Sunday, October 15, 2017

Spontaneous Adventure In Chicago Gotham Style

Its been raining here in Chicago nearly non stop for over 24 hours.  Everyonce in a while it stirs itself up into a thunderstorm with lightning and big boomers, but for the most part, just rain.  Gray skies and rain.  I spent most of yesterday, after weekly errands, just gaming, watching documentaries and drinking coffee or tea depending on my mood.  The coffee mood continues as we type.  If I could hide again today I would, but I have promised to go on an adventure with  my landlord friends, Rachel and Ross  (nicknames of course as I never use real names). 

Gotham's version of a comic con is in Chicago this weekend and we are going to go today on a lark.  See if we can get tickets and see if any photo ops or autograph ops are still available.  They are not the same company as Wizard World so I can't use use my free admission or I would.  But we really love his show and since there was not any advertising for it and the weather sucks, we are hoping that it wont be as busy as a comic con where there is a diverse supply of talent for fan girls and guys.  With only the one show and the only guests being Riddler, Penguin, Alfred and Hammer-hand, and lots of vendors we might still get in.  (Cat-woman and Ivy were Saturday but Rachel and I really didn't care as much about them, cant say the same for Ross).  If not we can go on an adventure in Schaumburg or come back into Chicago.  Its always an adventure with Rachel and Ross.  Never a real plan, more of a guideline.  And its always fun.  Either way we will have a great day today celebrating Rachel's birthday fan girl style.  She was so caught up in the excitement and happy for me when I went on my first con, that now that there is one here she is interested in she has decided to spend her birthday funds getting autographs and photo shoots.  I may have opened the door to lots of cons for us all in the future.  Pictures will follow as usual.

Next weekend my daughter and best friend and her husband, who is also a best friend, and their kids will be here.  I should have lot to discuss in next weeks blog.  Both about what happened today and with all of them.  Wish us luck.  We many need it. 


Sunday, October 8, 2017

A Fun Day In Chicago, (with plugs for places to see)

Last weekend with Firstborn Son and Daughter-In-Law was amazing.  We spent a fun-filled day together on Sunday, starting with brunch at a brand new place.  The place I wanted to take them was in my neighborhood, about an hour from where they were staying, by train.  We decided to save time and go to somewhere in-between.  My son and I were anxious to see each other and she was still waking up.  So I high-tailed it to them and saw the beautiful bed and breakfast they were staying at on the southside.  Now I didn't know Chicago had any bed and breakfasts, and we don't have many, but the one they stayed at, called Welcome Inn Manor Bed & Breakfast, was full of the neighborhoods history of civil rights and jazz.  (unfortunately I just read this article where it says the owner is selling because of the neighborhood.  Sad.  )  Trust me, they do it up right there.  They have a free breakfast every morning.  Sit down in the formal dining room not a stale donut and hotel room coffee. Safe places to park your car and a free shuttle, which the owner took us in to try to eat breakfast at Wildberry's.  But by the time we got there it was a two hour wait so we decided to try and walk a short distance to the next cafe or breakfast joint we found and we found a gem.  Toni's Patisserie & Cafe.  Just two blocks from Wildberry, they get a lot of their overflow business and weren't surprised to see us switch it up with them.  I may have to take First Daughter there on her trip here.  It's a bit more expensive then my favorite place for brunch, but what the hell.  It was a special occasion. 

After breakfast their friend, we'll call him Philly that flew in from PA to see them and experience the Final Fantasy escape room with another local friend, (who shall remain nicknameless as he stood them up twice, bad form), joined us at the Shedd Aquarium  I have always wanted to see Chicago's aquarium but never found anyone to accompany me, and knowing it was on my kids hit list I waited for them to visit to see it.  And I'm glad I did.  It was beautiful.  And not overwhelmingly large like a lot of museums in Chicago tend to feel.  It felt almost intimate, and was so relaxing to see all they types of marine life our planet has.  I even petted a stingray, which I'd never had the guts to do before, but my Daughter-In-Laws excitement to do it brought out the curiosity in me.  They feel like fine course sandpaper.  

After the Aquarium we were all feeling the pull of solitude.  Too many people for us, so we decided to head back to my neighborhood so they could see how quaint Lincoln Square is and my studio.  Unfortunately for us Applefest was going on in the square and too many people was still in our hearts.  We wanted to be alone together or close to that, so we checked out my studio, which they loved and then went to my favorite neighborhood pub, The Red Lion Inn  And of course had some legit English munchies of fish and chips and bangers and mash to accompany our great ciders and beer.  I'm a wine and beer drinker, well actually I'll drink just about anything that isn't gin.  But I don't like cider.  And I LOVE their ciders.  Never had a bad one yet, but I stick to my chocolate organic stout and sample everyone else's choices.  

We stayed at the Red Lion Inn after eating, for a long time just chatting.  It's that kind of pub.  Where you feel like your in your best friends living-room rather than a business.  And it's so full of everything British that it reminds me of my fandom full studio.  I also highly recommend checking it out for lunch or Friday night all you can eat fish and chips.  Which I like to do when I need people around me. 

We made plans to see each other for brunch on Tuesday before they left town, but unfortunately Flower Girl got stomach flu and I had to come in early since she couldn't go to school.  But it's ok.  They had fun and I'm sure they will visit again, and I will be with them for two weeks at Christmas/New Years this year.  And I'm sure they'll be sick of me by then.  Here's hoping you get to spend so much time with your loved ones that they can't wait to see you again too.


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sunday Funday!

My first wave of company is here in Chicago.  They arrived on Thursday and have had plans with both local friends and friends that flew in since they arrived.  With a rest up day yesterday from their events before my full day today.  I'm excited to get started with a brunch and then possibly the Shedd Aquarium and maybe another nice meal later tonight.  Who knows.  I want to show them my neighborhood and where I live and just sit and talk with them for hours.  I've missed them so much and this is their first trip here since I moved here three years ago.  We try and see each other at least once a year but never here.  So I'm super excited to show them My Chicago.  And since I have a tiny studio with no real room for company of more than one, they are staying at a bed and breakfast near the south loop.  About an hour south from my neighborhood. And since they are late sleepers and even the call of Chicago Sunday Brunch, might not stir them until 10 am.  I will try to busy myself with other things until they call.  Unfortunately I'm an early riser and sleeping in for me is 7 am.  And I'm not going to wake them on vacation.  Although the temptation is very real. 

That's the hardest part with adult children.  You can't treat them like they are your children anymore.  You have to step back and see what you did.  I'm lucky.  Most of the time I'm not shaking my head in confusion wondering what my adult children are thinking.  When they were young adults in their teens and twenties I did.  But now that they are both approaching thirty or in their thirties, I find that I don't worry about them near as much as I used to.  And I trust their judgement so much, that slowly they are becoming the people I ask questions of.  I feel like the circle is becoming complete and they are assuming the role of caretaker with me. 

I know someday, if I'm unlucky and don't just die in my sleep, I'll be living with my daughter as I become too old to live alone.  She has promised me I'd always have a place to go. And I know she's sincere.  I don't ever want to be a burden to her or my son but you just don't know what life will deal you so you have to be prepared.  Unfortunately most of my being prepared was lost during the last melt down in the stocks, and at my age it is nearly impossible to get that back.  But worrying about retirement when you don't even know if you'll live that long will for sure cause you stress enough to cut your life short.  hum... I may be on to something here.  But you know how that works too, right?  The best laid plans...

I hate talking about death with my grown children.  I know it's something I have to do and I do.  I tell them where all the important papers are, and the combinations.  But they get that look in their eyes.  All glossy like the way I get when men talk about most sports.  I know they aren't listening.  Not really.  I mean they are.  But they hate talking about what happens when I die.  As an only child with both parents gone, they are my only family and the burden would probably fall to them even with siblings.  And hopefully they will have each other to lean on.  Time to to stop thinking about this and get some coffee and get ready to hurry up and wait. 


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Silence is Golden

Its funny.  I'm finding I have less and less to say of anything that feels important, the longer I live alone.  Don't get me wrong, my mind still flows at a thousand miles per hour from subject to subject.  It's just all in my head.  Like talking to yourself in silence. 

I like my weekend silences.  I try to see if I can go an entire day without uttering a word.  And I've been able to do it.  It's usually Sunday.  It's an easy day to hide from the frigid, harsh world.  My little escape from it, is my favorite place in Chicago.  I almost have it looking like I want it to.  I can't afford new furniture or anything like that, so I make it look as much like me as I can; with all the odds and ends and pieces of lives, I've collected along my journey.  Shrinking down is always good for me.  And getting rid of trinkets that no longer mean what they did, or before they mean nothing, is a form of healing that all water signs are not only proficient at, we're almost ceremonial.  I blame the gypsy witch in me.  She really can't sit still for long.

But other than sage-ing my studio again on the autumn equinox and watching season four of Doctor Who.  (really Donna's season is one of the best, in my opinion.  Everyone makes an appearance that year.)   I'm trying to relax this weekend in preparation for my first bit of company this fall.   I'll tell you all about after.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ferris Wheel....Not Bueller

Rearranging my studio, and shopping later today for some additions, is helping my wanderlust.  I am now nesting in for winter, and looking forward to visits from both my grown children this month and next  Also She of Little Combat Boots and her family are taking a trip to Chicago and I am one of the reasons to make it a family vacation.  End of September and October promises to be full of fun and surprises and I can't wait.

And it also just goes to show you that when you are feeling your most vulnerable and alone, life can sometimes show you just how wrong you are.  And I love that about life.  The unexpected changes.  I know sometimes they seem to be horrible changes, but when I reflect upon my past, I understand how all of them led me to a brighter future. 

Some people who believe in religion would call that faith or the presence of a higher power that is gently, or not so gently, guiding you to where you should be.  Others might say you are always where you should be.  I personally feel that it's just Fate.  Life is like a big ocean and you have to learn to swim at an early age.  It's a sink or swim existence.   The wheel of life constantly turning.  Like a giant Ferris wheel.  When you're up, enjoy the view because you will be at the bottom again.  But when you are at the bottom try not to be sad or depressed because you will rise up again.  (Ferris Wheel, and Ferris Bueller....Now HE know how to live life in the fullest....I wonder if that name connection was on purpose...discuss)

It's hard to remember this and enjoy life in the present.  To try to give life the opportunity to be wonderful every moment that you are awake.  Life has it's own demands on our time.  Some might feel unfair demands of work over pleasure.  But it's, unfortunately, the way our society chosen to grow up.  And now we are so ingrained in working for a living, that we have forgotten how to live.  Our down time becomes more precious to us than the all mighty dollar that we work so hard to achieve. 

So when a family member or friend decides to spend some of that time with me, I am overjoyed and honored.  Because I know how precious that is.  When I was younger I used to get jealous over the time friends would spend with other friends, without my inclusion.  And at times I would try to force myself into the event.  So sad.  So alone.  And you'd think as an only child I would have been used to being alone.  It has become my natural state.  But I believe when I was younger I did this because I didn't want to be alone.  I wanted siblings and children and a large family in my future.  I got the children.  I never did get the siblings, even though I gave the honor to 'brother' or 'sister' to many in my past.  That honor was never really accepted in the vein that it was given, and the ones I chose to bestow it upon, proved unworthy of my love or acceptance as 'family'. 

So reluctantly, I moved on, and eventually, in my forties, stopped adopting friends as family.  And had to realize the heartbreaking truth that the ones I had, didn't really return the affection, and abandon them.  Leaving is not something I do well, even-though I do it often.  Being alone I don't have to ever face that again.  I wont let myself down the way others have.  So the friends I have chosen to keep or the new ones I try to make, are not only very special to me, but I understand now how special I must be to them as well.  Or they would be gone by now too. 

Look upon your life with the eyes of a child and be amazed at all you see.  For you will only see it once in that way.  And once you start to see the world with a jaded and cynical view, it is very hard to change that lens. 


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Run You Clever Boy!

Do you ever feel like you need to just walk away from your life? 

Not because you have a double life or because you have no life, but just because you feel like you know your life so well that it's time to change it up before Fate does that for you?

I've had that feeling. 
That wanderlust that good Hobbits just don't get. 
That south wind stirring the gypsy in my soul to flee before whatever the wind brings, arrives.
That sense that something is just behind you, or around the corner that you will meet, but perhaps you really don't want to live through.  At least not without a TARDIS, and The Doctor.

Something is in the air again. 
Fall is coming, and then soon winter.
And as usual, I'm not ready for the winter.

I always feel this way in the late summer and early fall.  But once autumn comes I traditionally leave my comfort zone and move to higher ground.  The mountains of Colorado.  The oceans of the Pacific.  The open prairie of the west.  They all beckon to me.  The landscape of my childhood, try to call me home. 

Chicago is the furthest east I've ever lived.  And while I've been apartment shopping in my city, I decided to stay and instead of moving, just rearranged my dwelling. I have a small studio so there is not much I can do with it.  But even small changes seem large enough to temper my restless soul.  For now.

Watching Star Trek and Doctor Who also help.  Perhaps all that traveling is what does it.  All that running to the next adventure quiets my inner voices.  Feeds my active imagination.  And calms my adventurous spirit into accepting something more relaxing in life than the drama that I create. 

Find your tonic of peace. And imbibe, liberally.  

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Are Secret Affairs Good For You?

Why are adult, human relationships so difficult?  Were we truly made to be with one person forever?  I've had my share of marriages fall apart, that I truly thought would last forever.  And I've watched friends who I thought would be together forever, fall apart.  And it makes me wonder if the fault is not our nature but our society of what is considered to be acceptable and what is considered to be taboo. 

For example, to me it would seem more honest and respectable, to both parties, to have an open marriage than to lie to each other and cheat.  But society would reward the cheater for not getting caught, while thinking nothing of the deceits told to the loved one to actually get away with this behavior.  Wouldn't it be wiser, to be able to express your love when love comes knocking, freely without guilt; than to express it under the cloak of secrecy and lies?  Or to not express it at all and always wonder or regret not having the experience?

Statistics say that finances split partners up more than anything.  However in my lifetime I've never heard a couple say that they split up because of debt.  I have heard over and over again about infidelity.  Weather brought about by an addiction like alcohol or drugs, or just a person, that by their nature, isn't able to love only one person in this world of possibilities.

It takes a special person to be able to not get jealous over this mindset.  I haven't been that person in the past, and being single now, have no idea if I would be, if in a relationship now.  I can only speak to what I do know about myself and that is that I divorced two men for cheating on me rather than try to work through it, and discover if it was a real threat to what we had, or an addition to what we felt.  Most affair last three months.  Mine tend to last more like three years or more.  Three years or more of lying and being together in secret is not an enjoyable experience and it destroys the initial attraction.  It also can make you psychically ill, as well as mentally.  Causing nervous breakdowns and self hatred which is a destruction of an already fragile ego.  Living a double life is stressful and stress kills.  Because love is not meant to be experienced in secret, whispered about or denied.  Love is meant to be shouted from the rooftops for all to hear and be happy in your good fortune.  Love is meant to be celebrated and shared with all your family and friends.  Love will not be denied no matter how far you run away from it.  It always catches up to you and makes you ache with longing.  Love makes you afraid of death for you never want your loved ones to die.  Love can also make you selfish and jealous if you love for the wrong reasons.   For example, getting married because you don't want to die alone is the wrong reason.  We all die alone.  We all face death alone.  Even with someone holding your hand in the end, if you are lucky enough to die in bed, you are still experiencing death alone.  If you weren't we'd know what happens after. 

I wish I'd been smarter in my twenties.  I wish I'd had the experience I have had in my fifties, so I could tell my young, hurt, and possessive self what not to do.  But I can only watch my friends make the same mistakes I made and smile and wait and hope they will ask me, "What would you do?"  Which they rarely do.  So I tell stories of my past.  Not to brag or to hear myself talk.  I talk about my failures in the hopes that they will not make the same mistakes I've made.  But I've found most don't listen.  Most know more than I do, or think they do.  Don't we all?  Or they have already made up their minds and my sage advice falls upon deaf ears.  The older I get the more I find that my parents knew a lot more about life than I ever gave them credit for when they were alive.  I hope my children will come to this realization before I die.  My friends may never understand it or be able to put my lessons into practice. 

But life is a journey we also take alone.  Even if we are in one or more relationships, we still are alone inside our heads and make up our minds by our own individual experiences.  So it shouldn't surprise me that my more experienced friends could only smile and watch me make mistakes and hope I'd ask 'What would you do?"