Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Final week of freedom

This is it. The last hurrah. A week from today, Chicago GSB will own me. Until then, I'm going to be lazy. Sleep in. Do something, do nothing, whatever I feel like.

August in Chicago, free as a bird, is cool.

My Wazzu friends and I had a friend/sorority sister in town from Seattle this past weekend. Fun stuff, pics below. We did the John Hancock tower, Millenium Park, shopping on the mile, etc. But the coolest thing was meeting up some guys my friend T knows and going on their sailboat for a sunset sail along the shore of the city.

Sunset Sail

View from the Ladies Room, Signature Lounge, John Hancock Tower

Skyline & Us in the reflection of the MP Bean

Millenium Park "Bean"

Wazzu ladies night out in Chicago

This weekend should be fun too. It's a holiday weekend and it's my birthday weekend. My birthday falls on Labor Day this year, just like it did 28 years ago...yep, Mama labored on Labor Day. Anyway, we've got another Wazzu friend coming in from Seattle, we're going to the White Sox/Tigers game on Sunday, then Jimmy Buffet @ Wrigley Field on Monday. I will be spending my birthday, AKA the day before school starts, in Margaritaville...God help me :)

Oh and I forgot to mention....WSU Cougar Football kicks off this week! It's the most wonderful time of the year. My boys play Idaho Thursday evening. Fox Sports NW is going to be carrying the game live, and I'm determined to find a bar in this city that's got it. Go Cougs!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Just say no to the uniform

Very funny spoof on the button down striped shirt. Guys in Chicago sure seem to love them.

Yes, I know I'm a slacker blogger. Update coming soon. Having too much fun to blog.

BTW, thoughts and prayers with the people stuck in the path of Hurricane Katrina. Sounds like the worst case scenario could happen, which is really bleak. New Orleans is such a great city. The potential loss of life and history is staggering. Godspeed, NOLA.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Summer in the city

Another beautiful weekend in Chicago (with the exception of some nasty thunderstorms late Friday night). This weekend was the Air and Water Show. I had been hearing the planes practicing early in the week so it was neat to see it all come together. A friend of mine is into sailing, and the crew she normally goes with was competing this weekend. (She didn't compete...got bumped because she's the rookie on the team). Anyway, another friend and I went with her to the after race party at the Chicago Yacht Club. It was a fun night, awesome view of the city & lake, great band, interesting people, and a fantastic fireworks show to end the night. Well, not exactly...we came back to the neighborhood for more drinks and I think we were all a little hungover this morning!

Didn't end up going wakeboarding last Thursday due to sketchy weather, but I have plans to go tomorrow. The guys I'm meeting up with live on a semi-private lake about 70 miles west of where I live (Lake Holiday). It will be cooler tomorrow (in the 70s as opposed to 80s/90s) but should be sunny....no thunderstorms!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I love my neighborhood

There's a Starbucks at the corner, a too-good-to-be-so-close ice cream joint, the cleaners, a bagel place, a sandwich spot, several bars, a convenience store, and a nail salon...all within two blocks of my apartment. 6 blocks to the gym, 6 blocks to Wrigley Field.... It's a beautiful thing.

Got a ton of errands done today. Made my first trip down to Hyde Park, did ok with the navigation, bit of a challenge to find parking, but I was able to get my U of C ID, sign up for parking, and drop off my immunization record, all within about an hour. I headed back north to Michigan Ave so I could sign over my first (not yet born) child in exchange for the beautiful 12 in Powerbook from which I'm currently blogging. So *sooooo* worth it (sorry first-not-yet born child). Got all the desired accessories and took advantage of the free iPod mini deal (which I will be giving to my friend since I already have a 20 gig iPod...am I an awesome friend or what?)

Date tonight (he's taking me to his favorite Italian joint) and tomorrow I'm getting out of the city to explore rural Illinois and hook up with some new wakeboarding peeps. Hopefully gas prices will be under $3 when I get out of the metro Chicago area.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The good life

I'm kinda liking this unemployed no responsibilities no cares thing.

I unpack a little each day (a lot initially, now it has slowed to a trickle. I need to finish my kitchen, hang my pictures, and sort through my papers/books)

I work out with my friend (who is a personal trainer at my new gym 6 blocks from here. She is kicking my ass into shape, and free personal training is the best kind. The gym is huge, it's close, and it's right next to Whole Foods, so I can enjoy their salad bar after my workout. Perfect.)

I go to baseball games (White Sox-M's weekend before last, Cubs-Cards this past weekend. My friend and I went to Thursday's game at Wrigley. We scalped OK tickets for $40, but met a guy during the rain delay that provided us with a free upgrade to much better seats, 10 rows up from first base. Wrigley has so much character. I still can't believe it's only 6 blocks away from my apartment)

I meet up with friends new and old (it's nice living in the same building as my friends from WSU. It's also nice meeting their friends, I'm definitely going to have a good cross section of GSB and non-GSB friends. I also had fun meeting my classmates at last week's happy hours, and look forward to meeting more this week. Plus, I've been meeting some really fun guys. I had a date last Friday and I have a date tomorrow. Both are fun guys, although I don't see a future with either, but they don't take no for an answer when they know I'm not gainfully employed!)

Why am I in Chicago again? Oh, that's right...school! T-minus 21 days...

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Just my luck

The Mariners of course won on Friday night, but lose the game that I actually attended Saturday night (and subsequently lost this afternoon...the White Sox are good, the M's not so good). Oh well, the weather was perfect, we had a nice tailgate before the game, and after the game was a fantastic fireworks show. I was impressed, it was better than some 4th of July stuff I've seen.

Can't wait for my stuff to get here tomorrow, I'm dying to unpack and I'm so excited to sleep in my own bed for the first time in 4 months.

As Le Voyageur points out, pre-pre-term socializing has already begun. This week should be fun, I'm looking forward to meeting more people. But lucky for me, I've already got most of my pre-term assignments done. Plus, I received the curriculum guide on Friday, so I've been browsing through it and starting to make a master plan of classes I'd like to take, the order in which they need to be taken, and getting a rough idea of what my schedule may look like this fall (rather, what I hope it will look like assuming I bid well).

Friday, August 05, 2005

My grill is where bugs go to die

After ~2200 miles, the front of my Pathfinder is a bug graveyard. I must have wiped out at least...oh... 0.0001% of the bug population on the I-90 corridor.

I have arrived in Chicago (yesterday around 3:30 pm CDT). As much as I love my SUV, I hope I don't have to get into it again for at least a week.

I left my hometown Sunday afternoon and stayed with a friend in Seattle that night. She highlighted my hair (I'm *really* blonde right now, I love it), then we went to dinner at a new place on Lake Union (Joeys...it was fantastic). Got an early start Monday and rolled into Butte MT in the early evening. My best friend from Wazzu grew up there and her dad still lives there, so I crashed at his place. Started early again on Tuesday and crossed the continental divide just outside of Butte around 7:30 am MDT.

Tuesday's drive was really pretty, all part of the country I hadn't seen before. The NE portion of Wyoming/SW portion of South Dakota is really specatular. I was planning to stay in Rapid City SD that night and had plenty of time to get there, so I took a side trip to see Devil's Tower (which is pretty cool). It was nice to get off the interstate for awhile, except when I needed to use the restroom while in the middle of nowhere. On the interstate, there are rest areas and/or gas stations at reasonable intervals, but not so on the state highways. I ended up stopping in Aladdin WY, population 15, at a little trading post. Their public restroom was an old school outhouse. Not a porta-potty, an outhouse. Better than having to go bare-assed on the side of the road for everyone to see, but gross none the less. Given my camping background, I would have rather gone in the woods, but there wasn't anything to hide behind on the side of the road.

When I rolled through Sturgis SD, I finally realized why I was seeing so many bikers on the road. The annual world famous motorcycle rally starts this weekend. There were even more bikers on the road heading toward Sturgis the following two days. Not just bikes, but bikes in tow behind trucks and some fancy schmancy motorhomes. I'm telling ya, it looks like those folks know how to party, that might be an event I have to go to at some point in my life, just to see it. Mardi gras, biker style. Although you have to wonder about the sanity of folks who ride a motorcycle at 85 mph without a helmet (chances of surviving a bike crash at that speed with no helmet being nearly zero and all).

Wednesday morning I went and checked out Mount Rushmore. It was impressive but what was more striking was looking out to the east of the Black Hills and realizing how flat it gets. The rest of South Dakota was pretty boring. I stopped in the town of Wall for gas, but I did not make it to Wall Drug. Billboards every half mile leading up to Wall were an annoying "something to look at" so I boycotted. I spent Wednesday night in Albert Lea MN, then made my final push to Chicago Thursday.

I thought the scenery in Minnesota & Wisconsin right around the Mississippi River was really pretty. Green, rolling hills, lots of waterways and lakes, etc. Further into Wisconsin, I laughed when I saw the Cascade Mountain ski area. As someone who grew up in the foothills of the real Cascade Mountains, it was a pretty funny joke. I should be careful about cracking on Wisconsin though because that is where my new roommate grew up!

By the time I hit O'Hare, the traffic was awful and it was hotter than Hades. In the trench of I-90 in bumper-to-bumper traffic, my outside temperature gauge registered as high as 109. YUCK!

But anyway, I'm here, I made it in one piece, and I'm looking forward to a month of getting settled and having some fun. Saturday my friends and I are going to the White Sox-Mariners game, Sunday we're going to go see Wedding Crashers, and Monday I will finally get to start unpacking since that is when United Van Lines is going to deliver my stuff out of storage. I can't wait to sleep in my own bed again!