Friday, August 29, 2008

Something different

So, it was all I had imagined. Really, I watched the television totally caught up in the hype and contually feeling the "Extreme Makeover" effect in its entirety. But you know what? I think it is more than that. I think that this is different. Bigger than emotions, and more a significant event in American history that I am so thankful to have been able to bare witness to.

I guess that is the thing about post modernism... we are so aware of our past that we are overly willing to label our present with references to the past... but seriously, this man stands for something and I don't know that people have felt that in a good long time.

I don't believe Barack is our savior and I certainly understand that he will disappoint and there will be things I simply don't agree on with him, but when was the last time a political leader stood before you (us) and said that? It's a wisdom that I respect and I am so thankful that it has a platform currently in our American political system.

I am getting ready to go head on into a killer of a day, but I'm feeling charged up and good. Sometimes I think about the ways in which I wake up and some days it feels so good to just think about possibilities and things to accomplish and then other days I simply would prefer to stay in bed. Today I am excited. Partially because when I have completed all my work for the day I shall be hopping on a bus and then a train and then a plane into the unknown of Oregon. I've never been, so I'm excited to get to enjoy the northwestern part of our country for a few days. I'm headed there for a wedding, and frankly, I know it is going to be a blast.

So, off I go! Pictures will ensue...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008



So why was last night the first time that Hillary ever looked truly presidential? Don't get me wrong, I have some mad respect for that woman, but it wasn't until her speech last night that I actually understood the ways in which she would be a great president. She looked and sounded like the real deal.

That being said, even though she has progressive ideas relative to our current administration, she still comes off as old politics to me. Maybe that is what makes her good... she knows how to play the political game, but I feel tired of it.

Completely unrelated, can someone explain to me what Tumblr is? I don't get it and it makes me feel old to say that.

Speaking of feeling old, I found this post on the NY Magazine Blog to be pretty awesome and relatable.

And speaking of feeling older, this site is a funny little piece of oversharing/narcissism/need for approval (which we all know I am all about), but I guess there is a maximum age of 19 in order to participate.

I'm 27. This is seem older and older by the second.

I am half way through a terribly busy week that will end in travels so I'm off to get kickin' it.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Mary came through town last night as she oft does given her vagabond status. Upon entry into my house she exclaimed disappointment at the fact that I was watching the Democratic National Convention. See, in the same way she thinks the Olympics are like a big High School track meet, she thinks the DNC is like a big high school pep rally... and you know, I have to say that in all it's choreographed glory, I am a sucker for a good pep rally. Maybe in the same way I'm a sucker for a high school track meet.

I know these conventions are gross with gooey political affectedness and I guess most disappointingly they try to manufacture an energy that in some way seems to undermine the energy that Barack Obama seemed to naturally generate to begin with. But, the truth of the matter is that I'm still excited about the future of our political system and I'm excited that the DNC is providing a venue for prominent underrepresented leaders to have a national/international spotlight to be seen and heard. I felt a bit disappointed that Michele Obama had to speak singularly to family values etc when I know the woman is smart in the political sphere as well and could have been articulate on political issues (issues affecting women, minorities, immigration etc), but they are playing the game that I suppose they have to play and she gave a speech that kept my attention through out.

Anyway, the point being that I understand that these events are essentially bullshit, but I am finding it a good replacement for the lack of Olympics on television and I am attempting to remain optimistic in the midst of it all.

I also found myself excited as saw my friend Keysha posted pictures with our friend Cindy at the convention. This actually made me wish I was there.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Deceptive Beast

The thing about summer in Chicago is that it is a deceptive beast. By this time of the year you start to believe that Chicago is always like this, with especially social friends, lovely weather, and fewer commitments. And then it gets to be the end of August and the beast causes me to articulate things like "Oh, I'm ready for fall to get back into the swing of things." but see, that is simply not true. Although I am led to believe I am ready to get back amidst "normal life" it will only be a short time before I'm bemoaning how busy I am and how cold it is outside.

This weekend was no exception. Fun filled Chicago adventures and some good time just relaxing and recuperating before I embark upon a busy week.

The highlight took place on Friday evening with the annual commencement of "Glamorama". Macy's yearly fashion show/concert that benefits the Art Institute. I get to go to this each year because, well I'm a free loader and Linsey always has the hookup... so, lucky me! This year was actually one of the more fun years I have attended. 80's themed (yes, tired, but fun) with performances by MC Hammer and Cyndi Lauper. I gotta tell ya, Hammer still has it! He blew my mind with all of his standard hits. Cyndi was fun, but I'm not convinced she was actually singing. She looked chic though and danced like a 25 year old. I don't have any photographic evidence of these performances because my camera got confiscated. Now mind you, everyone else I was with had a camera that somehow managed to make it past security, but not me... I'm too big and too obvious so they took it away. Lucky for you, I have some pictures from before hand and at the part afterwards.

Saturday I went to the Holstein pool twice! First with Ryan and then with Tim (who is spending sometime in Chicago from one of his many other locations). The first adventure was more my speed with diving and splashing around etc, but the second involved swimming laps and I was pretty much over that after the second lap... so I just sat and watched. :D

During that evening, Tim, Abby and I enjoyed some nice new eats a Urban Belly, which is a delish new restaurant in an odd location. Then had a few drinks and chatted, only to end the night was dancing, dancing, dancing. A perfect summer Saturday evening.

Sunday morning I sang at Church and then took my bicycle to Stanley's to get some fresh produce and make some food for the rest of the week. I am headed to Portland this Friday for my friend Eddie's wedding so I want to conserve funds for the rest of the week. I came up with a delish pasta salad that uses flax pasta, broccoli, green pepper, mozzarella cheese, almonds, corn (from the cob), and raspberries. Top it all off with a little basil infused olive oil and some red wine vinegar and YUM. Delish.

Ok, but now I embark on a silly busy week so I sign off.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

That would happen to you

It is incredible to me how my allergies become bothersome at the same time each calendar year. I know this to be true, but it always amazes me that something happens with the flowers and the trees and just general nature that they would become so bothersome every year about a week or two before labor day. Anyway, today is the day and I have taken my first generic Claritin pill which I'm sure I will have to take every day for the next three weeks or so. Maybe four.

Did I tell you all about the cup of water that came out of the sky and hit me in the head? I don't believe I did.

Monday I was standing across the street from my place of employment, waiting for the bus and reading an article about denim I had printed off the Internet. All of the sudden I felt a thud on my head and a cold wet substance all over my head and my shoulder. I immediately swore and looked down to see a small McDonalds cup rolling on the ground. I was accompanied at the bus stop by about 5 other people, not a one who had any sort of reaction to this happening, so huffed and puffed in an effort to get some sort of reaction or indication of how in the world I just had water dumped on my head. The strangest part of all of this is that there was no window above me or any place from which someone could drop a glass of water for that matter. It literally came out of the sky and no one seemed to care! Until I began to get on the bus and an older woman looked at me and said "Where did that come from?" I looked at her thankfully for at least acknowledging that this bizarre event had happened and replied "I have absolutely no idea."

I told my coworkers this story and their response was "That would totally happen to you."

I think the funniest part is that no one reacted. My parents told me they heard a story of a woman getting running over by a bus in Brooklyn and 30 people appearing and lifting the bus off of her... and I can't even get some attention when a magical cup appears out of the sky and dumps water on my head. Ok, I realize those aren't equitable but you get what I'm saying.

Ok, I must get my day rolling. Please watch out for flying cups of water... or maybe that is just advice for me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Another birthday

I'm resisting the urge to apologize for the infrequency of blog posts because I realize that assumes you (reader) like frequent blog posts and that might not be the case so let me just say that I've been running around a bit and not able to post as often as I had planned on.

The weekend was a tiresome yet enjoyable one. After that extremely lovely day at Starved Rock, Christina picked me up and we drove off to Michigan where we spent time with my parents putting things in boxes. That is almost entirely how we spent the whole weekend. It was fantastic to have Christina there because she was helpful, but also because she served as a buffer in a tough situation... although things seemed less tough this time than last.

You know, it is just a house. I realize that and when the house is gone and my parents have moved on it will be a memory, but we were talking about the things that the house represented and I think in its entirety the house is our family. It represents who we are, where we come from, and what my parents worked for... so in leaving it there seems to be some part of us that we're putting to rest. I'm ready for that, but it is pretty intense when I think about it fully.

There are a few things I will miss most though, the first being the space that the home exists in. It is rural and wooded and amazing. Spending time there is special, unique and something so different than what I exist in now so I really treasure it.

Also, there are freaking fresh blueberries down the street.

I mean, how awesome is that? And corn and strawberries and Christmas trees (nevermind that we always used a fake tree)

Anyway, enough. I will miss it and when I saw my dad tear up as I left, I realized how much.

Speaking of homes, I spent the evening last night at my dear friends Ana and Jason's home in the Lincoln Square neighborhood. It is truly a spectacular home that they built together. It took them a year and a half of literally being shut down by the city and having to deal with dreadful neighbors, but I can't tell you how worth it the house was. I honestly can't believe they live there. It is a real testament to their ability to navigate above and beyond what they knew they could do.

Today at work we will be having an all staff birthday which I think is simultaneously silly and awesome. I dressed nicely since it is "our" birthdays and I plan on compiling a mix of happy birthday songs.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I'm Starving

I'm about to head to Michigan in a bit to help the parents with some more packing during the weekend, but I wanted to give a quick update because I had a really spectacular day yesterday. Oh, and thanks to the amazing kindness of my friend Tina, I am going to have company on the trip to Michigan because she has volunteered to help. I owe her big time.

So, yesterday I did something that I've been wanting to do for a number of years while living here in Chicago. See, as far as natural beauty and the land goes, I would argue that Illinois doesn't have a whole lot to offer. If it weren't for the lake and a number of parks and forest preserves, I would say that I don't live in the most naturally beautiful place. I love it here, but it is no Lake Tahoe, ya know? But there is this state park that I always have heard people talk about. It is nearly two hours south west of the city and it is called Starved Rock, which sounds fascinating in and of itself so I have always wanted to go but never had the opportunity.

Yesterday I took a day off with the intention of heading to Michigan (actually with the intention of going away somewhere else, but since Michigan has been calling it turned into a plan to go there) but then since Tina so kindly offered to head there with me, I needed to wait until this evening. That left a whole day open for fun in the sun, so Ryan and I decided to make the trek to the woods, not quite knowing what we would discover.

Turns out, Starved Rock is freaking awesome. It definitely felt like we had left the state and with the 70 something temps it could have been California, but who knew Illinois was so sweet afterall?

Here are some pics.

Ok, so call me ignorant (Do it! I know you already do!) but I had no idea about this massive river called the "Illinois River." Ha! I thought we had come along the Mississippi or something cause this thing was huge and the first stop on the trail was an overlook of it. Amazing.

Then we get into the woods and there are all these streams filled with an orange sediment which I assume is iron? but I have no idea... so if anyone has insight into that I would greatly appreciate it. It was so beautiful, though.

Ryan kept finding interesting bugs at every turn, where I was probably just stepping on them. This was a fuzzy littler caterpillar that was nice enough to pose for a picture.

We also found wild blackberries that were just ok taste wise.

Check out this huge canyon. I can't remember what it was called, but the echo was sweet.

Plus, I look teeny tiny in it and I can't often say that.

This was one of my favorite spots. We actually hung out in this water for a bit, believe it or not.

But then we came across LaSalle Canyon which ended up being my favorite spot because we actually spent some time playing the waterfall. Ryan went first as he is braver than I.

Then I manned up and got in.

It was cold, but really amazingly invigorating. If I live in this canyon, I imagine I would shower there every morning. Shoot, maybe I'll go back and shower there everyday anyway.

Once again, who knew this river was so big??

Finally, before we left our final stop was "Lover's Leap" which although I am indeed a lover, I resisted to urge to leap so I could continue to share my love with you all.

It is a beautiful place. I look forward to going back, but now I must make my way to the land of the wolverine.

Oh, ps. Mary says that the Olympics are like one big high school sporting event and she doesn't get why I feel the way I do. I'm rolling my eyes as I type. >:|

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Perfectly happy staying in...

The truth of the matter is, not much is happening right now because my nights are consumed with the Olympics. I think it silly when I am alone and watching and feeling emotional about sports like gymnastics or swimming, but I feel some sort of validation when I come to work the next day and everyone is professing the same sentiment. I don't specifically know what it is about the Olympics, but it just gets me. I mean, the broadcasters have it down to a science, exactly what to say to pull at the heart strings of the likes of me, but you'd think I'd be smarter than that... but of course I'm not. I call it the "Extreme Home Makeover" effect, and I'm a sucker for it.

Gimme, gimme more.

I'm headed to Michigan this weekend to help the parents with a bit more packing. They keep telling me they have completed more and more, but I need to see it in person to get any sort of peace in the idea that they will get their house packed in time to move out. I know they will, but it is weird to not be there and see and help, so I'm glad to be able to make a final trip.

I also realized today that I am closing in on my wedding trip to Portland at the end of the month. Where has August gone?

I can't type right now. I'm feeling antsy.

Oh! I almost forgot, my boss brought this in the other day and told me Ashton is trying to be me...

Step off, Ashton... or else.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I'm having some stomach issues this morning, mainly that I feel hungry but am not? Or like, hunger pangs that are not hunger pangs but rather some sort of indigestion or something. I don't quite know how to explain it and don't know why it is happening. I did have a late night bit of food my dear friend Lydia and her beau who are traveling the states a bit before they head back to Germany. It was a lovely dinner and a glass of wine at Ping Pong in the midst of Chicago street festival chaos.

As I was riding my bicycle home from dinner (I finally got it out of the shop!), I was thinking how it is becoming increasingly easier for me to just stay in as the summer goes on. I guess I'm running out of steam a bit because I was watching the revelers out on this cool and calm Sunday evening and I was thinking how I'm just not up for that right now. During the beginning of summer I was feeling quite ready and willing to do anything, saying yes at almost any invite, but now I feel more inclined to just stay in and watch the Olympics.

Speaking of which, the opening ceremonies were quite incredible. Actually, they were unbelievable. I've never seen anything like it. So many people working together in tandem and in near perfection. I also felt struck by the lack of "star" power from the ceremonies but rather so many working en mass to make beautiful pictures. Maybe this is indicative of culture, but I know that any ceremony in the states would involve more "big names". As I watched the ceremonies with Jessica, my favorite moment was when she asked (in reference to Chicago's Olympic bid and the possibility of hosting our own opening ceremonies) "What do we have?? Kanye??" Ha! Yes, Kanye indeed.

I worked hard this weekend as well putting together a photo portfolio of sorts.

I made the envelope by hand, which took a number of tests and mistakes to get right, but I am happy with the outcome and glad to keep getting opportunities to get my stuff out there.

Ugh! My stomach.

I'm gone for now. I'm missing some folks today. It seems I am not doing the best job of communicating lately, despite my iPhone.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


I'm having trouble, like whoa, with motivation. I think I wasted most of yesterday, checking very few things off of my to do list and feel about the same energy today.

I did manage to make my way over to the barbershop yesterday, for a little snip snip and buzz buzz. With my newfound interest in the TV show Mad Men I thought it appropriate that I play the part and get myself a retro barbershop haircut. I've attempted this before and last haircut I ventured closely into this territory, but this time I went all the way. When he took the clippers with only a "1" guard to my head, I felt my heart rate speed up, but now I'm totally digging it and glad I inadvertently took the plunge.

This barbershop is the real deal. There is one eastern European guy cutting hair and an old school Chicago Italian watching some movie on TV. They kinda grunt and yell at each other in the midst of asking me questions about myself. It's incredible how different conversations are at a barbershop like this as opposed to a salon where I have often found myself, but the heart of the discussion is the same. I like guys like this though. They are all at once easy to impress and never impressed. And the haircut is given in the way one would change the oil on a car. It is somewhat mechanical and scientific, never knowingly artistic or creative. It is a service that aims to please. In someways this is much safer as you know what you're going to come out with because they've done it a million times always with very similar results, but the way the haircut is approached requires little variation.

After a day of little productivity I returned home to find more things in my apartment that simply do not work. My cable Internet is out ever since the storm, which I need to just call and have fixed but then randomly a series of electrical outlets and light in my apt have stopped working. This is not related to the storm, but rather to an old building with terrible wiring. I had to move my "perishables" into my landladies fridge with the hopes that this will be incentive to get it all fixed in a timely manner. If it takes forever I'm just going to KEEP coming over for milk as often as I can. I might even just loiter in her kitchen with my head in the fridge looking around and asking her questions about all her food.

I love my apartment. But, I'm over this hassle.

Finally, this afternoon I am going on a pirate ship.
I don't have the energy to elaborate on why, but I will be taking off from Navy Pier with some other DePaul employees on a honest to God pirate ship.

More on that, tomorrow.

Monday, August 4, 2008


Where to begin, where to begin? I'm back in the saddle now, so to speak, and I fill very mixed emotions about my time away. It was great to get out of Chicago. I really have to do that on a regular basis to regroup, reassess, reinvigorate. That sort of thing. I dunno, just upon exit I always am reminded of who I am in the bigger picture and that is important if not at times frustrating.

But the whole going home thing was hard because of moving and packing and having to be a grown up for my parents. This was the first time I really felt that way. I mean, I think before I've feigned like I could take of them or that's what I do when they come to visit etc but this time I actually caught a glimpse of myself with my 72 year old parents and saw an adult side to myself that seems to be visible so early on in life. That is ok. I am ok with it, but I would be lying if I said it didn't freak me out a bit.

The bulk of the week was really dedicated to packing. Each day we would get up, drink coffee, watch deer or turkeys out the window, chat and then get to work. We started with the attic and worked our way down. I really only think in my week of working we accomplished about 1/8th or even 1/6th of what needs to be done. There are less than four weeks to pack up 35 years worth of stuff and I don't exactly know how they'll do it. I'll return in a couple of weeks to do a bit more, but I'm hoping some other family will step up.

I think the other thing strange about a trip like this is that it stirs up all these memories, especially as I spent a significant amount of time going through old things. I was given a trunk which I filled with all of the keepsakes and disposed of the rest. I really feel happy with that trunk. It has a lot of wonderful memories in it and I look forward to spending more time with it some years down the road.

One of the stranger things I spent time with was my old computer from college which has been sitting inactive in the attic for five years. On its hard drive I found all these electronic pieces of myself, like old emails and pixelated digital images taken when I was 19, 20, 21... It stirred up a lot and made me laugh a lot.

More concretely, I was able to talk a visual walk down memory lane that I thought I would share with all of you as I think it is worth a good laugh and maybe explains a lot. Below you will find the ubiquitous early childhood Sears portraits and some school photographs. I will show them in progression as they get better and better.

Ok, first off I was cute, right? That smile and the that pose, with the hand on the stool as I sit in front of the country scene. It is pretty priceless, but mostly of note would be that freaking amazing belt buckle. I was a big Ronald McDonald fan (the results of which you'll see soon) and apparently I thought it best to display him on my belt. Ronald, I saluted you.

Then we jump ahead a bit to a bridge scene with a conveniently placed rock for me to place the one and only beloved Ret Sylvester. See, back in like 85 or whatever, Cabbage Patch Dolls were all the rage and my sister-in-law worked in this department store where she was able to snag me one of the first ever Cabbage Patch Dolls. I mean, this guy was my best friend. Check out how my mom labeled the back of the photo.

Favorite friend! And let me tell you, he was indeed, causing that sweet smile on my little face.

Then we move ahead a bit, I'm in school, my style is becoming my own. Apparently this causes fireworks as I double layer my clothes and roll up my sleeves (I won't say I'm not doing this again now because I just might be). I remember I was pretty into "neon" clothing and I think this undershirt was one of my first ventures into that realm of fashion along with my "spike" haircut. This haircut never really suited me because my hair is fine and no amount of "Dep" could keep that cowlick in the front from falling down.

But then...

...this happened. Welcome to awkward, starring Davin and his chubby cheeks. Now I'm not gonna hate on that shirt, because I think that again was a bold sartorial choice and I stand by it this many years later, but the top button was not buttoned ironically, no, I was venturing into certified dorkdom. But wait, it get's worse...

Remember how I liked Ronald? It is starting to show, but you can't quite see it I'm sure because you are staring at my denim shirt and my bad haircut... oh and that floral tie (that I still have, and don't absolutely hate) purchased at Kmart (I can remember picking it out) all positioned carefully on that wicker chair! But, back to that haircut for a minute. Who is friends with a kid whose hair looks like this? I mean, frankly I would punch me. Notice how my smile has faded? That is me waiting to go through puberty. Praying "please God, help me to figure out how to wear less denim."

I will stop here for now. It only get zittier with braces and glasses and chubs chubs chubs. The good news is, I had these genes just waiting in the wings:

Yea, that gentleman right there did me right. He just needed to tell me I would have to be awkward for a long time before I would be able to carry the dapper nature of his senior portraits, although maybe I'm still waiting.

Thanks, pops!

Ok! I'm looking forward to this week. I have some unexpected things in the works.
Some details to come.