Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Midsummer Snapshots

So this week in lovely Peoria, temperatures will skyrocket to a cozy 100 degrees.

I am definitely more cut out for somewhere like Halloweentown, where it's sweater and cider weather all day, every day.

Anyway. My roommate Jess came back to visit this weekend, and we had such a good time! But the weekend went by way too fast. My mom's been out for the past couple days, too, so it's been a fun week!

Tom and I went to the Farmer's Market on Saturday...

...And ate berries and muffins on the riverfront!

Then Jess and I visited our baby chickens, who are no longer babies (they're the reddish ones in the back.)

My turkey friend.

Caitlyn, Jess and I went downtown for a girls' night

Club soda and lime, yum.

Summer bucket list item #25: Eat at Lou's Diner. Check!

I have been looking forward to this upcoming weekend for a long time and I am so, SO glad it's almost here. Tom and I head north to my hometown tomorrow after work for a wedding, a family party and some sightseeing. And we get to escape the heat (kind of) for a few days. 

Happy Wednesday! Or I guess I could just say "Decent Wednesday!" Wednesday is the most depressing day of the week, studies show. I kind of think Tuesdays are worse, but whatever. Science says Wednesdays are the low point. But I digress.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Bullies, swing dance and other musings.

Today I read more about the bus monitor who was viscously bullied by seventh graders, (see video here, though you've probably seen it already.) A website started up for her raised more than $500,000 dollars to send her on a vacation; the intended goal was $5,000.

That's absolutely remarkable.

Consider how much effort goes into raising money for natural disasters or diseases. It takes time. It takes dedication. Sometimes, it takes a celebrity at the other end of the phone call. But in this case? That money was raised in 36 hours.
For me, this whole story has been an interesting look into the psyche of people. It's fascinating to see what makes us tick.

First of all, it's crazy how much hatred a 12-year-old heart can house. Maybe that's just it, though. They can't possibly understand the plight of another human being because they've hardly started living yet. And they take advantage of it. They conveniently forget that human beings have emotions and lives of their own. And there is no way they can possibly understand what kind of a wrench they've just thrown in their life.

Then it also says something about what really gets our blood boiling. I think it's because, unlike hurricanes and genocide, we all have someone in our life that reminds us of the bus monitor. We think of grandmas or moms or aunts. That makes it relatable, personal even.

But it's strange how easy it is for children to be heartless. And it's unfortunate, too, because by the time they realize the scope of what they've done, it'll be years later. And that's likely when they'll have the maturity to process the severity of it. But the fact that so many people came together to show that woman that someone cares really re-instilled my faith in humanity.

On a lighter note-

Tom and I went swing dancing last night!

So it was lots of fun because it was outside, it was free, and we did a pretty good job! I did not like, however, that we had to change partners often. I ended up dancing with a lot of old men and a few high school theater kids. But still, we had a good time. And I must say, we looked pretty classy.

But I was thinking how much I enjoy these college years. I enjoy finding free things to do. Everything is fairly simple (compared to real grown-up living), and it's easy to live a decadent life on hardly anything. Because a dip in the pool on a hot afternoon or staying out late for a scoop of ice cream feels indulgent. And I hope that I never forget that, because that's what life is about. 
Later on, when I've got a mortgage to pay and kids to raise and a retirement fund, I want to remember that these are the kinds of things that really make a life worth living. And for me and Tom, it's fun to find creative dates to do while we're living as broke college students. That feels like real wealth to me.

And tonight, my roommate is back in town and we're all going to see "Brave"! I can't wait. I read that it took three years to make her hair.

Happy weekend! 

Monday, June 18, 2012

A lovely summer weekend

So, first of all, there were a lot of good moments for photos this weekend, but I continuously forgot to charge my you'll just have to believe me that they actually happened.

It was a HOT weekend, and it's going to be that way all week. See, Illinois is weird. Other parts of the country stay within a 40 or 50 degree range all year long. But here? No way. Our winters are bitter, our summers are sweltering, and there is very few in-between. But I like the unpredictability of it all.

Anyway, why I brought that boyfriend's family has a swimming pool! So we spent some time in it Saturday and Sunday, and I'm really thinking we should swim more today. In celebration of the 93 degree heat and sunshine.

Saturday Tom and I went to a renaissance fair. We spent $7 for a turkey leg, which I thought was ridiculous until I actually saw the thing. This sucker was MASSIVE. It probably could have fed three or four very hungry grown men. Then we watched some jousting, saw some people he knew, sweat like crazy, and then left to do some swimming.

Things change quickly, however. One minute it's sunny and hot, the next a seriously ominous storm makes its way in.

The view outside my window. Truly, this picture doesn't do the storm clouds any justice.

They were some seriously terrifying strato-cumulonimbus clouds. It was kind of cool. (Sidenote: I know cloud names because in third grade I wanted to be a meteorologist, so I went to the library and memorized the Weather Wizard's Cloud Book.)

Nerdiness aside, the next day was clear and bright. So for Father's Day, I made cupcakes from scratch for my boyfriend and his family. (A stick of butter in the frosting. A stick of butter in the batter. Paula Deen would be proud.) They were delicious! I ate too many. So worth it. I really missed seeing my own dad for Father's Day, but I'll be out there soon enough.

So it was very relaxing, and much needed. I also got to catch up with some old coworkers and witness drunk karaoke, so that was magical.

Have a good week!

P.S.-I will post about my excursions with the Asian Carp this week, but for now, here's a tasty little preview.

You can see just the edge of a fish in that hole. They are awfully creepy up close.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Homecoming & an afternoon with the river

I went home this weekend to see some family and attend my brother's graduation party (and eat. And then eat more. I'm that person who stands by the food table for the duration of the party.)

I missed everyone, so I was really excited to get home. I love my family for many reasons. But I think my favorite is the vast differences among them all, and the craziness that ensues when they all get together.

My parents are divorced, but the families are still amicable (my mom does my dad's side of the family's hair, for example.) Even more than amicable, really. So we still get to see everyone at the same party, which is nice. The issue with going away to school, and then staying out here for the summer, is my little cousins seem to grow exponentially when I'm away.

But anyway, there was plenty of food. Two cakes. And lots of people that I've really missed.

He likes to brag that he got the looks in the family, but that's obviously false with a face like mine.

But now we are halfway into the work week, and there have been some unpleasant surprises. Nothing that can't be fixed with a little brainstorming and ice cream, but stressful nonetheless.

And today, I will be doing something that I am absolutely terrified to to. Like, if I think about it I want to hide in my room and never come out.

Disclaimer: I am a HUGE chicken. About everything.

But today, for a story I'm working on, I have to collect sound of jumping carp out on the river. Sounds harmless, right? No. These fish are massive, they jump ten feet in the air, there are thousands of them, and the last story I heard was about some girl whose jaw was dislocated from one of these monsters. The real kicker is that the story was my idea, and I knew going into it that I'd have to do this. But this was before I heard that these things jump in the boat with you! IT MIGHT SLIME ME. 

And also, if there are bees or spiders in the boat that are just hanging out, enjoying the summer day, I might jump in the river with the carp. I can't decide which freaks me out more.

All in a day's work. At the very least, I can never say I'm bored. Maybe I have a stray helmet lying around somewhere. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Settling in

It's been about a month since classes ended and work began, and I've finally settled into a sort of routine with it all. 

But what I love about summertime is that after work, there's no homework to take care of or late night emails that need to be handled right then and there. That leaves room for some spontaneity. 

Last week, for example, some friends and I went go-karting on a Tuesday night. Then we ate a ton of pizza and watched a movie.

That's Thomas and I before we rode the dune buggies for a second time. 

Then on Saturday, we went to my friend Lauren's wedding.


Me and some former newspaper people at Lauren's wedding.

And then after the wedding, I told Tom that I wanted to sit outside somewhere. But when we drove to the field he was going to take me to, it looked like this:

I took Tom on the ferris wheel for the first time in his life. He was not a fan. But that's another item off my bucket list!

And this weekend? Off to visit home, family and good friends.

Happy Wednesday!