June 30, 2009

It's Decided

I've made the decision tonight that I am not going to run the Rock & Roll 1/2 Marathon. (thanks Jason for talking this through with me!) I am not going to be ready and the pressures of "needing" to run have taken all the joys out of something that I have really enjoyed. For anyone living anywhere else than Chicago, you may think I am being dramatic in what I have to say...but hear me out. I started running when I lived in Chicago. What I enjoyed the most about running was the things I would see along my runs. When you go out for a walk you can only go a couple miles, but when you're a runner, you could cover 3-6 miles. In Chicago, there's a lot going on in those 3-6 miles! Like I said in a past blog, I would be on a run and wanted to start a blog to share all the crazy things that I saw. It was being out along the path and crowded streets that made me enjoy running. Obviously, once you're at a certain point, you get that runners high and running on a treadmill for short distances can even be fun...but I haven't reached that point yet since my injury. I have been putting so much pressure on myself to go for a run to train for this half marathon and it's taken all the fun out of running. The prairie path is the best bet here and I am no specialist on tree/plant life, so it really isn't all that exciting...let alone safe! I won't let myself go for a run unless I know I can run at least 3 miles...and my pace is so ridiculously slow from training from the marathon, so it's a constant disappointment to myself. I absolutely hate having to "fail" at another committed run, but I want to do it for what it is...a hobby/enjoyment. I am finally without injury and can enjoy a 2-4 mile run without pain and think it's what I should be focusing on right now, instead of letting my pride get in the way. I am so excited to go for a run either tomorrow or Thursday and just be able to run as far as my legs will carry me without the pressures of a timed distance!!!

Meredith...should you still decide to run it (I know you aren't positive you're going to be ready...but I think you are!), I will be there to cheer you along...at many mile markers! And I look forward to running a 5k or 10k with you sometime this year and possible the 1/2 next year when I'm ready! :)

Michael Jackson (8/29/58 – 6/25/09)

I know this is "old news" and the media has blown this way up, but the news hit me hard about Michael. I'm not speaking about the 2009 Michael, but it was the 80's Michael that I used to LOVE! I saw Michael Jackson on his Thriller tour at my first concert ever at Poplar Creek...probably around 4 years old. (correct me if it was a different tour, Mom!) I used to have my mom play the Thriller video (definitely check it out!) while I sat in "the big brown chair" watching it over and over and over again! I remember my legs wouldn't reach over, so I could see my feet. I just watched the video again the other night and can't believe how I remembered every detail of it! I also had a Michael Jackson doll the size of a Barbie. He was such a part of my childhood for a few years after having hit after hit after hit! I listened to a few of his CD's on my way home from Green Lake and had a dance party in my car, literally dancing and singing to all his tunes. Though the past 10+ years he has really gone wack-o, he meant a lot to me in the 80's! I recommend watching the Jackson 5 documentary if you haven't already watched it!

RIP Michael!

song-of-the-day|"Billy Jean"|by Michael Jackson (cheated again) Don't look at the comments on this link...totally inappropriate but I wanted to list this song!

June 29, 2009

Road Trip! (and boat ride!)

My friend, Ellis, goes to Green Lake, WI every year with her family. Being that I have more than enough time on my hands, (as did she, she too was unemployed until today. YAY ELLIS!! CONGRATS!) she invited me up for a day or two. I originally wasn't able to go but then some plans fell through so I was able to head out. I had the best time driving the 3 or 4 hours out there. I love road trips by myself with my windows down and radio playing. Plus, I absolutely LOVE Wisconsin. It is so pretty and peaceful! The first night Ellis's family and I dined on some fine cooking by Ellis, and were then able to spend some time catching up. The following day, we were greeted by some storms which I thoroughly enjoyed. I sat out on their front porch and did my devotions and read a little Twilight. There's just something about thunderstorms when you don't have anywhere to be and a roof to protect you from the rain/lightning. It was so calming being so far away from all the city/suburban clutter. Not a care in the world...just me and the storm with a lake just a few acres away! Once the storm cleared up we went on a boat ride for a few hours. Again, just so peaceful. I couldn't get over how enormous the lake was! I guess I have been to Green Lake numerous times with my grandparents and also with my mom but I don't have any recollection? I do remember the fair and getting a gold fish that died which I've been told was at Green Lake, but I don't remember the actual lake. It was the biggest lake I've ever been on, it was amazing!! Then that night we hung out with Ellis's parents and other family-friends. Had s'mores both nights, good music, good company, good conversations and just over-all GOOD TIMES. Thanks Ellis for the invite! It was just what I needed last week!

My New Flippers

Yes, I am a big dork but I am really excited about my CHEAP Cubs shoes!! I saw these at Old Navy back in the spring but didn't buy them because they were full price and I won't allow myself to buy anything unless its on sale. Well then of course when the shoes were on sale, Old Navy didn't have them. But I found a pair a couple weeks ago and was finally able to wear them yesterday to the game! Forget paying ridiculous MLB-branded prices, mine are just as cute! Go Cubs!!

song-of-the-day|"Night Moves"|by Bob Seager

June 23, 2009

YAB Exec Board!

Yay, it was just confirmed that I am going to be on the Executive Board for the Young Associates Board affiliated with Children's Memorial Hospital!! I have always volunteered for a million organizations and last year decided it was time to nail it down and put most of my focus into one cause. I was accepted onto the Board in Augustish of '08 and immediately began serving on the Sponsorship Committee, which was still in the beginning stages of assembly. I also co-lead the Cubs Rooftop Event in May and have attended/volunteered for most of it's fundraising events. (Both service events I was supposed to volunteer for were canceled...booo - one due to Swine Flu, the other due to the torrential downpours we had last weekend.) I'm really excited to share some of my ideas and see what I can bring to the YAB's current and future members!! Woohoo!

song-of-the-day|"What a Wonderful Man"|by My Morning Jacket

June 22, 2009

A Good Day to be Unemployed!

I've been waiting for this day...a day when everything I did I'd honestly be able to say I was truly "in the moment" and appreciating the joys of being unemployed. It's been a pretty rough couple of weeks of emotions, so this was very much needed!

I started off the morning in Wheaton and paid bills while catching up on some emails. Then I had to pack, shower and drive to the city. After sitting in ridiculous traffic for the noon hour I met VA for lunch at Pompei. We had a nice lunch chatting and catching up and it was absolutely gorgeous weather (finally!) so we were able to sit outside. Then we walked so I could see her new apartment which is adorable!! After that I went for a run along the lake and did a pilates workout from "on-demand." I ate a quick dinner and rode my bike to small group. I arrived to the park early, so I talked to Jason while in some gorgeous park along-side of Ohio Street Beach (he's traveling this week.) .The new group I am in switches every other week from doing a study to something "social." Tonight's social was a picnic in the park...complete with tossing around a football. (though I didn't participate...I didn't want my body to go into shock from all the physical activity I had already partaken in.) The pictures are of the view from where we were sitting. Today felt like it was a "day-off," rather than just another day of unemployment. If I am not going to get a job anytime soon, I hope that I can have more of these kind of days!

song-of-the-day|"Inside Job"|by Pearl Jam

June 21, 2009

Children's Memorial - Race for the Kids 5k

This past Saturday, I ran the Children's Memorial, Race for the Kids 5k (formally the Loop the Loop for Kids.) I was pretty nervous about running the race...I haven't run an organized race since last July and though I have ran countless 5ks, 10k's and even a half marathon, I was just as nervous about this run as my first 5k. The injury from training for the marathon has done a lot to my ego and has me very cautious and constantly thinking I'm feeling pain when I am not. I have this crazy habit that I think I can't go for a quick run if I haven't been eating right or hydrating right...and then I have to remind myself I'm only going out for a couple miles...not 12 or 13 after doing 5 two days prior. Needless to say, I went to bed at a decent hour, got up at 6:00 and was out the door, breakfast and all by 7:00 to catch the el and then walk the mile from the Roosevelt stop to Soldier Field. I got there with just 2 minutes to spare...no joke. (maybe another post to follow about that!) Though this summer has been ridiculously cool and rainy all summer, we finally had a summer day! Really? This has to come the first day I was up at 6am for a run!? It was probably 70 degrees and the humidity was absurd! Started the race...first mile was pretty tough...came around the corner at Monroe, where I knew would be a water station, I grabbed my water and continued my run. I was running south along the outer part of the bike path along the lake...literally right along the lake toward Museum campus and Soldier Field in the distance. Absolutely gorgeous and made it all worth it! That last 1.6ish miles were really tough and I'll admit, I did have to walk (blaming that on the heat!) but it was incredible being out on the path that early and with so many families with children running for such a worth-while cause! That last leg of the run, we were running south and all the walkers who were right behind us were still walking north and were waving at family members who were running and some just cheering others on. It was a very powerful morning. Though I certainly didn't get much out of the run as far as my training schedule is considered, I definitely got something out of supporting Children's Memorial Hospital! Not to mention that I felt I had earned the right to have a bloody Mary with my breakfast later in the day! :)

song-of-the-day|"Life on a Chain"| by Pete Yorn

June 15, 2009

America's Favorite Pastime

Ozzie Guillen spews against Wrigley Field :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: White Sox

Click on the link above and read. Seriously, why are Sox fans SO MEAN!? Cubs fans...read the comments following this article. I wonder why Sox fans are always so worried about putting the Cubs, their field, beer-drinkers, the neighborhood, their fans, and everything else Cubs-related down?! A good rivalry is fun but with the Sox it just gets plain mean! Lighten up and let's all enjoy it for what it is... "America's favorite pastime."

Go Cubs GO! :)

song-of-the-day|"Go Cubs Go"|by Steve Goodman (okay...I kinda cheated with the "song of the day" today...but I did go to the game yesterday and they did win...and I couldn't remember the song I woke up singing, so it very well could have been this song!)

June 10, 2009

Dear Weatherman

Dear Weatherman,

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my letter. I lived in Chicago this past winter and survived the blistering cold months of icy, snow-piled sidewalks and streets that Mayor Daley decided didn't need to be plowed. Sadly, I had to move out of Chicago just in time for the temperatures to start warming up but lucky for me, my boyfriend still lives in Chicago and has welcomed me back anytime. I have been looking forward to bike rides to the parks, runs along the lake, sitting outside of coffee houses reading my book, walks through neighborhoods, Cubs games in a tshirt and flip flops, BYOB restaurants with outdoor seating, beer gardens, street fests, and all the summer activities this city has to offer which reminds us why we brave it the other 1/2 of the year wearing layers of long underwear, scarves, hats, gloves and expensive down jackets.

However, here I write to you on June 10, not from my balcony, but inside with the windows closed. Normal temperatures for today are 77 and sunny, but instead it is 57 and cloudy. Please accept this as my formal complaint. This is unacceptable as it has been this way the entire month of June and most of May. I would appreciate that you see to this matter immediately and have it cleared up by tomorrow morning at 6am. Thank you for your time!

Sun loving Stephanie

song-of-the-day|"I Still Believe"|by Jeremy Camp

June 9, 2009

Enjoy Life as it Comes

When we're little kids, we always want to play with the big kids.
Once we're the big kids we want to be a teenager.
When we're teenagers, we want to be in college.
Once in college a few years we want to be in the work-force.
Once in the work-force we either want to be back in college or married.
Once married, we want kids.
If we rent we wish we could own.
Once a home-owner, we complain about having to fix everything ourselves or mowing the lawn.
Married, with kids and we're envious of our single friends.
Single friends, especially those 25 and up are envious of their married friends,
Once our married friends start having kids, we want kids.
Moms and Dads want to have their freedom back, want lazy Saturday mornings, late nights out with the guys, women just want a day to herself.
When you're working full-time, we wish we didn't have to work.
I'm not working now, I can assure you it is certainly not all that its hyped up to be, I want to be working.
Once we have our kids and they're old enough to cause us trouble, we want them to head off to school.
Once they leave the house we want our "babies" back.
We long to retire, but once retired, we are back in the work-force part-time or volunteering.
By the time we are old enough to retire (and for our generation...with the way we've not been saving...we may never be at that point!) we wish we were young again. "Remember when we were young and thought we knew it all?"

I know this may all seem dramatic, but ever since I've lost my job I have had so many people tell me they wish they had my time, they wish they had my schedule. When I was working, I'd use excuses for why I didn't get to the gym, why I couldn't volunteer for this or that, why I couldn't spend time with God. Once I lost my job and had all the time in the world, it became very obvious to me that it wasn't at all I didn't have time to do these things, it was that I didn't want these things badly enough to make time for them.

Being that I am a people-person and talking is one of my favorite hobbies, I am very lonely being unemployed. I share an apartment building with 3 other families with 2+ kids, all stay-at-home moms. I hear their kids laugh through the doors and for a quick second get jealous of what they have, while I sit at home alone. But I try to bring myself back to reality and remember that those moms have probably had that same thought about me when they see me pulling away kid-free with my windows down, sun-roof open headed to Chicago for a date with my boyfriend or "girls night out." We are all living the life that we have been given for a reason. I am not sure that I will ever understand why I have been unemployed the past 4+ months, but I hope that I am somehow making a difference for someone, even though I am not working like the rest of you. This time off has certainly allowed me to appreciate just how blessed I am in everything. We all need to slow down and appreciate the lives we have and enjoy every second. Before we know it, we'll be that old, retired, over-weight, memory losing grandma/grandpa saying, "honey, remember when we were young and knew it all?" Except we'll be asking why no one told us to slow down and enjoy life...it goes way too fast!

song-of-the-day|"I Want to Kiss a Girl"|by Keith Urban

June 7, 2009


I cannot believe I forgot to blog about Mary Poppins! It was such a magical night and I recommend it to all ages and gender. There were so many children the night we went...I would say any girl above the age of 6 would love this performance! It was so fun to relive my childhood that night. Oh and the children actors were phenomenal!!!

Today's Run

I had the best run today! Yesterday was supposed to be my "long run"but I had a really bad headache and those two don't go well together. Sundays are usually my lazy, fun-days and don't involve anything more physical than walking to and from the el for church. However, skipping my "long runs" aren't really an option anymore. I've always wanted to start a blog about all the random crazy things I see on my runs. What I see along the way is half the fun of the run itself. So though these may not seem that extraordinary, they're interesting Chicago happenings" I wouldn't see while sitting at home or running on the treadmill!

I had Jason drop me off so I could have a little change of scenery. He dropped my at Dickens and Stockton and I wasn't paying much attention to where I was and just headed off in the direction of the path. As I'm still adjusting my volume on my ipod, I look to my left and see a camel! Yes, a camel in Chicago! I then realized I was running along side of Lincoln Park Zoo, so it wasn't really all that uncommon to see a camel, but in my mindset of dodging families with strollers and dogs being run along side of bicycles, I wasn't expecting to see a camel strolling along about 10 yards from me. As I journeyed along, I came to about 6 bunnies chasing each other in a secluded area of the park. So cute and very rare in the city! Once onto the bike path I saw a women lift her standard poodle up to the drinking fountain...all four paws onto the cement fountain so he could get a drink. Guess the giant lake about 20 yards wasn't good enough for this dog?! On my last leg of the run I passed by some little girls playing with toy fishing poles but casting them out to the street pretending it was a lake. On the opposite side of that street there was a young boy pushing his one bag of groceries down the street in a stolen Dominicks shopping cart. What a diverse neighborhood! There were several other sightings along the way making the run an adventure. Love the city and really starting to love my 1/2 marathon training! 56 more days!!

no song-of-the-day today...very odd.

June 2, 2009

Can Something This Ugly Carry Me to Mile 13.1?

I decided it was time to break down and purchase new, ridiculously over-priced, running shoes after the number of miles I ran in my last pair while attempting to train for the marathon. If you're not a runner, you'd be surprised to learn what goes into the proper fitting of a running shoe. I have always purchased my shoes at Fleet Feet. The staff is trained on what to look for as they watch you run on a treadmill, which tracks how your foot hits the ground and whether or not it pronates. Then they fit you to the shoe which will correct whatever bad habit you've picked up on the path. For me, like everything else on my body (beginning with my mismatched foot size...ones a 7, the other an 8) only one pronates, my left foot turns in after my foot touches the ground. The staff then brings out a few different shoes to run in and see which best corrects the problem. After they find a few good shoes it's up to the runner to decide which feels the best. Of the 3 pairs my shoe-tech brought me, and as hard as I tried to "feel good" in the cute shoes, I ended up feeling best in these pretty things:

I had my first run in them today in Wheaton. I am having a reeeeally hard time getting motivated to run in Wheaton. The prairie path isn't safe for a young female listening to her ipod. Though every house in Wheaton is cuter than the next and the residents seem to be competing to see who can design the most beautiful landscape or flower pot or garden, it's just not the same as the congested city sidewalks and lakefront. However, my ugly shoes "stepped up" and did their job, carrying me 2.23 miles...2.23 of the 154 miles I will be running before August 2 for the Chicago Rock & Roll 1/2 Marathon! As any runner knows, you don't pick your running shoes for how they look, I just wish the manufactures would catch on and design them all in pretty pink!

song-of-the-day|"The Motions"|by Matthew West

June 1, 2009

Song of the Day

I am not sure if it's just me but every morning I wake up with a song in my head and it's there for the first 30-90 minutes of my day. (sometimes longer when it's a really annoying one!) So I will be incorporating my "song of the day" at the end of my blogs. (click on the link of the song-of-the-day.) Am I the only one this happens to? If not, feel free to share yours. :)

song-of-the-day|"Shattered"|by O.A.R.

2009 Summer Fest Kick-off!

Winters in Chicago can be long but it is for moments like these that I am able to get through them. I am a big fan of live music and even more when they're $5 or less. I have many street fests I have been attending for about 5 years but as I get older I'm finding myself attending different fests with different "themes"...less drinking, more socializing, better music, classier vendors, etc. Saturday night kicked off the season of street fests for me. Meredith and I headed to the Belmont/Sheffield Fest to hear Trippin Billies rock out. I am a huge DMB fan and will never get sick of jamming out to their tunes, whether in my car, at Alpine, at the beach, at a street fest, while running down the lakefront, this year in Des Moines or any other place I can hear them. And even though its not the real thing...for $5 and just a quick cab ride away, I'll take it!

Jason and I headed out there on Sunday afternoon to see Mike and Joe. I realized that I have been watching them for over 10 years! Wow, where does the time go?