Sunday, June 22, 2008

at last

After a 1 month hiatus, I've finally carved out some time to blog. Don't pee your pants from excitement or anything...

So last you heard I was struggling to adjust to my new job. UPDATE: I'm still struggling to adjust to my new job. The dust hasn't settled yet. I realize it's only been one month and that over time I will feel more at ease with it. In some ways I've gained more confidence in my ability to succeed...just *some*. Every day there's a new challenge. LOTS of challenges. Lots of kinks to get through. And I'm doing my best to be thankful for the fact that I'm challenged....thankful that I get the chance to use my brain every day...that I'm not doing some crap job like being a cashier at Home Depot or sitting at home with 2 screaming babies and spit-up on my sweat pants. I need to get better at dealing with situations that are out of my control. I need to learn to let go. I take work way too personally. Anyway, that's all I'm going to say about that.

I have so many pictures that I wanted to share from the past month's events. Sean and I have been busy bees, seeing and doing lots of things now that it's finally summer. Unfortunately, I don't have my camera with me!!! I am currently in Providence (just for the night) because we had a customer appointment in Massachusettes today. (I really hope I spelled that right - I've always had problems with that state). Anyway, I promise to post a big pictures blog as soon as I can.

In addition to hanging out with great friends and family , hosting a sushi night and having a Father's day cookout at our house, I finally took my long-awaited weekend trip to see Emily in Chicago. I do wish that I would have had more time with her and more time to see the city, but the surgery took away everything I had in the way of vacation days. Thankfully, I had just enough days to still take our big summer trip to Seattle. But, it left me with just one weekend to see Chicago. I flew into the city last Friday night and got to see Emily's house. She lives just blocks away from Wrigley field in an adorable historic neighborhood.

Saturday morning started off with a Bar Method class that Emily regularly attends. It was really interesting to partake in a different type of exercise. And, boy, did it challenge my fact, I'm still sore! Because we burned off so many calories at the workout, I was starved. We then headed for breakfast at a really neat place called Orange (where Rachel Ray actually visited on her $40 a Day show). I had the most delicious Steak and Eggs Benedict, and we also tried an Orange specialty: Frushi. Yes, it's fruit-sushi that they call "Frushi" and it's really cute. From there, we walked through the neighborhood and did some quick window shopping on our way home. After showers and freshening up, we headed out for a big day seeing sights on the town. First stop was taking a bus to Hot Doug's for a Chicago style dog. We got caught in the Cubs' crowd as the game was just letting out and we got on the (very crowded and slow) bus. We arrived at Hot Doug's about an hour before they were set to close, but the line was wrapped around the building! We waited in line for an hour, and thankfully made it through the doors before they stopped serving. I got The Dog with Everything, including a whole pickle spear (eaten on the dog) and we split an order of fries. Then we both became incredibly full and sick to our stomachs! I couldn't believe how nasty i felt after eating 1 hot dog and some fries. I've eaten waaaaaay bigger meals than that. I would like to believe that they secretly poisoned us because I had to jump off the bus a couple of times for an emergency bathroom stop.

So, despite being sickningly full, Emily and I continued on our journey to downtown. First we stopped at a specialty chocolate shop called Voges where they sell a Bacon Bar. Yes, it's a chocolate bar that's enfused with bacon...and tastes bacony...and it's surprisingly delicious!!! They have many interesting/weird combinations of flavors that all seem to somehow work together to become tasty chocolate bars. For example: chocolate infused with curry, one with wasabi, and one with kalamata olives. I know, I's too crazy to actually be good. But it really is.

The rest of the afternoon was spent checking out the touristy hotspots like Michigan Ave, Mellinium Park, the Bean, Buckingham Fountain (from the credits of Married with Children) and the Hancock Tower. Our view from the Hancock was beautiful as we arrived just before sunset. On our way to the Hancock Tower, we came upon a Salsa Dancing festival in the park. It was so cool to see the the locals and feel the energy and really see the city come alive. A live band was playing while a huge crowd of people danced. Many people brought picnics and were dancing on their blankets, and others were strolling by and dancing while they walked. Somewhere along the course of the day, we were on the train and a man sketched a picture of me from his seat. It was like one of those characatures where I have a huge head and tiny body. So, the head looks more like Lisa Marie Presley than me, but he did a fairly good job considering I wasn't looking at him. I was concerned he would ask me for money, and that conversation always makes me awkward. Maybe he wanted to, but he didn't...and I didn't offer. So i just came home with the free picture as a nice little reminder of my first time in the city. By the time we finished all the sightseeing, it was pretty late and my feet were killing me. For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to wear a brand new pair of shoes while I walked for miles upon miles....and surprise -- they gave me a big blister. So, because i was limping we decided to take a cab home. We ordered an inside-out Chicago style pizza with the sauce on bottom and cheese on top, and then we called it a night.

Sunday started out with breakfast at a neighborhood diner, and then we walked down to get our nails done. On the way to the nail shop, we stopped in Fashion Tomato - a cute boutique - where I found a great dress for a good price....SOLD! I know Chicago is well known for it's shopping, but since I'm not a career shopper like some women, I settled on 20 minutes in a boutique and one $40 dress. With pretty nails, Emily and I made our way back to downtown so we could take The Untouchables Tour. It's a tour that "takes you back in time" to the gangster days when Al Capone ruled the city. Not only do you get a full history of all the gangers and a visual of where they operated, but you get a great 2 hour tour of the many neighborhoods in Chicago. The tour was complete with 2 guides who dressed in period costomes and fake guns along with a soundtrack of machine gun blasting. Every time we "heard the bullets flying" we had to duck in our seats to "dodge the bullets." Hokey? Yes. But still fun.

We went from dodging bullets to all-American girls in just a few blocks. The next stop was the American Girls headquarters where I got to see the home of my old doll Molly. I enjoyed reliving a small piece of my childhood. It made me want to bust Molly out of the attic and bring her back to life...except that would make me crazy. So maybe I'll just save her for my kid.

"Sean, Jr., I'm sorry but you HAVE to play with Molly today. She's lonely. You promised her last week that you would set her up in her camping outfit!!!!" hehehe.

Since Sunday was my last night in Chicago, Emily and I put on cute dresses and met her friend Jason at a tapas bar. The first one we went to was closing, so we stopped at another tapas nearby and it was delicious. We had a great time sharing stories and laughing. Then we came home so I could squeeze in some sleep before I took the 6 a.m. flight the next morning.

Monday I woke up in Chicago at 4:15 and made it to work in Nashville before 9:00. Today (Tuesday), I woke up at 4:00 in Nashville and made it to Providence, RI by 10:30. Thankfully my flight back home tomorrow is NOT at 6:00. For now I'm pretty much beat, so I'm going to head to bed and try to catch up on some of my sleep! Pictures coming soon!

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