Standing Tall

The musings of a twenty something girl from the Midwest.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

House Hunters

About a year after Steve and I started dating we came up with a plan to move to Chicago. We would be married in this plan and we would both be moving back to the midwest to start a family. Chicago being the ideal place as it is half way between where his family lives and where mine is. Last August Steve and I made good on that plan and uprooted ourselves (and one unhappy cat) half way across the country to Chicago to start a new life, one based on family.

Part of this plan was to buy a house and start a family of our own. Around January we started on that plan. The buying a house part of the plan. We contacted a few realtors and started to look at some neighborhoods in Chicago and a few suburbs. We started to ask ourselves "what do I want from a house" and looked at what felt like a thousand houses. Some houses were foreclosed on (which was really depressing to look at), some were serious fixer-uppers, and some were ok. We found one we liked, that we would be ok with and we put an offer in some time mid-march.

Yes, the house we wanted to buy needed some work, but of what we looked at, we liked it the most. We put a closing date a bit far out so we wouldn't have to find a sub-leaser for our apartment in Chicago and we waited. Yesterday we heard from the bank that we got the "ok" on our loan and we are a go to close on the new house come June 1st. We are nervous and giddy at the same time. I will post pictures once we are moved in and start some changes to the new house.

One small leap for the real estate industry , one giant leap for Maria-and Steve kind.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

On Running

Ok, I haven't blogged in a very long time. Winter always seems to get me down and with down come a feeling of un-inspirtion which leads to no blog posts. But now spring is here and with it the feeling of productivity so I shall try to post a bit more frequently.

To start off the spring season I ran the Shamrock Shuffle last month. Running and I have quiet a history. When I was in high school and on the swim team I hated "dry land" days because that would require us to run. I'm not sure how far we would run, maybe a mile or so, but I would always be the one in the back. Trotting along at a pace that was just barley faster then a walk. Running was something I had to get through to get back into the pool.

When I went to college I quit all forms of organized sports and spent most of my freshmen year reading, drinking, and eating carbs. Occasionally I would swim in the pool in the basement of my dorm but I never pushed myself. I came home the summer after that year over 20 lbs. heavier. It sounds very vain, but the extra weight bothered me (keep in mind I was a lifeguard at this time so I was wearing a swimsuit everyday). On top of being a little more on the heavy side I also felt like I had lost a lot of strength. So one day I woke up and decided to run.

My first self directed run was about a total of 6 blocks with a break in the middle. Every day I would try to run, and every day I would run a bit further. I went back to school and kept up with the running. I would run in the morning before class, outside if it was nice, or on the treadmill if it wasn't. It became away for me to escape.

I would run away from the bio final that I had been worrying about all week, or the boy problems that were causing me anxiety. I would run away from worrying about not getting into the nursing school, or about where I should go to nursing school. I would just run.

The summer before my junior year of college was one of the most stressful times in my life. I started to run two times a day and would slip out around midnight without telling my family and just run. It made me feel good (even though I know it was not a very good idea to do this). I would feel like I was more alive durning these runs then any other part of my day. I kept running through the rest of my college career and would occasionally run once I moved to Boston.

There was a short time while I lived in Boston that I stopped running. I worked what felt like all the time and I was also trying to spend any spare time I had with my boyfriend, Steve. After a few years of dating Steve and I moved in together and all my time wasn't splint between work and spending time with my boyfriend so I started to run again. Running became less of a way for me to escape what was going on but just a way for me to enjoy my life. I also started to run some races. 5K's only, the idea of more then a 5K seem daunting.

A few months ago my friend, B, suggested I run the Shamrock Shuffle 8K with her, The run works out to be about 5 mile, which is more then I have ever run but seemed like a do-able distance. I wouldn't say i "trained" for this race but I did try to extend my runs a few blocks on occasion. I did have a goal of trying to run the race in less than 1 hour.

So on the day of the race, the warmest day we have had in Chicago yet, I ran. I ran through the streets of downtown Chicago with an amazing friend and it was one of the most enjoyable things I have done since I moved here. What makes me feel even better is I pulled in a great time of 54:00.

I'm not going to say this has inspired me to run anything longer then an 8K. I will say however, that I realize how important it is for me to stay active and have goals for myself. I will definitely be lacing up my running shoes again for a race soon.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

When You Got to Go

I've been meaning to post this story for months but never got around to it.

Some time ago, maybe it was October or November, I was taking the L home from work. It was late evening, I was tired, and L was crowded and I was trying not to make eye contact with anyone. The crowd began to thin out a bit as the train wound it's way more North. In between two stops a guy, maybe in his mid 20's, got up from his seat, opened the door between to the two cars and stood outside as we were moving. He didn't enter the next car, he seems to just want to stand outside. Another girl and I watched him.

"Umm, you don't think he's going to jump do you?" I asked.

"God, I hope not!" she said and in my mind I added, it would really make my commute a lot longer if he did.

We both anxiously watched him until he came back in. He must have noticed us eyeing him through the door. He turned to the other girl and simply said, "When you got to go, you got to go. I tried to hold it, but sometimes there's no choice."

Apparently he had been standing outside between the cars, so he could pee on the elevated tracks.

Now, this is so thoroughly disgusting because in Chicago, the tracks pass over sidewalks, roads, and parking lots. That means that this man was essentially peeing on the people who were walking around under our L.

And that, is just nasty.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Late Halloween

This post is very belated but I wanted to post pictures of Steve and my Halloween costumes. We went as Jack Skellington and Sally from the Nightmare Before Christmas.

I love the Nightmare Before Christmas for a number of reasons. It's Steve's favorite movie ever. We watch it when he's sad, we watch it when he's happy. We watch it a lot in October and on Halloween which is Steve's favorite holiday. We have the sound tract and listen to it at least three times in October. We have a sound track alternative which has famous people singing the sound track. The Marilyn Manson version of "This is Halloween" is great.

I also like ti because there is Christmas in it. I think it was a good costume despite the copious amount of face paint we had to wear.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Chicago Is Different

A lot of people have been asking me how I like Chicago and all I can really tell them is that it's different. I lived in the same city, heck the same neighborhood, for all of my adult life. I had certain routines that became synonymous with being an adult and living miles from my family. Some big, some small. So when people ask me how is Chicago I have no real answer. Here are two observations that I have made about Chicago that has made it far superior to Boston.

The streets run on a grid for the most part go in cardinal directions. The first week we were here a friend was giving us directions that were simple, go south, then east. I'm not use to driving in the city being so easy. In Boston directions were more like, "You are going to go on a snaky road and curves a lot and starts out with one name, changes names with in the three miles you are going to be driving a number of times, and you might end up where you want to be." Garmin was a necessary for most people. Often times it was just true that you can't get there from here. I like the simplicity of urban travel here.

The second reason why Chicago is better is because all apartments seem to come with an abundance of closets. In Boston our old house had two closets in the whole 2 bedroom apartment. Not even big ones either. Our new Chicago apartment has a closet in every room. One of our closets even has a closet inside of it. If this was New York I could rent that sucker out as a studio apartment. It's great to have easy access to our stuff. Where's that sweater I haven't worn in a year, hanging up in the closet that's where. Not in a Tupperware container that is at the bottom of a stack of Tupperware containers.

So that's it. Chicago is different but not necessarily better. Boston does have better sea food.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Just Like In ER

I was working last night and was tired. I had worked the previous two days and was looking foreword to being done and having some time off. My patients were starting to grate on me, Steve was making dinner, my shift was almost over, I was ready to be done. I was doing some last moment clean ups for the next shift when the secretary announced that there had been a major bus accident on Lake Shore Drive.

"44 ambulances responding to bus accident on Lake Shore" he said. I thought it sounded like an episode of ER and continued with what I was doing. "The hospital is on hold." He said. I asked what that meant and he explained that it meant that none of us could go home.

Wait, what?

Apparently when we expect mass casualties they hold all the day shift nurses and have the night shift nurses come in there so they can admit as many patients into ICUs as possible. It makes sense and I think I remember hearing something about that in orientation but never thought it would really happen. Even worse, I thought it wouldn't happen when I was almost done working a stretch and was sore, tired, and just wanted to go home. Yes, a bus filled with people would mean that there would be some people needing surgery and some just a stitch up in the ER but why can't I go home again?

I started to think about almost every season finale of ER and began thinking that maybe this sort of thing happened in Chicago all the time. People assured me it didn't but I still ended up staying about a half hour after my shift until they had sorted out all the casualties from the bus crash. Luckly, there weren't too many people hurt and I got to go home and go to bed.

Friday, October 01, 2010

And I'm Out

I won't be able to post tomorrow so I am officially out of the Yo Lo Tango Blog Challenge. I was hoping to have my dad post for me tomorrow but he is having technical difficulties and can't. So maybe I will continue to post frequently, maybe not. Stay posted!