Tuesday, August 30, 2011

moving day

Yesterday the movers came.  I was stressed beyond belief.  We'd already done some of the stuff we needed to:  pulled the TV off the wall mount in the living room, packed what we thought we'd need for the two weeks we're in transient living status, cleaned out a lot of food in the cabinets/fridge/freezer, etc.  I woke up at 4:30 in the morning and started watching the news.  I think I nodded off around 6:00.  I was actually alone in our bed because Adam has had a pretty bad cough for a few days and he was on the couch hacking up a lung.  On Sunday we realized that the friends that were storing our recliner (that the second realtors made us get rid of) were still out of town so that involved some drama with getting the key to their place and a Zipcar truck to haul the chair home in.  OY.  Adam went and got the car and woke me up and we went to get the chair.  I was exhausted and nervous and feeling a general malaise.  We had a great weekend that I'll probably write about tomorrow and I wasn't happy that it was over.   And Dunkin Donuts drive through had 10,000 cars in line so we didn't stop for coffee, which did not make for a happy morning all around.

My view from our bedroom windowsill after our room had been emptied.  Sad.  But not that sad.  You can't fit a queen sized bed in there.  

I swept up dust bunnies and my hair all afternoon.  I shed like an animal.  It's a miracle that I'm not bald by now.  I also like having the windows open at every chance I get, which creates a dust bunny farm in our house on a regular basis.  Getting behind the furniture was an entirely new ballgame of dust and fuzz balls.  I probably swept each room 10 times and there are still flying bunnies around our house (and the windows are still open- win for Chicago August).

I wish I had taken a picture of what happened next, which was the mover strapping this chair (of the aforementioned recliner drama fame) onto his back and carrying it down the stairs.  It was amazing.  I also think we'll be saying goodbye to small khaki couch in Dallas.  It's going to look ridiculous in our new living room (small couch in a ginormous room, it's the opposite of fat guy in a little coat).

This was taken at about 4:30 as they were loading the last of the stuff from our storage unit that we rented when the condo first went on the market.  Good bye stuff.  And also, HOLY GARAGE SALE when we move.  Somehow we have accumulated too many things as a casualty of having our condo on the market for so long.  I'm sure we bought duplicates of things we had in storage.

This is in a box awaiting me when we get there.  I only buy the finest at Trader Joe's.  Amazing flavored (but not too sweet or unnatural) sparkling water, $3.99 bottled vinho verde wine, THE BEST SHAVE GEL ON THE PLANET and cheap peanut butter.  WORD.

The day was (as evidenced by my early wake up in panic) a very rough one for me.  I'm such a control freak and it really bothered me to have someone else packing up my stuff.  I am afraid it will be disorganized when we get there.  Also, I never got to have that cathartic, GET RID OF EVERYTHING packing phase in this move.  I'm going to go through everything in Dallas, which will be nice as I'll have a great deal more space to work with.  I'm serious about having a garage sale though because I felt like a hoarder with all our stuff filling that truck.  But I also felt like a total jerk as I watched other people pack our stuff.  I realize that's what they were hired to do but it was hard for me in a control freak way and an "I feel like a ridiculous pretty pretty princess right now" kind of way.

I also felt pulled in too many directions at various points in the day.  Sure, there were down times when I was able to sit and read or play on my phone but there were also times when both movers and the man from the separate crating company were all needing my attention to various matters.  It was just a lot to handle.  I never ate lunch for several reasons but mostly because I was never hungry enough to do anything about it.  I'm learning that stress either causes me to be ravenously hungry and overeat or sometimes in cases like yesterday's, I have the complete opposite reaction to either forget about or have an aversion to food.

We made up for the fact I skipped lunch by eating at the adorable Italian place where we had our first date.  The weather has been amazing over the past couple of days (although I hear we'll be sent on our merry little way with some more heat and humidity) and we sat outside.  It was crazy to think that we hadn't been back since that first date and all that has happened between us since then.  It was a great place to celebrate another new beginning since when we went there three years ago, we were also celebrating a new beginning, we just didn't know it at the time.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Moving Day

So it turns out I, Adam, am not the best blogger. It has been sometime since I have written here, but I am back now. So I have put in my 2 weeks at work, we found a place to live in Dallas, and just had our going away party. Today the movers are here, and I can't help but think back to when I was 16 and we picked up and moved from Houston to Chicago. That moved obviously changed the course of my life as I'm sure this one will too. Although I am feeling a bit anxious about all this I am excited to get to Dallas. It is weird to finally be here on moving day and feel anxious after wanting this for so long now, I guess that just how life works. These past few days and weeks have been very hard to see so many of our friends and know our time is limited and coming to an end. I know I will see most of them again, but it will just be different, as are all things. I have been so afraid and scared of big changes for most of my life, but I think I am finally embarrassing this one. It probably helps to have an amazing wife to get through it with. Thats probably the biggest comfort to know that I am not alone in this change. I wasn't alone in the last one either, but you know when you're a teenager you think your parents are to blame for everything and I was not happy about leaving Houston. While I am not exactly happy to be leaving Chicago, I know in the long run it is the best move for my family. I hope I will be blessed with as many great people in my life in Dallas as I had in Chicago. Chicago will always be my favorite city and some of my favorite people will still live there long after I am gone and I will miss them dearly.

So today on moving day I would like to say thank you to the City that made me feel like an adult, houses my favorite sports team, some of my closest friends call home, and of course, the City where I meet my wife. I will always hold a special place in my heart for the City and my friends who call it home. Thank you for the memories.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

an ode to a city and it's people

I was so deep in thought this morning about this very post that I got on the wrong train and ended up joy riding around the Loop.  I suppose it's fitting since I was thinking about this city and it's people and all that it's meant to me over the past three years.  I have changed just. so. much. in the three years that I've been here, probably more so than any other point in my life, with the exception of maybe ages 0-3.  I came here on what was really a whim, driving all night from Virginia in a caravan with my roommate across Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana.  I'll never forget taking the Skyway into Chicago around 8 o'clock the next morning and knowing that I was about to embark on my next great adventure.  I've had a lot of great adventures in my life and I'm sure that Dallas will be the next fun chapter, but despite the fact that this move was completely instigated by me, I'm feeling a bit of trepidation as we spend our final days here in Illinois.  Before we got married, I made it fairly clear to Adam that I wanted to return to Texas someday.  As much as I have enjoyed being a true urbanite, I don't see a future for us and a potential family in the heart of the city.  The burbs of Chicago just don't hold any promise for me, personally, since we have zero family here and I'm not interested in Adam taking a 45 minute to an hour train ride in for work every day (also, the record breaking winters that I have survived didn't exactly help the cause).  I like to say that we outgrew our condo the moment I moved in, there is very little in the way of closet storage and the kitchen is entirely dysfunctional for us to ever have people over for a proper dinner.  The search for a job in Texas for Adam was a long process full of anticipation, a bit of heartbreak and stress.  I firmly believe that the best opportunity presented itself by the grace of God, so we are headed to the state we were both born in to hopefully raise a family (not anytime soon) and carve out a good life for ourselves.  The happy reasons for our move (family, friends, cheaper and BIGGER living space, cars) don't make it any easier to leave this life behind.  So here is my thanks to the city that gave me so many gifts and to the people that made the stay so much more than pleasant...

To Chicago:  I got precisely what I was looking for when I came here, the opportunity to live a truly urban life.  I loved my little neighborhood off the Blue Line and reliable transportation to get me to and from work (I'm looking at you, DC.  Frankly, your transit options sucked).  I was able to afford a pleasant life on my own and I had the chance to see a few different places of the country and the world, just by being based here.

To United Airlines:  There aren't many companies that allow their employees to freely move from base location on their own personal whims.  I was also lucky to have the gift of travel throughout my stay here so that my family was never too far away from me.  Also, I've had the best health benefits ever while I lived in Illinois and I highly doubt I'll ever see insurance as amazing as what I've had for little cost to me.  

To My Roommates:  These two faithful and brave people came here with me, despite the fact that we knew very few people here.  I'm so thankful for our Thanksgiving dinner we all shared while we lived in our little apartment in Logan Square, it will always be one of my favorite memories of my time spent here.  

To Crossroads Public House:  Despite the fact that I really don't care for the food, it's a decent bar and home of the Hokies in Chicago. It will always hold a special place in my heart for being the place that completely changed the course of so many lives, all because my dear friend dragged me there.  Two strong marriages resulted from one football party.  

To Our Friends Here (that can be found at Butch McGuire's on summer Sundays):  It took me a really long time to find friends that I could call my own here in the city, since I was basically absorbed into Adam's friend groups.  Despite the fact that you may have known Adam a little longer than you've known me, I appreciate that you have accepted me with open arms in the good times and bad.  Given some of my experiences here, it means more to me than you might know.  I will miss each one of you every time we turn on a Bears or Blackhawks game.

It's been a crazy ride.  I've known happiness that I never knew existed but I've also had complete moments of despair.  Every time and feeling has taught me valuable lessons that I'm grateful to have learned.  Getting on the plane to Dallas on Labor Day is turning out to be more bittersweet than I thought it would be.    

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

working on some of the finishing touches

Man, yesterday ended up being a little craptastic.  I stupidly scheduled a doctors appointment and dentist appointment before work and neither of them went as planned.  I'm fine but it was just a lot to deal with all in one morning and I came about as close as I've ever been to getting hit by a car as I was walking to the dentist.  I'm not going to miss the frenetic city drivers in Chicago!  Work was fine but my dad got stuck here in Chicago for the second day in a row, so I stressed out about that for no reason.  Then my stupid passport finally came and my old one wasn't in it.  I had just hurt my hand opening some mail so there was a small meltdown involved because my old passport not only has some very expensive visas in it that don't expire for another 9+ years but all of my memories from trips with United that I took, essentially, by myself.  I have no one to sit and remember those times with so my passport was (and is) very important to me.  I've been told from several people that they mail it separately so I'm hoping I'll see it in the next couple of weeks.

On the bright side, the mail I hurt my hand opening was my pictures that I ordered (mpix.com, get the metallic paper) that I took in our new neighborhood.  There are lots of eclectic signs all over Deep Ellum that I took pictures of for the "wall art" in our new bedroom.  The pictures came out really great and I'm excited to get some frames for them and put them up.

In less than two weeks, we'll be in Dallas.  Two weeks from today, we'll probably be sitting at a car dealership buying a car for me/us.  Depending on financing, we're even considering the idea of getting a brand new car, which completely freaks me out because I have never imagined getting a new car off the lot.  I remember when my mom got one and how STINKING cool it was (we were always a used car family).  So yeah, even though the idea of dealerships and haggling and used vs. new and financing totally freaks me out, I'm excited about the prospect of driving off the lot with a new (or new to us) car.  We want it to be our family car for a long time so this is a big decision!

Two weeks from Friday, we'll get to move into the new apartment.  I can't believe it's sneaking up on us.  We have done almost all that was on our bucket list and I'm feeling like this has been a good way to close this chapter on our lives.  I'm going to really miss a lot of our friends and I'm going to miss being able to watch all of our favorite Chicago sports with our core group of pals.  I know we'll end up meeting (and we already have quite a few) awesome friends in Dallas, but the good byes will be tough.

It's been an amazing three years for me.  I did something that I always dreamed of doing:  living in the city, sans car, and surviving some crazy winters.  I was thinking back yesterday to what drew me here to Chicago as opposed to staying in the DC area and I'm so thankful that I'm not afraid of change or of taking huge leaps.  I came here only knowing my two flight attendant roommates and I'm so thankful that the three of us jumped into this together.  It's changed all of our lives, for the better.   I would never have met Adam if I had stayed in Washington and I don't want to think about what my life would have been like.  I'm thankful to United for making the DC flight attendant base so incredibly difficult to deal with that we came here to live the city life.  Things in Chicago haven't always been easy but it's been a great experience and I've learned some important lessons in my time here.  It's hard to believe that we'll be flying away for the last time as residents in a few short days.

Friday, August 19, 2011

dallas updates

We got back yesterday from our little mini-vacation slash business trip to Dallas to find an apartment.  Adam and I had been researching apartments for weeks and we created a binder with 20 properties to check out, organized by area.  Our preference was to try to find something near the DART light rail so that Adam could ride the train downtown on his days in the office instead of paying potentially $100+ a month to park in a garage.  I wasn't sure exactly how that would work, in my personal experience, public transit in the south is not convenient.  We headed to the apartments/area that we were considering to be our first choice as soon as we got our rental car and were pleasantly surprised to see that the DART stations were a stone's throw away on either side of the complex.  Once we went inside, did a tour of the model unit (which was the same floorplan as we'd be getting) and saw the property as a whole, we were almost sold.  The fact that we were quoted a price that was about $200 less than what we had seen online was a huge selling point. 

The unit had everything on our checklist, except for a fireplace, which we were willing to give up to have a first floor apartment.  There is a parking garage for us right outside the door to our unit and a pool in the other direction.  We went and looked at probably 7 other apartments and I think we drove by 18 out of the original 20 complexes in our binder, only skipping the ones that were nowhere near the DART rail or buses.  As you can imagine, some of the complexes were only worth a drive by.  Pictures on a website can be made to look much more attractive than the reality.  It was crazy though, we never saw anything as nice or as new as the first place so we went back again on Monday to look at it for a second time and went back to the neighborhood at night with some friends to see what it was like.  On Tuesday morning, we drove back to the complex, parked and rode the train downtown to see what it would be like for Adam.  It was only 15 minutes total, which basically cuts Adam's commute in half.  We went inside and signed our lease on the spot. 

Since we took care of most of our business before noon on Tuesday (this included heading to Lowe's to choose our accent wall paint colors, that will be on the walls when we move in, YES! and going to the Dallas County Tax Assessors office to get temporary Texas plates for the car being shipped from Colorado), we had the rest of our trip to basically "vacation". 

We drove ALL over Dallas, I had a VERY impromptu job interview, we ate and drank to our hearts content, we walked as much as we could physically stand in the heat and we drove around and got really acclimated to our neighborhood and new city.  We even had time to drive to Ft Worth for some exploration, a movie and dinner with some friends.  It was a great trip and there were several points when all we could do was look at each other and realize that this was the opportunity that God had planned for us.  There were so many disappointments along the way in the job search, but Adam working in downtown Dallas and the two of us living in such an eclectic neighborhood was what was meant for us.  It was such a comforting feeling to be sitting there and know that we were "coming home" despite the fact that neither of us has ever lived in the DFW area.  There is something special about being from Texas and living in Texas and I can't wait to be a part of that attitude again.  I'm excited to be proud of where I live.  It will be the perfect mix for us of urban and suburban.  There are several yoga studios that I can walk or ride my bike to.  We can still walk to cafes, restaurants and bars.  We walked the Katy Trail on Wednesday and both of us fell in love with it a little bit.  We'll just have to wait until the temperatures drop a tiny bit to be able to get those longer runs and rides in.  All of this is just a few miles away from quite a few of our friends and just a four hour drive from my family.  We spend probably 6-7 hours in transit to get back to Texas via air at this point so even in traffic, we're making a much quicker trip.  I'm so thankful. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

bucket list progress

You may notice that some items have been removed and/or modified.  We might have been a teensy bit too ambitious.

Greektown we plan to do this on Friday night with my in-laws
Kuma’s Corner getting up early to do this on Sat morning to avoid the lines
CHECK  Revolution Brewing
CHECK  Sol del Sur/Whirlaway
Rock-It River North brunch
CHECK Trinity
Schoolyard Wednesday night post-moving day treat
CHECK  Redmond’s Thursday
CHECK  Cheesie’s
CHECK  Park Grille outside
Tango Sur I've been told that this is happening, planned by Adam
CHECK  Piece
Watch the sun rise over the lake bright and early on Sunday morning!
Show / Brew-n-View at the Vic
CHECK  Higgins see also: our GOING AWAY PARTAY!
Wrigleyville Street Fest Saturday night with my fav street fest band!
Late night for Blues at B.L.U.E.S, Kingstone Mines, or Buddy Guys
Little Italy for Italian Ice possibly Friday night if we aren't overstuffed with Greek food
CHECK  Yoga on the Beach or Park
Sapori Trattoria the plan is to eat here on our last night in town
Movie in Grant Park
CHECK  RJ Grunts
CHECK  Scooter’s
Q’Dobes downtown

quick updates

One would think that now that I'm done with yoga school, that I'd have boundless time and energy to write on this here bloggity blog.  I taught the full hour class to my partner on Saturday and on Sunday we had our final exam (HOLY LONG- 12 or so pages of short answers/essays) and we did round robin teaching.  It was a truly amazing transformation to see just how much each of my classmates had grown as teachers and people over our 9 short weeks together.  It was a beautiful experience and despite the fact that 20 people taught the various sections of the class, I actually enjoyed my practice that day and felt in the moment instead of my usual distracted.  We had a graduation party and a mini-after party at a dive bar and the rest is history.

I'm so thankful that I did my training now but MAN, I am thankful it's over, too!

I've been feeling downright awful this week, my allergies this summer have been worse than I can ever remember.  I also haven't found the right combination of medication to make me feel semi-functional.  The saddest thing is that the weather is downright glorious right now but I have little to no interest in being outside, although we have shut off the A/C and have all the windows open.  I pinky promise, I will do my best to bring some cool breezes to Texas on Monday.

Speaking of that, my spare time has been filled with apartment research and getting everything organized for our trip to Big D on Monday.  We only have until Thursday to find a place and get everything completely set up.  My obsessive self has been printing out everything I can get my hands on (floorplans, printable brochures) and making a checklist of our must have and very much want items so we can make the most educated decision possible.  Dallas is HUGE and it's kind of overwhelming to realize the world is our oyster here.  The cost of living is so much lower that there are very few properties that are completely out of reach to us (mostly because they are luxury or in a trendy location).  I can't remember if I've mentioned it before but Adam is inheriting a car from his family and organized the shipping from Colorado Springs (where his brother has been using it) to Dallas.  Some great friends of ours are going to take delivery of it and grab us from the airport when we move down on Labor Day so we'll have at least one car.

We also started doing some preliminary research on dogs and an SUV for me, despite my warnings to Adam that I don't do well with finding something I like and not moving on it right away.  True to form, we found the BEST deal on a Hyundai Santa Fe with more of the add-ons than I'd even need and hardly any miles on it.  I slept on it one night and we decided we owe it to ourselves to at least inquire about it.  We haven't heard anything back but it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if it's already gone.  Our dog search (which has been mostly Adam's so far, I cannot bear to read some of the stories without wanting that dog RIGHT NOW) hasn't been going quite as well.  Adam inquired about two dogs but neither of them are house trained.  I think that will be our issue if we don't get a dog from a shelter because most of the foster homes let the dogs run in and out of the backyard through dog doors and that won't be an option for us.  I assume we'll go to the shelter/pound situation that first week and see what we can find.  Knowing me as well as I do, there will be some little guy/gal that will speak to me and I won't be able to leave without it.

Adam is putting in his two weeks notice at work today.  He didn't intend for it to be so late in the game but all of his bosses have been on vacation at various points in the last month.  One of them is still out now but the big boss of his group returns today.  I know this has been a source of anxiety and worry for him so I'm glad he can finally move the roadblock out of the way and concentrate on wrapping up his time there.  Next week with our Dallas trip, we're each only working one day and then the following two weeks are only four day work weeks for me.  After today, I only have ten more days at work.  WOW!  I was hoping to do a bit of subbing for yoga classes but the time is clearly slipping away from me.

We'll know a great deal more details about how everything is going to flow for us in this move once we have an apartment and a for real move in date next week.  If we are able to move in on the day after Labor Day, the movers will be here the following Wednesday to take all of our stuff!  I can't believe that in less than a month, we'll be Texas residents again.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

brain dump for a Thursday

I am so sleepy this morning that I can't really form a coherent sentence so here are the ton of thoughts rolling through my head:
  • Last night I found out that I've already hit the required hours for certification!!!  I figured it would take me until the last day on Sunday but I had a couple of miscalculations that were cleared up for me so I've already hit.  GLORIOUS.  
  • Also last night, our lecture was called "The Business of Yoga".  It was very informative and I have a to do list a mile long of things I need to do to get ready to hopefully find some places to teach in Dallas.  
  • I need to renew my CPR certification because most places I teach will expect and require that.  However, Chicagoland Red Cross isn't offering anymore classes this year.  CPR certification reminds me an awful lot about yoga teacher certification.  It's hard to tell if what you company you plan to get certified by is acceptable because there are so many choices out there.  Why can't the Red Cross and American Heart Association come up with one dual certification?
  • We officially re-hit the market yesterday.  We're having an Open House on Sunday that will probably tell us quite a bit about what we're facing here.  We re-listed with, yet again, a lower price.  
  • Apartment hunting in Dallas is our bright side anecdote to the depressing selling of the house.  I think we'll be able to find exactly what we want for relatively what we want to pay.  I'm so giddy thinking about having an outdoor space, access to a pool, a kitchen and living space big enough to host people, a nicer home office space and so many more things.
  • I can't believe that a month from now I'll be driving in my own car again.  That is SO freaky since it's been more than 3 years since I owned a car (and had a car payment and "I own a car" car insurance- yucky).  I am happy that I'll be able to much more easily grocery shop again!  
  • Yesterday was my last rush hour commute.  I have to leave work an hour and a half early to make it to classes on Wednesdays and Fridays.  I'm so thankful to not endure the stampede from all directions that was my experience.  I work above the huge commuter train to the suburbs and beyond terminal downtown, so making my way 6ish blocks over to the regular public transit trains was like swimming upstream.  And the people that commute out of Union Station are all business all the time, you should see some of them running and pushing people to catch their trains.  My own personal train often got so crowded after my stop and the next that we were no longer able to admit passengers.  It was wild.  I won't miss it. 
  • I'm going to be done with classes on Sunday!!  I've had this crazy urge to do something rebellious like dying purple streaks in my hair (no tattoos though, Mom).  But I'm not sure how well that will go over at my current job or when I'm looking for places to teach in Dallas.  I'll just buy some much needed new yoga clothes so I can look stylin' while I'm teaching.  And I have some stuff that has just gotten abused this summer during my intense practicing schedule.  
  • I'm SO excited to start running again.  I didn't realize how much I missed it.  I'll also be able to go back to TRX on Tuesday.  I need to do some research and find some half marathons to run while it's nice in Texas this winter.  I'm thinking maybe White Rock on the day before my 30th birthday.  How awesome would it be if I took my training seriously and PR'ed on the day before such a milestone b-day?  
  • Thank goodness it's Thursday.  I have a lot of studying to do for our exams this week but it's such a nice feeling to be almost done.  I would say that I'm so happy to get my life back but we have so many things going on in the next month with our move and trying to accomplish our Chicago Bucket List that I don't think things are going to slow down for a minute.  
  • Happy Thursday!  The week is almost over! 

Monday, August 1, 2011

holy moly, it's august

I can't believe it's August 1st.  We have just a hair more than a month left in Chicago.  Wow.  And in other news...

I made it through the weekend that I was dreading.  It's amazing how easily it is to come completely full circle.  I learned just so. much. cool. stuff.  Enough weird new age-y living and healing stuff to fill 10 blog posts.  Those will wait for other times but just prepare your self to get totally blown away.  It's really amazing how the yogic traditions can work their way right into the Christian beliefs that I've had from birth.   But I have a lifetime to do more research and then talk about what I've learned and what it means to me personally.  Today I just want to tell you about the weekend as a whole.

On Friday, I was in a super bad place.  I woke up feeling sucky for so many reasons but my overactive mind had worked itself into a lather over the worry that I was going to be hot and miserable for the whole weekend.  I had a fairly average day at work but because I was so upset over other things, I turned it into a bad day.  Our weekend was being held at a studio that is only about a mile away from work (however, a long drive from home) so on my walk there Friday night, I called Adam and pretty much just lost it.  I was still crying when I rode the elevator up to the studio.

As soon as I stepped off the elevator, I saw one of the teachers I know that was taking an advanced training and her group was meeting up with ours for the yoga spirituality lectures.  She promised me that we wouldn't be too hot and that the weekend was really cool.  And deep down, I knew that if I just took a chill pill, the weekend would be awesome and that I would have the opportunity to learn a great deal.  My mind is hard to reason with when it becomes attached to an idea (the idea that I was going to overheat and feel claustrophobic) and it took a lot of convincing by her and others to let go of my worry about the whole situation and to open my mind and heart to new things.

We started the weekend with a really cool chant that basically translates from Sanskit to English as "May all beings every where be happy and free and may my words, thoughts and actions contribute to that in some way."  Can I tell you how much I love the Sanskrit language?  It's so flowy and succinct and just fun to let the words roll off out of your mouth.  I love all the Sanskrit posture names and I love chanting in Sanskrit because in my mind, it's like singing an easy, more memorizable (you like that word? me too) version of a church hymn.  And to me, there's not a lot more that is beautiful musically than 90ish people singing together.  We did a lot of really cool chants over the weekend.

Life is teaching me so many lessons right now, including the very important one from the weekend, which I take as to loosen up sometimes.  It was hot at times in the room, but it was never unbearable or something I couldn't handle.  It was a long weekend and at a studio far away and out of my comfort zones, but I had someone to drive me there or take me home every day.   Adam worked really hard on the condo all weekend and we did a bunch of errands and work together when I got home on Saturday.  When things need to get done, we can work together as a team to make it happen.  All the things I was so upset, worried and worked up about ended up being fine and it wasn't hard to tackle each thing as it came.

One key thing that I took away from our lecture on Friday night was the idea of doing a gratitude journal.  When Adam and I were at Target on Saturday night, I bought myself a composition book and told him about what I was going to do and asked if he wanted to do it too.  Basically, what we plan to do is write down a few things each day that we're grateful for.  One of the girls in class on Friday said she's been doing hers for 6 years!  That is amazing discipline.  From doing it for the past two days, I will say it's hard.  It's very hard to limit yourself on only writing down three things!  But I want this to be a sustainable habit for both of us, so it has to be a five minutes or less type of thing.  Each day, I've found myself reflecting on probably 10-20 things that I could write down and that's only thinking off the top of my head and not really going through my day and making a true inventory.  The point of it, for me at least, is to identify and realize each day that I have more to be thankful for than to curse in my life.

It's nice to have a moment in time (even if you are being kind of forced) to sit down for awhile, learn some new things and reflect on what you already have and what you can give of yourself to others.  I knew the weekend would be a valuable tool for me, I just had a lot of trouble getting over the personal humps I created for myself.

I got this picture from my friend Lisa's Facebook.  Despite our complaints about having to go so far away from home for all our classes this weekend, we were rewarded with this as our view:

Chicago downtown skyline from the south