Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday Photo: Eight Ten in the Loop

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Last week I had the chance to be downtown as my  boss sent the team to a vendor workshop.  The tool wasn't part of my skill set or something I would know how to use effectively, but it was still a nice learning experience.

Nightingale and I dropped the kids off at daycare and then drove into downtown together, like we use to do when I worked one day a week at TopFive's downtown office.  Since I had tons of time, I opted to walk and burn off some calories, knowing I would replenish them later at lunch with former co-worker.  

Got to the south end of the Loop in less than 15 minutes as indicated by the time on this clock.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Why didn't I think of this sooner

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Everyone wants the treadmill on the right
For the last month or so, I have started doing my treadmill run before work at the Gym at the Office.  I use to focus on getting to work as early as possible so I could leave as soon as possible in the afternoon to avoid traffic.  This means I would try to squeeze my workout in during lunch time, or just before or after this peak hour.

The problem was many times my morning would get filled with meetings that made it hard to sneak away and the later in the day I put off the run, the less likely I would do it because what's the point of going to the gym, working out and then coming back to my desk for like an hour?

Now I generally get here between 8 and 8:30 and if I go straight to the gym, I can work out at a relaxed pace.  Before I was rushing to get my workout in and if others were in the gym I couldn't always be sure I wouldn't have to wait for the shower to be free.  And it's a very tight locker room.

These days I'm just doing a 5K run on the treadmill, which I can get done in just under 30 minutes (sigh).  I may bump that up to 4 miles soon as I seem to be able to run it non-stop providing I make it to the gym with some consistency.  I might also start going just to work out on the machines.

My goal is to get back to an 830 min/mile and 200 lbs.  To do that, I first have to get back to running consistently and bring my pace to a 9 min/mile and drop my weight to 210.  I'm just about there.  The scale said I was 215 this morning and I have been tottering between 212 and 215 for the last couple weeks (down from an all-time high of 219 a month or two ago!) 

My Commuting Time

Yesterday I left the house at 7:20.  It took 20 minutes (7:40)to get to the expressway entrance at Foster.  [I drive a couple miles to that entrance because its "less" congested than Irving Park or Lawrence.]

Got to O'Hare/190 10 minutes later.  Then I got to I-88 at 8am.  In the parking lot by 8:10.

today I left at 7:27 and got to Foster 15 minutes later.  All of the above was 5 minutes faster -except 190, that still takes 10 minutes which is good for rush hour. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The things We Cling to

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This arrived in my inbox a while ago:
Icky: I have been meaning to write you... I just want to say how happy I am to see what great things happened in your life. You fell in love, married, live in a beautiful home and have two darling healthy children. There was a time when things were so sad for you. You have given me hope that things can really turn around in life. I am hoping that day comes for me sooner than later wishing you continued blessings in your life

The line "There was a time when things were so sad for you" may have been a throw away remark to generalize.  Or it could have been a specific reference to FiancĂ©e 1.0 running out on me and the events afterwards.

Either way it's a really nice, sincere sentiment.  The thing about things working out in the end is that people forget what Hell you went through or assume that the pain and or emotional damage is completely healed. Since everything is hunky-dory, there is no sense talking about it.

And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth

While it's safe to say I'm over the events of that adventure and have obviously moved on, I always get a little anxious around April and/or Easter.  Because it was April/Easter in 2009 when things fell apart.  Easter was 4-12-09, the Big Fight was 4-13-09 and the St Louis half marathon was 4-19 which was also the weekend she moved out.

NMSU memories

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I'm really digging this song.   It's called Photograph by Ed Sheeran (in case the link ever breaks). It's obviously not the most original song title nor would you guess that was the title from the lyrics but it is an appropriate title nonetheless.

We keep this love in a photograph
We made these memories for ourselves
Where our eyes are never closing
Hearts are never broken
Times forever frozen still

It makes me think of Freshman Year at NMSU and Kimberly.  And Michelle.  And the heartbreaks we caused each other.  When I got home from college, I never really talked much about my time in Kirksville,  mostly because to back fill in all the necessary details would have required reliving it and I was still going through my own version of PTSD.  I was really ill-prepared for college and serious relationships and I paid the price.

So you can keep me
Inside the pocket
Of your ripped jeans
Holdin' me closer
'Til our eyes meet
You won't ever be alone
Wait for me to come home

When I first started blogging, it never occurred to me to mine those stories from college for content because I was working under the early paradigm of blogs = online journals going forward, not backward.  I certainly wasn't going to re-read all my personal journals either.  By the time blogs arrived, I had finally worked through all the drama, angst and pain of college and replaced it with the drama, angst and pain of my 30s still trying to figure things out.

When I'm away
I will remember how you kissed me
Under the lamppost
Back on 6th street
Hearing you whisper through the phone,
"Wait for me to come home."

Speaking of NMSU, I found this in a box of old stuff at my mom's house last summer.  It was given to me by Michelle.  She was a blonde haired, blue eyed sorority girl.  The prototype girl that I would meet many more times in life but never quite understand why this type liked me but the brunettes I chased after didn't.

Michelle was a hot mess in need of more therapy and love then she could ever hope to receive.

Kimberly broke my heart, and I broke Michelle's.

Something changed somewhere during my time at NMSU.  When I first arrived I had confidence and the ability to win Kimberly over and steal Michelle from a guy named Jeff.  But by the end of my time there I lost my confidence.

One thing that comes to mind is that the majority of the people I hung around with freshmen year were gone from my circle (and even campus) sophomore year.  I still saw a few people but most of my time was spent with Alpha Phi Omega.  

I think what I'm trying to say is that about the time that I lost/stored away this pendant, is about the time I struggled with getting girlfriends.  It's like I forgot how much someone once was into me, and that it could ever happen again.

Obviously I found the power somewhere else.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Good neighbors do install good fences

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Ever since we moving into this house, one of the first things that was apparent was that our
neighbor's fence was going to fall over sooner or later.  At first we were not sure if it was his fence or our fence because that would have required a conversation asking a direct question and that's not how we roll around here.

Seriously, I did get a chance to ask our neighbor once and he confirmed that it was his fence.  He also alluded to some issues with the fence installation, our driveway installation and a previous owner of our house (not sure if it was the guy we bought from or another asshole) who was responsible for all of that.  So we quickly changed the subject and did the time honored neighborly move of avoiding each other whenever possible.

However, the fence continued to get worse and worse.  Our expert analysis, which consists of looking at the fence posts, determined that they had disconnected from the part under the ground.  Nightingale was reluctant to invest in much gardening on that side of the yard because she worried the fence would topple over sometime this summer and when they replaced it, a crew would trample her flower bed to do so.

Nightingale wondered why they didn't repair it last year when they did their back gate and landscaping, to which I said: money.  Why spend money you don't have on a fence until you absolutely have to.

Well lo and behold, the other week I was in my backyard with the children and our neighbor told me that the fence people were coming the next day to fix the fence.  I don't recall the timeline but I think they removed the old fence and dug the posts on a Thursday and finished up a week later with the new PVC fence.  It looks pretty good, so much so that Nightingale wants us to get one for the other side...once we can afford it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Blood Moon Baptism

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.Last week was extremely busy because we had Moose and Squirrel's first birthday and their baptism in the same weekend.  Figures there would be a Blood Moon lunar eclipse last night.  Or perhaps that was because the Cubs are going to the playoffs via the expanded Wild Card route.  I didn't take pictures of the Blood Moon because I figured everyone else would. Thanks to Facebook, I was not disappointed in that expectation.

For the most part, the stuff we could control went very well.  We decided to keep the kids home from daycare to save some money.  We realized that was a mistake because it is hard to get anything done when they are in their mommy or daddy-centric mode.  We couldn't correct that decision but we could re-frame our expectations in that we weren't going to get all our bold re-organization and purging projects completed, but whatever we did manage to accomplish would be better than we were before so yay that.

There were some wins for sure.  I found a party pizza package that managed to feed everyone (with 1 extra pizza for leftovers) that only cost about a hundred bucks (before tax and tip of course). 

The baptism was a lot more trouble than it should have been.  We decided to do it in the same church we got married at and they made us jump through some unexpected hoops.  To be clear, any church would have made us jump through the same hoops or even more.  But we got tied to this church and ran out of time to try and find another church.  Well at least it is over.

We had to sit through a Polish Mass.  I get that the church is doubling down on its dogma and requiring members to actually show up outside of Easter and Christmas.  But to make small children sit through a mass they aren't capable of understanding yet is just cruel and unusual punishment.  1 year olds get fussy and want to walk around.  It is very hard to keep them contained for the hour.  Nothing is served by making them be in God's house because God's presence is everywhere.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Photo: What a cheeseburger should look like

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In mid-August, Nightingale decided that we should go up to Michigan and see The Fam for a day.  We left early Saturday morning, arrived at the farm just before dinner time.  We ate lunch at Cracker Barrel on the way up, which is economical and kid friendly if not quite healthy.

(Updateon a recent trip to Michigan for a wedding we stopped at the very same Cracker Barrel and they do have a healthy menu option.)

On the way back, we stopped at this old school restaurant called Schuler's Restaurant and Pub.

It was a bit more pricey of an experience than Cracker Barrel and while no one gave us strange looks (the wait staff even doted on our kids) Nightingale felt it might be too old school to be considered baby friendly.