frances in the city

blessed is this life
June 18, 2010, 8:29 pm
Filed under: Chicago!

As it turns out, excessive free time is not always the encouraging friend you’d hoped for, and being lazy hasn’t done me any favors. Fortunately, the laziness of the past few weeks also hasn’t hurt me, and for this I am thankful. Some days contained more Chicago-exploring and marrow-sucking than others, but I feel incredibly blessed that this summer is mine. I started a new internship on Tuesday (more on this later), and while reading profiles on CommArts during some downtime I came across this Q&A that I really appreciated:

“Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession?
“You aren’t entitled to this. The world is full of suffering and pain and misery and hopelessness and you’re damn lucky to be in the running for a job that pays you to use your mind and not a shovel or a gun. Treasure the opportunity. After that: Show up. Be nice. Be persistent.” Ian Mackenzie, Communication Arts

It feels appropriate not only for me as a gainfully-employed intern, but also for so many aspects of society. We are so blessed, treasured, loved. It’s a privilege to walk up Michigan Avenue on a sunny day, and I pray that this attitude of thankfulness will not be diminished by daily wear.

anyway. on to…The Most Action-Packed Chicago Weekend Thus Far as a Resident/Non-Tourist

You guys, you won’t believe it. I had a seriously wonderful weekend with wonderful people and experienced wonderful things. It was the sort of weekend that made me think to myself, “This is why being here for the summer is such a treat.”
I’ll provide reasonably detailed schedule and pass along photos where present. On Saturday morning I called my mom and asked her if the rest of the family could transplant to Chicago…I wanted to share these experiences with them so badly. I guess we’ll just have to consider this all scouting work. Next year they can come and we’ll know all the tricks.

Friday morning headed to Hyde Park to nanny Alex, the little boy I’ll be keeping track of on Mondays and Fridays. Roommate Megan has been his nanny for the past year, but her summer internship wouldn’t allow her to continue babysitting five days a week, and my job situation conveniently (or inconveniently, as it seemed for a short while) got thrown out of whack, so I took over her duties. Not that you could really call them duties. Alex will be three in September, asks lots of questions, and loves letters nearly as much as I do. On Friday we painted a bit, built a castle from blocks, had a dance party (Alex likes to jam to Beyonce), and ended our time together at the bakery his parents own. Rough day. To top it off, his mom pushed various desserts on me before I departed. I had no choice but to bear the weight of a malted vanilla cupcake and two turtle brownies.
I took my baked goods to my friend Amy’s apartment, where we savored the cupcake before meeting up with other members of our Bible study for Ribfest 2010. It was pretty spectacular. Barbecue vendors from all over Chicago filled three or so blocks in a northwest neighborhood, and I purchased rib “samplers” from two tents. Each was about 4 meaty ribs, and it was perfect. At first things were overwhelming, but we ended up all trying the ribs from last year’s champs (the name escapes me), and I picked Smoke Daddy second because, well, their name is Smoke Daddy.
After a time of socializing and eating, I returned home, where I met our new roommate Jillian, who is subletting future roommate Alexis’s spot until August. She works in the suburbs and we haven’t seen much of her, but she seems swell.

Saturday I was invited to join a few pals from Bible study for the Cubs game. It was my very first Wrigley Field experience, and quite an experience at that! Stacey’s good family friends rented out a “sky box” for the game against the Chicago White Sox (oooh, crosstown rivalry!) and had extra tickets. SUCH generous people. Lots of food, a dessert cart, and lovely weather for most of the game.

The field from our seats. I don't pretend to know anything about baseball, but these seemed like great seats.

Stacey, Amy and myself root, root, rooting for the home team. Even though they didn't win, it wasn't a shame. It was fantastic.

My carrot cake. Seriously people. It rose four inches at its tallest and was no less than six inches in length. All of those layers made for lots of cream cheese frosting too, which is not a bad thing.

another photo of my carrot cake next to Amy's s'mores cake. Neither of us could finish our cake. Woe is us.

another picture for reference...ish. At least, that's what I was thinking at the time.

After I got home from the game I stopped by the Lit Fest that took place in my neighborhood. Aparently it’s a pretty big deal. SO many books, he whole thing wreaked of Caro____. I hope she’ll come next year! Anyway, they had live music all day, and who should be playing but Augustana, a band I’ve long appreciated but never really followed. I never expected to see them in concert, let alone for free, but see I did!

they looked like this.

also, here is a picture from my window of what the kid area of the Lit Fest looked like on Saturday morning. All the entertainment was acting like pirates, which I believe to be the theme and would find more appealing if I were under ten/not listening to it in three hour stretches from my living room. But the kids flocked to it!

After the concert I went to Molly’s Cupcakes with a few friends who’d never been before. I love first-time-at-Molly’s visits. It’s fun to see people so delighted over their spread and hang out for a bit in a bakery. We made it back downtown in time for the weekly fireworks in the park and marvelled at the Chicago-ness of the day. Really lovely.

After church on Sunday my Bible study friends came down to my neighborhood for lunch and the aforementioned Lit Fest. We haven’t Bible study for a while due to scheduling conflicts, so it was nice to eat lunch and catch up over the dull roar of the World Cup (and vuvuzelas). By 4:00 Sunday afternoon I was so whiped from all that activity and food I nibbled on something and went to bed early.

Phew. I got exhausted just thinking about it all over again.

Now I’m caught up on…last weekend. Let’s see how I do with everything else!


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Frances, I don’t know of anyone who loves life more than you do. Don’t ever lose that zest for life. Also have a wonderful birthday. I love you!

Comment by Nancy MacLeod

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