As the pools begin to drain, the beaches clear out, the sun goes down earlier the leaves start to change color and kids go back to school…the official end of summer is upon us. The summer slowly evaporates into memories as we charge forward onto pumpkin spice everything, Halloween and long sleeves. I can’t help but reflect on this year’s summer more than any other in the past, as it certainly was interesting. I set out to do things that I never did, I did a lot of things I never planned on doing, I buried a hatchet, saw some things I wish I hadn’t and even resurrected something that I considered a done deal.
First off, I set that summer bucket list up, remember that list? I set out to diversify my time in the sun. Here’s how I fared:
√ Lakefront Fitness – Totally accomplished this one, it was great! Not only did I work out on the lakefront, I went at all times of the day! The sunrise workout was still my favorite. I also managed to get some workouts in at a park near me as well!
× Trapeze Class – This one totally did not happen, at all….I don’t know, I have no good reason why it didn’t happen.
√ Studying the Sky – Welllll…this happened, but I learned nothing. I went out of the city, looked up at the sky and saw the stars. I still have no idea where any of the constellations are and am convinced that they don’t really exist and scientists need to stop smoking the crack they are on.
× Discovering the City – Yeah, so this was a really good idea in my head, but between the rain, heat and public transportation, I wanted to punch people more than anything and I never got around to the discovery part.
× Weekly Summer Recipes – Ok, so, I cooked a lot this summer, dozens of new recipes…most of them amazing. However, like a bratty 4-year old, I didn’t share, not one single time. I’m an only child, sharing isn’t my strong point.
√ Make Time to Unwind – YES, YES, YES!!!!!!!!!!! I did this religiously every week. It was so therapeutic to do things for myself and not always having to be accountable for every minute of my day. I literally took days off to do NOTHING, it was marvelous!
√ Museum Mayhem – I went to the Art Institute with my niece who was visiting from India. That’s all. Stunning museum though!
× Dive & Swim – So, I never quite got around to the diving part. I still swim, love to swim actually. The Rio Olympics definitely should have inspired me more to learn, but I think that green cesspool in Rio turned me off.
× Charter the Unknown – I can’t say I learned anything useful this summer. The End.
× Conquer the Coaster – I knew this one wasn’t going to happen, I prefaced that. I have time to conquer this before I have to explain it to my kids. 😉
SCORE: 4/10…eh, quality over quantity, right? 😉
As for the things I never planned to do, but did? I took not one but two last minute vacations. I rented a cottage in the middle of nowhere Michigan, took the pups and a bag full of food. I cooked on an open fire pit that I learned how to start and maintain, hiked numerous hills and forests, laid on the beach, picked a tick out of my neck and even named my hiking stick! Yeah, that’s right, this city girl spent 4 days in nature and LOVED every moment of it! I got a little wanderlust later this summer and booked a trip to the Dominican Republic 48 hours out. Oddly, the most economical and efficient trip I have ever taken. I didn’t have time to shop for new vacay clothes, so made do with what I had. I had to take a small carry-on, so this notorious over packer, got everything she needed in her 13-inch upright suitcase and a GIANT beach bag. Those of you that know me, it’s really a miracle! I learned this summer how exhausting it is to be a tourist in my city, taking my niece around the city for 5 days is no easy task!
Baking desserts every night, watching stupid You Tube videos, experimenting with peel off lip stain and temporary blue hair color. Peel off lip stain is ridiculous and blur hair chalk is completely a hot mess. It’s hard to come up with stuff to do that doesn’t revolve around booze! LOL! I actually had a lot of fun with her and felt more like her sister than her aunt, can’t wait for her to come back!
Alright, so this summer I buried my hatchet with Rick Bayless…retail only. For the last few years, I have boycotted his restaurants, grocery brands and recipes. I didn’t want to hear about him or talk about him. My lip would curl up in disgust when his name was brought up. Since he needed to be a conglomerate big shot, not caring who he affected, as long as he made his millions, I didn’t find it necessary to add value to it. He took away a huge resource for me and for my neighborhood just to put in yet, ANOTHER restaurant monstrosity on Restaurant Row on Randolph, aka Disneyworld. No, Mr. Bayless, we don’t need another brewery and tequila bar with overpriced tacos. Have you ever watched his show on PBS? Mexico: One Plate at A Time? It’s creepy. I can’t even focus on the food part because I can’t get past his Gollum-esque voice and I keep wanting him to hold up a jalapeno and say “My Precious….!” OYE VEY. Now, I decided to try out his brands again, as I remember them as being good. Unfortunately, he’s reallocating money from prepared foods to uprooting local businessmen. He really should put the money back into his products. The chips I bought tasted stale at some points, no the bag was not old. His jar salsa keeps for a day after being opened, then it goes to the point of rancid. I mean when you open a jar of salsa, it shouldn’t make sounds like Pop Rocks, something is wrong. Unless I missed the memo, the only food that you should listen to is Rice Krispies. Bad bad, Bayless. I tried, he failed.
Earlier this summer, I touched on my issues with street fests. I have a bigger issue with music festivals. I can’t take it. I don’t know what’s worse, the flat chested pre-teen in a bikini top and fairy wings or the fat girl in the crop top and short shorts complete with muffin top? Listen, I am not a body shamer by any means, but this has gone too far. You are in my neighborhood, illegally drinking, high as a kite, screaming at the top of your -lungs…you want attention, you got it! Attention doesn’t discriminate and you can’t choose which kind you get. I don’t even know how parents let their kids leave looking like that!! My guess is that they don’t see it. I don’t care how liberal of a parent you are, but if you see your 13-year-old daughter wearing a top that barely covers her up and just her underwear on the bottom, you aren’t ok with it, don’t kid yourself. Living in the West Loop, I see this twice a year with Pitchfork and North Coast music festivals. I can’t even attend them because I will end up in jail for assault and battery. Just this last weekend, I couldn’t hold my tongue and totally belittled a 14-year-old and her friends as they were drunkenly walking in front of me. The worst is the douchebag, testosterone laden 16-year old boy that has a lit cigarette asking to pet my dogs. No, little boy, you can’t pet my dogs with your filthy hands that looked like they haven’t been washed in days and your nasty cigarette…go shower, because judging by his hands and greasy hair, he hasn’t had one of those in a while either…I’ve seen bums with cleaner hair and hands. Just sayin’. I wish a flying monkey could take them away to a castle with a witch, a red hourglass and the Russian mafia. Ugh.
Ok, now finally on to the resurrection of the dead….ready?? I am officially back on marathon training!! I had to take a break after that last blog about it because of a lot of muscle fatigue, but with that came a bigger hurdle, which was all the mental obstacles I had to overcome. The muscles healed, but mentally I was still on life support. I couldn’t convince myself to do it, train for it and I used every excuse in the book to not run…although this summer’s humidity was reason enough. I had no one to train with as I wasn’t sure if anyone else that had signed up with me was still doing it.
I was scared to sprint and hurt myself and I hated running slow, I had no options. Then, one day in August, I met up with an old training partner of mine, Kerry and she showed me an alternative training program that I was not too far off from. She convinced me to start training again as she was in the same boat as far as time frame went. I started to run again, slowly and not very far at first, but with her support and our weekly motivating texts, I began to see more consistency in my runs and I started to enjoy it again!! Just this last weekend I ran the best 11 miles of my life and am already 20 minutes faster than my first half-marathon! I was in total GIZMODE! Yep, coining that phrase, it’s totally me. I have a new meal plan in place that I will share with you all in the coming weeks as I update you on my training. I am officially excited for this race, a little nervous, sure…but I have control of it physically, emotionally, but most important, mentally. As I mentioned before, I am not running this on lottery, I am raising money for Chicago Diabetes Project, so I will shamelessly add my fundraising page link below and appreciate any support I can get!
Here’s your chance to be a part of GIZMODE!