March 18, 2013 at 11:05 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

My capacity for an entertaining and witty blog post isn’t what it normally is today because frankly, I’m exhausted.  My weekend was pretty great but it was also very busy.  I met up with my mom, sister and her friend’s on Friday evening after work and we spent some time at their hotel before getting them tickets to the IU game on Saturday, then we came back up to my neighborhood and had dinner and drinks at a bar until almost midnight.  I was up and out the door by 7:45 Saturday morning and battled trains full of drunken St. Patrick’s Day revelers before having to wade through hundreds of people doing some 7k (10k? 5k? Whatever, they were in my way) race on my walk to the Field Museum.  Once there, I attended a 5 hour lecture on the newest exhibit (I’ll get to that later this week), then I met Scott at Trader Joe’s on my way home so we could do our grocery shopping.  After a quick shower at home I turned around and went back downtown, where I ran around with the girls until we met up with Scott for dinner.  After finally finding a place that didn’t have a two-hour wait, we ate then headed to an Irish bar off Michigan Ave.  We stayed there for a while and it was almost 1am by the time we got home.  I was able to sleep in some yesterday then forced myself to go to the gym before meeting with everyone back downtown once more for more beer and food.  After eventually indulging in some Chicago deep-dish pizza, I made my way home and walked in the door around 10pm.  And now I’m at work, guzzling coffee and in need of a nap.  We all had a great time all weekend long but I’m sort of kicking myself for not using a personal day and sleeping until 2pm today.

Ballsy, that’s for sure!

So instead of writing about anything else, I’ll provide you with this link to an interesting story involving a jail break, a helicopter and Canadians.  Enjoy!


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Trip Booked!

March 15, 2013 at 10:56 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Oh, what a difference two weeks makes!

I’m in a much better mood than I was this time two weeks ago, due largely in part to the fact that Scott and I have booked our next big trip!  We’ll be spending a week in Costa Rica in July and we are VERY excited.  We looked at tours like we did with Ecuador but the only one that looked even halfway affordable (read: it was going to leave me fairly strapped but I was willing to go for it) was to Thailand, which of course looked awesome.  However the affordable time was during their monsoon season and the more we thought about it, the more reasons we found to go elsewhere.  Because while wading knee-deep in flooded streets sounds adventurous, hanging out a beach sounds a little bit better.  In the end I found cheaper flights and lodging on the west coast of CR, so that’s what we went for.  The B&B we’re staying at is the best-ranked in the area and looks like something straight out of a movie.  There’s a lot to do in town too as there are many adventure groups that will help people explore the area.  Also, I think we may do a day trip to Nicaragua to check out a few cities and climb a volcano!

What awaits!

As you can see, we’ve spent a little bit of time so far researching all there is to do out there.

This trip makes facing the next however many days of gray, chilly weather just a little more tolerable.  Also making things tolerable: the fact that it’s Friday, the fact that my mom, sister and two of her friends are on their way up to the city for the weekend, the fact that I get to learn about the awesome Caves of Lascaux tomorrow at the Field Museum and the fact that my boss won’t be in on Monday.  Oh, and the chance to watch IU in the Big Ten this weekend.  Smiles all around!

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At Long Last

September 21, 2012 at 12:47 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Friday has arrived!

My neck feels better (somewhat…still not 100% but I’ll take the current 83%), I’ve remembered my wallet for the past two days and most important, my uncle is feeling better and will hopefully be able to leave the hospital sometime in the near future.  So thanks for all the good wishes, as I fully believe they worked!  I also had a fun book club last night with my literate lady friends (recap to follow next week) and I got a free doughnut this morning in the lobby of our building (people were giving them out as a promotion, it’s not like I found it behind a plant) so things are looking up.  Add to that the fact that my favorite season officially starts tomorrow and I have a laid-back weekend on the horizon…well, not even a crappy work day can bring me down now.  Take that, stupid Excel sheet with 14,000 cells for me to review!  And the cherry on the no-longer shit cake?

He has had my heart since Angels in the Outfield

Joseph Gordon Levitt, the only man Scott knows I could possibly one day leave him for, is hosting SNL this week!  Consider my Saturday night plans set in stone.

C’mon, 5pm!


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Finally Friday

August 17, 2012 at 12:24 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Have you ever noticed that it sometimes seems the week drags even longer when you start on Tuesday?  Yeah, I’m experiencing that.  Here’s the top three things on my mind on this beautiful Friday:

  • Kayaking.  I’m taking my first ever kayaking trip through a Groupon coupon Scott and I purchased a while ago.  We’re doing a sunset tour on the Chicago River and I’ve got my swimsuit packed and ready to go.  I’m only a little nervous that my perpetual clumsiness will come around once again to bite me in the ass, as only time will tell if I’m any good with an oar.  Do they use oars?  Maybe I should do some research…thankfully, if nothing else, the weather will be perfect.  75 and sunny with a 0% chance of rain?  You bet I’ll take it!

Well if they can do it, so can I

  • Brains.  I came across this article today, which basically talks about how a prehistoric human brain from a man who died over 2,500 years ago was recently found almost perfectly preserved in a bog in the U.K.  No, I don’t mean his skull, I mean the fleshy bits and pieces that usually turn into slime shortly after death.  It seems that this man was hanged then decapitated (it was a hard knock life in the Iron Age), after which his head wound up in a bog that helped keep the brain intact for all these years.  So yes, braaaaaiiiiins are definitely on my mind.
  • Also – Ecuador!  In exactly two weeks, I will be en route to South America, where I’ll be spending 8 days and seven nights exploring what a whole new (to me) country has to offer.  Woohoo vacation!

But first…woohoo weekend!  Let’s just hope I don’t whack Scott in the head with an oar paddle oar.  I guess I really should do some research.

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Take Me Out to the Ballgame

August 14, 2012 at 11:15 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

What a weekend!  I actually took Monday off to recuperate.  My little sister and mom came in town (late) Thursday night and we spent the next few days enjoying all that Chicago has to offer.  On Friday we met up after work and went to Millennium Park, where we met with Scott and another friend of mine and enjoyed food and beer while listening to classical music.  We had amazing weather all weekend, starting with that night, and it was a great way to end a crappy work week.

Might not have been behind the dugout but these seats were fine with us!

On Saturday we had brunch at one of my favorite spots in the city and then headed to Wrigleyville to watch the Reds beat the Cubs.  I’m not a huge fan either way but I do enjoy watching live sports and I’d only been to Wrigley Field once before so it was a lot of fun.  There were three of us wearing Cubs shirts and my mom stuck out with her Reds one but we were all pretty much just rooting for everyone.  We had a hat full of nachos that was so humongous that the guy in front of us asked for a photo and then we were pretty much kicked out of the park at the end because we were having such a ball that we didn’t want to leave.  But leave we did, and wandered to a bar for some more brews and of course, more snacks.  Saturday evening ended with a nice walk through my neighborhood, getting locked out of my apartment twice (more on that later this week) and watching a movie before bedtime.

Since Mom and Sis left on Monday, we had all of Sunday to enjoy as well.  We had yet another delicious brunch and then went to the beach so we could all have our food comas while enjoying the cloudy but still decent weather.  My sister hadn’t been to the beaches up here before so I’m glad we got to go and I’m also glad it wasn’t 100 degrees and extremely sunny.  After the beach we went to Retro on Roscoe, a street fest in nearby Roscoe Village.  My sister and I bought a couple of items and were finally able to exchange birthday presents (mine is in February and hers in May) so now we don’t owe each other a damn thing.  I gave her a nice drawing of Chicago to frame and hang in her living room and she bought me this super awesome, classy looking pocket-watch/necklace.  I’ve kind of always wanted a pocket watch so when I saw this one (yes, it works!), things all came together.  And now neither of us owes the other a gift until Christmas!  After the street fest we met with a girlfriend of mine for one last beer out on the town and then ended the night with a chick flick.

They left yesterday around noon and after picking up my apartment for a bit, I spent the rest of my day off on the couch.  It was much needed.  Actually, I also spent a little bit of time at the gym because after all the food and beer, that was much needed too.  It’s not easy coming back to work after a long weekend and a long weekend full of my favorite people and favorite places makes it even harder.  I’m just thankful it was all as fun as we hoped it would be and I’m already looking forward to their next visit!  That and of course the fact that I’ll be in Ecuador in three weeks!!

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Home Sweet Home

July 30, 2012 at 12:36 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I made a quick appearance in my hometown this weekend, mostly to visit with some family who have been having some health issues.  The trip didn’t get off to the start I had anticipated but I made it down safely and was able to spend lots of quality time with my mom, sister, grandparents, cousins, aunt and uncles.  I also managed to get a hair cut (but not too short…though I came close to chopping it all off), play Don’t Break the Ice and tag with three kids under 7 and stay up until almost 4am drinking beer with my mom, so I’d say the trip was a success.  It’s always hard to come home though and this is one of the reasons why:

The view from the porch

What you can’t see is the little pond on the ground in the midst of all of these flowers, nor can you hear what I heard – silence, other than some bugs and the gurgling of the water.  Can you blame me for not wanting to come back?  As much as I love the city and all it has to offer, the country girl in me needs the time at Mom’s to recharge.  My weekend home was much too short, as always, but it did a body good!

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Wide World of Weekends

June 4, 2012 at 2:35 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

This was the first weekend in the last few that I wasn’t traveling, so I was really looking forward to hanging around the apartment and enjoying the summer that this city has to offer.  I was not disappointed.  Friday evening found Scott and I at Ericks Tacos, a BYOB Mexican place conveniently located both near our apartment and a liquor store.  A friend of mine and her fiancée met us there as they just got the keys to their brand new condo, which they recently bought (man my friends are so grown up).  Their new place is just  few blocks from our own and we got the grand tour after stuffing ourselves with burritos and guacamole.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little jealous of their two rooms, various closets, working fireplace and huge back porch but I know I’ll be over there hanging out often enough that I’ll be able to take advantage of it too (well, maybe not their closets).  Next year Scott and I will probably move to something a little more spacious but until then a girl can dream, right?

I got to sleep in on Saturday and then headed to the Field Museum, where I had training for the newest exhibit entitled Extreme Mammals.  It was really interesting and if you’re lucky, I’ll talk a bit more about it later this week.  It was a gorgeous day and as I walked into the museum I passed a cluster of tents in nearby Grant Park, but I didn’t really know what was going on.  There are festivals and such down there all the time so I figured I could check it out after my stint in the museum, but everything was taken down by the time I left.  I later found out that the first annual Veggie Pride Parade was taking place and of course I kicked myself for missing such a vegetarian-centered event.  I really don’t know what it even consisted of but I imagine there was lots of vegetarian friendly food, clothing and such and I’ll be damned if I miss it again next year.  Perhaps one day I can win Ms. Veggie Head, or something like that.

After my training, Scott and I headed to a nearby neighborhood where the annual Mayfest was taking place.  Mayfest is a huge German celebration featuring live music, food and lots and lots of beer (seriously – I think the stat I heard was that they floated a keg every 10 minutes or so).  I went a couple of years ago with some friends and had a blast but I don’t remember it being so godforsaken crowded.  Perhaps I’m becoming more anti-social in my old age?  I don’t know about that but I do know that there was barely room to breathe and I got very close to having a big problem with a super tall dude who didn’t seem to realize that his elbow was in my face while we were waiting to get more beer.  He’s lucky I’m swift and was able to duck and dodge appropriately.  I had a stein and a half full of some beer I can’t pronounce and it was delicious, as were the pretzels and slice of cake I also indulged in.  We were going to try to see a midnight showing of The Ghostbusters at The Music Box Theater but after the booze and food, I was ready for my couch once again.

Mmm beer…

Sunday I got to sleep in some more (and for someone who hasn’t managed this in what feels like an eternity, it was very much appreciated) then we decided to hit the beach, as the weather was warm and sunny once again.  This was my first trek to the beach so far this year and we were not the only ones out there taking advantage of the nice day.  People were having picnics as kids ran in the water but Scott and I simply enjoyed the sunshine on a blanket with our books.  Then, after saving some plastic bags for a dire fate in Lake Michigan and breaking up a fight over parking in the lot, we went to what could now be my new favorite place to grab a bite to eat – Vegetarian Express.

Yup, this is where I learned of the wonderous Veggie Pride Parade.  This place serves up salads, sandwiches, soups, panini’s, juices and shakes and it’s basically a vegetarian’s dream come true.  I had a soy bacon/cheese/tomato panini and Scott had a seitan roasted sandwich, both of which were delicious.  Seriously, I think even regular meat-eaters would approve.  This was all served with fresh sweet potato fries and we also ordered some homemade guacamole after seeing it being devoured at the tables next to us.  We ate all this around 3pm and I didn’t really eat dinner because I was still so darn stuffed.  The only downside to this place is that they don’t deliver right to my front door.

All in all, this weekend was one that helped me fall in love with Chicago all over again.  It also got me more than ready for an entire summer full of beach days and street fests, not to mention good eats and of course, cold beer.  This is the stuff that helps me get through the winter and I’m going to enjoy it for as long as I can!

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Road Trip!

February 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

It’s that time of the year again.  The time that I travel down to my hometown to celebrate my birthday (along with that of about a dozen family members) at the legendary Beef O’Brady’s.  This will be the third year in a row we’ve had this party and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t pretty excited.  I haven’t been home since Christmas and while it hasn’t been that long ago, I’m ready for a visit.  I’ll be hanging with family and seeing some friends (while also checking out the new home one of them just purchased – god, I’m getting old) and I’ll also get to meet my sister’s boyfriend, which I’m REALLY looking forward to.  Given that she hasn’t had one since the sixth grade and has spent the last dozen or so years giving grief to every partner I’ve ever brought around, I figure it’s time for some payback.  Surely he needs to know about how she used to carry worms around in her purse and once brought a jar with a slug that had given birth in it to show off to the whole school for Show and Tell – right? Right.

I’m also more than ready for the Mental Health Day I have scheduled for Monday – a day that will be full of sleeping in, going out for brunch and hanging out with my awesome self while everyone else I know is at work.  Score!

In honor of my three-day weekend and the good mood I seem to find myself in, here’s a picture of a silly, cute looking dog:


Happy Weekend!

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All Shook Up

August 26, 2011 at 9:23 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

Mother Nature’s been pitching a fit as of late, what with the hurricanes and earthquakes popping up all over the place.  I know quite a few people in the path of Irene and I’m just hoping everyone can stay out of harm’s way.

The earthquake that shook the East Coast this week was especially strange and even the Washington Monument is cracking up.  I’m curious if the politicians on Capitol Hill see this as ominous but chances are they’ve all got their heads so far up their butts that they can’t even see the light of day.  Anyway, politicians aren’t the only animals that were around to feel the force of the ground tremors and after I came across this article about how some of the inhabitants of the Smithsonian National Zoo reacted to the quake, I thought it was super interesting and wanted to share:

National Zoo Animals React to the Earthquake

The vibrations from yesterday’s 5.8 earthquake were keenly felt at the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park; all animals, staff and visitors were safe and no injuries were reported. Zoo buildings were closed to the public and checked by safety personnel for structural damage. Zoo gates were closed to incoming visitors but exits were open for guests to leave at their leisure. The Zoo reopened this morning on time.

Animal care staff recognized changes in animal behavior.

This guy's ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at him

Great Apes

  • The earthquake hit the Great Ape House and Think Tank Exhibit during afternoon feeding time.
  • About five to ten seconds before the quake, many of the apes, including Kyle (an orangutan) and Kojo (a Western lowland gorilla), abandoned their food and climbed to the top of the tree-like structure in the exhibit.
  • About three seconds before the quake, Mandara (a gorilla) let out a shriek and collected her baby, Kibibi, and moved to the top of the tree structure as well.
  • Iris (an orangutan) began “belch vocalizing”—an unhappy/upset noise normally reserved for extreme irritation—before the quake and continued this vocalization following the quake.

Small Mammals

  • The red ruffed lemurs sounded an alarm call about 15 minutes before the quake and then again just after it occurred.
  • The howler monkeys sounded an alarm call just after the earthquake.
  • The black-and-rufous giant elephant shrew hid in his habitat and refused to come out for afternoon feeding.

Reptile Discovery Center

  • All the snakes began writhing during the quake (copperheads, cotton mouth, false water cobra, etc.). Normally, they remain inactive during the day.
  • Murphy, the Zoo’s Komodo dragon, sought shelter inside.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Animals constantly surprise me and I’ll be keeping an eye on Catsby to see if she notices any soon-to-be-disturbances in the air.  For instance, last night she alerted me to a bug in my living room and I was able to get away and go hide under the covers in my bed.  I have to tell myself she killed it viciously to protect my honor sometime during the night.

Hope your weekend is safe, dry and relatively free of unexpected ground shaking or surprise bug attacks!

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Loooong Weekend

April 26, 2011 at 11:20 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

I returned late last night from my long Easter weekend home.  The trip started off per usual, with the Megabus leaving late and me hunkering down in my seat with my laptop.  Six episodes of How I Met Your Mother later, we arrived in downtown Indianapolis. As the bus pulled in, so did the thunderstorms.  We got about halfway home before the lightning got really crazy so we decided to call my aunt and uncle to get a weather update, as they happened to live close to where we were.  They said that if we drove straight through and didn’t make any stops, we would likely beat the worst of the storm.

Literally 30 seconds after I hung up the phone, we got a flat tire.

At this point, we were inching towards a tornado warning.  Mom managed to drive her car under the closest overpass so we were out of the rain and luckily the flat was on the passenger side, so we were out of the traffic.  Now, this pains my independent Girl Power self to admit , but I’ve never changed a tire all by myself.  This was something a certain father of mine was supposed to teach me but he moved down south and that never happened.  So…we called my uncle back.  After incredulously asking how we managed to get a flat one minute after hanging up the phone, he agreed to come to our rescue.  So I yanked all of the stuff in the trunk (and it was full) out and put in the backseat, then grabbed a flashlight and took a leak behind some concrete pillars (sidenote: I was convinced I was going to stumble across a dead body but I managed to avoid that).  Then Mom and I sat in the car, strapped in by our belts as semi’s sped by doing 90mph.  The lightning wasn’t exactly comforting and the storm was getting closer so we were lucky my uncle showed up when he did.  I helped him with the tire and it made me feel slightly better when he strained against the lug nuts, because if he had a hard time then I probably couldn’t have gotten them off on my own, Girl Power or not.  We got the donut on right as the rain began to come down in sheets and since we didn’t feel safe trying to drive on home, we followed him back to his house.  After being rerouted 2 times due to flooded out roads, we managed to get to my aunt and uncle’s.  At this point it was like 12:30am and we decided to try to wait out the storm.  Around 3:30 we finally gave up, since the tornado warning was showing no signs of abating.  So a few beers, handful of Oreo’s and snippets of Michael Jackson’s This is It later, I finally crashed on their couch, only to wake up 4 hours later to drive on home and take Mom’s car to the shop.

No Peeing?

So, that was fun.  Everything happened in the best possible way though and we eventually got home safely, which is all that really matters.  And I bought my uncle a rather large beer later in the weekend, which was the absolute least I could do.

Here’s a few other things I did over the course of my 4 days at home:

  • Breakfasted with two old high school friends
  • Had awkward catch-up conversations with a former Dairy Queen co-worker and my 4th grade teacher, at the same restaurant
  • Got a haircut (first in almost 7 months – I’m surprised she didn’t just take a match to my locks)
  • Spent the remainder of a gift card at Kohl’s
  • Dyed 4 dozen eggs and stuffed 2 dozen plastic eggs with candy for my grandmother
  • Took both grandparents out to lunch (in a monsoon)
  • Went to Easter Mass, officially the longest mass known to woman
  • Laughed at my mom after she locked her keys in her car (this was not her weekend when it came to automobiles)
  • Went to dinner with 6 various family members
  • Drank wine and gabbed with my sister and mom until 1am

Oh wait, that was just on Saturday while I was running on low levels of sleep/patience.

The rest of the weekend was full of eating, talking and generally enjoying the company of the roughly 30 relatives that crammed into my grandparents house on Sunday.  I hid some Easter eggs outside in the mud and then helped small children find them in the rain.  The weather I could’ve done without but other than that the weekend that started off on such a rough foot wound up being pretty great.

Though if I never pee under an overpass again, it will be too soon.

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