Dear Chicago

Dear Chicago,
You’ll never guess.
You know the girl you said I’d meet someday?
Well, I’ve got something to confess.
She picked me up on Friday.
Asked me if she reminded me of you.
I just laughed and lit a cigarette,
Said “that’s impossible to do.”
Ryan Adams





















Weekly Winners: I Was In Chicago Edition

Chicago is one of my favorite cities – I love the opportunities I’ve had to spend time there.

love is everywhere

geometry is cool

changing perspective

flower on wacker drive

For more Weekly Winners, visit LOTUS.

In It To End It – AWBC, Done and DONE.

This weekend was THE weekend.

The weekend I’ve been waiting for since I hobbbled across the finish last year. Sure, at the time I wasn’t 100% sure I could put my body through the experience again — but I think in my heart, I knew that the adventure and the benefits far outweighed the fear of blisters, aching feet, and missing toenails.

I was right.

This weekend marked my second Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Two days, 39.3 miles. Actually, I think Avon has a faulty mile measuring system – our team is sure it’s more like 40 or 41 miles. Nevertheless, we came, we walked, and we had a great time doing it.

I was lucky to be on a great team – I found them via Twitter last year (Isn’t the internet INCREDIBLE?) and over the course of time, I have gotten to spend time with a couple of these women outside the walk, and I adore them. Good hearts, good humor, good people. It’s funny how things work out – and I was happy they let me join them again.

Our team raised over $18,000. Chicago as a whole? Over $7 million. Chew on that a bit. SEVEN. MILLION. DOLLARS. In the midst of this gruesome economy, millions of dollars was raised. Millions of dollars that will benefit local (Chicago/Midwest area) programs for research and treatment programs for breast cancer. Those are the kind of numbers that can make a difference.

Every three minutes, a woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer. During the walk, a “three minute” ribbon” is placed on a walker at the three minute interval — it’s an eye-opening visual cue to see the extent to which lives are affected by this disease – just how large the number is. It further drives me to want to continue to participate in the walk – so that one day the stat becomes “every five minutes” then “every ten minutes” then “once a week” and then “remember when there was a thing called breast cancer? Thank god that doesn’t happen anymore.”

To walk among these strong survivors and their families and friends — as well as those who have lost someone to this disease – it is an experience difficult to put into words. It is an uplifting experience, and at times it’s sad. To see the streets lined with people to cheer us on and thank us for walking… feels good. And to know that we’ve raised money that can hopefully make a difference? That feels good too.

We had rain on Saturday. More than a little rain.

Rain makes for soggy socks and blistered feet and bad hair and wet clothes. Rain makes for spirits that are dampened. But we kept on (I admit, I may have complained a little bit). Sunday the sky was blue, the weather was gorgeous and there were ice pops along the way.

Through it all, we kept putting one foot in front of the other (and yes, live tweeting our progress. I’m a geek, what can I say?).

To cross the finish line with our team felt good. Very good.

I was cheered along the way by @ replies and DMs via Twitter. By text messages. By emails. By messages on Facebook. By cupcakes at the finish line. The support meant the world and I appreciate those who sent good thoughts our way. To those who financially contributed, I am grateful as well, and if I didn’t say thank you for your contribution know that even though I can be an unorganized jerk, from the bottom of my heart, I am grateful.

In it to end it.

Avon Walk, June 2010. Chicago.

New York, New York Is Everything They Say…

As you could have probably guessed from my Weekly Winner set that I belatedly posted yesterday, I recently spent some time in NYC. Hubby and I have both always wanted to go and finally decided to put something on the calendar. I’ve been looking forward to this trip for a long time – and, this probably won’t be a surprise, I was looking forward to New York because I knew that not only would there be a lot to do and to see, it would also be an amazing city to photograph.

I wasn’t wrong.

From the moment we drove into the city (yes, we drove – it was about twelve hours by car from Michigan to NYC – not counting the stop in Pennsylvania at 4 a.m. to nap for an hour because BLEH, driving all night suuuuucks), we were overtaken by sights and sounds and, yeah, it’s kind of a sensory overload of sorts.

We managed to park, get semi-settled at the hotel (we were very early for our 3 p.m. check in), grabbed some lunch at Dos Caminos on 3rd Street (BEST CARNITAS EVER), before wandering around the city a little. We visited Dylan’s Candy Bar because The Princess and I had seen it on one of those cake shows and I knew she’d dig a souvenir from there (and uh, so would I… I brought home the Everything but the Kitchen Sink Bar).

And then? Central Park.

I could have spent the whole time in Central Park

I loved Central Park. I kept recognizing spots from movies. It’s amazing – this bit of tranquility in a city so large. I was overwhelmed with calm and happiness being there. I know, I know… CHEESY. But, yes, I loved Central Park.

We took in a lot of sights over the weekend – purchasing weekend passes on one of those double decker tour buses seemed like a kind of corny thing to do, but we used it like a taxi cab. We’d hop on the bus near the hotel, go through some of the tour stops, get off the bus where we wanted to visit more, and jump back on the bus when we were done. Sure, the bus moved A LOT SLOWER than a NYC taxi, but… what’s the hurry?

I wanted to see the site of Ground Zero as well as the new WTC construction. We wanted to go to the Statue of Liberty, but didn’t (a 90 minute wait for tickets, and then a 90 minute wait to get on the boat – we weren’t in a hurry, but we weren’t in the mood to stand around for three hours either). Instead of actually going to the Statue of Liberty, we hopped on the (FREE!) Staten Island Ferry where we got close enough to Miss Liberty that I got some snaps with my lovely zoom lens. She was short. Why did I always think she’d be taller?

Saturday evening, we took in a performance of “Phantom of the Opera”. It was breathtakingly beautiful, but… I don’t love the music of Phantom. While the performers were brilliant and their voices amazing, and the production of the show was unbelievable… I realized that I’m not really a fan of the music (I know, I know… ).

A lot of time was spent wandering aimlessly – to FAO Schwarz, Toys R Us, and other assorted random places. Yes, we spent an awful lot of time in toy stores considering we were travelling sans kids – but holy cow, that huge T Rex at Toys R Us was worth seeing, and it made for a fun picture to send Pumpkin.

I had an UNBELIEVABLE time in New York. Sure, I felt frumpy and midwestern among all the black legging-clad women (it’s the standard uniform, it seems – black leggings or very-skinny jeans, neither of which are very flattering on MY midwestern shape, but OH WELL) — there’s nothing like walking around knowing that everything about you screams “tourist!” (and not ’cause I was holding a map, because I promise there was no holding of maps).

I know things now, like: I need to be careful of who I take restaurant recommendations from because someone’s rave review is my “OH MY GOD THAT IS THE GROSSEST SANDWICH EVER”. Like, the cupcakes at Magnolia aren’t really that fabulous. You only think they are because the FROSTING is phenomenal and you are so goo-goo over that supah-smooth frosting that you maybe don’t notice that the cupcake itself is only mediocre. I learned that walking around New York in high heels is painful, and I am calling shenanigans on Carrie Bradshaw and the rest of her Sex and the City friends. I know that New York bagels really are that good, but that I still am on Team Chicago as far as pizza goes.

And that really, it’s a nice place to visit… but I’m glad to be home.

Weekly Winners, Middle of April Edition

Lotus’s weekly winners is definitely one of my favorite parts of the week. First of all, as you can CLEARLY see from her site, the woman takes AMAZING pictures. And then? So many people join along – and I love hopping from blog to blog to see what kind of week other people have had. So, head on over to Lotus’s place and check ’em out.

This week has been an interesting one for me – I’ve jumped back and forth between my lovely P&S and my new DSLR. Admittedly, habit makes me wanna grab the lil camera – it fits in my purse so easily. BUT BUT BUT, I love the shots I’m getting with the Rebel – and can’t wait to figure the shtuff out on that camera a bit more.

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the two cameras.

Sunday morning coffee on Orleans Street in Chicago

For a few weeks a year it blooms. Here we go.

Birthday flowers for my sister

Mother Nature's color palette blows my mind.

Slow like honey and heavy with mood.

Frame the day

Weekly Winners, Chicago Style

I sure do love Chicago – so my weekly winners are a few of my favorite snaps from the Windy City. For more weekly winner awesomeness, visit Lotus, and the other participants of Lotus’s Weekly Winner carnival.

I got the Windy City Martini. Up 96 floors, a drink was kind of in order.

This is what a windy city martini looks like. Isn't it pretty and pink and fun?

Breath taking, nausea inducing view.


Lovely view. Chicago is one of my favorite places to be.