Not in Kansas Anymore

May 25, 2011 at 11:29 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes have been wreaking havoc all over the Midwest this week and my thoughts are especially with those in Joplin, MO.  122 people have been confirmed dead and it was the deadliest tornado to hit anywhere since the National Weather Service began tracking keeping records in 1950.  200 mph winds – seriously.  I absolutely cannot imagine going through such a devastating event and I can only hope that those affected are able to find some peace soon.

Be Safe!

While Joplin has definitely been hit the hardest, this Spring has seen record-breaking tornado occurrences in multiple states.  The Tuscaloosa tornado isn’t all that far behind us and I saw some photos this week from my college town in Indiana that showed trees going through apartment buildings – and that was during a storm, no tornado in sight.  Thankfully everyone there is okay but it makes you realize that Mother Nature doesn’t play around.  We in Chicago battled winds and rain on our morning commute today and sitting 51 floors off the ground gave me an entirely new perspective on a major thunderstorm.  Things here have calmed down for the moment but they’re supposed to get nasty again right around 5pm, just in time for my trip home.  Most if Indiana is under a tornado watch for the day and I hope all of you, wherever are you are, manage to stay safe.  While weathermen (and women) may not always be right, in cases like these it’s best to be safe rather than sorry.  I know my mom has her emergency bag stashed in the basement should she need it and I suggest that you put one together just in case.  Clothes, medicines, communication devices, a flashlight, a bit of food, bottled water and of course a bottle of wine are all things that can help get you through the storm.  So be careful everyone, because even Dorothy would be a little freaked by this weather.

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April 28, 2011 at 11:57 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

I’ve had/have a lot going on this week, what with a long weekend at home and late return Monday, field trip for class on Tuesday, a volunteer appreciation party at the Field Museum last night (to be blogged about at a later date), picking up my keys to my new place tonight and my big move tomorrow.  Oh and of course my extensive coverage of the Royal Wedding (not).  I’ve been so busy that I, like many, have been completely wrapped up in my own little world.  Which was why the news of the devastation that tornadoes just caused down south really gave me pause.  As I type this, almost 200 people are confirmed dead from a twister that spanned over a mile and was on the ground for over an hour.  Listening to NPR this morning, I heard a local weatherman in Tuscaloosa incredulously talking about just how big a storm this was and I actually got goosebumps.  One of my all-time favorite people ever lives in Tuscaloosa and while she’s safe and sound, all of these stories really put everything I’ve got going on in perspective.

And I’ve got it pretty good.

My thoughts will be with those who are sifting through the ruins of their homes and neighborhoods and I am reminded now more than ever how lucky I am to be moving into a new, safe place.  Remember to be thankful for what you’ve got, because it could all be gone in the blink of an eye.  Just ask the people of Alabama.

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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, it looks like we have a deal.

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Clouded Vision

December 22, 2010 at 1:46 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

I just want to say how utterly surreal it is to work on the 51st floor of a building on a very cloudy day.

That was yesterday.  The sky was low here in Chicago and when I walked into the office it felt like someone had thrown a sheet over all of the windows.  Where I’m used to seeing a view of buildings and water for miles and miles all I could

It was almost like working in a cloud

actually see was a bunch of cloud.  This was my first time working in the new office on such a blustery day and while it was sort of cozy in a we’re-the-last-ones-on-the-face-of-the-earth feeling, I must say I prefer the view.  It was weird knowing that just beyond my field of vision lay dozens (hundreds?) of huge, ominous buildings.  I thought about how pilots deal with zero visibility all the time and it freaked me out, mostly because I kept envisioning things lunging at me through the haze and I was just standing in the lobby (the Stephen King book I’m reading may or may not have helped with this).

I suppose it’s fitting that the weather was what it was, as yesterday was also the beginning of winter solstice.  As if Mother Nature needed to remind me that it’s winter.  But at least the days become shorter from here on out!

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Pumpkin Lovin’

October 6, 2010 at 11:20 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Look what I found!

In walking around this week, I stumbled upon a scene that reminded me of my home sweet home.  Living in the city, I take many things for granted…easy public transportation, the fact that there’s a lot to do at any given time and ample vegetarian friendly restaurants, just to name a few.  There are a few things that I miss about more rural living though…seeing lots of stars at night and hearing animals instead of traffic are among them.  One thing that I didn’t even realize I missed is the abundance of pumpkin patches in the fall.  I grew up not too far from a family farm turned restaurant/winery/pumpkin and apple orchard, and I have many great memories of picking gourds there.  Sadly, there aren’t many places in the city (other than grocery stores) that will allow you to grab a pumpkin.  But I found one!

The above photo was taken a mere few blocks from my apartment.  I was walking home the other night and was drawn to the soft warm glow of artificial light.  My excitement grew as my eyes took in the sight and I instantly felt ten years younger when I realized I could walk through this makeshift pumpkin patch and pick out my own.  There’s even a trailer in the background, to fully complete my Indiana visual.  Sadly, I didn’t have any cash on my that night but I have plans to go back later this week and nab one for carving purposes.  I’ve only ever carved a pumpkin once in my life but all that will change in the next week.  In fact, I didn’t ever carve a pumpkin until I was well into college – we always painted them growing up.  That’s probably because my mom never trusted me with a knife and to be honest I don’t blame her.  I’m not even sure I trust myself, but I’ll sure give it another stab (hahaha I am so punny).  And yes, I will probably blog my finished product.

These are not my feet

I happen to really enjoy the fall and it seems like we’ll actually get one in Chicago this year.  I love the smell of it, which is something I can’t really describe.  Hearing leaves crunch underfoot is nice even if it means walking on the dead carcasses of tree parts, and I like wearing the jackets and scarves I haven’t worn in a while.  This does NOT mean I’m ready for heavy winter coat and boot weather, so hopefully it’ll stay fall-like as long as weatherly possible.  I also like to start baking again, which my air-condition-less, sweltering apartment prohibits me from doing in the summer.  Pecan pies are wonderful even if they are caloric death traps and I might get domestic enough to try to create a pumpkin pie this year as well.  More than anything though, I’m excited to attack a pumpkin with a blade and see what I can come up with!

I’ll just make sure I don’t do it alone, in case I sever something important and need to be escorted to the hospital.  That’s what friends are for, right?

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