Archive for July 2012

The day I felt like eating worms…because I’m human

You know when you have one of those days…when after a week of them you hear the mantra of the song from your child hood playing through your head; ‘nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I’ll go eat worms’.  Today was that day.  The culmination of all the stress of the past week caught up and I would rather be on a pile of dirt digging for worms than anything else.  So I decided to write about it.

My life is good.  I know that.  I’m semi-healthy, I have a great family, I can laugh, I can definitely cry, and I have great friends.  But sometimes the frustration outweighs the good for just a moment.  But a person still smiles.  The mantra going through your head at that point is ‘hold head up, smile, let them think things are great’.  Be strong.  But in the end, I’m just human.  I fail.  I fall.  I don’t smile.  I am sometimes rude (some of you are saying…all the time).  I don’t always live up to what I’m supposed to be, do, think, act like, or represent as Christ like.  I’m human, and being human…I’m a sinner.  We’ve all sinned and come short, but fortunately for us God loves us.  Regardless of what state he finds us in.  We’re still one of His children and He gives us the strength to hold our head up and be strong…to yes, even smile.

My world lately.

Work has been nerve racking and stressful.  That’s all I’m going to say about that…because, well work is work.

In my world outside of work, I was refinancing my home to try and lower my payments so I could go through this next nine months of school without worrying so much about finances.  Stress from school is stress enough…money issues just add a bonus of a cherry on top.  So in the process of refinancing my home, I get a call from a relator that had previously looked at my house, she had the perfect person for my home (my house is not listed or on the market); could they come see it.  THEY LOVED IT.  They loved it so much they signed a contract for it that night.  I LOVED THEM.  This is something that I have been praying for about for a very long time.  I was very excited, and could feel the stress slipping away.

It was all good until about 9:00 am the next morning.  They emailed the relator to tell her they didn’t want it.  Not only did they not want it (though it was a binding contract, no ‘get out of jail free’ clauses or 48 hour back-out options) they also didn’t want to lose their assureity  money they put down the night before.  So they deflated my balloon, and took away the helium tank in the process.  Their claim was that they thought I would be a good Christian girl and just let it go.  My shinning light went out when I got that call…my faith was tested because this is something I had prayed for for so long.  We ended up dividing the money in half, because if I didn’t sign the paper it would have just went to probate and the state would have gotten the lump sum; and they were not willing to let me have all of it.  Sometimes being labeled is hard to live up to.

I figured I would fall back on my original plan of refinance.  Well, to get an appraisal on a house they compare it to others in the neighborhood that are currently on the market.  My house came in short of what I needed to wrap everything into a neat little package.  I would have to come up with some extra mula ($$) to cover closing cost and the shortness of what is currently owed on my home.  STRIKE TWO.  My parents of course decided that they could step in and help me out…me putting them more in debt.  Makes a girl want to go eat worms.

I read other people’s blogs.  Some of them are all bubble gum and lollipops.  Mine right now is about life.  How sometimes it doesn’t go as planned.  It’s rough.  It makes one want to eat worms…because we are human.

I know deep down that I have a God that loves me, He knows the reason behind everything that I went through the past week.  The roller coaster called ‘Life’.  One day, I’ll see the bigger picture.

And, yes, I know…that these matters are trivial to what some people are facing.  I KNOW I am blessed.  I have my health (what it is), I have family, I have a great church family.  My life is good.  But I am human…and being human some days you just feel like eating worms.  Tomorrow, I will count my blessings…having a roof over my head, my job, a family that loves me, and knowing that yes even though I see my life as ‘grrr’ at the moment I am good.

But for now…my plate has worms.

ERM

Chicago – Day 6…Reflection

I’m sitting in my own home, laundry’s done (or at least the last load is in the dryer), and I’ve already returned to work (at both my jobs)…so I’m definitely back to reality.  Now I just have to convince myself to get busy on my ‘school’ work to get prepared for this coming semester…I have a month left of ‘freedom’, and I’m afraid it is going to disappear faster than I can say Rumpelstiltskin.

BONUS:  I’m a foodie, and as most of you have realized and gathered from my post and from Facebook (if you correlate these two items), I did nothing but basically eat my way around Chicago.  We hit a couple of art things and saw some buildings, met some friends…but it was a food trip.  The BONUS is that I did not gain any weight!!!  I was expecting to have gained at least a pound or two…but I apparently drank enough water and put in enough miles every day (or throughout the five days I was there) to keep the pounds at bay.  I’m excited about that.  I was afraid of a set back…so now the food was really totally worth it!!

Our last day, which was Monday (7/16), was spent sleeping in and packing.  We went out for Crepes one last time at the Gotta B Crepes place (they were a type of Farmer’s Market set-up, and they are only going to be there until October ~ Chicago will lose a great thing).  The workers are out of Michigan, and one of the guys that was there that morning was dressed in a sweater and shirt/tie; I asked if he received the wrong memo on where he was headed that day because though it was only 9:30 am, it was already pretty warm.  He laughed and said ‘yes’…hopefully someone brought him a cooler shirt at some point.

We dropped our luggage off with the front desk and headed out to lunch, I ate my first Monte Cristo sandwich.  Anything that you can put jelly on and eat as ‘lunch’ is tasty.  It was actually really good.  We then had to bid Chicago farewell and headed to Union Station.  Finally…a train station that depicted what you see in movies.  The Grand Hall of Chicago Union Station was beautiful.  We relaxed for a bit and then headed to get the train…mistake.  There were people EVERYWHERE.  The railroad was doing track work, so they bumped everyone to one train…it was a little packed.

Melissa and I was separated, I was in the middle of a family of five which consisted of grandparents and their three grandchildren.  It was an interesting ride.  At one point the seat next to me the grandfather gave up and used as a ‘time-out’ for one of the kids because they were in trouble for running through the train cars and not wearing their shoes.  Luckily they have a car called a ‘viewing’ car (no, they did not have deceased people laid out to ‘view’); the majority of the car was glass and you could look out and ‘view’ the country side as you creep by.  Yes, it was creeping…due to the track work we were not going fast at all.  It was a double decked train, we were on the top deck.  The stairs were kinda of treacherous, don’t break your leg or require assistance and need to ride on the to car.  The bathrooms are another matter, worse than airplane bathrooms.  You back in, sit, and walk out.  I thought I would do the handicapped one, thinking there would be more room, they had a trashcan in the ‘extra’ space that was afforded for the handicapped room and the toilet was partially under the sink.  But, it was a bathroom and when you’re on a train from 1:45 pm to 9:10 pm, sometimes the need outweighs the circumstances.

I would recommend the train experience of at least once.  If you are not under time constraints, and want to travel in a way that gives you the ability to walk around and stretch, and if you have children that would get bored in a vehicle…it is a good experience.  I can now say that I have traveled by rail.  It was pretty relaxing, and we saved a lot of money not having a car in Chicago, parking was anywhere from $5-$6 for 20 minutes.

Would I do things differently?  Chicago has so much to offer.  Museums, Navy Pier, Michigan Avenue, and neighborhoods galore.  When I sit and reflect on what we did, it’s slim.  We walked around a lot and ate.  We hit the zoo, the beach, Little Italy, Greek Town, Wicker Park, a movie in the Park, Logan Square, the art museum, Hull House, Taste of Chicago,  and visited a little French Market that we happened upon while walking to Greek Town.  The zoo afforded us the opportunity to watch a polar bear playing with a plastic drum and how powerful they truly are — it would dive to the bottom of the pool then push it’s self off the bottom and zoom toward the barrel.  It was really cool to watch.

But when I sit and really think about my trip would I do it differently?  Would I take in other sites so I could say, “I saw…”.  I honestly do not know.  Without seeing it, I’m not sure of what I missed out on.  I know that I was relaxed and well rested, and that I enjoyed my time there.  After looking Little Italy up online, we did realize that we missed out on a lot of stuff by coming into it from the University side…but hey, it will always be there.  It’s a city that will continuing giving and that one can visit on weekends and pick up something new every time.

It was a good vacation…and I’m glad I went.  Next time I want to go West…there’s a big world out there that I want to see.

Until later…ERM.

Chicago ~ Day 5

Today is Sunday.  My last full day on vacation.  Tomorrow will be spent wasting time in the morning then boarding a train and having a ‘travel’ day.  I hate to see the time end, this has been a great week.  I’ve been able to eat some great food, I’m a foodie and a carb addict…so what better way to spend vacation than eating.  I’ve had the opportunity to see a lot of cool buildings, the zoo without animals (to hot for them to be out), an art museum, and a lot of city streets.  But it’s been good.

Today we went back to Logan Square, where we went yesterday for breakfast at Bang Bang, to attend church with Tamar and her family at Cross Fellowship under the pastorate of Bro. Jorge Escarpita.  It was an interactive service over the book of Mark 8.  It was a good service that I enjoyed.  It was a small mission’s church that has few members, and today the majority of the people there were from Missouri.  It was great to be with fellow ‘Show-Me State’ individuals.

We left the service and hopped the “L” on our way to Little Italy…looking for either some good pizza or basic Italian food and cannolis.  We got off in the heart of the University of Illinois at Chicago campus and took off walking.  On our walk to Little Italy we stopped in at the Hull House, a museum in the house that survived the Chicago Fire, that housed a training place for children and adults alike.  The founder, Jane Adams, is said to have started the now-day social work program.  It was interesting information and another museum for Melissa.

We continued our our journey to Little Italy, about six blocks, and our destination ended up being Davanti Enoteca.  We almost stopped at a little pizza joint, but I’m so glad that we continued walking.  At Davanti I ordered the Davanti Burger (special blend beef burger with bacon jam, roasted tomato, cheese curd, arugula, and roasted garlic mayo) with a side of shoestring fries.  For an appetizer we ordered a Vasi (a mini mason jar) with an eggplant and mozzerla mixture…oh, so tasty.  I wanted to lick the jar clean, I sad that I couldn’t eat it all and had to send some back to the kitchen to be thrown away.  But if I wanted to walk back to the motel, I needed to be able to move.

We left the restaurant and headed back to the motel via Greek Town so we could stop by the Greek Town market and pick up something to support the nice gentleman that gave us cheese samples the other day.  They were very nice.  We also had to stop by Artopolis to pick up some cannolis and I tried mango mousse.  Both good choices!!

Then we walked back to the motel to kick-back and relax.  Our trip was something similar to this, google says that it was only 2.5 miles, but it seemed longer than that.  But at least I know that I’ve got some mileage in for the day.  Even if it was just at a stroll, with my neck craned to view the buildings and admire the stuff around me.

It’s been a great week.  I’ve had the opportunity to see a lot of stuff, but there is so much more of the city to see.  I haven’t even made it to the ‘magnificent mile’, also known as Michigan Ave.  We’ve crossed over it several times, went there to catch bus several times, but didn’t shop there.  I could spend a whole other week up here and still barely scratch the surface.  They continually have music fest and other things going on that would keep a person going from place to place.

To recap my week so far…food.  That pretty much sums up what I’ve done so far.  We ate, ate, and ate some more.  I threw some art in the mix, at the insistence of Melissa, but I could have spent the entire trip going from one neighborhood to the other finding great food choices.  I will definitely be hitting the gym when I get home. :)

Until later…ERM.

 

Chicago ~ Day Four

Today was a very relaxing day…we met up with a friend of mine from Gateway College, Tamar Sagil, she took us to a local’s place called Bang Bang.  It was very tasty!!  We had some biscuits and gravy and pie for breakfast, and the little shop held some ‘bang, bang’ in their food…it was well worth the trip.  I enjoyed getting to catch up with Tamar, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow (Sunday) when we’ll meet up again.

After returning from our outing with Tamar, we headed back to the French Market that we found while walking to the Greek Neighborhood on Wednesday, to purchase some Oh Olive.  It’s a cool little market with a little bit of everything.  Upon leaving the market, it had started raining…a little hard.  Luckily Melissa has a built in umbrella in her purse, she was nice enough to give it to me…since my shirt was white.  We popped into a Walgreen’s (since there’s one on every corner) to wait for the rain to finish and for me to view umbrellas for my very own self.  My flip-flops dried quickly, Melissa’s shoes were a little squeaky but she fit in with the rest of the customer’s that ducked in as well.  We had a squeak chorus going on.

We opted out of trying to hit Michigan Ave, since it was raining and went back to the room where I succumbed to a two hour nap.  I felt good when I got up, but was wanting food.  So we hit the streets.  One downfall of being in the ‘Loop’ is the fact that it’s the business district and a lot of the stores close around 6:00, since everyone has went home from work.  We hit Ronny’s for dinner, then stopped by the Crepe Bistro for dessert on our way back to the room.

On the way back to the room we passed a family that was getting directions from a lady on her cell phone, she was trying to give them information and get them where they needed to go.  We had about five maps between us, I asked to have one to give to them.  We back tracked and approached the family and offered the map, they were very appreciative.  I was told by my travel companion that I was ‘neighborly’.  My only excuse was that I’m from Doniphan.  A place that you learn to give a helping hand, or when you see someone in ‘need’ you do what you can to help them out.  I hope that regardless of where I go and what I do in life that I never lose the desire to help others.  Even if it is to take a picture of a couple in front of a monument so they will have one with both of them in it, instead of two with them separated.  Or to give a map to someone that is as lost as I am when trying to navigate the city.  It makes them smile…and that’s what matters.  Just call me Mr. Rodgers. :)

So far this has been a great vacation, I have to remind myself sometimes of what day it is ~ which is good.  But reality is waiting for me tomorrow.  I face the fact that I need to hit the books and get into some information for class next semester.  Classes start on August 20, I get a little stressed when I think about it…but I just tell myself that I have nine months left.  By the grace of God I’ll make it.

Until later…ERM

Chicago ~ Day Three

Today was rest day…or lay around and have ‘housekeeping’ come knocking on the door about three times.  Finally they told us to put the ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door. :)  It felt good to just lay around for a bit.  Today our goal was to hit Michigan Ave. and look at a couple of shops.  We hit the streets around 12:00 looking for food.  We stopped and watched the Number Nine in Thompson Center Plaza, then headed on down Randolph and happened upon Gotta B Crepes.  They were made to order crepes, I requested without onion and the cook was nice enough to pick them out of the ingredients that go into the crepe I wanted.  Their ingredients are fresh and his wife makes a lot of the toppings and salsa’s.  They were very tasty!!

After getting sustenance, we went on down to Michigan Ave, they have museums and the Taste of Chicago was going on.  We also stopped and looked at different sculptures in Millennium Park and Grant Park.  The Bean was pretty interesting, and very cool.  We walked on down through the park, and hit the Art Museum the Roy Lichtenstein exhibit was going on.  I’m a fly-by art looker, Melissa is a sit and observe and soak in art observer.  We spent about two and a-half hours there.  There was some good pieces of art, some that I even recognized from pictures and other books.  I didn’t have to purchase the audio phone, I had Melissa…she was a walking audio clip of the art.  It was a good stop though, because the whole time we were in the museum it rained and I did get to see some cool pictures.

My stomach led us outside to the Taste of Chicago.  We purchased tickets and set off within the loop of tents to find good that interested us.  We ended up with sweet potato fries, mac-n-cheese bites (fried mac-n-cheese), and a piece of cheesecake.  There were people EVERYWHERE.  It was a very cool experience.  We headed out, with sore feet and tired legs ready to kick back and relax.  It started sprinkling/raining again on our way back to the motel.

We popped into a Walgreen’s, they have one on every corner here, and bought me some magnesium along with some cheeses and apples.  Fished our walk back to the hotel and decided to just relax.

Chicago has cleaners, Walgreen’s, and nail salons practically every other store.  Your nails will be beautiful and your clothes clean, and you can grab anything you need.  You walk out onto the street and you can feel the energy of the city.  You can soak it up.  Lovin’ it so far…my legs/feet need a massive massage though. :)

ERM

Chicago ~ Day Two

Wow…that’s all that I can say.  Today was a great day!!  I’m nursing a sun burn, yes mom I used sunblock…but apparently you sweat it off and you need more than 30 SPF in Chicago.  But I’ll look like I spent time outside instead of behind a desk. :)

Something about yesterday’s experiences that I forgot to add…the security on trains is non-existent.  They didn’t even check for a ticket while we were boarding, and then when they came by to take our ticket (after the train left the station) they didn’t even take our photo id with it to make sure we were who we said we were.  It was crazy, and totally different than riding a plane.  I was trying to give my id to everyone…and no one wanted it. :)

I started my day off in the motel gym.  I was trying to continue with my 5K, at my steady pace of 10.54, when some chic came in and jumped on the treadmill and started running at about 20 mph without even a warm up.  Needless to say I felt a little out of sync, but I stuck with my own time frame and did my time.  It’s amazing how many people exercise here.  There are several people that ride bikes (which saves gas), joggers everywhere (all times of the day), and people power walking down the sidewalks.  It is daunting but also motivating.

To get some more exercise in for the day, we decided to take the stairs (we’re on the 12th floor) down instead of the elevator.  We found the ‘stairs’ exit, and started down.  On the third floor there was a little switch back-and-forth, and when we got to the bottom there was no exit that would not set off an alarm.  So we went back up to the third and looked for the door that would lead us out into the lobby.  We ended up only being able to go through one of the conference rooms, luckily the participants of the scheduled conference had not made it into the meeting hall yet.  We calmly walked through the room and out into the lobby.  We’ve decided that we will take the elevator, since apparently the motel doesn’t want you taking the stairs unless it’s an actual emergency. :)

We meandered around today.  We went to the Daley Plaza, where a Farmer’s Market was set up (yummy croissants), also the place where Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock meet up in the movie ‘The Lake House’ (first time he was hit by a bus, the second scene they meet up).

We went into a local Methodist Church (Chicago Temple, the oldest/first church) by the Daley Plaza.  It was BEAUTIFUL and very functional.  They had their ministry opportunities listed, and they were open for all types of activities and did a lot of ‘giving’.  They had a room that had several chairs in it that had been decorated and had names of children on them…it was a remembrance room.  The chairs represented people that had been killed, and their news stories were tacked to the chair and their names were written on them.  The wood work and stain glass windows were very intricate.

After that we made it to Michigan Ave and caught a bus up to Lincoln Park for the Zoo.  Saw the Conservatory yard, no animals (they were all hiding out inside their homes, and what ones we did see they were laying around looking dead).  We walked the lake front…on sand that exfoliated our feet by burning off the first layer of skin.  Then headed to Wicker Park area to check out the stores and wait to watch the Wizard of Oz in the park.

We arrived at the park where they movie was to play and caught the end of a kick-ball game.  It was great getting to see the interaction of the community where we were.  A large group of people from all walks of life came together to watch a movie with their kids, picnics, and friends.  It was great!!

We caught the L back to the motel and crashed.  It was a great day of exercise, about 500 a good eight miles I think…if not more.  We ate at a great little place called Clark’s on Damon.

Recap of today:  exercise, zoo without animals, exfoliated feet, great movie in the park, and good food.

Catch you tomorrow…ERM

Vacation – Chicago 2012 Day One

I ran away today…for a five day stay in Chicago.  Needed the time to relax, rejuvenate, and get ready to face my next nine months of school.  That’s all I have left for this program…nine months!!  My cousin, Shila, graduated last week from LPN school.  I was insanely jealous and so very proud all at the same time.  I’m more than ready to walk across the stage and be pinned as an RN.

My day today started off with a VERY early kick-off at the Amtrak station in St. Louis.  I was disillusioned by movies, I was expecting this grand train station with elaborate decorations.  I was given plastic chairs, grumminess, and bright lights.  Along the trip to Chicago, the stops were in the middle of nowhere.  In old movies they had wooden board walks, and little stations…nothing, zilch, squat, nothing.  A little sign that told you it was an Amtrak pick-up.  But the train itself was cool.  It was only 45 minutes late, due to track repairs they have done that caused the train to only go 30 miles per-hour…they are waiting on the tracks to settle before going fast.  Which I consider nice of them, I wouldn’t want the newly lain ties to fly out of the way and we end up on the side of the track instead of safely going down the train.

You receive an education and learn things about people that you really have no business knowing, when traveling by rail.  There’s no filter on what they share or think the person in the seat next to them want to know.  The sixteen year old that was traveling along, who had to be signed off the train, did not need to know the information that was being shared.  But I guess that is what one gets when traveling by train.  The food was highly overpriced (.99 bag chips for $3…luckily we had snacks and picked less expensive options off the menu).   Baby’s eat breakfast supplied by their mother, uncovered and proud.  It was a six hour experience that will add to my overall vast of knowledge to pull from. :)

We landed in Chicago, took a Flash Cab to the motel, and relaxed before heading out to Greek Town.  I asked Mel if I followed the name of the cab, ‘flash cab’, if we would get a discount.  She decided against trying. :)  We walked to Greek town (about 5 city blocks or so…a mile); found a cool little French Market with a lot of cool food from different places around the world, at at a bakery, received samples of imported cheese at the Greek Store, and then capped the night off with a salad and Tzatziki at Athena’s, with sludge coffee as the end of our meal before heading back to the motel to crash.  We had been up since 3:45 that morning ~ well she got up at 3:45, I got to sleep till 4:45…I was closer to the train station.

It was a beautiful night.  Cool breeze, very relaxing…a very needed kick-off to our vacation.