College Reunion!

August 30, 2013 at 9:50 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

This is the day I’ve been waiting for!  I’ll be leaving work early and riding with Scott down to Bloomington, Indiana, my old college town.  I have some truly great friends who still live there and it’s been way too long since I’ve seen them (read: over a year).  They’ve never even met Scott and after years of hearing me talk up how great my friends and the town are in general, it’s beyond time for an introduction.  And what an introduction it will be!

I plan on giving Scott the grand tour: campus, my old dorms/houses/apartments, lakes, hiking trails and of course too many restaurants to count.  I think we’re even going to get in a visit to a farm!  All of my lovely friends have fancy gardens too and I’m pretty sure we’ll be coming home with lots of fresh produce.  Score!

To old and new memories!

Seriously, Bloomington is such a great community and the whole town played a hugely important role in who I am today.  My friends there are some of the smartest, most inspiring women I know and I am so excited to surround myself with them for a few days.  We’re staying until Sunday and then making the less-than-an-hour drive to my aunt’s house, where we’ll spending Sunday night visiting a bunch of family and enjoying a swim party.  This weekend could only really get better if ALL of my old college friends were going to be in town too, but then it would probably be too awesome for me to handle.

Hope your long weekend is a good one too!

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Blue Jean Flower Queen

August 28, 2013 at 10:29 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

I’m still here!  the BMW mob bosses didn’t get me!  I know everyone is relieved.

So, the Tower Formerly Known as Sears always seems to have some sort of artistic display going on, whether it’s inside the lobby ou out facing the street.  The most recent installation was a little creepy the first time I saw it and while I’m pretty much used to it by now, I still have no idea why it’s there:

What does it MEAN?

If there’s a message or specific point behind this, I don’t know what it is.

Is it some sort of social commentary on virginity and holding onto one’s “sacred flower”?  Maybe it’s a subtle advertisement for Summer’s Eve.  Or it could be a standing testament to how nature will one day overtake everything and anything that humans once created.  There’s no plaque or explanation anywhere so I’m forced to use my imagination, which I obviously have done.  Also, I can’t help but wonder if there’s been any homeless people who have tried to take the pants away when it’s late and no one is looking.  It’s not like these jeans are in horrible condition and if I were homeless, I’d probably be checking sizes as soon as I could.

I guess I shouldn’t spend too much time over-thinking “art” but when I walk past it twice a day it’s hard not to let my thoughts wander.  I wonder what everyone else thinks?

 

 

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BMW Party

August 26, 2013 at 2:43 pm (Uncategorized) ()

After my stint at the museum this weekend, I sat on the front lawn and waited for my lovely boyfriend to come and pick me up.  As I sat under a tree, I watched as numerous brand new BMW’s pulled up and parked in a show-offy fashion.  They all backed into spots and men in suits got out and clustered together.  All of the BMW’s had New Jersey license plates and it didn’t sound like the men were speaking English.  Perhaps they were Italian and doing some shady dealings for the mob?  If that’s the case I probably shouldn’t be posting here.  But I like to live dangerously, so here’s a pic I snapped:

I wonder what these were all worth...

I wonder what these were all worth…

I thought it was interesting and the guys leading the Segway tours also commented on the cars as they rolled past.  If the guys behind the wheel were trying to be discreet, they did a really bad job of it.  That said, if I don’t write again for a while perhaps there really was something sinister going on..

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Foodie Friday

August 23, 2013 at 1:46 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I mentioned earlier this week how happy I was with my recent decision to have brunch at Tweet and I stand by that.  I was in the mood for some veggie-friendly biscuits and gravy and that’s not always an easy and close find at 8:30 in the morning.  I used some handy Yelp reviews and came up with this place, which was actually just a short bike ride away.

Great, now I want to lick my computer screen.

Great, now I want to lick my computer screen.

Tweet is attached to a space that transforms into a gay bar at night so the decor inside is kitschy, campy and fun.  We managed to get some outdoor seating and when we sat down we enjoyed some cornbread that was placed on the table as a treat.  The menu is really large and has tons of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options so everyone can find something they love.  There were lots of families with adorable babies and people with puppies so the setting was pleasant, even though Scott called me out on my biological clock when I was making faces at one of the kids.

I did manage to get my biscuits and gravy and it was the best breakfast I’ve had in recent memory.  It came topped with two eggs and two veggie-sausage patties, not to mention a tomato slice and side of hash browns.  It was just the thing my slightly-hungover self needed and I ate every bite.  Scott ordered some veggie-rice dish with eggs and he loved his too, especially since he got to use his chopsticks skills.  He had enough leftover to have another meal but I devoured mine and had to refrain from eating the plate.

It’s easy to get into a habit when it comes to good restaurants in the city, especially since we don’t allow ourselves to go out too much.  If we know something is good it makes sense to play it safe but I need to remember that in such a big place, there are TONS of establishments worthy of our dollar.  I’m so glad we gave this place a shot and I’m already looking forward to our next visit!

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Non Book Club Book Review

August 21, 2013 at 12:55 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

I read, a lot.  I don’t review every book on this here blog because it would take a while and sometimes the books I read don’t merit a recommendation.  Not so with my latest, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler.  I don’t want to get too detailed because there are some major plot points I could spoil and I’d hate to do that to anyone who’s interested but I will say that I LOVED this book.  As in, it might be a new favorite of mine.

Two opposable thumbs way up!

The story is told by Rosemary Cooke and we follow her as she navigates her college years and makes frequent introspective trips back to her childhood.  She had an unconventional upbringing and the way she and her siblings interacted helped her become the narrator we meet.  We learn all about her family and the trials they’ve faced while also meeting her collegiate friends.  We even get to see how her friends and family interact with each other and how they can influence one another without even knowing it.  There were parts of the book that were really humorous and parts that made me want to cry, so obviously I became attached.  While the big plot twist didn’t surprise me (I’d actually read it in a review before I read the book – whoops!) and it’s not essential for it to be kept a secret to still enjoy the book, I was glad they went about it like they did.  Something else I really enjoyed was that the main character was from Bloomington, Indiana and her father taught at Indiana University.  Seeing familiar names to grocery stores (like Sahara Mart, a place I lived near and shopped at for three years) and street locations made me pause and smile because I knew exactly where she was talking about.  I don’t know whether it’s the fact that I’m going to be visiting that wonderful town over Labor Day or just the pleasant surprise of coming across my old haunts in print, but it made me feel even more enveloped in the story.

I read the book in just under a week because I couldn’t really put it down.  Maybe I can convince my book club to read it but even if they’re not interested, I’ll talk it up.  Much like I’m doing to you.  And while it’s possible that the subject matter and location setting (not to mention the cover, which happens to be my favorite color) had something to do with my strong feelings towards the book, I really think the work itself is worth the time of day.  In fact, this may be a book thatI actually buy as opposed to simply rent from the library.  So if you’re looking for an entertaining and interesting read, ch-ch-check it out!

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Enjoying Summer While it Lasts

August 19, 2013 at 2:13 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Indoor Bonsai

Indoor Bonsai

Those lazy hazy days of summer aren’t quite gone yet and I’m trying to take advantage of the warm weather for as long as I possibly can.  This weekend, I definitely succeeded!  My Friday night started off with happy hour drinks with some coworkers as one of the IT guys is moving to a new job and Friday was his last day.  A few beers and a shot or two later, I was ready for the rest of the weekend.  I met Scott near Millennium Park and the two of us met with some friends of ours, who happened to have their two adorable children in tow.  We made our way to the Pritzer Pavillion and caught some of the free classical music being performed while we enjoyed some snacks on the grassy seating area.  The kids ran (or crawled) around and the adults got a chance to visit, which was really nice.  Sidenote: it’s weird to refer to myself and my friends as “the adults”.  Anyway, after the concert we hung out at their condo for a little longer before making our way home sweet home.

Saturday we woke up uncharacteristically early and went to brunch at a place neither of us had ever had before.  It was amazing and will have its own blog post dedicated to it later this week.  After brunch, we ran a few errands then basically spent the rest of the afternoon lying around at the park.  I got through some more of my book (which was also amazing and will also warrant its own post sometime soon) and Scott played around with a soccer ball like a little kid.  It was a beautiful day and the first Saturday in months where I didn’t something planned.  I could do with more Saturdays like that.  We ended the evening by finally finishing The Karate Kid which was pretty great in all it’s 80’s glory.

Sunday I woke up and went to the gym, then we headed to the Chicago Botanic Gardens a little north of the city.

The Bonsai Trees were especially appropriate after our Karate Kid watching

The Bonsai Trees were especially appropriate after our Karate Kid watching

The Gardens are actually close to where I used to live in the ‘burbs but I didn’t go there near as much as I should’ve back then.  This place is huge and has all sorts of different sculpted gardens.  There was a Bonsai Tree show going on which we got to check out, then we walked through the Rose Garden and the Japanese Tree Garden.  We walked through a bunch of other trails and paths too but there was too much plant life to completely remember it all.  We weren’t the only ones with this idea and the place was pretty busy, with families and kids darting around and even a wedding taking place at one spot.   It was another just plain fabulous day and I was really glad we got to spend so much of it enjoying the great outdoors.

I gave Scott a grow-your-own-Bonsai-tree back at Christmas and while the seed produced a tiny little tree-like thing, it hasn’t grown at all for months.  We’re not sure if it has something to do with the tree itself or our sneaky little cat who likes to nibble on plant edges but for whatever reason, it’s been stunted for a while.  Scott found some super cheap soil at the Bonsai show that will hopefully help his little tree to flourish, though I guess only time will tell.  But if the apple tree that I planted in elementary school can start producing fruit nearly twenty years later, then I have hopes his Bonsai Tree can make a comeback.

And yes, that happened with the apple tree in my mom’s front yard.  Gotta love nature!  And I will, as long as the weather permits!

 

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Foodie Friday!

August 16, 2013 at 11:06 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

This dish was actually one of Scott’s creations and it was so good I had to share:

Eggplant-y Goodness

Eggplant-y Deliciousness

I subjected myself to the torture that is another Piloxing class last night and by the time I got home, I was sweaty, tired and in dire need of a meal.  Luckily Scott came to the rescue!  While I showered and cleaned up, he got to cooking.  He baked the eggplant slices we had from Trader Joe’s in the oven then poured some marinara sauce on top.  He then used a sautéed combination of yellow, red and green peppers with mushrooms to top the dish and after adding some cheese, put it on toasted bread and called it dinner!  The side of corn was originally frozen and cooked on the stove fairly quick.  It was just what the doctor ordered and my stomach and blood sugar thanked him.

Maybe if I’m lucky I can get him to cook some more for me this weekend!

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Published!

August 14, 2013 at 1:16 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

So I believe I’ve mentioned this but there was a short story contest I entered a few months ago and my story ended up placing 3rd.  There was no huge grand prize or trip to NYC or anything but it was published online, so that’s exciting!  Before I post the link, please be warned that this story is all about my very first kiss.  The contest requirements were that we had to write about ‘Summer’ and when I sat down to write something, the story of that first kiss is what came out.  If you want to read it, here’s the link – you’ll have to scroll down a bit to find mine:

Heat

(Heat is the name of the story).

Please also be warned that some of the story may have been embellished a bit for creative purposes.

Not all first kisses are magical.

It’s fun to have something published and motivates me to keep up with the creative writing.  Also, I kind of like thinking of myself as a writer.  I know I write this blog and I still do some pieces for the entertainment magazine I’ve been freelancing with for years but this is something a little different for me.  I don’t write actual stories very often because…well, it’s hard!  I’ve got one I’ve been sort of working on for months and while it’s nearly 30 pages long, it’s really difficult to find the time and motivation to really hammer things out.  But these shorter stories are a great way to keep myself writing and you know what they say – practice makes perfect.

Anyway, if you check out the link I hope you enjoy it!

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Market Daze

August 12, 2013 at 1:35 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

Market Days is the biggest street festival in the Midwest and it takes place here in Chicago – Boystown, to be exact.  For those two days, over 300,000 gay-friendly people crowed the streets for music, food, shopping and of course, people watching.  The whole thing spans six city blocks and features three stages and over 40 musical guests.  An old roommate from college came in town this weekend and stayed with a girl we used to live with back in the day, and I met the two of them plus a few others  Saturday night for the craziness that is Market Days.  We tried to see the Wilson Phillips show but there were SO MANY people everywhere we went that we didn’t even get close.  At one point I felt like those people who rush the doors of Wal-Mart on Black Friday morning, it was so sweaty and cramped.  We bailed from that scene pretty quickly and found some breathing room at a nearby house party before venturing back into the crowd.

I saw a big group of nearly naked men and women playing the largest game of Twister I’ve ever seen, and even though I never saw who was the last one standing, I think they all went home winners.  There were tons of drag queens walking around in various states of undress, with some of them looking better than others.  Countless couples and people just trying to hook up walked the streets and it was so crowded many of them wound up carrying the dogs they brought because there were simply too many feet around for the poor pooches (though why you would bring your dog to one of the biggest and wildest street fests in the city is beyond me).  I saw fighting and making up, plus plenty of making out.  And I saw a LOT of skin:

Dancing a go-go!

Dancing a go-go!

Some of the popular clubs had entire facades built into the street and featured bars on the lower level with dancing dudes in teeny tiny underwear on the upper levels.  This is the most work-safe photo I had but you can see how big the structure was.  The later the night got the more my friends and I thought we could dance better than the guys being paid to do so, but alas we never climbed to the top to find out.

Market Days is definitely a little different from the other street fests I’ve been too but it was cheaper and just as fun.  I know that kind of scene isn’t for everyone but it was absolutely entertaining to me.  I wasn’t as drunk (read: I had one beer) as every single other person out there seemed to be but I had a good time anyway and likely felt better than all those other people the next day.  I know I felt better than the gang I went with because I had brunch with them all the next morning and they were hurting.

The season of street fests is winding down and I think this one went out with a bang (no pun intended…well, not entirely intended).  Long live dancing and queens!

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Post Full of Random

August 9, 2013 at 3:14 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

I don’t know what it is but I can’t seem to focus on much lately.  Some of it (okay a lot of it) is work related and that’s not really interesting to anyone but me so I won’t get into it here.  Some of it has to do with some personal stuff, which I also don’t really feel like getting into here.  As for the other bits of randomness floating around my head today, I might as well make a list:

  • I’m sick of hearing my coworker say things like “holy buttery fudgenipple”.  I feel like I live in a frat house.
  • This is my first weekend in the last three where I wasn’t in Costa Rica or entertaining my father.  I want to sleep in and bond with my couch but I’m not sure if I can make that happen.
  • I have a short story that came in 3rd in some contest and it’ll be published on a website later this month.  I had to provide them with a personal bio and I may or may not have mentioned my love of avocados in said bio.  I’ll post the link to the story here once it’s up.
  • I’ll be watching The Karate Kid for the first time this weekend.  I’m probably more excited than I should be.
  • I want to learn to make falafel balls.
  • My long hair is driving me insane.  I roll over on it and when Scott puts his arm around me on the couch, it pulls down my scalp and just plain hurts.  I know I’ve talked about it for a while now but the day I cut it all off and donate it is getting closer and closer.
  • I’m planning a trip to my old college town over Labor Day and, come hell or high water, I WILL be there.  I’m almost as excited about this as I was about Costa Rica.
  • Despite that trip, I’m not ready for summer to end.
  • Now my coworkers are talking about “nippling”, whatever that means.  I feel like I should create a Twitter account to document all the bizarre stuff that comes out of their mouths.
  • I’m serious about the Twitter account.  I just don’t know how to use Twitter.
  • I somehow acquired a super weird sun tan on vacation and my stomach looks like a multicolored kite.  At least no once can see it.
  • I wish I could grow a beard.

And…TGIF!!

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