Wednesday, August 27, 2014

ORD --> LAX --> SFO

See you later, Chicago! I'm off to explore San Francisco with my mom and watch one of my best friends get married. I haven't seen Marina since we left Rome in 2009, so this reunion is well overdue. I'm excited and happy and joyous and also I have a train (and plane) to catch....ciao!

2009...year of the side bang.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Emmys & Etc.

Did you watch The Emmys tonight? I'm guessing you noticed I didn't live blog them. (Or you don't care, but then why are you reading this? Of course you care.) Not only were they on a Monday (for the first time since 1976), but I'm still here at work (putting in overtime before vacation, remember?). That doesn't mean I didn't watch--because you can bet M and I spent our night ogling dresses and guessing category winners. (Okay. I ogled and guessed. M somehow split his attention between three screens.)

If I had live blogged, the night's commentary could be summed up with: I love TV.

But that's not what I want to write about tonight. Tonight, I want to first apologize to anyone who got a weird email from me today. Weird as in unsolicited and containing a strange link. I was hacked--that's spam, my friends.

Wait, that's not what I want to write about either.

This is what I want to say:

I can't complain about the weather because the weather happens to everyone.

(Read into that how you will.)

The End.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday Night Survey: On the Clock Edition

Yes, it's a Sunday night/Monday morning and I'm at work. I leave for California in just over two days, so I wanted to get in some extra time here before I left...don't want to miss it while I'm on vacation, right? Despite having a shortened weekend, I feel like I got a lot done. At least I'm mostly packed, and that feels like a huge accomplishment. There may or may not have been (but definitely was) some furniture rearranging somewhere in there as well. Oh, and Jesus and I snuck in a trip to Bristol Renaissance FaireWhat else is going on around here? Good question.

Making: a plan of attack for the day. (Monday, that is.)
Cooking: nothing yet...we're leftover city over here.
Eating: leftovers! (and veggie tempura at the Ren Faire!)
Drinking: sassafras and it was so good.
Walking: around and around in circles at Bristol.
Watching: Barely Balanced acrobatics, a glassblower and a blacksmith do their things, a joust, several sword fights, and a game of chess.
Cheering: for our jousting champion, Don Vincenzo.
Taking: a me moment while M is asleep.
Reading: Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan after finishing The Position by Meg Wolitzer
Realizing: Meg Wolitzer is one of my top ten (maybe even top five?) favorite authors.
Writing: packing lists, shopping lists, and to do lists.
Playing: with juggling toys.
Sleeping: in a guest bedroom.
Forgetting: to pack a razor. Oops.
Enjoying: air conditioning!
Taking: two ibuprofen before bed...today was a long day.
Wearing: shorts and tanks and anything breathable in this humidity.
Wondering: how early M will be up in the morning.
Hoping: he sleeps in so I can wake up slowly.
Listening to: the (by now familiar) sounds of someone else's house.
Smelling: fried food, roasted nuts, beer, sweat, and incense.
Needing: a vacation.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Quality of Life Report

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I liked this book the way you might like a directionless stroll around your neighborhood. It was nice enough, but in the end more of a leisurely exercise than a journey to a specific destination.

I found the protagonist, Lucinda, slightly off--she seemed like a construct, not an actual person--and the name "Lucinda" didn't help with that. The descriptions of New Yorkers vs Prairie Cityites was relatable to me as a person who grew up in a rural area and moved to a city, but they were still flat overall. And why are all the New Yorkers surprised to find lesbians in the Midwest? If there's one thing the Midwest has in abundance, it's lesbians.

Having previously read Daum's memoir, Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House, I could see bits of her in this story, but I prefer the nonfiction version over the story of Lucinda Trout's many bad decisions and strange crush on Sam Shepard.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

The LEGO Movie

For having such a non-descriptive title, The LEGO Movie surprised me with its attention to fun details and simple (yet well-developed) plot. I was a fan from the start--the cast list itself is enough to get me excited--and this movie about building blocks kept me entertained the whole way through.

Emmet (Chris Pratt) is just a basic dude going about his basic life when he falls (literally) into an adventure. While he's used to following all instructions, both written and unwritten, this adventure requires him to go off the grid with Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks), who is all too ready for the challenge of stopping Lord Business (Will Ferrell) in his plans to end the world. (Side note: I thought this movie would have been just fine had Wildstyle ended up being the "hero" instead of "the girl." She was written as a capable and intelligent character, so I was a little disheartened when she lost confidence in herself early on. That's my only critique.)

Joined by Batman (Will Arnett) and a team of "Master Builders," Emmet and Wildstyle navigate the LEGO universe, trying to return the Piece of Resistance to the Kragle, as the wizard Vitruvious (Morgan Freeman) prophesied "The Special" would do. If that sounds like a crazy story made up by a child, you're not far off, but no spoilers here!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Museum, A Meal, A Movie: 3 Relationship Lessons

Jesus and I took advantage of a free day to visit The Field Museum last weekend. We've both been there before, so this time we upgraded our basic tickets in order to check out a special exhibit: The Machine Inside: Biomechanics. We did a lot of people-watching (and people-following...not creepy in a museum), discovering, goofing around, and reminiscing. Later, we got dinner at Lazo's (one of our regular taco joints) and watched The LEGO Movie (A+, highly recommend, review to come). Along the way, we learned (and remembered) a few things about ourselves.
Thermal Selfie!
Spacial Awareness

Similarities: being aware of our surroundings. I grew up with "Be Aware of Your Surroundings" as a family rule, and Jesus's parkour years forced him to focus on what was around him.

Differences: our level of awareness based on where our surroundings are. Inside, Jesus always knows where he is and how to get where he wants to be. He likens indoor spaces to video game worlds: finite areas where it's impossible to get truly lost. I'm the opposite: huge indoor spaces overwhelm me and unless I have a map or a landmark, I have no way of knowing where exactly I am. (With a map I'm UNSTOPPABLE.) When we get outside, I can navigate my way nearly anywhere, but Jesus has no idea which way he's facing (even in Chicago).

Lesson: Rachel gets us to our destination and back home again; Jesus acts as tour guide while we're inside.
I got this. Facing east.
Eating Habits

Similarities: the need to eat every few hours, and subsequent habit of packing snacks for any day we plan on being out of the house. Hungry = our normal state of existence...but when our blood sugar starts to crash and we edge into hangry territory, watch out.

Differences: Jesus could eat the same three or four meals for the rest of his life, so finding food isn't that much of an issue for him when we are planning meals. I'm not picky either, but every now and then I do enjoy trying out a new restaurant or eating somewhere with a certain atmosphere. This has caused more than one disagreement/discussion (exacerbated by our growing hunger) when Jesus just wants to eat food and I want to enjoy a meal.

Lesson: Get on the same page about what we want before leaving the house.
We're not ourselves when we're hungry.
Taste in Movies

Similarities: we can always agree on animated kids movies (Wreck-It Ralph, Epic, Tangled), big screen versions of YA novels (Divergent, Ender's Game, Catching Fire), scary movies (anything that comes out in October), and superhero/comic book movies (anything from the Marvel or DC Comics world). The LEGO Movie suited both of us perfectly and it starred pretty much all of our favorite actors: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Will Forte, Jonah Hill, Jake Johnson, Liam Neeson, Nick Offerman...for real...everyone is in this movie, so we did a stellar job of picking it out.

Differences: I say why not tweak what could be improved; Jesus says don't fix what isn't broken. I like more drama and romance; Jesus prefers more gore, robots, and muscles.

Lesson: When in doubt, go with what you know will work--especially after a long day of walking and hangry fighting over where to eat. Sometimes the comfort of a familiar genre is exactly what you need.

Bonus Lesson: Remember to laugh out loud together. It can't hurt, and it'll probably help.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Morning Shortlist Vol 4

I ran out of coffee last Friday and --gasp-- had to drink tea in the morning, but have no fear--I stocked up over the weekend so I can catch up on leisure reading with my favorite caffeinated companion. Won't you join me?
Museum Campus, Chicago (Jesus and I took advantage of a free day at the Field Museum yesterday.)
Rejoice! Packaged/processed food sales are going down! (Small victories are still victories.)

A clever (if not pricey) solution for growing plants. (I have a lily that wants a bigger home.)

Beautiful sketches. (Just try to not get this song stuck in your head after visiting.)

This is AWESOME. (I would love to have this option every weekend.)

How to Be Polite. (It's simpler than you think--and can change everything.)

If I'm not creating, I'm probably consuming. (These lists are a strange mixture of both.)

And with that, I'm off to do some creating! (Creating means napping and planning dinner.)