Tuesday, July 17, 2012

baseball & birthdays

Shout outs to Quinn and Mom on their birthdays yesterday and today!

J and I got to leave the city for the day yesterday to celebrate with the fam and watch a Brewer/Cardinals game. I've only been to Milwaukee several times, but every time I'm impressed by the city's architecture/skyline. I wish I knew the city better, besides the few spots I've visited (Miller Park, Summerfest grounds).

I made use of the two hour ride there (In sweltering heat...I'm convinced the A/C was broken. It was like riding in a double-decker convection oven.) by reading a huge chunk of Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane. I've seen the movie several times and it's one of my favorites. (I find Shutter Island and Inception comparable--unreliable narrator with a haunted past creating an alternate reality, Leonardo DiCaprio--but I prefer Shutter Island far more. Like piles and piles more.) I recommend the book as well, even if you've already seen the movie. For one, it's an intriguing story, written well and with solid characters. On top of that, the book has subtle layers of depth that a film can't incorporate.

Now I'm back in Chicago, but only for three days. I'm off to Madison on Thursday to see two of my favorite siblings!

Monday, July 16, 2012


Even though I believe everything happens for a reason, it's a rare occurrence when I learn that reason in a timely manner. Usually it's months or years before I look back and think, "Oh yeah, I'm glad it went that way." Not so a few weeks ago: I experienced instant serendipity, a moment when I knew at least one reason why my day went the way it did.

It was supposed to be a simple Friday at work: my last day with M before his summer camp, finishing up laundry before the weekend, stocking up on groceries, and overseeing a fix to the new cable/internet/phone line installed a day earlier. Enter flash summer storm. In the middle of a 100 degree day, the rain started and didn't let up. It came down, sideways, and in sheets. Hail joined the rain for several seconds. The wind announced its presence by tipping the solid metal patio table over, umbrella and all. Oh, and the power went out.

The AT&T service guy came not long after that, and I had to let him know there wasn't much he could do since we had no power. He answered some questions and left M and me in the humid darkness. Laundry sat sudsy in the washer and damp in the dryer. I begged M to stop opening and closing the fridge and freezer, even though the cold air felt great. Without A/C, we laid on the floor sweating without moving.

I still needed to get groceries, so I left M to his own devices and escaped for a bit to Jewel, but not before having to fix the garage door, which went a little crazy during the storm. I made sure to get ice cream--M and I both needed it and besides, the kid was headed to northern Minnesota in a few days, where he'd miss home comforts.

Back home, I learned the power was back. I also learned the phone line was completely out. On my cell, I volleyed calls between AT&T and H, troubleshooting and explaining the situation. Thanks to faulty installation the day before, plus the power outage, the backup generator had zero charge and wasn't supplying power. M chose all the times I was on the phone to ask me questions, beg me to watch YouTube videos on his iPod, and dribble around a soccer ball.

People: I was frazzled. I left work that day with a shirt damp with sweat and hair plastered to my head. I rode home through a light sprinkle, something I was grateful for as it helped cool me down. Still, I was drenched when I got back to The Naw. I needed a freeze pop and a gentle friend. I called Becca as I unwound from the day, the week. My three day weekend had finally begun and I didn't want to think about work until Tuesday.

We caught up for a bit; I mentioned going to Milwaukee on Monday to see a Brewer game for Quinn's birthday. "I'm going to a Brewers game on Monday too," Becca said. "I think. Let me check." Sure enough, we were going to be at the same game. For two people who used to live together, but currently live in two different states, meeting up in a third state is wonderful. Knowing I'd see Becca the next Monday made my Friday night.

All at once I realized why my day at work was so trying. If not for that, I wouldn't have felt the need to talk to Becca afterwards. I would have came home feeling great about my weekend, ate dinner, had drinks, etc...and very likely wouldn't even know Becca would be in Milwaukee with me on Monday. If not for having a tough day, Becca and I might have attended the Brewer game unaware of each other's presence. And if that would have happened? Unacceptable. Thank you, Universe!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Grounded, Receptive

Tonight's yoga class was like that really fun day camp where the counselors are like older sisters that want to hang out with you. Our teacher could have been the love child of Jennifer Coolidge and Drew Barrymore and she spent the class shouting out personal encouragements and corrections: "Look up, Linds! Breathe, Kels!" She also abbreviated everyone's name. I went from no name newbie to "Keep your butt up, Rach!" in about 45 minutes.

And the highlight of the class? I successfully did a headless head stand! Okay, actually a head stand inversion on my forearms. Alright, alright, you got me. The teacher held my hips while I pressed my feet against the wall and my arms to the ground. But I didn't fall over this time!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

And the Living is Sweaty

Today, it hailed. It was also another 100 degree day. Explain that one, science.

Our apartment has no air conditioning, so my routine has been cold showers, freeze pops, fans, and as little movement as possible.

Yesterday Bailey and I celebrated freedom on the beach with the rest of Chicago's young population. We also got to see fireworks aplenty. They are illegal in Illinois, but that doesn't stop enthusiastic Americans from crossing the border to Indiana to appease their need for explosives.

Tonight I'm sleeping at the Charleston, just a few blocks away. They have A/C and down comforters on pillow top mattresses. I'm basically on a staycation except I still have to go to work tomorrow.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Falling for Health

Just this afternoon, I finished reading Drop Dead Healthy, the latest from extreme project guru A.J. Jacobs. During the course of writing it, he tried to be the healthiest man alive, spending about one month per body part for two years: stomach, brain, heart, skin, eyes, ears...he covers a lot of body parts. If I had to write that book, I would have separated it by health categories: diet, exercise, rest, etc, but as a follower of Jacobs' work I heartily (pun intended) enjoyed it.

Sunday for me is overwhelmingly a day of rest, but after devouring Drop Dead Healthy along with these food items today:

cinnamon raisin bagel w/ cream cheese
homemade pizza (3 pieces)
freeze pop (green flavor)
chocolate chips

I couldn't sit around and watch TV, nap, or read more. Off to yoga I went. A lot of what I've read/heard recently has echoed the mind/body relation, namely that a healthy body means a healthy mind, or a stressed out mind means an out of whack body. It makes sense, and luckily a month of chiropractic adjustments sprinkled with yoga and relaxation have done both my mind and body good.

I sometimes surprise myself during yoga with what my body can do, and then I start feeling pretty righteous and my body reminds me I'm definitely NOT the poster child for grace, balance, or flexibility. Just today I started internally praising myself for some great-looking plank push-ups when the teacher suggested hand stands against the wall. Feeding off a so-far successful class, I kicked right up into it...and immediately came crashing to my side. Laughing at myself to ease the embarrassment and thanking the good Lord I didn't knock anyone else over, I settled for a much more accessible downward dog pose. Drop Dead Healthy indeed.