Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Posts tagged ‘Ice Skating’

Chicago and my Ice Skating Skills

Chicago, I love you!!!   At least what I’ve seen of you, which admittedly is only your bright and shiny parts.

chicago sign

I had the opportunity to spend the day in Chicago this week with many of the lovely people I work with every day.  We lit it up, baby! I blogged about this same trip last year too. Just in case anyone remembers that, I’ll try not to repeat myself.

No one in the group I was with in Chicago cared about stuff like Nieman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.  We cared about seeing new things, and having fun. So, that’s what we did.  My friend/co-worker/and former Chicago area resident had a full itinerary for us to follow. We were busy.

At one point, we did take a shortcut through one fine store.   A flashy silver and purple bracelet caught my eye there.  I think I told my friend, “Oh, I love this!” The bracelet was sitting right on the jewelry counter with a bunch of other pieces I assumed were costume jewelry (the only kind I wear). The bracelet wasn’t costume jewelry.  It was the kind of bracelet that costs one-thousand-dollars.  I apologized to the salesperson for even looking at it.   I need to get out more, and meet more people.  I really didn’t know people bought thousand dollar bracelets.

Here’s how we started our day.  We arrived in Chicago around lunch.  We ate at the “Signature Room” on the top of the John Hancock building.  Here’s the view:

signature room

I’d definitely recommend this experience.  The view was crazy, and lunch was only $20.  By Chicago standards that means it was free. Of course, if you were one of the unlucky suckers who ordered a glass of wine, the cost of your meal doubled.   I guess that’s just another rich person thing I don’t understand.

After the John Hancock building we plowed down Michigan Avenue.  We did have to stop in one store, because (you’re about to be shocked), I lost one of my mittens on the bus ride.  I had to buy another pair.  The sun was out, but it was cold.

I found a super cool hat at this store, and what I thought were awesome mittens too.  Here they are:

mittens

I know what you’re thinking.  These are the stupidest mittens ever invented (But, what about the manicure?  I’m fancy now.).  Your thumbs are meant to be exposed when you wear mittens, right?  I guess they think thumbs don’t get cold in Chicago.

I didn’t try these mittens on before I bought them, because why would I do something silly like that?  I came out of the store, and pulled the mittens out of the bag.  Right away, my friend said, “Are your thumbs covered in those mittens?”

I hadn’t noticed before that.  But see, my friend was a Valedictorian.  She’s highly intelligent, and can spot tiny flaws right away.  Average people couldn’t be expected to see this thing.  Really, I think I was swindled.

I put my thumb-less mittens on and we kept walking.  We visited Macy’s, and saw their giant Christmas Tree.  This year’s theme at Macy’s is “Believe”.  Macy’s always has a theme at Christmas.  The Christmas tree is in the middle of a famous restaurant called, “The Walnut Room”.  There was an insanely long line of people waiting to get into “The Walnut Room” to eat.  Maybe all those people were waiting, because the waitresses were dressed like princesses.  The princesses were waving magic wands over the guests’ heads.   Or, maybe all those people just really wanted to eat some of the delicious walnuts served at “The Walnut Room”.   I don’t know.  I’m new here, so quit asking.   I just know I was glad I wasn’t waiting in that line. I wouldn’t do it.  Not even for great walnuts.

After the Christmas Tree viewing we grabbed Latte’s and went to buy me more mittens.

Our group consisted of four women and one man.  The man in our group had to go into a store for something. It took him longer than we thought it would.  We made a joke about how maybe he was just trying to shake us.  Maybe he wanted to hang out by himself.

lattes

When he finally got out of the store, we headed down the street towards Millennial park.  One of my friends wanted to make a joke about our guy friend trying to shake us.  Only she mistakenly said (yelled) to him, “We won’t let you shag US, buddy.”  Which, of course, is true, but certainly goes without saying.  Turns out that even worldly Chicago people turn their heads when they hear a lady yell that on the street.  I sped up a little then, and tried to put some distance between my friend and me.

At Millennial Park we took our picture at the silver bean again.  Then, we went ice skating.  This was the part of the day that I was most looking forward to doing.  I tried keeping it on the down low, but what I was excited for my work friends to see is that I have skills.  When I was young, we were poor, but we did live across the street from a lake.  In the winter we skated a lot.  Had I decided to go on to the Olympics, let’s just say a gold wouldn’t have been out of the question.

The way I pictured this ice skating thing happening, is  that we’d all get out on the ice, and then I’d do my triple Salchow to a double toe loop, and everybody’s jaws would drop open.  They’d be like, “Miki, oh my Gosh!  You didn’t even tell us what an incredible skater you are.”

Then, I’d be kind of shy, and say, “Oh, I’m not.  It’s just that we were poor, but we had some old skates around, and I taught myself some tricks.”

Then, they’d all be like, who knew Miki has so many hidden talents?  She’s so awesome and great.  Plus, she’s so modest.

Then, I’d be all like, “Can I make more money?”

Only, that didn’t happen.  Because, guess what?  Defective equipment.  The ice skates were ridiculous.  I felt like the inside of my ankle was being rubbed raw, and that’s just a shame.  I was gonna have a big moment.   I shuffled around the rink a couple of times while my skinny boss showed off her respectable skills instead.  That really made me mad:

ice skating

When we were done skating we headed back towards the John Hancock Building.  We finished the day in a warm restaurant, eating delicious food.  That’s a fun day.

I loved this outing.  I liked being silly with my friends from work.  I thought about my family while I was in Chicago too.  When I got home from Chicago, my whole family was sleeping.

Before school the next morning, I noticed the package of beef stew I told Scott to have while I was gone was still in the refrigerator.  Before I left for Chicago, I had a really clear conversation with Scott about what to have for dinner.  I think I told him twice for sure, maybe three times.  I even said, “I feel like you’re not listening to me.”

I saw that unopened package of stew, and I asked Olivia what Dad made for supper.  Then she remembered she was disgusted and said, “Dad fed us Reggie’s food.”

He really did.

Of course, Reggie eats real people food, so it’s not the worst thing that ever happened, but still.  You wouldn’t eat it on purpose.  There was a crock pot full of Reggie’s weekly mix on the counter; I guess Scott thought that stuff looked too good to pass up.

The lesson for me here is: seriously, why bother?  Most of us moms have learned this lesson before, but a lot of us can’t stop ourselves from bothering any way.

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You WISH you Lived in Wisconsin!

In Wisconsin we know about winter. We know about snow, and ice and sleet and frigid temps. You can’t really fight winter any more than you can fight your need for oxygen or water. But, this winter? The winter we’re in now? This winter here is on our last nerve.

We signed up to live in Wisconsin, not the North Pole. And there IS a difference. In Wisconsin we know that 15 degrees below zero happens…once in a while. We’re prepared for that. We’re not prepared for that to happen EVERY GOSH DANG DAY. Wow. I guess I’m angrier than I thought. I apologize for the language.

I’m not being very positive, am I? You probably haven’t forgotten that I said I was going to employ positive thoughts in my life. Why do people have to have such good memories? I think I said some dumb thing like positive thoughts can actually make you more positive. I know. That’s a jacked up theory. But, they say it works. I’ll keep trying.

For the sake of tricking myself in to feeling positive, I want to tell you that winter is AWESOME!!! Especially this winter we’re in right now. Especially with temperatures that look like this:

Wisconsin weather map

I wish we could figure out how to have temperatures like this all year long. They. Are. Glorious. Too much? Here are a few of my favorite things about Wisconsin winters:

Maximum coverage – The last time I went shopping for shorts I realized that there’s something wrong with shorts these days: My legs. Yeah, that’s definitely what’s wrong with them. We’re not even going to talk about swimsuits. Don’t. Just, don’t.

I bought this new coat that is like a sleeping bag with arms and a hole for your head. I’ve seen lots of other women around here wearing these coats too. They’re warm. And more importantly they’re forgiving. My favorite quality in clothing. I have a generic version of this:

winter coat

You can throw on crazy hats when it’s this cold too. My sister-in-law gave me this hat. I get compliments when I wear it. Thanks mom! I think you look nice too.

hat

Wow. I never actually have seen myself in that hat. It looked better in my imagination; a little more quirky-bohemian; a little less giant-bowling-ball-with-flower attached. I guess I need a new hat.

The idea is still there though. In these temperatures you can have bad hair and be carrying around a few more pounds than you’d like. Mr. Winter is kind. He says, “That’s okay. I got you covered. Literally.” That’s why winter and I are becoming friends.

Laziness is socially acceptable

I have a lot of “Type A” friends, do you? I thought we agreed to get rid of them, but there they are, too ambitious to take a hint. They say things like, “I just can’t go to bed at night until the kitchen is clean.” Or, “I haven’t sat through a movie in years. Who could possibly sit still that long?”

I can. I can sit still a really, really, really long time. I might be the best you’ve ever seen at sitting still. But, I don’t tell my “Type A” friends that. I just nod my head like I understand. Sometimes I lie. I say, “I know what you mean. What a waste of time. Who would even want to lay around all day like that? I’d just feel so gross.”

I don’t know why it’s so easy for me to be lazy, but it is. I’m just a natural at it. My mom says that when I was a baby I was happy to lay in my crib. I didn’t fuss and cry like my sisters. My mom fooled herself in to thinking she had a good baby. What she had was a lazy baby. A lazy baby that would turn into a lazy adult. I fight it every day. When it is 20 below zero, no one expects you to fight it. Spending three hours reading your Kindle Paperwhite, and watching back to back “Lifetime” movies featuring murderous nannies is a perfectly acceptable alternative to hypothermia.

It’s not like all that laying around is fun and games. I’m learning things. Things you need to know: like I know now that you should NEVER, I mean NEVER, trust your nanny. When you’re at work she will be going through your closet and trying on your clothes. She will be smelling your husbands pillow, and she will be taking a scissors and cutting you out of the family picture. Don’t worry, she’ll paste a nice picture of herself where you once stood. I know. I know. That’s sick, but those are facts. You just need to know it.

You should also know that if you decide to walk in a parking garage alone, that’s on your naive head. I hope you can run fast, and I hope you can out run that car; it is about to chase you down. Maybe you’d know how to protect yourself, and I wouldn’t have to hand out all these warnings if you’d do a little less kitchen cleaning and a little more TV watching. Have you ever thought of that?

Freezing cold, lazy days beat those annoying warm, sunny days; on those sunny days people expect you to move.

Watching Wrestling

You probably thought my list of winter highlights would include silly things like skiing and ice skating. The kind of winter we’re having in Wisconsin this year doesn’t even make those activities sound fun. Otherwise (*Full disclosure. See above. Sometimes I lie.) I would totally be hitting the slopes and lacing up the skates every chance I got. Dang you, frigid temps. Must you curse me?

In my house we like to spend winter sitting in cozy gyms, curled up to wrestling mats. I spend my winter watching other people exercise. Wrestling is my favorite. Here’s the team I follow:

sauk pr wrestlers

Facing my Fears

When I was 16 I was in two car accidents. Both of those accidents were due to careless driving on snowy roads. One time I was the driver, another time it was a friend. I have not been in any accidents since that time. I tend to learn my lessons.

Sadly, I learned my lessons so well that for years the thought of driving in snow left me feeling paralyzed with fear. I avoided it. I didn’t just avoid driving in snow storms. I avoided driving if I saw a single flake of snow, or even a piece of paper that looked like a flake of snow. Now I commute an hour each day. This is what I often see:

SnowDriving1

The other day I heard a forecaster on the radio say that sometimes the weather is at its worst during peak commuting hours. She said in Madison, WI that only happens twice a day.

You can only come up with so many busted pipes, puking kids and flat tire excuses for not coming in to work on snowy days. Eventually your boss becomes suspicious. You realize you have to choose between driving on snowy roads or unemployment. I chose to stay employed. Now I know what they say is true. The best way to not be afraid of something is to make yourself do it. Make yourself do it a lot.

I still don’t like driving during snowstorms, but I’m not afraid any more, and I actually think I’m kind of okay at it. I think that because of all the other cars I’ve passed over the years that are in the ditch. I’m pretty sure most of those cars are driven by 16-year-olds, or people who haven’t learned that the rules change when you’re driving in a snowstorm, or someone who has been hit by either of the above.

Venti Cafe Americano…room for cream

You got me. This is a repeat. I’ve told you before how much I like my Cafe Americano. Many years ago I remember Scott saying to me, “Pretzels make my life better.” Scott is a man of few words. He does not make extreme statements and rarely verbalizes his emotions. Apparently, pretzels are what it takes for him to break down the barriers. That was an amazingly passionate thing form him to say about hard baked flour, oil and salt. I thought, we’d better never run out of pretzels, or this guy is going to sink into a pit of despair.

I made fun, but now I know what he meant. Cafe Americanos make my life better. It tastes good, but I also have a psychological dependence. In the winter you can drink Americanos every day, because they keep you warm. I’ll have to think of another excuse as to why I drink them every day in the summer.

That’s a weak list. I admit it. I’m doing my best. Next week I may blog about all the things I love about root canals without anesthesia.

Do you feel better about winter now? I don’t. I mean, do. I do, I definitely do think winter is awesome. Do you?

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