Sunday, July 9, 2017

The bombs bursting in air

It's been well documented in this web log that I live on the 20th floor of a building that looks out at the lake.  Between me and the lake is a beach, Lake Shore Drive, a strip of Lincoln Park, a big ass partially-blocking-my-view senior high rise, some high-end row houses, and the Saddle and Cycle Club.

The Saddle and Cycle Club is a very exclusive country-club-in-the-city.  Years ago, I worked at a company whose executives were members and we had a company party there.  It was lovely -- manicured lawns, a lovely clubhouse, good catering department -- and I could get home on public transportation.  It's still there and is bigger.  They've bricked the driveway and installed a roofed ice rink.  There is an outdoor heated paddleball court which members seem to enjoy most when it's freezing outside.  The lawns are still manicured and lovely and there are well-used tennis courts.  On the 4th of July, they have fireworks.

As it's a private club, they never announce at what time the fireworks will be shot off but it's every 4th of July at about 9:30pm.  People gather in the park on blankets, congregate on the street, sit on Foster Beach, drop anchor in their boats on the lake, or, like me, stand at the window in the dark and watch.  Okay, that's not what I did.  This year I stood at the window and snapped off hundreds of pictures.

These are some very good, high-end fireworks.  The Saddle and Cycle Club is not without funds!  They really tossed up a lot of exploding matter and I took plenty of pics.  Some of the shots are surreal, some look like an invasion of space aliens, a few look like fireworks exploding, and many were kind of crap and it was cool!  When it was over, the club members applauded and I could hear them.

Next year I going to grab a friend or two and a blanket and go sit in the park and just enjoy it.  Photography is nice but so is living in the moment.

The Works Surreal (or was I just jittery?)

Fireworks!  Real fireworks!

The fiery aliens thought the chrysanthemums were its real parental units.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

If you take the low road, beware of who you might meet

It happened this week:  President Trump proved that there was no road low enough for him to take.  In fact, if said goes into a metaphorical valley, down a gulch, into a canyon, and then a crevice, he seems to like it even better.  Whereas Michelle Obama said, "when they go low, you go high," as advice to her two daughters, Trump goes low, stays there, looking for a way to go lower still and finding it.  He never met a high road he wanted to take.  He can't help himself; he has to be an unintelligent bonehead which insults unintelligent boneheads everywhere including Kim Jong-Un, perhaps the wacky king of all unintelligent boneheads.

In addition to taking the lowest of low roads whenever possible, he has dishonest hair.  A man's hair is not supposed to lie.

It's pronounced "PEEN-chay." and is a souvenir of a friend's trip to Mexico. (Google the meaning.)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

My green thumb

Hens and chicks, over which I futz
When I was younger, I did well with plants.  They liked me, I liked them, they grew, they flourished.  I gave them sun and water and they gave me loveliness and cooperation.  I was younger and I lived in a third floor unit that had great southern light and after a certain hour, almost no light at all.  I worke second shift and was gone from 430p until 1am. This gave the pants happiness, especially the christrimas cactus which flowered twice a year -- Halloween and Christmas.  I had a monster African violet that liked me and its pot and became huge.  And then I changed jobs.  And then I moved.

The moving killed everything I owned and everything that came into my apartment.  I stopped buying plants but one day, Mike and I were at the Gardens of Getsemane in Chicago and I saw a fiddle leaf fig.  It was small, in a four-inch pot, and I wanted it.  I told Michael that if I bought it and it died, that was it:  No more plants again in my life.

Surprise!  It flourished.  Within 10 months I had to get it repotted.  Another year went by and it was again repotted.  I moved into this place and while it took the move hard, the upper leaves have been growing.  I acquired a lower table.   I then got another plant-- a weird thing that is a version of mother in laws tongue but the leaves?  Fronds?  are all round and pointy at the tips.  I'd been doing very well.  So I decided another fig would do it and got a mini-fiddle leaf fig.  I went to greenhouse with my sister and brother-in-law and I got three other plants, and then I gave my sister some money to get me a lemon-lime scented gernanium.

Everything's growing!  I futz over them.  The begonia seems to be ready to make its move and take over my apartment -- it's doubled in size since I got it.  It's immense with many blooms.

So now I can share that I am not a fan of drapey houseplants that give off many flowers.  Upright with flowers is okay.  Small trees like the figs are great.  The hens and chicks it absolutely fine.  But if you're gonna be a flowering begonia in my home, you need to be at attention at all times.  That Tuberous begonia is happy, though, and will be with me for a long time.  My green thumb is back!  Welcome back to the world of the living.

And no, I do not name my houseplants.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The sale

I swore I wouldn't be buying more clothes but I lost weight and many of my clothes look flatout stupid on me, like I am wearing sacks.  No, not a good look.  Lord and Taylor,  a store that got me through many years of chub at bargain basement prices, was having a sale and while I tried to stay away, the lure of having things that fit was too strong to resist.  It was just not a good idea except for the additional 30% off, y'all.  Things marked way down and then 30% off that.  I scored a hoodie, a belted rain jacket, a pair of pants, and two tops and the bank wasn't broken.

Then I went to Costco and got grape tomatoes and chicken meat and gas for my car.  Meijer gave me bottled water, watermelon chunks, a Chobani four-pack of key lime, and a headache.  I had to get a raincheck at Meijer and they just do not have their Guest Services shit together.  Then I went home where I shall remain until I go to work tomorrow. It's nice here!  There are some great shaving-cream clouds over the lake, the sky and the lake are both blue, and my a/c is on so the humidity is nonexistant.  My dishwasher it having its way with my dirty dishes and I'll be cooking broccoli and cutting up chicken for my lunch tomorrow. 

Sale items, good food, a gas-filled car that's working just fine for being 19 years old, a good place to call home -- life it rich!  Now if I could just unpack the remaining boxes, life would also be full.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Pokemon are coming to me

Yesterday I found out that the first worldwide Pokemon Go Fest will be held in Chicago and, frankly, I want to go.  I might be on my own because even though ours is a Pokemon Go family, previous commitments do supersede Pikachu and his pals.

July 22, 2017 it comes here.  I am hoping for a Pokemon stampede!  That shit's crazy cool.

Can you find me there?

Sunday, June 4, 2017

It's summer! Wear damn sunscreen, you idiots.

Okay, I admit it.  I am not a fan of the hot months.  I find too much heat to be, as my friend, Michael, called it, "gross."  We had some warm weather and then it got quite chilly -- I was wearing my winter jacket at the end of May -- so the 91º we had today is welcome, even by me.  It's also welcome because I'm living in a place with air conditioning!  Yes, yes, y'all.  I walked into my small condo and enjoyed cool.  The dishwasher is running and it is cool.  I rearranged my closets and was cool while doing so.  I went out to run errands and it was 91º.  Come on, it's not going to be cool on the sidewalk although the a/c in my 19-year-old Civic was cranking some mighty cool breezes.

I am very pleased to report that the beaches are open and that people are enjoying them.  It's almost 6pm and people are still at the beach, enjoying the cool lake water, enjoying the day. 

They best be wearing sunscreen.  Sunburns are dangerous.

Foster Beach, 5:45pm on Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Memorial Day

Don't thank a veteran; tell a veteran you are sorry for the loss of his comrades in battle.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Fab Four

This is a little bit of something from before the election, when we call all still had hope and were convinced that Hillary Clinton would win the election.  I never saw it until today, I was tired about talking about my new location (still not in love), and thought this might make you all smile.  Close your eyes and take a deep breath.  Open them and hit play.  It's the end of October 2016.  Enjoy.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

My return to the past, week 1

Things are sometimes just not as horrible as you thing they will be.  Moving back to the train station actually hasn't been so bad EXCEPT for the commute home.  When I arrived, one the guards with whom I was friendly raced over and embraced me and told me it was nice to see me again and where had I been and oh my goodness, it was nice that I was back.  The evening cleaning lady told me I looked skinny and she embraced me and showed me pictures of her grandson, her son and daughter-in-law's wedding, and her step-granddaughter.  People came up to me and told me they noticed how much weight I'd lost and said they liked my blonde hair.  It was, dare I say it, nice.  I didn't mind doing the job away from the client although I miss seeing my coworkers and our client manager.  Hell, I miss the commute and, bigger hell, I miss the food that was provided to us.

I brought my lunch every single day and I still hate carrying my lunch almost more than anything.  As we speak I am cooking up a kale burger to have for lunch tomorrow, with a side of cherry tomatoes.  Tuesday I will bring along some of the Chinese food I am having tonight for dinner as a treat.  Wednesday?  Probably another sandwich with a side of cherry tomatoes.  A snack of raw pecans.  A banana.  Damn, I hate doing this shit but lunch in my building is costly and I got no raise when I made the change.  In fact, no longer having food provided costs me more and the longer commute takes time from me.  When I was in college my dad told me that you cannot buy time.  In this case, you can't even be compensated for it.

There is the odd combination of people and we won't talk about that.  Some of them are wonderful and odd and others are just odd and one is wonderful with oddities.  It's just like where you work, I'm certain.

I am back and get to see my friends every single day and in spite of my objections, it's been very good to have them around.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

My return to the past

According to my employer, you can go home again if home is where your job is.  In spite of my most optimistic views and crazy hope, they sent those who wanted to work at home to do the job there and the two of us who didn't want to work from home have to move back to the train station.  As noted previously, I am not a fan of the train station location.  It adds 15 minutes to my commute in each direction, it is always busy, you see some weird, uncomfortable stuff.  A former coworker saw a fistfight break out on the down escalator, complete with landed punches (she isn't given to hyperbole or exaggeration so I know it must've been a sight).  My ex-supervisor witnessed a family ride to the bottom of the escalator and just stop; she had to yell at them to get out of the way, fearing a pile-up.  Heaven help you if you get in the path of a commuting hoard; you could be trampled by the group, each of whom has the look of suburban blood in their eyes.  We city folk are also trying to get to work, but these lawnhead commuters look like they would crush you under their feet given half a chance.  (I solved that problem by not looking directly at them.  I didn't want to turn to stone.)

Tomorrow morning at 8:30, lucky me gets to return to that place.  Fingers crossed that I don't spend the day crying but I usually reserve that for when greedy, stupid, lying Republicans are elected president.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

40,000 of my new best friends

Yesterday, my sister and I joined our 40,000 new besties on the March for Science.  You know -- biology, astronomy, chemistry, botany, physics, zoology, paleontology.  Science!  Maybe you were good or not so good at science in school and maybe you do or do not find it interesting now, but it's science and it touches your life every day.  Can your kids drink milk without getting sick?  Thanks, Louis Pasteur!  Is polio eradicated?  Thanks, Jonas Salk!  Are you reading this on a computer?  Thanks, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and their peers and those who came before them and since.  Is Facebook your drug?  Thank that Mark Zuckerberg fellow.  Men and women laboring in laboratories or setting up cameras that will be tripped by passing animals or gazing at the sky through giant telescopes in the middle of the night on a top of a mountain in the middle of a desert.  Science!

 So we marched peacefully to ask that funding not be cut for science projects and to note that science is everywhere in everything we do and to thank those who gave their lives for science.  Here are a few pictures to commemorate the day.

Maybe Trump's a Cialis man but science brought that, too.

And no, vaccines are not BS.

From the distant past to ask that funding not be cut!!

Science theory?  Science fact ... that cats like string.

And persists today!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Here is what happened

I lost 35 pounds over the course of about two years and I have thus far managed to keep it off.  Good for me.  What I had not lost was the wardrobe of someone who weighs 35 pounds more than me.  For  many weeks, probably a few months, two of my coworkers have been telling me I am going to trip on my pants.  About six weeks ago, one told me that the particular pair of pants I was wearing that day -- my favorites -- were going to trip me and kill me.  I said I pinned the waist and hiked them up pretty good so I wasn't scared.

Three weeks ago I dress up pretty nicely.  It was supposed to be a nice day.  I was strolling to the bus stop as I'd just missed one, another wasn't coming, so why not walk at my own pace?  The next thing I know I coming down fast and didn't even have the chance to get my hands out enough to block my fall.  I hit my jaw, I hit my head, and seriously scratched nonscratch lenses and bent 1/8" solid aluminum frames, removing a lot of the coating.   I had a gash in my underchin, a huge knot on my forehead above the eye, and ripped the heck out of my gloves.  Those gloves saved me from getting cut up hands.  Those glasses saved my life.

Long story short -- I went back to my building and called my boss, crying that I had to go to the ER.  My doorman wanted to call an ambulance but I knew it would take me to a hospital I didn't like.  I considered going to the dentist because my teeth felt like they were in the wrong place.  I really wanted to see the dentist but there was the nasty blood issue.  I walked to the corner.  The express bus that would get me downtown in 10 minutes if there were no traffic came.  There was no traffic.

Before I got downtown I texted my sister and told her what I was doing.  I fell, I hit my jaw, I hit my head, I was going to the ER.  She called me back and said she'd meet me there, which she did.  I got myself admitted, telling them that I was not concussed.  Nurses had me put on a gown, took vitals, and gave me chemical ice for the lump on my forehead.  My sister got there and I paid someone with a mobile payment device for my treatment.  She was very helpful and got me real ice for my head which felt better.  I saw an ER resident, an EMS student who flushed my chin wound with great gusto, and the resident ER doctor who poked my face with greater gusto.  My sister and I looked for Pokemon on our phones.  They took me for a CT scan and found neither a broken jaw nor a broken skull nor a swollen brain.  They found no brain at all!  Ha ha ha!  That's what I like to tell people.  I also tell them that those glasses saved my life.

I told my sister that I considered going to the dentist first and she told me she'd have given me a concussion if I'd done that.  Do not doubt this statement.

When everything was over and I had stitches and had used the restroom, I came back to find my sister stretched out on the ER bed, looking for Pokemon. She did not budge and barely looked up.  I told her I'd take a picture of her and send it to her husband and daughters and did.  I took pictures of myself every day to document this and that one is my favorite.  It says, "Oh, you're fine, now let me catch some Pokemon."  Pokemon and life both go on, after all.

I now have some new glasses, completely different from the others.  The sensational black eye has faded; there is only a trace of a bump on my forehead; the stitches have been removed but you can't see the scar because it's under my chin.  There is still some jaw muscle swelling which Advil helps.

The big pants are all gone, out of my life and probably already in the life of someone who shops at Goodwill.  Enjoy those pants!  They were all bought on sale and I am easy on my clothing so you can get a lot of wear out of them.

As for my coworkers, I confessed to one what had happened -- she was right, I tripped on my pants and might have killed myself.  The other was out of town the day of the accident.  When she came back she asked me what happened and I said the other would tell you.  The other just looked at her -- just looked!  -- and she said, "Oh, my god, you tripped on your pants!"  Yes, I did.

The moral to this story is if you lose weight, get smaller pants.  You might think I'd know that as I think I am so smart, but no, apparently not. 

Here is the weirdest thing of all.  Since my face-to-sidewalk incident, I've felt more like myself than I have in years.  Maybe it knocked some sense into me (but probably not).

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Not all done

Finishing the job.  Really this time.
After getting my post-accident stitches removed -- no, the details have not been mentioned here yet -- I figured I would swing by the post office.  I was already later than I said I'd be, so five minutes was not going to put my job in jeopardy.  There were four people working on what I thought was a done deal which is the renovation of the interior of the Loop Station Post Office in Federal Plaza.  One was an artsy-looking man who was shorter than me.  I asked what they were doing, and Artsy gave me a smart ass answer, but not mean smart ass, "aren't I cute?" smart ass.  So I gave him some "I am cuter than you" smart ass replies which Artsy liked and told me they still had to add the trim to the paneling.  There was the fellow in this picture and from the smart ass exchange, you knew that Artsy and this man had a solid, long-term relationship.  There were also two workers who did not understand that relationship at all.  I missed the picture of the man standing on the wall -- STANDING ON THE WALL!!! -- but I did manage to snap off this one.  As I was departing, the man above was trying to get Artsy to climb the ladder and look at something.  Artsy was not going to climb the ladder.  One of the workers said to the other, "Spot me, okay?" and he headed up the ladder -- which seemed short for the job and standing too straight for safety -- while the other worker held it.  Artsy seemed like the sort of guy who would charmingly put the ladder on its side when they were all up there and go to Starbucks for coffees for each of them.  They'd be on the wall, wanting to come down just to, oh, maybe use the restroom and Artsy would be across the street, in line for four coffees.  "Aren't I great?  I got COFFEE!"

Whatever, Artsy.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Flamingo from above with snow

It snowed here a couple of weeks ago, a major news event as this winter has been very mild and pretty dry (except for the torrential rainfalls and a tornado).  It settled on top of Flamingo, a view I'd not yet captured.  Further, even though I optimistically cling to the hope that we will not have to do so, we are supposedly moving out of our client's offices, going to work virtually at home or at the corporate HQ, respectively.  There are seven people and none of us wants this.  There will be no more views of Flamingo.  Long story short, we all could be happier.

So while I still have access, here is Flamingo with snow on top.  Next week I will share how I fell down and went to the ER but no pictures!

Flamingo from above with snow and window reflection, 2017
Here is a tip for those of you who may be in a position of power in the future:  do not split up a team that gets along swimmingly, that communicates well, that has various strengths that each person will share with the others.  It will make things decidedly less good.

When this was decided, a manager skipped over to me and said, "Isn't it great, you're going to work at corporate HQ again!"  I said, "If I wanted to work there, I'd be working there."  She then said, "You can work virtual."  I said, "If I wanted to work virtual, I'd be working virtual."  She said, "You'll be able to see your friends."  I said, "I saw the one friend on Saturday and am having dinner with the other tomorrow."  She decided to change the subject.

Don't poke the bear when the bear has an opinion.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

And they renovated the USPS Loop Station

The USPS Loop Station at Federal Plaza in Chicago is a building that was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.  "Flamingo," well documented as a favorite Chicago sculpture of mine, was created by Belgian artist Alexander Calder and is located just outside of this post office in Federal Plaza.  The interior of the post office was exhausted because the original paneling from 1973 was looking tired and like the dog's dinner.  The paneling was removed and new paneling put up.  Paintings were taken away and cleaned and a bust was encased in a box while the work was done.

The job is complete and below are some photos that document some of the progress.  Please remember that they don't like photos to be taken in the building -- noisy tourists have been chastized and advised to stop -- but either I've not been caught or the guard who sees me every day, Monday through Friday, knows I am about as dangerous as a newborn lamb.

Bricks and studs!  (One of the 211 S. Clark entrances to Loop Station)

Close-up of bricks and studs

Dry wall, studs, and bust in the box
New paneling and bust still in the box

Cleaned painting, bust still boxed

All done!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Hey, Republicans! Wake up and smell the gauze bandages!

One of the lousy arguments about the repeal of the Affordable Care Act is that it requires that all citizens have health insurance or pay a penalty.  Arguments the Republicans have offered all boil down to "You can't tell the public that they have to buy health insurance.  That's just not right!"

Except it's right when we compare it to, oh, auto insurance.  Fifty states in the Union and all of them except for New Hampshire and Virginia require its residents to buy auto insurance.  This is what I found on the internet:

"New Hampshire and Virginia do not require motor vehicle insurance. In New Hampshire vehicle owners must satisfy a personal responsibility requirement; instead of paying monthly premiums, and prove that they are capable of paying in case of an accident. In Virginia vehicle owners may pay an uninsured motorist fee."

Yeah, that is all sorts of bad grammar but 48 states require it and NH and VA make you pay if you don't. 

We now recap:

1.  48 of 50 states require auto insurance.  NH requires residents to prove they can pay if they have an accident.  VA requires car owners to pay an uninsured motorist fee.

2.  The ACA requires citizens to buy health insurance or pay an uninsured human being fee.

Paul Ryan was on TV this morning wetting himself about how it's wrong that those who don't buy into insurance have to pay a penalty.  The government can't tell people what to do!  Paul!  Explain the states making people buy auto insurance.  They've done it -- it's been the law in Illinois for about 30 years -- and obviously it's legal and constitutionally proper because it exists everywhere in some form or other.  And no, it's not different unless by different you mean, "the same."

Sunday, March 5, 2017

My new habit

So every night I Swiffer my new home.  Dry Swiffer on the woods floors and tile floors and then twice a week, I visit the tiles with Swiffer Wet.  I've bought a wet system for the wood floors and they will get the once over at least once a week.  The only night I didn't Swiffer was a few night ago when I went to see David, my lovely hair guy, who turned me quite blonde.  I didn't get home until after 10 and only arrived when I did because there was rain with lightning and I didn't want to get fried so I took a cab the last 1/2 mile.  I've missed two thunderstorms in my home but I've slept through both.  As soon as I got home after being blondified, I opened my umbrella to let it dry, brushed and flossed my teeth, removed my mascara, and went to bed.  The storm was starting up in earnest but I knocked off as soon as my head hit the pillow.

What you've learned about me this week:

1.  I am new and improved with blonde highlights.
2.  Scared of lightning!
3.  I now clean my home.

It's a world gone freaking mad.