Friday, July 29, 2011

aloha and farewell

Why hello, lovelies.  I am here to tell you four things.  [At first there was only two, but more got added to the list.  ;P]

uno: I'm guest posting over at Sally's blog today, so be sure to check it out and leave a comment here or there.  ;)

dos: Yesterday morning, I headed off somewhere.  I know, I know...didn't I just go on a roadtrip?  Well, yeah.  But this is our big official vacation, by the end of which at least one very exciting thing will have happened--I finally, finally, FINALLY will have been out of the country.  That's right, Canada is on the hit list for us, as well as some of the northeastern states, including Maine and New York.  And Boston, here I come!

tres: I just painted my nails, and thus am having a very difficult time typing this out.  Oh, the trials of life.  ha. ha. ha.

cuatro: I have absolutely no idea why I tend to count in Spanish.  I don't know all.  Though, I had to sing a song in Spanish once.  I was helping lead worship for the kids at my church and that's what the leader decided to sing.  Let's just say I sang veerrry softly cuz otherwise my pronunciation would have been disastrous.

Well, goodbye, ya'll!  You probably won't hear much from me in the next two weeks or so, so until then.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011


  Paper Heart Photo

I've nothing to say except that I love this photo of my sister, aka my best friend.

And that I'm tired, a little stressed, rather overwhelmed, and feeling that life sure can be one big complicated mess.

I dare say, in a year or two [I'll] have got over it tolerably well...I am not afraid of being overpowered by the impression. It will pass away soon enough.

Nothing like Jane Austen to cheer oneself up.  That and cheesecake.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

cities roadtrip [part the last] + video

Our entire trip was lovely, but in reality, it was the little things that were worth remembering--those were the things that made the roadtrip and sightseeing wonderful.

Things like...

-sipping Coke while looking at Chicago's skyscrapers.

-feeling the sand slip away from under my feet as the waves washed over them at the beach.

-reading my fortune at the Chinese restaurant where we ate.  You think it's true?  ;)

-people watching while riding the L, and not people watching when we were actually underground, in the dark, with only the occasional flash of light zooming past

-enjoying some downtime, listening to Adele and making s'mores.

-affectionately referring to Chicago's trolley as "Charlie" because that is what Tess used to call it when she was small.  Since we all call trolleys "Charlies" now, I'm not sure that Tess knows the difference.

-making our way through the crazy Chicago driving and getting lost more than once

-singing along to Phantom music as it drifted through Millennium Park's amphitheater

-hearing Tess and Brooke's humorous quotes:

Tess, after running into someone in the L station: "That's all that's happened to me all day--I just keep running into people!"

Brooke, singing OneRepublic's "All the Right Moves" very poorly during our long car ride the first day: "Everybody knows, everybody knows where--"
Tess: "But I don't know where we're going!"

Tess, after we paid a toll on the toll road to a strange-looking woman: "We get all the weird ladies."

-catching a glimpse of rooftop pools from the top of the John Hancock building

-trying to comprehend how crazy huge Chicago is--while riding out of the city, the tall buildings just kept coming, and the suburbs reach forever

-watching Cassie's face break into a smile as she watched a movie on her iPod

-falling asleep to the sound of the L

-feeling the wind from Lake Michigan whip through my hair, cooling down a hot day

-catching my first glimpse of Chicago

-capturing one of my first and favorite photos in Chicago

And besides that, I accomplished a few bucket list items as well.

I rode a subway.  Though, I have yet to ride a legitimate underground subway.

I ate an entire Chinese meal using only chopsticks.  Except for the soup, that is.  But hey, pretty close.

And most of all, I read Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, completing my desire to have read all six of her novels.  I loved it, absolutely.  I had seen the movie before, so I knew the story, and I never really cared for it.  I always dubbed it as Austen's worse--the least known and least loved.

But reading the book totally changed that for me.  It's one of her best in my opinion now.  Or at least has the best character depth and development, because in Mansfield Park, her characters are confusing and complicated.  They're not predictable or simple, and I like that.  You have to work to figure them out, just like you do with people in real life.  It was wonderful.

All in all, it was just a fantastic time with the girls of my crazy family.  We had such a blast together.

I put together a video with clips from our trip, Chicago mostly.  It's set to the song "Brand New Day" by Joshua Radin, which I absolutely adore.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

cities roadtrip [part the second]

The Windy City.  Aptly named, as you will discover if you wear a skirt to walk around the city.  *raises hand*  Yes, I speak from personal experience.

Chicago was brilliant and brimming with life.  My first thought was on how wild it was.  And by that I don't mean wild, crazy wild.  It's just city is so much more tame, even in the rougher downtown areas.

The first thing we did downtown was visit Millennium Park.  With its fountains, sculptures, gardens, and amphitheater, it was the perfect lovely spot to walk through while sipping some lemonade.

Wrigley Square has the Millennium Monument and a lovely fountain, and the Crown Fountain was a place where dozens of people cooled of in the water under the video sculptures (you can see the picture of the waterfall video which was playing while I was there).

Cloud Gate was amazing.  Affectionately referred to as "The Bean," it's a huge sculpture that reflects the city around it and really messes with your head.  Funny fact: the indentation inside that gives the twisted reflections is called the "omphalos"--a word that means "belly button" in Greek, as I learned in my mythology class last year.  ;P  Taking self portraits in The Bean's sides posed a small difficulty with the distortion, but all in all it was fascinating.

As we neared the amphitheater, or the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Cassie and I gasped as we heard a familiar melody--the Broadway musical Wicked's "Defying Gravity."  Turns out that it was the rehearsal for the performance later that night, which we also came back to listen to.  And what was the performance of, you ask?  That's right...Broadway music.  I was thrilled.  If something could have single-handedly made my day, that did.  Walking around the park and listening to Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King, Hairspray, and other songs was epic.

From Millennium Park we headed to Water Tower Place, a shopping area named after Chicago's water tower which was the only building left standing in the 1871 Great Chicago Fire.

We did some shopping, and then there was the American Doll Place.  It was huge, and my little sisters (Tess especially) floated around it in raptures.

We walked back to our L stop along the Magnificent Mile--a bunch of shops and restaurants in the heart of downtown with the skyscrapers towering overhead.  It was crazy--at one point, it was sunny and I was in an open place, but I was still in shadow because of just one tall building.

Oh--and there was a stop at Potbelly's for lunch and the Disney story, of course.

Although we walked around a good part of the city and saw it that way, there's nothing like an aerial view.  We wanted to go up the John Hancock tower because it didn't cost anything.  The only catch was that, directly upon reaching the top where there was a restaurant, we were greeted by a waiter to lead us to a table.  We slipped away "to the bathroom" and got to look at the view on one side of the building.  It was super cool.

We went over to the other side of the restaurant to get a view of the lake, where a waiter caught us looking at the view instead of giving them business...yes, we were one of "those" people.  It was hilarious--he immediately started literally waving down his manager with the napkins he held in his hand.  We decided it was time to leave.  ;)

We took a trolley to Navy Pier, which felt like a carnival.  The atmosphere was light and breezy and happy.  We were at last right by--almost in--Lake Michigan, with the seagulls soaring overhead and the flags flapping in the wind.

We looked at art, entertainment, shops, and the famous huge Ferris wheel that spins into the sky.  Oh, and by the way, have I ever mentioned that I love street magicians?

We saw the Crystal Gardens, a stained glass display, and mostly, the view.  :)

There's definitely something sweet about the city sitting right on the water like that.

The water was beautiful.  With grandparents that live within an hour of Lake Erie, I'm used to going there.  It's always very grey.  But Lake Michigan was so clear and turquoisey.  I love that.

After walking through a park, we came to a gloriously sandy beach where we waded.  Of course, I ended up much wetter than I had hoped to be, but it was still marvelous.  We went back to another beach the next day to swim, because the water was just too perfect not to.

Still in the process of drying off, we headed to Chinatown.  Although the whole Oriental atmosphere isn't my favorite thing and doesn't hold my interest for too long, we made it a short and sweet visit.  And we had a delicious Chinese meal that I loved.

As a random side note, I love clocks.  There were so many unique and huge clocks throughout the city.  I was happy.

Of course there was more complicated transportation, and there was more walking till our feet were sore and reading at night and humorous dancing and yummy meals that I'm omitting.  Sad as it was to leave, I was ready to sleep in my own bed again.

In the end, after packing up our things along with a few pomegranates and cactus pears to bring home, we waved goodbye to Chicago.