February Freeze?

February 21, 2017 at 3:42 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

This is what the weather looked like on my walk home on Friday, February 17th:

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Just ducky.

The temperature was in the upper 60’s…and this is not normal for February in Chicago. Hell, this isn’t even normal for May in Chicago! We’ve had a warm streak all weekend and it looks like it’s going to last a little longer before we dip back down to the 40’s…which is still quite warm for this time of the year in this part of the country.

It’s disquieting. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t nice to open windows and walk around in a t-shirt but it’s pretty strange and I’d also be lying if I said I didn’t miss winter. We’ve had maybe two snowfalls all year and they didn’t even last – where’s this record-breaking snow we were supposed to get? Thanks, Farmer’s Almanac. I’m sure if we were in the midst of a blizzard I’d be complaining about that but it was seriously eerie to see so many people in shorts over Presidents’ Day weekend.

But I still managed to overlook my guilt for our busted-ass planet long enough to enjoy the weather. I had a nice walk by the lake Friday as I went to work an overnight at the Museum, then on Saturday Scott and I walked the beach for a few hours before dinner with a friend. Sunday was spent protesting the current administration and their bat-shit crazy policies (more on that later this week) and then at a BBQ with my girlfriend from the Women’s March on Washington. Monday was also spent enjoying the weather, which I plan on doing as much as possible. Before the world turns into nothing but tsunamis and forest fires, that is.

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Things I Love

February 14, 2017 at 4:15 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

  • My husband (we’re lovingly spending our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple apart – he’ll be in class all night so I’ll be cuddling with the cat – welcome to marriage!)
  • My family – even the crazy ones (and even my sister who is on a cruise to Bermuda right freaking now)
  • My wonderful, freaky, nerdy friends
  • My sickly, silly cat
  • My job (most days)
  • The country I live in (most days)
  • Chocolate
  • Cheese
  • Pizza
  • Wine
  • Museums, volunteering at museums and staying the night at museums with tons of kids and their families
  • Books and reading
  • Journals and writing
  • Also – Netflix
  • That feeling when you have freshly shaved legs and put clean sheets on your bed and jump in
  • Traveling and experiencing new places, people, ideas and things
  • Panko – this is a new discovery and I’m obsessed
  • Sunshine
  • My purple hoodie
  • My couch
  • The view of Chicago from the Field Museum (and the view of the city from just about anywhere else)
  • The fact that I’m getting better at yoga and can now kick my foot up over my head without falling and busting my ass
  • Being vegetarian
  • The fact that I can feel strongly about things, find like-minded people and then take action to do what we feel is right – without getting beaten up or jailed
  • Did I mention wine?

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Hot Hot Hot

February 9, 2017 at 3:37 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

The temperature dropped here this week and it coincided with a promise I made with a friend to attempt hot yoga for the very first time. I’ve branched out to yoga and Pilates this year but hot yoga seemed…well, like a gross pain in the ass. But I went and while it was gross, it wasn’t as much of a pain as I thought it would be!

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Truth.

The place we went charges $25 a class (though yours truly was there on a free week pass) so the entire facility, down to the locker rooms, was much swankier than where I go to the gym for $25 a month. The room where we had class was lit by candles and had soothing music playing while the instructor softly called out our poses. It was also like 104 degrees. But honestly, the heat didn’t bother me so much as all my damn sweating did. I put a towel down on my mat because my feet kept sticking to it and I was dripping wet before we got through the warm-up. It wasn’t a super intense class though so I managed alright and was pretty proud of myself at the end of the hour. Mostly for not puking or passing out. And I can tell you that the 17 degree Chicago air felt pretty amazing when I walked out of the building.

So how did my friend and I celebrate? Tacos and margaritas, of course. Gotta stay hydrated somehow!

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Find the Helpers

February 7, 2017 at 3:53 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Mr. Rogers once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

The things coming out of Washington frighten and dishearten me so I choose to post something today that made me feel good instead of bad.

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Ahh! Paper Monsters! 

About two weeks ago, 70 coworkers and I went to one of the most economically-challenged elementary schools in one of the most notoriously gang-ridden parts of the city. I don’t think any of us had ever been to this neighborhood before and it was eye opening, to say the least. We spent the day doing a Day of Service for the school and we did everything from build bookshelves to run a Science Fair to paint murals on their walls. The school itself was a vibrant, happy place full of excited and eager children who were glad to see us. I worked on some paintings myself and then read Where the Wild Things Are to classrooms full of first and second grade children. And it was awesome! I forget how much I miss working with children (luckily this year’s museum overnight programs are starting up once again!) and I managed to turn our storytelling into a game. We read the book first and then everyone made monster hand puppets with brown paper bags, then we read the story again but the kids got to show off their monsters while yelling monster yells every time I said “Wild Things”. They. Ate. It. Up. And we gave their teachers a well-deserved break !

The day gave us an opportunity to engage with coworkers outside of the office setting but also immersed us in a part of our community that we might not otherwise see. These kids walk to and from school every day in a part of the city that I would feel worried about walking around by myself but they live with the danger there on a daily basis. Luckily, the staff of the school we worked with is clearly invested in the success and happiness of the children there and we felt lucky ourselves for being a part of it for just a day. I also feel lucky that I work in a place that gives a damn about things like these, because I’m not entirely sure our new President or his administration care at all.

Look for the helpers. We’re here and we’re not going anywhere.

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Don’t Tread on Me

January 24, 2017 at 4:06 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

The Women’s March was one of the most incredible, inspiring and awesome things I’ve ever been a part of. Period.

There were hundreds of women and men waiting outside Union Station for buses when I arrived and they had been boarding and departing all day. I met up with a friend of mine and dozens of others, most of whom came prepared for the ride with cookies, candy, snacks and of course wine. The mood was hopeful even though we all wished it wasn’t necessary for us to be there to begin with. And as we got closer to D.C. (all twelve hours’ worth of a ride each way) it became apparent we weren’t the only ones who felt that way.

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My sign is on Buzzfeed! The red one under the pink shoe!

I’ve literally never seen anything like what I did last weekend. We stopped at a gas station in PA around 4:30 Saturday morning and the entire parking lot was full of charter buses heading to the March. The gas station was FULL of women (lined up out the door) using every bathroom they had available and purchasing snacks and drinks from frazzled workers. As we got closer and closer, it became apparent it was just about ONLY buses on the highway and we were all headed to the same place. We parked around 8am and my girlfriend and I found a place to grab a breakfast sandwich before heading to the National Mall. Even the cafe we went to had a line to the back of the store – every place was absolutely packed, which told us right then that the March was going to be bigger than anyone had anticipated. And was it ever! I met groups that had three generations with them – women and men who had marched in the 60’s along with their sons, daughters and grandchildren. The unity and cohesiveness that I witnessed is something that I’ll never forget.

After our walking breakfast, we used the deluxe bathrooms (aka porta-potties) before finding a space in the Rally, which was smart because we were immediately surrounded by thousands of people of every color, age, sexual orientation, gender and walk of life. There were so many people that you couldn’t really get out even if you wanted to, which was evidenced by the girl who popped a squat and peed on the ground right next to me. She lucked out because I came equipped with toilet paper and hand sanitizer in my handy, awesome little fanny pack. We all stood around chanting and singing for the entirety of the Rally, which ended up being four hours instead of three. That would have been fine and good but we couldn’t hear a thing that the speakers and performers were saying and could barely see them on the Jumbo-Tron, so we were beyond ready to walk around by the time we started to move. There was a brief rumor that the actual March would be cancelled because there were so many people that the route was entirely clogged but we all had to go somewhere, so March we did. We actually ended up taking to all of the surrounding streets from the Mall and wound our way through the city, ending everything near the White House gates. All in all, we walked for about three hours and my friend and I were among those who left our signs outside the White House. And there were thousands of others who did the exact same thing!

As I said, I’ve never experienced anything like that. I’ve also never seen that many people in one place – one National Guardsman told us that they were told there were 900,000 people there (three times what was there for the inauguration!) but even if it was the 500,000 that the media portrayed, I can attest that it was a whole lot of people. To have everyone there feeling the same things and hoping for the same changes was truly inspiring and did my heart and soul an immense amount of good. Everyone was courteous, peaceful and as optimistic as we could be, given the circumstances. It was an extremely positive and very energizing experience and we all plan to carry that momentum forward for the next four years!

Some people didn’t understand the March or the mission behind it and I can see how the message was a little confusing. This wasn’t an Anti-Trump March, first and foremost. I accept the fact that he is my president, even if I don’t like it. That said, the last thing I want is for him to mess up or fail because that’s like saying I want my pilot to crash our plane. I would love if he really did uphold equal values for everyone and moved this country in a positive direction, I just don’t think it will really happen. So for me personally, I was there to show our new president that we matter just as much as the people who voted him into office and that we’re all going to be watching to ensure he doesn’t do more harm than good – and we’ll be holding him accountable. The fact that hundreds of other countries (and every single continent!) also had people rallying for the same thing just goes to show how strongly we all feel about this. Chicago had 250,000 people in the streets (my feminist husband included) and it was amazing to see how many people came together all around the world. If nothing else, knowing all of those men, women and children feel the way I do will give me the strength to get through whatever the next few years might throw at me. As one of my favorite chants said, “This is a movement, not a moment!”

We’re stronger together and we’re not going anywhere.

 

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Whoa 2017

January 20, 2017 at 2:09 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Guys. So much has happened since I last posted! We had Christmas! We have a New Year! I had a honeymoon in Thailand! And god help us, we have a new president.

I have many feelings and thoughts on all of these things but will probably actually post about the honeymoon and some politics in the upcoming days. The honeymoon was great and wonderful and Thailand was amazing and I was ashamed to be abroad representing a country who recently elected Donald Trump to its highest office. So what am I doing about it? Well, I’m heading to Washington, D.C. on a bus tonight to take part in the Women’s March tomorrow. Then I’ll bus it back to Chicago and pretend that life is somewhat normal for the next four years (or however long it takes for us to have a change in authority).

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Next stop: DC!

Here’s hoping everyone stays safe and that we can move forward in the right direction – as a country and as a planet.

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‘Tis the Season

December 23, 2016 at 12:50 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Okay so I’m still dealing with some of the same things from my last post but no matter. It’s nearly Christmas and so it’s time to focus on the positive!

One of my very best friends just had her first baby and while it was a little sooner than c8127968079a6deea834b3994205b441anticipated, everyone is doing well and I’m hoping to see them over the next few days. It’s crazy – in the time I went to the gym on Sunday she had a whole freaking baby! So new life is always something to celebrate and I’m happy to do just that.

I’m also happy to be visiting all of my family and friends over Christmas – I’m leaving town in approximately two hours and ready to go now! I’ve got presents wrapped and loaded and I’ve gained about 10 pounds this week with all of the holiday food sitting around the office so I guess you could say I’m prepared!

In other news, the weather has warmed up and my honeymoon gets ever closer. Scott had a birthday this week so that was fun to celebrate and our cat is holding steady (for now…). I received some very nice and generous gifts from my bosses for Christmas and have the promise of a bonus to look forward to when I get back from Thailand. Oh, and I basically have two days left of work until January 17th. So not even Trump can get me in the dumps!

Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Happy Kwanza/Happy New Year/Merry Festivus/Merry Everything!!

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Is It Over Yet?

December 13, 2016 at 3:40 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

God this is the year that just won’t end.

It goes on and on my friend.

(If you now have a tune involving a sheep puppet in your head, I apologize).

But really, this year just keeps going and going and just when you think you’ve had enough, it goes along some more. I’m dealing with some personal stress and then of course there’s the national stress leftover from the election (and looks like it’s going to hang around for at least another four years), things can be tough. I’m trying to stay positive though and so I will say that I’m thankful for the fact that this year is creeping ever so slowly to its end and I’m looking at a significant time out of the office for Christmas and then our honeymoon. Because if I can get through these next few weeks, Thailand awaits!

Of course, the issues and stressors that are in my life will be waiting for me when I return. But hopefully a vacation will help them from being so damn daunting! After all, life always seems a little brighter when you’re sporting a tan.

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Hail to the Chief

Just ask our President-elect…

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Walk it Out

December 2, 2016 at 2:08 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I have officially been wearing my Jawbone step tracker for one entire year. Every day, I’ve managed to hit at least 10,000 steps. That’s a lot of walking! Here are some things I’ve learned:

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Ah yes, I’m familiar with this look.

  • It wasn’t easy. 10,000 steps is (for me) essentially about an hour and 45 minutes of walking each day. Since I don’t have a car and commute to the office, I walk a bit every day by default but there were many days that I had to force myself to go back out for another long walk in order to actually hit my steps. On some days, I literally had to plan around it and I often went out of my way to incorporate more walking.
  • Location matters. There was a big difference in my steps depending on where I was. It was always easier to hit them in Chicago and when I traveled to visit my family in other states where public transit isn’t as much of a thing, I felt it. I can’t even tell you how many laps I’ve made up and down my mom’s driveway in order to walk a little more! I’ve gotten spoiled to living in a place where there are sidewalks and I no longer take that for granted.
  • It becomes addicting. Logically, I know that I don’t have to “hit my steps” every day. But I’m just a little Type-A and once I started I just couldn’t stop. There was something about that daily vibration on my wrist that I just had to have! Sort of like a good habit. Which I guess is the point…
  • My tracker didn’t count stairs as two steps. Bummer, especially considering how I live on the third floor of a walk-up.
  • It did, however, count my elliptical and treadmill time at the gym. But not the stationary bike.
  • Some people thought I was crazy. I didn’t dispute that but I am glad I kept it up.

And because I think it’s interesting, here are some of my stats from the last year:

  • I walked an average of 13,698 steps a day
  • I walked the most in May, at 486,376 total steps
  • I walked the least in November, at 379,375 steps (not surprising given the wedding weekend and all)
  • Speaking of, I logged 11,478 steps on my wedding day…and I took off the band before the ceremony so that didn’t include all of my dancing, which probably added a few thousand more!
  • The most I walked in a single day was 26,746 steps (thanks to working an overnight at the museum…those nights were consistently my highest)
  • Overall, I walked 5 MILLION steps in 365 days.

Clearly my size 10 feet have done me some good after all!

 

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The Little Things

November 30, 2016 at 3:31 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

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Truth.

Change is hard. Growing up is harder. My life has changed a lot this year and promises to change even more in 2017 so I’m having a hard time just keeping up. Some of these changes are good and some I didn’t exactly see coming but I’m doing my best to stay positive through everything. And in order to do that, I’m going to focus on the good things I’ve got going for me. This is a little late for Thanksgiving but it’s never too late to give thanks!

  • I have a great family and I love them all (even the ones who drive me crazy. And vote for Trump…). My family isn’t perfect but we care about each other and do what it takes to ensure we’re all relatively taken care of.
  • I have a great husband and he does things like buy me flowers and chocolates and wine on days that I snap at him on the phone (this may or may not have happened just today). He’s my best friend, he has my back and I love him.
  • I have great friends as well and they supported me through quite a bit this year. Some of them also danced on a stripper pole at my bachelorette party so clearly they are all awesome people.
  • I have a very good job that I seem to do very well. Or so I’m told. I like the people I work with and the work I do and I am thankful for the opportunities, perks and benefits that I receive through my employment. Hell, just a few years ago I was laid off right around now so I’m thankful to be employed at all! But I’m even more thankful to be where I am.
  • I live in a great city full of interesting, new and exciting things to do. And I even go out and do some of them! Chicago allows me to flourish in my geeky ways and places like The Field Museum only contribute to that. I’m grateful to live in a place that allows me to do so many different things and love so many different kinds of people.
  • I’m healthy and most of my loved ones are fairly healthy as well. Yes, I lost my grandfather this year but it was one of those deaths that was bittersweet…I miss him every day but know he’s better off and I’m thankful for the all the time we shared. Most everyone else I truly care about are in decent health as well and I can only hope that continues to hold true.

I have many other things I can be thankful for but having my loved ones in my life, a decent job and a roof over my head are all that really matters so I’m going to end there. And no matter what the upcoming year brings, I have a few things that will always make me smile!

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