Walk This Way

August 7, 2013 at 11:16 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Apologies for the sparseness of my blog posts recently…I’ve just been busy.  There’s no other excuse.  I did manage to get my trip pictures on my laptop so that’s a big step in writing a wrap up post, but it’s just the first step.  It’ll happen eventually, I promise!

One thing that kept me busy all this last weekend was the fact that my father came in town.  He’s only been in Chicago twice before (and once doesn’t count because he left like 8 hrs after he got here) and this was the first time he got to see the new (to him, I’ve been there 3 years) neighborhood Scott and I live in and our apartment.  He also go to meet the Dude for the first time and since he’s not too fond of cats, that was fun.  Anyway, he came in town Friday and left Monday morning.  I picked him up from and dropped him off at the airport and even made friends with an 81-year-old immigrant who was waiting on his grandkids to arrive while I was waiting on Dad.  He told me I was beautiful and I should hurry up and give my parents grandkids of their own.  Thanks, old guy, because it’s not like I don’t get enough of that from my family already.  Anyway, Dad and I had a good visit and I showed him around my office and The Field Museum, plus we took him to the beach, the park and quiet a few restaurants as well.  I planned things as I normally do when visitors arrive but there’s something I often forget to take into consideration – and that’s that not everyone is used to walking as much as I am.  I kind of wore my dad out without really even trying and the poor guy took more naps over the weekend than I have over the last few months.

Southern-styled deliciousness!

For example, the day I took him to my office we walked to the train (15 minutes, since we walked slower than I normally do) and then navigated the two elevators and escalator to get up to my floor.  After that we walked to the train stop by the library (10 minutes) and then we walked home from the train after that (15 minutes).  We were going to walk to dinner that night (25 minutes each way) but dad was simply not having it.  Which was okay actually because that actually is a lot of walking.  But instead of walking to the trains and the museum the next day, I just drove us and used my special super awesome Field badge to get into the parking lot.  I was worried Lollapalooza was going to cause downtown driving nightmares but we managed to get around relatively unscathed.

One of the places Scott and I took Dad was the Wishbone restaurant.  And it was amazing – as in, I’m kind of ashamed I’ve walked by it so often without ever really going there before.  I think I went in one night after a street fest when we got caught in the rain but all I remember eating were the hush puppies, which were admittedly great.  Anyway, I may do a review of that place on its own sometime.  If not, take my word for it that it was awesome.

It was a good visit with Dad and he was here on his actual birthday, so we got to celebrate together.  It was also my actual half-birthday, but I’m trying not to think about how close to 30 I’m really getting.  But as long as I’m able to continue to walk around Chicago as much as I do now, I guess I’ll be okay!

 

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Dad’s Day

June 18, 2013 at 11:35 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I realize that I’m a few days late but better late than never, right?

Sunday was Father’s Day and I celebrated all the men in my life who helped make me who I am today.  My grandfathers, uncles and of course my own dad all taught me things that helped shape my personality and provided me with lessons I’ll never forget.  My dad was a stay at home dad back when that wasn’t exactly a common thing and I have memories of him picking my sister and I up from elementary school and taking us for ice cream on our way home in the afternoons.  My dad treated us like little kids instead of dainty, delicate little girls and I think that’s where my sister and I get some of our innate toughness.  We had a tire swing, sandbox and tree house and we’d spend evenings playing catch with Dad in the front yard.  He taught me how to drive and almost had a heart attack when he asked how fast I’d gotten my car up to (he shouldn’t have asked if he didn’t want to know!).  He also managed not to murder me or my first boyfriend when he caught us home alone in high school.  We lived near some woods so the lack of homicide showed great restraint on his part.

As I’ve gotten older, my dad and I have clashed on a few major things.  There have been some situations that he could have and should have handled better and he’s been dishonest about some stuff that I’ll probably never forget.  Despite these issues, I know he loves me and I know he’s proud of me.  I also know that there are many men out there who are a father in name only and who never attempted to give their kids the life that my dad helped to give me.  I know that I’m really lucky and even though we still don’t always see eye to eye, I love my dad.  I wish he was closer and that I could see him more than once or twice a year but he’s making a trip up here in August so I’ve got that to look forward to.

Gotta love the 80's

Gotta love the 80’s

This picture is from when I was roughly 3 weeks old.  Please ignore the great role model he’s being by essentially hold me up to his cigarette pack.  Also, please don’t ignore his head of 80’s hair, because it’s too fabulous to forget.

Thanks for everything Dad.  Here’s hoping we can celebrate many more Father’s Day’s in the future.

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Thanks, Dad

June 21, 2011 at 11:22 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

My relationship with my father has seen its fair share of ups and downs but he’s the only one I’ve got and of course I’ll always love him (even when I want to strangle him).  He’s still dealing with some health stuff and will begin chemotherapy treatment in the next few weeks, so I’ve been talking to him pretty regularly to stay in the loop.  With Father’s Day being last weekend, I spent a bit of time thinking about good ‘ole Dad and I thought it might be appropriate to highlight some instances from my childhood that will tell you what kind of father I grew up with:

  • Ways he used to wake my sister and I up for school: squirt bottle full of ice water to the face or feet, ice cubes on our back, hands on our neck after he’d been outside on cold winter mornings and by telling us that we had a snow day and could go back to sleep, only to laugh and say he was kidding and it was time to get up.
  • He would hook up the wooden sled our grandpa made to the back of his truck and drive us around the front yard – in the middle of summer.
  • He had a recording on our answering machine when I was 13 that threatened any boy who called for my sister or I with bodily harm.  Actually, I think his exact words were “I’ll hunt you down and kill you”.  Local radio stations actually called to hear it before my mom made him take it down.
  • He (with the help of many friends) built us a two-story playhouse, tree house complete with rope ladder (that had to be taken down after my sister fell and broke her arm…thanks, sis), a sandbox, a mini basketball court and a tire swing.  Our backyard was and still is awesome.
  • He used to tell me that my ice cream smelled funny.  When I bent to sniff it, he’d push it into my nose.  In my defense, he only got me twice.
  • When I came out as bisexual to him, he told me that for my entire life he’d been telling me that men were dogs and if he were a woman he’d be a lesbian so he couldn’t judge me.
  • He taught me to drive, hit a golf ball and throw a soft ball.  He drove me to practices and games and chaperoned my 6th grade class trip to the Space Camp in Huntsville, AL, where he asked a group of my classmates why they were surprised that the prepackaged astronaut food tasted like shit.  He took me to my first drive-in movie (Free Willy) and on my first trip to New Orleans.  He helped me spray paint a cardboard box black so I could dress as a TV one year for Halloween and the outline is still in my mom’s garage because he didn’t think to take us out to the grass (ironically, my sister pulled a similar stunt with her coffee table and the sidewalk at her old apartment).  My dad helped me choose every one of my cars and was always there for me when I called him freaking out because one of them did something I didn’t understand.  He taught me the importance of keeping my cars cleaned and well-cared for, which translated into having pride in the things I’ve earned.
  • He always told me I could do anything I wanted and be anything I wanted to be.  In spite of my boat-sized feet.

My dad helped give me a great childhood and I know that he’s always there for me, no matter what else may be going on.  I love him, I miss him and I hope he had a great Father’s Day.  And maybe one day I’ll manage to convince him to smell his own ice cream.

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Long Weekend, Long Post

June 7, 2011 at 12:01 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

My trip last weekend went pretty well, though as always it was a little too short.  Because I’m in yet another list-making mood, here’s a little recap of the highlights:

  • Having an elderly man on the train ride to the airport thank me profusely for my “pretty, pretty smile”.  I wasn’t sure whether I should be flattered or creeped out so I settled on a little bit of both.  At least he didn’t follow me to my plane.
  • Airport beer.  ‘Nuff said.
  • I had a stopover in my hometown so I waved a little, then had some girl who freaks out on plane rides sit next to me.  In

    The special I spent half my life watching

    related news, I realized how thankful I am that planes don’t really bother me too much.

  • The woman at the Hertz rental counter in the New Orleans airport took one look at my last name and launched into a long discussion about how one of her daughters married into our family a while ago, and did I know so-and-so, whose father was the brother of some guy named Mark.  It made me laugh, since up north no one can pronounce my last name but down south it’s common enough where everyone can make a connection.  Unfortunately, I didn’t know Mark.
  • I took a ride to the Morganza Spillway, which is the huge spillway making recent news as they had to open it for the first time since 1973 because the Mississippi had flooded so badly.  I’ve been out here before because my family used to own some of the land before the government turned it into the spillway but I’d never seen it look like that.  Water was everywhere.  The Mississippi is one helluva thing to mess with.
  • I had a pedicure.  With my father.  And it was his idea.  Apparently he’s still way too sore to reach down to trim his own nails (and while I’ll do anything for daughterly love, I won’t do that) so when my grandma came back from her weekly toe appointment, he suggested we go next.  Daddy/daughter pedicures ensued and I have photo evidence should I ever have the need to blackmail him.
  • During the pedicure, a huge storm came out of nowhere.  Now the “salon” we were in, Nail Biz, was actually a small concrete room and we were the only clients so it was a little weird when the power kept going out.  We were glad to be out of there, especially after lightning struck a transformer next door.  The ride back was a little scary since I’m not exactly used to driving in bad weather (and dad’s not up do sitting behind the wheel quite yet) and at one point we had to turn around because a tree was in the road.
  • Due to this storm, I spent the majority of Sunday picking up massive branches and sticks in the yard, righting a few chairs and swings and cleaning all kinds of debris from the pool.  In 90+ degree weather.
  • I didn’t mind the hot weather because I’ve been cold for roughly the last 8 months in Chicago.
  • I got bit by some ungodly looking creature with wings, pinchers, horns, fangs and an evil force field.  Or something like that.  Whatever it was, it left a nasty whelp featuring three weird punctures before it was through with my apparently delicious flesh.
  • I had a mimosa with my grandma, which was the first time we’ve ordered drinks together.  Yay milestones.
  • I watched a 5 hour Lawrence Welk marathon Saturday evening.
  • I read two books, watched 4 movies, caught up on my favorite TV show on Hulu and played a lot on my laptop.  It’s amazing how much time there is to fill when everyone in the house takes 4 naps a day and goes to bed by 9pm.
  • I dealt with another storm on my drive back to New Orleans to catch my flight.  I almost peed myself.  There was hail and lightning and more rain that I’ve seen in years – I actually pulled over in some truck stop to try to wait it out.  Then I became worried about missing my flight so I braved it anyway.  After dealing with a faulty pump at the gas station and an endless line at security, I made it to the gate as they were boarding.  The beer I somehow got for free on the flight calmed me down a bit and the whole ordeal made me even more thankful I’m car-less in the city.
  • Most importantly, I spent some good quality time with both my dad and my grandparents.  I’m not going to lie and say everything was easy – my dad is almost a foot taller than me and currently weights less than I do,  so that alone was difficult to see.  He’s doing well considering everything he’s been through but he’s not taking care of himself the way I would like and some difficult conversations were had.  However, I’m still extremely thankful I was able to go down and I already wish I was back.

Looking over this post, it seems I accomplished quite a lot on what was supposed to be a quiet and laid-back trip.  Though if I don’t see any Lawrence Welk between now and when I come back at Thanksgiving, it won’t break my heart – and hail can stay the hell away too.

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Have Dad, Will Travel

June 2, 2011 at 11:59 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Tomorrow afternoon I’ll be flying down to Louisiana to visit my dad, who’s quite sore but recovering well from his surgery.  I’m pretty pumped to take the trip down south especially since I typically only get to see my dad and grandparents over Thanksgiving.  I’ll be helping around the house, running errands, cleaning the pool and listening to lots and lots of Lawrence Welk.  While it may not be as exciting as some other weekends, I’m really looking forward to the visit and I know I’ll feel a lot better about this business with my dad once I get to see him.

Which I wouldn’t be able to do without my awesome aunt.  She had a few free tickets on Southwest and it’s because of her that my sister and I were able to fly down on such short notice.  She rocks like that.  All that was up to me was renting a car and the day I needed to do that I actually received an email with a 20% discount for Hertz Rent-a-Car if I used my Sears Willis Tower discount card.  Win and win!

LA here I come!

In other, more random news:

  • Illinois civil unions went into effect yesterday and same-sex couples are getting a little closer to equal rights – good news!
  • I realized yesterday that I actually get a summer break in school.  My current class ends next week and the last one doesn’t start until mid-September, so my Tuesday nights will soon be a bit more open.  More good news!
  • An old friend of mine found out that her favorite comic book shop, which also doubles as her place of employment, is soon closings its doors for good.  She found this out the same day she found out The Hulk comics are coming to an end (at least that’s what I think she said – she was a bit of a hot mess when we hung out due to all of this).  She has a Hulk tattoo on one of her biceps (yes, really) and she was heartbroken.  Sad news.
  • I received another issue of that mysterious food and cooking magazine that I previously wrote about.  Still don’t know why and still don’t know how they got my name.  I did, however, notice that this issue had Waiting Room Copy typed above my name and address.  When did my apartment become a doctor’s office?  And when do I get paid rent?  Strange news.
  • I’ve begun playing Words with Friends on my cell phone.  It’s addictive.  I’m also getting my ass kicked left and right, which makes me question the validity of my English degree.  Frustrating news.
  • I slipped in my shower this morning and came dangerously close to knocking myself out cold.  I have a friend who did that earlier this year and she woke up an hour later, bleeding from the head and with the water still running.  This is a now mortal fear of mine.  I’m considering having a Life Alert panic button installed in my bathtub, or at the very least training Catsby in CPR.  Paranoid news.

This all gives me plenty to think about on my upcoming long weekend.  And at least my grandparents have a bathtub specially designed for easy access for older folks so hopefully my next few showers won’t be so scary…

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Good Thoughts Never Hurt

May 16, 2011 at 12:21 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

So please send some in the direction of my dad today.

For a man who made it into his fifties with an appendectomy as his only surgical procedure, he sure has made up for it in the last half decade.  He was involved in a motorcycle accident a few years ago and while his helmet and thick head kept him relatively safe, he still wound up in the hospital with some stitches.  Which wasn’t great timing, as a few months later he donated one of his kidneys to a cousin of mine who had been on dialysis for quite a while.  The doctors managed to botch the operation and while both my cousin and dad wound up fully recovering, it was a more difficult and painful process than it should have been.  Fast forward roughly two years and he’s now having a malignant mass removed from his lung.  His prognosis is good and they caught it early but having a parent undergo surgery to remove cancer is never easy, especially when you’re almost 1,000 miles away.

The upside is all of this finally got my old man to quit smoking, something he’s been attempting for as long as I can remember.  The patch, the gum, cold turkey and hypnosis never worked but he went from smoking a pack and a half a day to down to nothing in the few weeks following his diagnosis.  This is as real a wake up call as you get.  I’m proud of him for quitting and will be even prouder once he, like my mom, finishes kicking cancer’s ass.  I told him I want him around to dance with me if and when I ever get married and since that could very well be decades into the future, he better get healthy now.  So send out some good vibes, say a prayer or do whatever it is you do in situations like this – it’s all much appreciated!

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