March 20, 2012 at 11:21 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

I am sunburned.  Badly.  In Chicago, in March.  What in the what?

Scott and I went to the park this weekend to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather and abundant sunshine but my dumb ass did not think to put on sunscreen.  Apparently the fact that my pasty white skin hasn’t seen the light of day in half a year doesn’t matter much to me and I completely neglected to take the appropriate measures.  I am now paying for it as little bits of skin fall off my body.

Since Google Image searches for sunburns is really scary, here is an illustration of what I felt like until I looked in a mirror

It’s completely my fault and I take full blame.  It was just so nice to sit on a blanket with my book that I fell asleep before I knew it.  I didn’t realize anything was wrong until we were walking home and stepped into the shade – that’s when I looked down and groaned.  You would think that at this age I’d be a little better prepared but noooo, not me.  I tempted the sun and the sun won.  In fact, it completely kicked my ass.  But what about my red-headed boyfriend, who is the fairest of the fair?  He didn’t use sunscreen either and looks perfectly fine, albeit a bit more bronzed.  The rays only had eyes for me, it would seem.

I’ll live and all but I do feel rather stupid.  I guess it’s good to get it out of the way now and not when I’m on vacation in May, right?  Maybe.  I still feel like an idiot and am red in the face (in more ways than one).  So I’ll sit here and simmer while applying yet another round of Aloe.

Welcome to Spring!


And PS – GO IU!!!

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What Winter?

March 8, 2012 at 12:28 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

To live in Chicago is to bitch about the winter but this year has allowed us to all keep our mouths shut.  We’ve had a grand total of maybe 8 inches of snow all season long and the temperatures have been consistently hovering around 30 degrees.  Considering how in years past I’ve spent entire months and never seen double digits (while seeing nothing but mushy, sooty and depressing piles of snow that were too cold to melt), 30 degrees seems downright humid.

Not this year!

It’s been ridiculously warm and while I really want to sit back and enjoy it while I can, it’s tough because I know in the end this probably isn’t a good sign for our Mother Earth.

Regardless, when it got into the mid 60’s yesterday, everyone had a smile on their face.  Granted, there were 40mph winds and that smile might have been forced due to the gales nearly blowing us over but we smiled nonetheless.  The boyfriend and I actually went out to the local pub just because we wanted an excuse for a walk and a chance to get out of the apartment while it was nice enough that we didn’t loathe every moment of being outside.  It seems that spring is in the air but most of us Chicagoans are holding our breaths because we feel like there’s just no way we can get off this easy.  In fact, it hasn’t even felt like winter and I haven’t needed my heavy-duty coat or super thick scarves and gloves once yet.  What’s a girl with all of the necessary accessories needed to survive frigid months to do?  Trust me, I’m not complaining, I’m simply in a state akin to shock.  It will probably snow 4 feet in late April or early May although that won’t stop me from keeping my fingers crossed that this was just a fluke of a season and is no way indicative of climate change.  And it’s easy to keep my hopes up when the ten-day forecast just gets warmer and warmer!  I even saw a guy in shorts over the weekend…though given this city, he could have just been a little deranged.




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May Book Club Review

May 19, 2011 at 10:34 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

I was here

Our book club numbers have sadly been dwindling lately, as it seems everyone has gotten busier than we anticipated.  Last week there were a whopping three of us who showed up for our monthly meeting but in some ways that was kind of nice.  We met at La Creperie and it was my first time visiting the French-styled bistro restaurant.  If you don’t know much about crepes…well, you should.  They’re pretty amazing.  They’re typically made in both sweet and savory varieties, with the sweet being more like a dessert and the savory more like an entrée.  I split the Ratatouille savory crepe with one of the book club ladies and she had the brilliance to add in a bit of goat cheese to the standard zucchini, eggplant, onion, peppers and tomatoes.  It was delicious.  We then split a sweet crepe stuffed with banana and Nutella, which was equally as delicious though in a very different way.  Throw in a warm spring day, large glass of wine, book, good company and the obligatory guy playing an accordion in the courtyard and you’ve got quite the night.

Speaking of books, there was some literary discussion as well.  We read Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.  It’s about twins who

Two thumbs up

are the product of an Indian nun mother and British surgeon father.  They grow up in Ethiopia and the story chronicles their lives from birth (literally) to death.  It was a little longer than what we typically read for book club so I had to up my speed reader skills just a bit, but in the end I was glad I did.  While it was a little difficult to get into immediately, I found myself totally immersed in the story before I knew it.  I laughed, I cried and it was one of those books that I simultaneously didn’t want to end but was in a hurry to finish.  Some of the historical bits were a little confusing though, mostly because my knowledge of the political history of Ethiopia is pretty much nonexistent.  Since the entire novel took place in or around hospitals, there were also more than a few terms and descriptions that were a bit over my head.  All in all though, this is one of those books that I think I’ll be reading again.

Speaking of hospitals, Dad’s still on the mend.  We’re still waiting on all results to come back but my sister will be flying down there today and I’ll be down there in two weeks.  Not exactly the circumstances I’d like for a visit but I’m already ready to go!

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Mother Nature’s Sick Sense of Humor

April 18, 2011 at 12:33 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

My current feeling towards winter

Eight days ago I woke up and put on my sandals for the first time in six months.  I then put on a tank top and shorts and spent roughly 4 hours walking around outside in temperatures well above 80 degrees.  After donning snow boots and heavy coats for months on end, I can only try to describe how glorious it was to enjoy sunshine and warmth.  I knew that such a heated day was an anomaly but I enjoyed it while I could and began to allow myself to think that winter might actually be over.

I then put away my extremely cold weather scarves and hats and I think that’s where I went wrong.  Why?  Because today I woke up and saw snow on the ground.

After spending a bit of time crying, cursing and generally denouncing the distance from the equator in which I find myself living, I rolled out of bed and put on more layers of clothes than I should be wearing this late in April.  I didn’t put on my snow boots out of principle though I did have to dig in my closet for a hat, muttering my hatred for the weather the whole time.  I realize that this sort of thing happens and should honestly be expected at this point but come on.  Enough already.  I surrender.

I’m traveling to southern Indiana this weekend for Easter and I can only hope the weather is a little nicer down there.  However, if it’s too nice there’s a good chance I just won’t come back.  Are you listening, Mother Nature?  I know I can’t be the only one cursing you today.  Though if it helps, I promise to bring back all of my winter gear and leave it out until August, if you just bump up those temps a bit.  If you agree, simply stay under 40 degrees and rain for the rest of the day.

According to Weather.com, it looks like we have a deal.

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April 7, 2011 at 11:40 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

It’s finally here!  Or at least, that’s what I’ve decided.  Here’s why:

And it's about damn time

  • Last night, I saw tulips blooming for the very first time all year
  • This morning, I watched workmen plant greenery along the streets downtown
  • I’ve been sweating in my winter coat and even left it at home most of the week
  • It’s actually still daylight when I leave the office
  • There’s been a lot of rain and a significant absence of snow
  • I’ve heard birds in the morning
  • The heaters at the train stops are shut off until November
  • I haven’t worn a hat in two weeks
  • Allergies are attacking my face

As I become more and more familiar with Chicago weather, I realize that the above list really means nothing.  There’s just as much of a chance that it will hit 80 degrees this weekend as there is that we’ll see snow, so my hopes aren’t up too high.  Still, the 10 day forecast predicts highs in the 50’s and since that is so much better than highs hovering around freezing, I’ll take what I can get.

Bring on the sun, bring on the warmth!

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Spring Has Sprung!

March 11, 2010 at 3:57 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

The last two posts have been work related and that’s just gross, so today I’m writing about a more celebratory topic.  Spring is finally here!

Well, almost.  Right now we’re in that sort of yucky in-between stage that resembles this picture.  The snow is melting and the sun is peeking out on occasion, but we’re not there yet.  However, the temperatures are finally warming up.  I know some of you lovely readers a bit further south experienced highs in the 70’s earlier this week, and for that, I hate you.  It hit 60 here yesterday and I felt like I was in the tropics.  I’m not the only one – you can look around the people of Chicago and see that just about everyone is chomping at the bit to welcome in the next season.  Just how can you tell that Spring is so close?  If you know me, it shouldn’t shock you that I’ve come up with a list.

1.  The layers have lessened.

This is the first week out of the last…oh, say twelve, that I haven’t had to wear thermal underwear, two pairs of socks, a scarf, gloves, hat and heavy winter coat in order to leave my apartment.  I’ve noticed others have held back a bit with the full winter gear as well.  For instance, there’s a guy on my train I see almost every day (he’s not one of my train buddies though).  He always wears a wool hat.  I’ve never actually seen his hair and have pictured it as being blond for about four months (not that I spend an extreme amount of time thinking about this guy’s hair.  Wait, is any bit of time extreme, given I don’t know the fellow?  Oh, nevermind).  Anyway this week he’s been hat-less, and his hair is dark black.  I was slightly surprised.  It’s like I’m seeing entirely different people on the train as the winter duds are left behind.

2.  The joggers are back.

As I walked to the food pantry last night, I was almost ambushed by a slew of people jogging along the sidewalks.  I’d almost forgotten how many people there were in the city who are into that sort of thing.  All winter long it’s only been the hardcore types who have been out (and there haven’t been that many of them).  Well, they’re returning with a vengeance.  I don’t have a problem with joggers and actually admire their will power and endurance, but I will admit that it makes me feel slightly guilty when they run past as I chow down on a burrito.  Oh well, to each their own.

3.  I’m walking more.

I may not be the jogging type (just the thought gives me a stomach cramp) but I do enjoy a nice walk.  I’ve managed to walk home from the train more than a few times this winter but I’ve held off on walking home from the food pantry.  Each trip is about 2 miles but it’s hours later when I get out of the pantry and thus, it’s usually much colder.  Last night, though, I walked home as it was in the fifties.  And it was glorious.  Saturday I managed to walk all the way home from Wrigley Field (it’s really only about 3 miles) but I never would’ve attempted it before this week.

4.  Sunshine!

I’ve only really seen it in the last few weeks but it’s almost impossible to describe how much of a difference it makes.  Waking up while it was pitch black outside, waiting for the train in the dark and having the sun set long before I even got off of work really began to take a toll on my psyche.  I know I’m not alone.  It’s just so much more difficult to get motivated when every hour of daylight is spent behind a desk.  Also, when the sun goes down at 4pm it becomes harder to…well, enjoy life in general.  I’m so glad that the sun is back to rising when I do and sticking around long enough for me to enjoy a bit of it during my commute home.  I actually had the need for sunglasses last week and spent a good deal of time trying to track them down.  It’s not like I’ve had much of a use for them for the last few months.

5.  The Snow is FINALLY Gone

At least, for now.  I know how foolish it would be to assume that it’s gone for good, because the minute I get my hopes up for such a thing is the minute the heavens will open up and drop another foot of the white stuff at my front door.  However, right now, at this exact moment in time, it seems to be over.  Most of the snow covering the grounds and parking lots has melted and many of the large mounds created by plows are withering as well.  That makes everything soggy and damp but I would much rather that than icy and frozen.  And – not to further jinx myself – it would appear that I made it all winter long without slipping and busting my ass.  There’s always time for that to change but I’m quite proud of my record thus far.

All in all, I’m as excited for the weather to warm up as a little kid would be to spend the night alone in a candy shop.  There’s an extra bounce in my step and I danced along the sidewalk on my entire walk home last night.  In fact, I’m already planning the dance party that will take place in my living room tonight – it involves me and my record player, and it will be fantastic.  Bring on the spring, bring on the funk!

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