Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fry Turkey Fry!

This Saturday we went to our friend's parents' house in Joliet to lose our fried turkey virginity. This was our first time to the "suburbs" for an actual visit. The going to the suburbs was the uneventful part of the trip. It felt just like Michigan. I  must admit that I miss the big box stores that are all along one street with ample amounts of parking. Shoe Carnival, Bed Bath and Beyond, Hobby Lobby, Target, Old Navy! So easy to get to.

Anyways, the highlight of the trip was Brian's parents. They were amazing and so welcoming! We basically took over their house and garage watching the MSU v Iowa game (disappointing, to say the least). His dad was busy in the garage frying the turkey and his mom was in the kitchen the entire time making the traditional Thanksgiving sides. She made mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce. Kim and I brought salad and apple pie, but she did the most of the work. We tried to offer to help but she wouldn't hear of it.

While the oil was hot the guys experimented making other fried treats. There were fried pickles, snickers and twinkies. I have to say the pickles were the best.  The others were just so sweet!

As bummed as we were that MSU got killed, we couldn't have been happier after such a great meal with wonderful friends.

Now we're wrapping up our weekend doing 4 loads of laundry at the laundry mat. Sheets, towels, rugs and clothes. I usually try to space them out, but every now and then it all backs up.

Friday, October 29, 2010

CSI Chicago: The Case of the Mystery Wheelchair

I have seen a lot in this city in the one short year I've lived here. Human feces on the steps to the EL twice in two weeks? Yep. Someone defecate in a train car at 9 am? Sure. A boy in a foam cylinder crouched on the ground with a hole for his head to pop in and out scaring people? Why not! All are disturbing, but what would city life be without weird stuff?

Yesterday when I left work I saw this tucked in the little alcove between our building and the one we're attached to. This is not just any wheelchair, it is one for a very large person. I looked around for someone who might be getting out of a car or trying to get up off the ground and saw nothing. I felt a bit creeped out and still do. The chair is still sitting there 30+ hours later. The following questions are running through my mind:
  1. Has the chair occupier been murdered? 
  2. Are there limbs in the pile of leaves next to the chair? 
  3. If the person is in fact alive, how are they getting around?
  4. Is this a case of elder abuse?
  5. Is someone coming for their chair?
  6. How do you misplace something like this?
  7. If no one comes back for the chair who will dispose of it?
  8. How long am I going to have to be creeped out by this chair below my window and each time I pass it?
  9. WTF?!?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

One is Silver and the Other Gold

I am very thankful for my great friends. This past weekend after the MSU v. Northwestern football game Leslie was a bit tipsy but kept saying how she felt so blessed and lucky to have such great friends. It got me thinking about what how lucky the bf and I are.

We had an awesome group of core friends while we lived in Orange County, most were friends from high school, but not all. Bf made some really close work friends who we loved to have over and try new restaurants with. When we were back in SC this summer they all made the half hour drive down to visit with us and celebrate his birthday. We got best friends out of Mikey and Brenna, who lived in our apartment complex, and we both stood in their wedding. As hard as it was to leave these old and new friends when we moved to Chicago we knew it wasn't the end to these relationships.

When we arrived in Chicago we were welcomed again by our old college friends and my friends from home. Our friends here are always doing something fun, organizing parties, trips, dinners, etc. It would be impossible for anyone to feel alone with a group of of friends like this. Many knew the bf had left his oldest friends back in California to join me in Chicago and they often ask me how he is doing. If he misses his friends, if he is feeling included. How sweet is that? Chicago has also brought us closer to my sister and her husband. They have very close friends from college in the city too and immediately made the bf and I part of their core group (MNF!). Their group of friends has also embraced a new couple, Sarah and Brian, who bring new perspectives and personalities to an already amazing group of people.

Girlfriends from Kentwood and their men

Bf's friends from high school and ERAC

Chicago friends!
While it is strange to examine the different social, non-formal groups we belong to, it gives me an overwhelming sense of happiness, and that I am thankful for. I am also thankful for the ability to go months or years without seeing people and falling right back into step with them. The feeling of familiarity, comfort, and security when you are with someone who really knows you, not matter the time in between, is priceless.

What can you do to maintain old friendships? Long distance friendships? Build new friendships?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


In August I wrote about my experiences when I was new to the city and the lack of friendly faces. I wanted to just give an update about my "smile project" and say that it has been going well. Maybe it is the change of season or MSU's amazing 8-0 record, but I have been much more prone to smile at strangers who pass me by on the streets. This past week I have had around 50% smile back, say "hello", or make eye contact with me. I consider this success!

What harm can come from a smile? Sometimes when I see someone who looks particularly "rough" I get worried that a simple smile will attract negative attention. Often times I take the risk, challenging my own beliefs and fears, and do it anyways. This happened just the other day acutally, and when the smile was reciprocated I felt relieved and awful at the same time. Awful because I was scared to smile and show kindness in the first place.

How can we continually challenge our own fears and beliefs?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thankful Thursdays

I've been slacking a bit in the blogging department since school started. I haven't been disciplined enough to take the time to sit down, reflect, and put thought onto "paper". I have been thinking more and more lately about the need to be thankful and make a conscious effort to maintain and promote a positive perspective in all aspects of life.

So, in an attempt to become more thankful and write more frequently, I introduce to you, Thankful Thursdays! Also, each week I am going to try to write a handwritten thank you note to someone in my life, or maybe a helpful sales person, etc. or at the very least a thankful email.

This Thursday I am especially thankful to be living in a region that experiences the four seasons. Even though winter is very long, I love the snow and the warm feelings of the holidays and being indoors. I love winter foods like chili and braised meats. I even like how it gets dark earlier so you want to stay inside with your loved ones. I am thankful for the beautiful fall colors we are experiencing now, the crisp air, the baked pumpkin seeds and college football. I am thankful for the amazing Michigan summers, all the lakes and rivers, campfires and stories shared among friends, and grilled foods. I am thankful for the spring when it finally arrives, the budding trees, flowers blooming and the smell of rain. I love the seasons and don't know if I could live without them again.

Here is some artwork we are planning on buying for our place that incorporates our love for the seasons and this beautiful city. Visit the Ryan Kapp's website for more information!  I hope he doesn't mind this being on here...maybe I should email and ask permission. I am not sure what the blogger etiquette is. Either way, I want to give credit where it's due!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Happiest Place on Earth!

I am so excited becasue I finally got a "real" job working at Walt Disney Magnet School as a Special Education Classroom Assistant. It is full time, benefits, from 7:30 am to about 2:00 pm. Oh, and it is walking distance from my house! I am very excited to get classroom experience, work with kids, and gain some knowledge about special education. I am nervous about the job because I don't have any experience with special education. I am just going to have a positive outlook about it and be open to new experiences.

I am going to try to work one shift a week at my current job so I can keep the discount. I love it and I love the people!

This quarter of school is winding down and the work is starting to pile up. I feel like I have a good grasp on things so I am not too worried. All in all, things are going pretty well.

And!! We are trying to plan a trip to California over the holidays.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Chicago Marathon

This weekend we went to Kim & Joey's in Old Town to watch our friend Nick run in the Chicago Marathon. He did a great job and we had fun waiting and looking for him. I cannot believe how many people ran in the marathon. I am pretty sure I do not have the dedication to ever do it and I know that I wouldn't want to. Kudos to those who do though! What a commitment to train for something like that. Instead, I baked muffins to go with our virgin mimosas (can't buy alcohol before 11 a.m.) to enjoy while waiting. While watching the marathon was not on my 30 before 30 or to do in Chicago list, it still was a "First" for us.

Do you think you could run a marathon?