sure what I love most about the film: the fact that the dinosaurs still scare the crap out of me 20 years after its initial release, the studious/sexy look of Ian Malcolm, the fact that the female lead sticks her hand in dino poop and reminds me of the time I sifted through elephant poop in Africa or the just plain bad-assness of the entire concept – whatever the reason, I love the movie.  And seeing it in 3D was COMPLETELY worth the price of the ticket.

Can you handle it?

I thought it was kind of amusing that 90% of people in the theater were within about 2 years of my own age.  This just shows you how important this movie was and is to our generation.  And even though we’d all seen the film who knows how many times, there were still jumps and screams throughout the entire thing.  The 3D-ness obviously helped as there were a few shots where you really did feel that the scary dinosaur was jumping out of the screen to attack you.  Even though I knew what was coming, I was able to completely lose myself in the moment too.  When it was over I actually considered going to buy another ticket so I could just stay put and watch it again, but as I was the only one in our group with such thoughts I decided it might be okay to just go on home instead.

If you like this movie at all then I highly recommend checking it out while you still can.  It won’t be available in IMAX for long so hurry up and get your tickets now!  And don’t forget – hold on to your butts!

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The World We Live In

April 16, 2013 at 12:11 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Yesterday, Boston experienced a horrific tragedy.  It’s disgusting and frightening and unfair that such an awful thing happened to such good people.  Unfortunately, this kind of disaster happens far too often all around the world – we just don’t realize the toll it takes on a nation until we experience it on our own soil.  It’s not right that innocent men, women and children be made to suffer at the hands of a few disillusioned and angry people but that’s the kind of world we live in.

It’s not as though things used to be easier – they were just less publicized.  Human beings have always dealt with hatred and violence but now that everyone has a video camera and internet access in their pockets, it seems like we’re constantly bombarded by bad news.  Which is not to trivialize anything that the victims go through – I can’t even begin to imagine what their world looks like after experiencing something like a public bombing.  However, as heartbreaking and traumatic as these events are, we must remember that the good people outnumber the bad.  The media sensationalizes the killers in these situations but what we need more of are the stories behind the people who run towards the damage and do everything they can to help.  There are many more of those types of people out there than there are those who would rather inflict pain and suffering.  There always has been and there always will be.  It’s just easy to forget.

We can’t be scared to go to the movies or to school or to public celebrations.  We must be aware and pay attention to our surroundings, sure, but we must also realize that sometimes no matter how aware we are, bad things still happen and there’s not a damn thing that we can do to stop it.  Unless we live in our basement with nothing but the fear-mongering media for company, we must take risks.  Besides, what sort of life is it if all it contains is fear?  Things can change for the worse in an instant so if anything, instances like this can help us to remember to be thankful for what we’ve got.  I know it’s not easy (and this is something I’ll be working on as well) but we must also try to remember that the good really does outweigh the bad.

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Spring Cleaning!

April 12, 2013 at 9:52 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I’m a bit of a neat freak.  As in, cleaning actually calms me down and I normally don’t go to bed unless just about everything is neat and tidy.  I do deep cleaning too but it’s not always easy because of time and patience constraints.  Scott helps as well but we have different ideas of clean and how often things should be cleaned.  I also recognize that I’m a little more particular than most people and take that into consideration.  A few years ago, I paid for the Merry Maids to come clean my apartment (maybe I blogged about it but who can remember?) and since we just signed a renewal for our current place for another year, I decided to splurge with another cleaning company.  Besides having a company name that I strongly identify with, Clean Freaks received tons of good ratings on Yelp so I figured I’d give them a try.  I contacted them this week and they actually had a last minute cancellation so they were able to come out to our place yesterday.  I was happy to have them come so soon but if I’m completely honest, I would’ve liked to have my place get a bit messier before they arrived.  No matter, they still had plenty to do!

Suck it, dirt!

I was at work when they arrived and met with Scott, who took a hike so they could clean in peace.  It was pretty awesome knowing that someone was scrubbing my toilets while I was doing my own thing at the office then later the gym.  I was so excited to see the finished product that I felt like a kid on Christmas morning (told you I had a problem).  And the wait was worth it – our place is spotless.  I’m pretty sure Scott sat on the back porch until I got home so as to not mess anything up because every room in our apartment is now the absolute cleanest it’s been since I moved in.  Everything looks brighter too and our dinner guest last night said he felt like he was on a movie set!  Our counters, stove, sink, fridge, microwave, tables, chairs, floors, bookshelves and entire bathroom now glows.  They took off each individual photo frame I have on the walls (and there are many) to completely clean them and our cabinets now shine as they never have before.  Hell, they even wiped off all the bottles we have on our bathroom sink and closed the lid to my lotion!

I think that the feeling I got after coming home to this spotless apartment is what some other women must feel when they come home with new shoes or a sparkling designer handbag.  This was money so completely well spent that I wanted to stay home today just to stare at the newly buffed walls.  Is that weird?

So this is a fantastic start to a fantastic weekend!  I’m going to see Jurassic Park in 3D at the IMAX Theater on Navy Pier tonight and I am PUMPED!  That’s pretty much my favorite movie of all time and I haven’t seen anything at an IMAX Theater since I was a wee lass.  I’m fully prepared to wet myself from all the awesomeness.  Tomorrow, I’m going to be hanging out at one of the new exhibits all morning at the museum and then Scott and I are going to a Mason Jennings concert in Evanston that night (don’t know who he is?  I didn’t either ’til I met Scott but I’ve become a fan of his folkish, mellow tunes.  Mason’s, not Scott’s).  The weekend could only get better if I didn’t have to spend any time tidying up or cleaning – OH WAIT!  That’s done and done!

Long live the weekend!

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