Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Guest Post

Hello!  Find me over here today, where my dear friend Ilene was so kind to invite me to be part of her series on fall trends.
Come on over!

Thanks to Kirra Sue for the photos found on my post there.

P.S. More fall trend love... red lipstick. I'm loving Mac's Ruby Woo.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Do you ever have days when you think about how someday you're going to look back and wonder that this was really how you lived, either for the good or the bad?
Sometimes we are astounded by our own lives, both by the darkness and the light.

The other day, I had my weekday off work, and I found myself thinking, "Surely someday I'm going to look back on this with a smile."

"This" being reading in the park for 3 hours.
"This" being walking and jogging Lake Shore Path for a leisurely hour midday.
"This" being receiving a surprise box of new books in the mail from a friend.
"This" being staying out at a coffee shop with husband until 10:00pm on a Monday.

"This" happened to me all in one day this week.
Read: This is not my everyday, duh.
Tomorrow, I'll be in the office 9-5 and stuck in traffic.
But I do like to think on "this."

It's important to remember your "this"; it makes up a part of your story.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Summer in a Trunk

Husband and I were on the road a bit this weekend.
When 4:30 on Saturday finally came, I ran out the door at work, rushed home, threw on some heels, and met my aunties, cousins, grandma, mom, and sis out in the suburbs for a Shakespeare play.
Such fun, the endless summer kind!

Sunday morning, we drove to Indiana to meet Neal's grandpa and parents at the country club for lunch.
So good to see family faces this weekend.

When I opened the car trunk on our travels and saw what it's been permanently holding for the past few months, I had to smile.
It was summer in a trunk:

2 lawn chairs
2 sand chairs
2 vespa helmets
1 mini portable grill
a bag of charcoal

Don't even think about trying to get anything else in this trunk.
It's full of summer and has no room for nonsense.
I'm afraid this trunk indicates a state of denial about the waning days of summer.
Oh dear.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Something Old, Something New

Just another Friday night in the city.
Vespa ride to the our part of Lincoln Park, a take-out picnic, some bench-chatting, if you've been around City Lights very long it sounds so familiar, doesn't it?

As much as familiarity settles into a very, very good place in our souls, new places have a good place too.
They're on to something with the whole, "something old, something new."

Especially when "new place" looks like this lily pond right in Lincoln Park.
Oh my.
How did we not know?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Dorky's Pretty Cool

Today husband went to work, the first day of a new school year.
I so miss that, the "first day of school."
I always loved school, and the first day defines "energy" with new books, a fresh planner,  a couple hangers of new clothes, a tan telling the stories of summer.

Hubs' mom says she and his father were almost concerned about his "over-achieving habits," beginning in grade school.
I like to think about both of us, her with little brown braids, and him with his hair mopped over his forehead, a continent apart, smiling over their new pencils.

Dorky, maybe.
But dorky's pretty cool.
Especially when it translates to looking over at my almost 30-yr old husband reading East of Eden at night and loading his Amazon cart with a GRE study book.
Doctorate applications, anyone?
 Probably could have known since first grade that that's the kind of guy
 I'd crush on.

Usually on that first day of school, teachers or friends ask you to share your summer highlights.
One for us this year was an invitation to a wedding held on a boat on Lake Michigan.
RSVP: Yes.
Scroll down for a view of the city from Lake Michigan.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Necessary Endings

Certain places and things in life become better with time.
The Lincoln Park Conservatory grounds is one of those places, as we found out last year.
As the summer wears on into late August and walks across the threshold of early fall, this part of the park is just arriving at its full riot of colors.

I like that August has something all its own, that as each day falls closer to the end of summer, each day also colors the pigment of the blooms here a little deeper, more brilliant, and the leaves reach and spread just a little higher towards that bright blue fall sky.

Something is ending, but something is also beginning.
At work, all the therapists are reading a book together called Necessary Endings by Dr. Henry Cloud.
About the natural nature of endings, but our tendency to make them out as bad.
About the room for new and often different kinds of growth that always follows a pruning.

So as summer is ending, this part of Lincoln Park is reminding me that something new is also beginning.
What are you saying goodbye to these days, that might make room for a good hello?
As Dr. Cloud is getting into my head page after page, remember, endings are normal.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Help

I know all I seem to talk about on here every other day is books.
I'm sorry.
I can't help myself.

I think this sign would be a perfectly cozy addition to my guest room/office that is beginning to define itself with books.

Since being sick lately,  I've checked out more redbox movies in one week than husband and I have watched all summer.
Movies have some serious ground to make up on books.
Half the movies I started, I turned off. 

A book whose mention here will not be new to anyone is The Help by Kathryn Stockett.
I opened the novel's first pages at a symphony concert and Jay Pritzker this summer, and I knew after the first page I was gonna love.
 The story made me laugh out loud and then feel deeply grieved, both within the space of a chapter, even a page.
The depiction of post-slavery employment for black women in Jackson, MS is, by Stockett's hand, intelligent, creative, and stirring.

I cried and laughed, in equal measure.
I do really want to see the movie, because the book was over too soon, and I heard the movie got good reviews.
Steph?  What say you?

See this blog post about the importance of reading fiction.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Leave of Absence

I mentioned I got sick over the weekend.
Because of some health issues I have (which I talk about some here, but not much, because that is not the purpose of this blog), it's hard for me to weather any additional bugs I may catch.

After going to my doctor the other day, she advised that I need to take a leave of absence from work to recover.
Just a week.
But a week intended to keep me from missing any more work in the future.

It was incredibly difficult for me to make those calls to work, but both my employers were so, so sweet to me.
I feel the discomfort these days, not of just my body's pain, but the discomfort of being a step closer to something I've feared, which is losing my jobs because of my health problems. 

But it's really just another step in this journey called life's adventure.
Hubs took my hand today and said, "No matter what happens, we'll never lose each other."

It's really tough to navigate life and work with this situation.
I really don't like it at all.
But with his hand in mine, I always get a little extra courage.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Keeping Me Company

Students are back!
While I got a couple moments with them here and there, I had to stay behind instead of going to the retreat, as a nasty cold, allergies, flu bug hit me hard this weekend.

So disappointed!
Disappointments are a regular companion of mine with the health issues I have, but it was especially tough this weekend.

 Husband gets home tomorrow, and in the meantime, Starbucks Signature Hot Chocolate ice cream and Kate's style secrets have been keeping me company.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

This Is Love

This is love.
And we're gonna need a lot of it in the next few days and weeks.

Our students come back today, and morning bench sitting drinking coffee is in the rear view mirror as we head into the whirl of training, retreat, meeting new students, welcoming back the returning ones, and participating in the madness and joy of all that is the beginning of a new college school year here in the windy city.

We'll need that.
Bench, I can't talk right now but I'll call you back.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Weekend in Retro Cam

We ventured from our favorites this weekend to some new places.
A Vespa ride up to Moody's Pub took us to an outdoor patio with a pairing of picnic tables, bistro tables, a gritty city feel, and a good burger served on paper plates.

In Lincoln Square, we stumbled quite happily upon Cafe Selmarie and The Book Cellar.
Bittersweet chocolate truffles, Intelligensia coffee, and a bookstore scattered with handwritten notes of reviews was the kind of charming city adventure that keeps me coming back (or going out) for more Chicago.

And then there were some of our weekend favorites.

I started Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott at the beach, and I'm smitten already.
A book about writing and life, she writes, "One of the gifts of being a writer is that it gives you an excuse to do things, to go places and explore.  Another is that writing motivates you to look closely at life, at life as it lurches by and tramps around." 
I mean, I don't see how this isn't going to be one of my favorite books.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Come and Play the Chicago Way

Summer has warmed and rained its way into August now, and it's clear we don't want to let go.
We want summer to stay, to stay and play the Chicago way.

I find there's nothing that quite makes husband and I feel more in the Chicago way, more like a boy and a girl living in a neighborhood called the city than the casual weekend symphony concerts under the city lights, just faintly coming to in the half-light of the beginning of day's end.

He loves.  She loves.
Summer, please stay and let's play awhile longer the Chicago way.
*The following are husband's photos from our new phones, the Google Nexus (we are very much in like with the Google phone, sorry iPhone!).
Using the Retro Cam app