Being picked up

No- not like that.  Jeeze, I’m going to be a married woman, I don’t go trolling in bars trying to get picked up.

What I’m actually talking about is the experience of getting picked up by someone you love at the airport.  Whether it’s a fiance, mother, son, brother, etc.  The experience is not one that I’m overly familiar with.  In all honestly, I never flew too many places on my own before I was a working gal. However, in the recent years, I’ve been able to experience that exhilarating feeling of having someone wait for you at the arrivals baggage claim- and it’s amazing.

Walkway at O'Hare International Airport

The most magical (since I was 5 years old) airport walkway ever!

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Central Park

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This morning I thought I’d grab some quiet time and a quientiscential piece of New York.  So I walked up 7th Avenue to Fluffy’s Deli- grabbed a Bagel and Veggie Cream Cheese and continued onward to Central Park. There I grabbed a bench, watched some birds stalk me for my bagel, and enjoyed the light breeze and shade.  What I love most about Central Park is the massiveness of the park itself.  Of the Nature. I love the huge trees, the rock formations and the vastness of the park.  These two things (the bagel and the park) are definitely areas where NYC excels over Chicago.

But don’t worry Chicago- I’m coming home.  I’m only just flirting with New York a bit.

Painting like a boss

Over the weekend I was lucky enough to attend Camp Groupon.  An amazing event sponsored by Groupon in conjunction with many other merchants across the city of Chicago.  One of the great parts about Camp Groupon, was that I didn’t have to put any thought into my weekend of entertainment.  They also picked out activities that I would never have splurged on myself to do.

One such event was a painting class called Bottles and Colors that was hosted at Bar Louie.  During the session, we were given canvases that had a trace of the Chicago city skyline, and we were then given instruction on how to paint a picture like the instructor.

His painting looked like this:

What the professional did….

Isn’t his turquoise pretty?  Look at those beautiful colors he mixed using just primary colors.   I’m sure I can create the same color.  I mean, it can’t be that difficult, can it?

Yeah- so I haven’t painted in probably 10 years, but as soon as I got my Styrofoam plate, I started mixing to try and get a gorgeous turquoise since it’s my favorite color.  So I mixed and mixed and mixed.  And failed to get a pretty turquoise.  Do you want to know why I failed.  I failed because he cheated.  Up front he had a turquoise that he actually used to create that painting.  What a great way to set us up for failure, Mr. Instructor Sir.  So, I gave up- and went with a dirty greenish blue.  Think of the way the Chicago River looks just as the green from St. Patrick’s day is wearing off.  Something like that.

After much drinking, and much mixing, I finally settled on a color palette I could be somewhat at peace with.

Obviously, I’m the real artist

Clearly, I did a great job!   You can still see some vestiges of the nasty green blue color I created in the blue sky. And you know you had a great time, when you return from your adventure, and someone asks you if you’ve been painting.  How did they so clairvoyantly discern this?   It’s the blotch of paint you apparently got above your eye, unbeknownst to you. Either way, it was a blast picking up a paint brush and painting again like you’re in the 8th grade.  Which really mean just chatting through the whole hour.  Thankfully, this time, it was allowed and you didn’t have an old bat telling you that this was a class and you should focus on your “masterpiece”.

But that’s not the only similarity to 8th grade.  I’ve learned that I apparently still can’t mix any colors than those I could back then.   When I was in the 8th grade I mixed that peachy color almost identically for a rain stick I was painting.  That was also the project that got me kicked out of the class to sit in the hall because I argued that my stick was ready, since the paint was dry, and that she could grade it now.  My art teacher, apparently super sensitive to all things moist, argued that it was not.  I clearly  touched my rain stick to prove it was dry (which it was) and that audacity to prove with my hand landed me in the hall for the rest of the class.  Personally, I think she just didn’t want to grade our crap sticks any more that afternoon. Which was okay with  me. I was sick and tired of the smell of acrylic paint and the sound of dried kidney beans trying to sound like real rain…

Speaking of real rain- I really should look for that damn thing, we’re apparently in a drought.  Maybe it still has some mojo?
Special thanks to Groupon and Bottles and Colors for a great time at Camp Groupon!

Remembering to Smile

Currently, I’m in the middle of reading Half the Sky- turning oppression into opportunity for women worldwide.  Obviously, the book is heavy is so many places.  So much so, that I had to interrupt my reading of Half the Sky with  A Practical Wedding to cheer myself up a bit.  This morning, as I was reading, I was struck just by how amazing the human character was created.  They say that laughter is an amazing medicine, and sometimes, when we are at our darkest moments, we don’t think we’ll laugh again.  But as I looked at a picture of a woman who was diagnosed HIV positive, after her forced prostitution in a brothel  in India.  To most (and I’m sure to her to) we would see this as such a death sentence and have a hard time coping with life.  It’s hard not to feel sad, to feel pity, to feel hopeless for her.  And yet, in this picture, she has one of the most beautiful smiles on her face.  It strikes me as so hopeful.

Some days, you just need to smile, regardless of what life is throwing at you.  And the fact that we can smile, makes everything even that much better. Even in our darkest moments, the gift of being able to smile, laugh, crack a joke, or whatever way we express our joy is such a gift.  I’m thankful this morning for that woman reminding me just how lucky we are.