Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

In my line of work it's common to work some part of the weekend or at the very least, evenings.
Evenings and weekends not necessarily free in this career.

This came as somewhat of a surprise to me when I entered the field, because my internship had been at a college counseling center where, because college students actually are free during the day, the campus counseling center kept typical Monday-Friday business hours.

Enter post-college when I learned that this schedule was atypical for most therapists and that while it felt like big time real life at the time... it wasn't really, at least in terms of that sweet nine to five.
By the way, college itself also felt like big time real life at the time... but it wasn't really.

But as hard as it can be, I like real life and I love what I do.
In a therapist-to therapist conversation at work one day (if you think heart-to-hearts are a heavy-weight, you should try one of these sometime), one of my co-workers said she's found that having a week day off can be key in city living.

I sincerely miss Saturdays with husband and Saturday's ideology that a day by the name of "Monday" can never share, but the more I experience urban living I think I've learned the same lesson.
By Monday the Loop has re-populated with all the people that would be at the park, at the gym, and at the bakery on Saturday.
That makes Monday a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

My mental state has come to count on Mondays where the park is quiet, the sun deck at my gym is empty, and the French bakery down the street has open tables by the window.
Beautiful days in the neighborhood, those are.

Neighborhood park

Neighborhood gym

Neighborhood French bakery

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

So Fall

This weekend husband and I fell into a new practice for fall, led by the subconscious it seems.
For the past three nights, we've taken slow walks in the evening through our neighborhood as if that's what we've done for years, when in fact we never do.

"Let's go out for a walk."
"You wanna go on a walk tonight?"
"I was thinking we could go on a walk for a little while."

I think it's the cold weather stealing through the city.
The city sidewalks resting underneath embers of evening sun.
The sensory experience of cooler air and warmer colors mingling that lets our subconscious know that autumn is meant to be walked.

Sunday evening we were on one of these slow walks and we ended up finding a hot bowl of soup for dinner.
When we walked in the waitress said, "You two look so fall!"

Well then.
I guess these fall walks look good on.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Six Nine Two's

9/2 is wedding anniversary for husband and me.
We were a Labor Day weekend bride and groom, and the sky was bright, bright blue.

I feel like we live under a wedding sky in September all month long in Chi-Town.
If you look past school starting and summer waning, on most days you'll see  September's sky to be a brighter, more brilliant blue than all of the other skies that house Chicago's skyline.
Cool, crisp, clear; it's the things we know about fall.

I like that bright cerulean blue, and I like 9/2.

Six 9/2's later, I've come to look forward to the bright blue ceiling every September.
When the sun goes down on 9/2 and leaves an inky dark blue residue from the day, it's hurrah because that means it's time for another anniversary dinner in the city.
(See here, here, here, here, here, and here).

I pulled up these six photos all taken on 9/2's.
I can't decide if we've changed more or stayed the same more.
I guess it's like how the sky is always the same blue in September, but the sky is never the same twice.

Friday, September 21, 2012

First Fall

Happy first day of fall!
Chicago's right on time this year, with the first chilly days arriving this week like clockwork.

Windows open, death wish from my allergies, boots with dresses to work, and the first First Ascent wear of the season.

There are so many definitions of the first day of fall.
The most prevalent definition on Chicago streets seems to be the day when Starbucks returns to serving pumpkin spice lattes.
You never hear the end of it around here!

Not that I want pumpkin spice lattes to end, but I haven't even started on those yet.
What I started on was my small collection of First Ascent Cloudlayers.

I've snuggled into it at the park in the early morning a couple times this week already.
Worn it back and forth from the gym, and pulled it on over jeans tonight on the vespa to our favorite little Thai place in Wicker Park.
My family is bonkers for these fleeces
it's the family uniform you could say.

My sister already tweeted the colors she wants for Christmas from this season's line, and I can name a handful of friends who have become First Ascent devotees after hanging around the Thompsons.
At two each, husband and I are by far at the low end of Cloudlayer counts in my family.

They're lightweight, breathable, and slim-fitting but so warm.
Happy fall!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Montrose Sunday

We really killed it this mid-September weekend.
Hosted a party at our apartment on Friday night, went on a City Walk date night on Saturday, and spent Sunday afternoon relaxing at Montrose with my brothers.

Do you like full weekends, or more open ones?
I'm partial to both.
One point for an oxymoron.

At Montrose, those who said they needed to do homework didn't.
Those who brought books to read did not.
Those who said they planned to nap on a blanket (me) didn't do that either.

There were the last of the season's sailboats to watch and lively discussion to be had about the Red Cards we want to buy, plans about teaming up for the Chicago Triathalon next summer, save the dates to see Freud's Last Session at the Mercury Theater together, and a good-natured group epiphany about the Freudian-rooted dynamics of our present day subordination to our older sister Tiff who we all adore.
I never laugh harder than with these people.

Not too many Sundays left for this kind of Montrose day!
Then again, you never can know for sure with Chicago weather.

Monday, September 17, 2012


You guys, you need to know this about me.
I geek out about stuff.

This weekend husband and I made it down to Jackson Park to explore, via the Jackson Park City Walk Card.

I geeked out over this book, chapter after chapter.
Highly recommend, especially for Chicagoans or those who love the Windy City and its history.
Devil in the White City is a psych thriller about a psychopathic murderer at Chicago's World Fair in 1893.
I went nuts for the details of the gritty, dark, and dirty Chicago of the 1800's and the wholesome strength of midwest work ethic and architectural and creative genius that hoisted the World Fair on its Big Shoulders.

One of the buildings from the World Fair still stands today, recognized by most as today's Science and Industry Museum.
Everything else burned down, but Jackson Park still holds the landscape structure of the fair and the site of all the murder, magic, and madness of Chicago's grandest and darkest year in history.

We explored until the day went dark, 
and then went and had late night burgers under the lights of our favorite outdoor patio back in our neighborhood.

Do you ever go on geeky date nights?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Life As We Know It

Today is a day I'd like to remember.
Not for anything that would at all notable to anyone else, but for the things it was, I felt, "I want to remember our life.  Just like this." 

It was a 12-hour day at the practice, more or less.
It was 8:30pm before I was home and finished with clients and paperwork, at which point I realized I was too energized to go to bed and read Harry Potter.
So I looked at husband and he looked back and smiled,
and we agreed to go on a drive in the rain to one of our favorite cupcake bakeries.

I love places that are open till 10pm on weeknights.
If you are one of those places, you are automatically my fave.

In rain boots and sweatpants on the way to Molly's, we decided to see if our friends were up for a Molly's delivery, and dropped by their apartment at 9:30.
It's their last few days living just a block from us, so we had to make one last big hurrah of it.
No, I didn't mean last, because I'm pretty sure we'll still drop by their new place with cupcakes, even if it's now in a new neighborhood.

So today, this is a simple glimpse of life as we know it. 

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."
-Annie Dillard

Sixty Minute Magic

Meet me at the park for an hour date after work?
He said yes.
Sixty minute magic, otherwise known as magic hour.
Brought to you by Vespa & Chipotle.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

E & Me

Besides husband's Lake Michigan swim this weekend, we had a full house.
My college friend E came to spend a long weekend with us before she moves to Spain for a year.
Unfortunately, my allergies went nuts and I was miserably sick most of the weekend.
Chicago is much kinder to my allergies than my home town, but they can still find me here from time to time.

Luckily, E is such a long time friend that she's put up with my allergy attacks before and didn't bat an eye.
We made omelets, took naps, and watched two movies, but still were able to make it out into the city for some things old and some things new.
I used her entire travel pack of kleenex.
I owe you, E!

E, you are one special girl who I am so thankful and proud to call friend.
I loved talking about the turbulent 20's with you, telling you the messy parts of me, and re-connecting our past to our present.
You always have a place in our home, and in your favorite city on earth.
Just don't let Madrid come close!

Five Guys

Montrose Harbor

Milk & Honey Cafe

Lincoln Park

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Big Shoulders

Husband had a big weekend.
Neal swam his first open water race at the Big Shoulders Open Water Classic on Saturday morning.
(A moment of silence for me working on Saturdays.  I can't believe I couldn't be there.)

Neal started swimming about a year and a half ago, and he's really taken to it.
Pretty much every day after work he stops by the pool to get his laps in before coming home, with occasional workouts at the lake to practice with the lake elements.
If I'm home in time, I take it as an excuse for me to ride my bike out to the lake and walk or read while that one swims.

For almost any summer sport, Chicago has some of the greatest races in the country.
Big Shoulders calls their swim "the world's most architecturally significant race" since the race starts at Ohio Street beach and stretches out along the base of Chicago's skyline.
I like.

I love the race's reference to one of my favorite nicknames of Chicago, "City of the Big Shoulders."
The nickname was first dubbed in Carl Sandburg's 1916 poem "Chicago," which you can read here.

I'm into a husband who swims laps in Lake Michigan.
A Chi-town husband for a Chi-town girl.

Have you done any Chicago races?