Today’s thank you – for our beautiful summer

P.S. Wrote this last year and forgot to publish. Since we had mostly a beautiful summer this year, too. herewith my thank you for lovely weather.

View of Lincoln Park’s Nature Path from Brauer Cafe

Lying in bed this morning, I randomly thought about how many lovely days we’ve had this summer in Chicago. Far more often than usual we’ve had days with relatively low humidity, sunshine and gentle breezes. Compared with our usual several-week-runs of 90+ temps, and/or rain and clouds, and/or gale-force winds, this has been a joyfully easy summer. I can’t believe the number of times I’ve pushed out from between the handicap-switch-operated front doors of my apartment building and found myself smiling as I hit the sidewalk towards, on the one hand, to the west, the grocery store of the UPS pickup point, or on the other hand, to the east, the bus stop north to the gym or the hairdresser, or south to Lincoln Park and locations downtown. The beautiful weather is such a gift.

I am, at best, only a fair-weather fan of the outdoors, especially in the summer. My philosophy is always that it’s easy to put on more clothes and scarves and muffs and socks when it’s cold. But when it’s hot, there’s only so much you can take off. And walking around with a sheen of sweat all over my body – unless I’m dancing up a storm in my aerobics class or having sex (ah, memories!) – is one of the worst feelings, ever. Having to live with your hair sticking to your neck and your shirt sticking to your back is a fate I would wish on no one. My heart really goes out to the hard-working guys and gals in the construction crews that toil away in hard hats amid the choking dust and almost-unbearable noise, doing their jobs no matter how high the humidity or how searing the sun. Thank you to all the strong and dedicated men and women in every profession who labor outside under all conditions.

Rooftop at the WIT Hotel

I’m grateful to the many restaurants and bars in Chicago that operate umbrella-ed patios and decks and rooftop bars so that we denizens of the city can soak up the outdoors on demand. Is there anything to beat sipping the cold drink in your hand while enjoying a view of this great city? Even if it’s just folks on the sidewalk moving down the street, there’s something special about watching the world go by as you eat and drink outside, more or less sheltered from the flow.

Cheers to more of this beautiful summer. Hope yours is a happy one this year.

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Holidays – your favorite time or your worst nightmare?

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It’s that time of year for candlelight and warm beverages and heart-warming stories. Do you have happy memories from your childhood holidays? So many people don’t–and it often makes their adult holiday times less than enjoyable.

I’m glad to say my childhood memories are mostly positive. With nine living kids in my family let me tell you, when we came down on Christmas morning, it looked like heaven had opened up and dropped a giant bag of presents on us—all piled under and around the multi-color lighted real tree. Even though none of us received a lot, the combination of a few things for each of the nine of us added up to what looked like a mountain of treasure. Plus, many of us were close enough in age that we could look forward to potentially sharing goodies with each other. Another favorite tradition for me was getting the honor of moving Joseph and Mary one step closer to the manger each day, then putting the baby Jesus into the scene on Christmas eve. Oh, and of course singing hymns together that night.

Do you start celebrating early so you can get more fun out of the season? In Chicago we have a radio station that starts playing only Christmas music from November 1st on! Do you try to make your present-day holidays fun despite not-so-happy memories? Or do you just struggle to get through these days and hope not to get majorly depressed? Are you religious and hope to spend extra time attending services? I’ve sung in a choir at a few times in my life—I have some fond memories of singing during Advent and at Christmas night celebrations.

If you’re single and don’t have a family (or have one that you don’t care to see) while all your friends disappear into theirs, this time of year can be crummy. If you’re single and want to create a special time, find some other single women (I know it can be hard; some single women are reluctant to identify themselves as such) and plan a story-sharing evening. Make it a potluck gathering so no one person has to do too much work. Share good memories of holidays. Share ideas for making the end of the year special and for celebrating the beginning of the new year. Encourage each other. Get to know each other better. Plan something fun together—bake something together. Go ice skating if you’re still young enough, or drink hot toddies if that feels better. Or maybe drink hot toddies and then go skating… Doesn’t matter. Whatever feels good is good.

What do you do for fun or satisfying ways to make this time of year special?

Patinoire du marché de Noël : Plaisir d'hiver 2006

Image via Wikipedia

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Single moms and city living

Found a great post by a single mom about raising your child in a big city. Interesting points. And while you’re there, check out some of her cool posts about Chicago, in case you’re interested in visiting or living there!




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