Friday, July 30, 2010

My 100th Post!

I'm so excited that this is my 100th post! Even though I've been MIA, I'm starting to see that's kind of normal for the summer. I've been going through a lot lately. I'm moving from Rockford officially tomorrow morning.

There's a part of me that's freaking out because after tomorrow, I have no more escape if I want to run from my parents' house. I knew when I left medical school that this could end up happening. I was just really hoping to avoid it.

But I am trying to be hopeful for the future. I'm still applying for jobs. I'm pretty convinced I want to try and stay in Chicago, for now. So that means the volunteer work I've been thinking about I can actually start undertaking. I guess we'll see how that turns out. But it would be nice to build a life for myself that involves more than applying for jobs everyday.

I finally packed up the complete last of my stuff in Rockford yesterday around 4:30 pm. I was wondering how I would feel about it. The only thing I felt is that I was so close to finally waking up from a bad dream. Not that I feel all of med school was a bad dream. I just feel that way. Once August 1st arrives, I'll be awake again. I'll be gauging my feelings on Sunday to see if I still feel that way.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Jazz Music In The Summer, All Over Chicago

Monday, July 12th, I went to a concert at Prairie State University. It was held by the Department of Music under the direction of Eugene Vinyard and Roosevelt Griffin. It was actually two mini concerts: Jazz Pioneers Combo and Extreme Big Band.

I heard about this concert from a friend I've been hanging out with recently. He plays in the Extreme Big Band (and several others as well). But this concert was amazing. The first group was a 13 piece jazz band. They played Chitlins Con Carne by Kenny Burrell to start and Footprints by Wayne Shorter to finish. The songs in between were just as good. My love for jazz music extends mostly to the reaches of what I hear live. So I was in heaven enjoying them playing.

They were followed by a big band. I've always loved big band music. I just love the feel of it. It makes me wanna dance, be romantic, be nostalgic, and just relax. It does all this at once. This was a 23 person band and it was amazing! The music really made me want to get up and dance, but I'm pretty sure it would've disrupted the concert for some patrons. Maybe next time I'll sit in the back. They started with Blues in The Closet by Oscar Pettiford arranged by Mark Taylor and ended with Spain by Chick Corea arranged by Paul Jennings. In between, they took me on a tour of Christmastime, New Orleans, and Frank Sinatra. Their vocalist was superb. I may be biased because it was my friend playing, but I particularly enjoyed the saxophone solos.

This concert was part of a concert series for the summer 2010. They'll be at Velvet Lounge in Chicago on July 18th, Sergeant Means Barn in Olympia Fields on July 23rd, and at Caribou Coffee in Homewood on August 6th. If you're looking for live music with jazz or big band, definitely check these out. And you'll be supporting the music department for Prairie State while you do it.

Places Mentioned In This Post: Prairie State College
Things To Do In This Post: Hear live music
Neighborhood in Chicago: Chicago Heights

TMI Thursday Is No More...

...At least for a while. I can't think of anything to write about. But I did want to write about something since I've been MIA all week. I figured I'd explain what I've been doing all week. Last weekend, I went to St. Louis again, quite unexpectedly. I'd forgotten I volunteered to be a chaperon for a trip the Jr. Ushers and the Children's Church were taking. I'm a supervisor for the Ushers and a volunteer at the Children's Church, so I had to go. My parents went to New York last weekend to see Denzel Washington in August Wilson's Fences. They left Friday. Before they left we had a conversation something like this:

Mom/Dad: Okay, we're about to head to the airport.

Me: Are you sure you don't want me to drive you? It's really no problem. I have no pressing issues I can't set aside to come back and get you on Sunday.

Mom/Dad: Aren't you going to St. Louis? They won't be back until Monday afternoon, so that won't work.

pause for realization I made a commitment a few weeks ago and then promptly forgot it

Me: ... Of course I'm going to St. Louis. But you know how they are. I just know where to show up to leave (I didn't know), but I don't know any other details. I thought we were coming back Sunday (I thought no such thing).

Mom/Dad: Nah, I'm pretty sure it's Monday. You should call and check to be sure. It's no problem, we'll just drive ourselves.

Me: Okay... I could totally ask one of my friends to pick you up cause I know your son isn't even an option. Let's not ask him. He's not a truly committed member of this family.

Mom/Dad: Really, CeCe (that's not what they call me. I will NEVER tell the blogosphere what my parents call me)? It's only two days. We can pay to park for two days.

Me: Fine, fine. I can't stop you from wasting your money. O'Hare does not have free parking. But that's fine.


As soon as they left, I rushed to find out more details about this trip I'd have to be ready for in 24 hours. Ever signed up for something and forgot about it immediately after? What kind of scramble was done to be ready? I just had to go shopping for Ushering-at-church appropriate clothing, not so bad.

I'm imagining someone out there forgot they had to bake 100+ cupcakes for a bake sale for their children or something.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friends & Family Fridays: A Long-Time Friends Is Becoming A Close Friend

***So this is Friends & Family Friday!! This is my day to talk more about my friends and family (aside from sharing waaay too much about their love lives on my other blog). My friends and family are lovely people, that much I know for sure. Have fun getting to know them through my eyes.***

This post is about a friend of mine I grew up with. My family moved into our house in 1990. She and her older sister lived next door to me. We grew up together with pretty strict parents, so we pretty much had just the three of us to play with. We learned to ride bikes, jump rope, and got into mischief together.

As we grew up, we were always cool, but never really close. Part of it is the age gap. We are almost exactly three years apart. Not a big deal when you're small children, or when you're adults, but in the in-between teenage years, it feels like a lot.

Since I've been out of medical school, we've been hanging out more. I've reconnected with my whole group of girls from church I hung out with during my teenage years, but this girl more in particular. We'll call her Michelle in my blogs. But she is my girl now! And she's one of the only people I hang out with on a regular basis that I could truly bring around any of my friends and know she would be cool. That's a huge bonus in my book.

She is the only person I can see myself living with. About the time I should have the money to move out of my parents' house will be right when she graduates from college. I know I'm going to need a roommate, but Michelle is about the only one I think I could tolerate for a year or more. We're the same in a lot of ways and we always have fun together. I've been looking for real adult friends who live near me who I can just chill with. Looks like Michelle is a viable option. It's good to have friends for a long time, but it's also a good idea to take a second look to see if there can be more to a casual friendship.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins #184 we go!

1. Layers of cake, tulle, bacon, and cheese are irresistible to me.

2. It's important to have a close friend you can count on for insight.

3. I'd be willing to bet all of my dreams will come true...eventually.

4. I don't have one, so nothing scares the dog.

5. I'm fond of spending time with people who make me feel happy to be alive.

6. I talk about eating healthy, rock climbing, and my new body waaaaaaaaay too much!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to doing something fun in my favorite city, tomorrow my plans include travelling to St. Louis and Sunday, I want to not get into a fight with those crazy Prince of Peace Ushers!

TMI Thursday: An Unwilling Exhibitionist

***Alright, folks, you know the rules. Join us all in humiliating the crap out of yourself every Thursday by sharing some completely tasteless, wholly unclassy, “how many readers can I estrange THIS week??” TMI story about your life. Or hell, about someone else’s!***

This week's post is about a few years ago when my brother always had random people hanging out at my parents' house. Usually, he keeps his bedroom door closed. The one time he didn't was such a crazy moment for me.

I saw the friend he had with him. It was this really cute guy who looked vaguely familiar, so I figured he must live in our neighborhood. I walked back and forth past my brother's door, thinking of things I had to do upstairs, then downstairs, then upstairs again. Just to see if I could catch this guy's attention. I wanted his attention for no purpose other than to have it; I didn't actually want to talk to him or anything.

But then, I had somewhere I was supposed to go with friends. So I hopped in the shower. On my way to the shower, I hear my brother tell his friend that he has to wait to go to the bathroom til I was finished with it. Then I get out of the shower and head to my room to get dressed. My room is between my brother's room and the bathroom. I thought I'd closed my door, but I hadn't because when I turned to look in the mirror to make sure I had rubbed in all the lotion, I saw my brother's friend looking at me through the crack of open door. I freaked out when I saw him and he freaked out when he saw I saw him.

He quickly went to the bathroom and I closed my door. I quickly got dressed and flew past my brother's room on the way back downstairs. That was the last time I was ever even slightly interested in his company.

Clubbing In Chicago On A Wednesday Night

If you want bars, lounges, or pubs, Chicago is chock full of interesting places where you're guaranteed to have a good time. But as far as a true club, the options are limited. Especially on a Wednesday night. But my friends and I wanted to go out dancing last night, so we had to find a club.

Sound Bar is the solution to that problem. Last night, they had a promotion going where you got in free from 10-12. And it was open bar until 11:30. Well, not exactly open bar, we got four drink tickets each. But that was more than enough to get us all pretty tipsy by 11:15. And then we had two more shots after that, and they were only $5 each. For Chicago bar prices, that's amazing!

We got there about 10:30, which is waaaay early for any club. But the friends I was with are so much fun, it didn't matter. While other people were drinking liquid courage before they got on the dance floor, my friends and I were dancing on the dance floor. The DJ was pretty good. I can only think of about 4 songs he played where we like WTF. But that was good because it gave us time to refresh our drinks. We danced literally from 10:30 to 2:00 am. Then we left because it was the responsible thing to do, some people had to work in the morning. When we left it was super packed downstairs The club usually has two levels open and several rooms, but on Wednesday night, there's only the downstairs open. The club doesn't close until 4 am though.

I did have an especially fun moment when it was still early. I went to ask the security guy if it was okay if I danced on the round block in the middle of the floor. He helped me up there and I danced for a couple of songs. Then I had to get down because I was tipsy, in 5 inch heels, and more and more people were coming into the club. Later, the go-go dancer was up there. I was really glad I wasn't thinking about staying up there when more people were in the club. Those guys were a little to close to her. Some even stuck money in her tiny tiny short/panties (whatever she was wearing). I've never seen that before. But I guess that's how they get down.

So, if you're looking to club on a Wednesday and you can make your own fun my dancing without people pressing in from all sides, this is the Chicago spot for you.

Places Mentioned In This Post: Sound Bar
Neighborhood in Chicago: Near North Side

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Another New Blog

I've decided to add another blog to my list of blogs I write. Why? Because I want to.

It's about Chicago. Well, it's about my activities in Chicago. The places I go. The things I do. Check it out and see if you like it.

Chicago, My Kinda Town

I already write a few blogs, but I felt like I needed one more. Why, you ask? Well, it's quite simple. I have more to say. Whether or not you want to read even more of that is yet to be discovered.

This blog will be dedicated to my city, Chicago, Illinois. I love living here and I try as much as possible to get out around the Chicago area and try new things and repeat old favorites. I never really use my other blogs as a journal of what I do with my days, so this will be party for that too. The bigger focus will be on the wonderful things to do, see, and experience in the Chicago area (this includes the suburbs, even though they are not Chicagoans).

To start, I'll talk about my date with my city on June 26, 2010. A teenager from my church and her best friend wanted to go downtown to go to the Taste of Chicago. I volunteered to take the since I wanted to go to the Taste. We were five minutes away when they suddenly didn't want to go anymore. Instead of immediately abandoning my crazy idea of spending an afternoon with two 14 year olds, I stayed agreeable and offered to just park the car and we would hang out on Michigan Avenue.

We headed to Water Tower Place. I knew right then that I wasn't about to follow two teenagers around a mall. That shit wasn't even fun when I was a teenager. So I told them I was going down to the food court and I'd see them later. The food court in Water Tower is amazing. It's on the Mezzanine Level. It's called FoodLife. It has everything one could possibly want to eat. I'm. Not. Kidding.

I got a California roll, a glass of Chardonnay, and a loaded baked potato. I know those things don't match, don't judge me. It's what I had a taste for. I enjoyed my lunch at watched the Ghana playing in the World Cup on the television at the bar. After I ate, I headed to the park across the street which is literally one of my favorite spots in the city. I don't know the name of this park, but it's at the corner of east Pearson Street and north Mies Van Der Rohe Way. I sat there for a couple hours under the shade of the trees and read my Kindle. I listened to the muffled sounds of the city floating by and the laughs of children playing on the nearby swing sets and jungle gyms. I thought about heading over to the Museum of Contemporary Art, but decided against it since sitting was more appealing than walking at that moment.

After the kids had tired themselves out, we headed back to the car and headed home. It was the loveliest afternoon I've had in a while. Just me and my city. And those two teenagers.

Places Mentioned In This Post: un-named park, Water Tower Place, FoodLife, Museum of Contemporary Art

Neighborhood in Chicago: North Michigan Avenue aka The Magnificent Mile

Working On My Hobbies Wednesday: Putting My Green Thumb to Use

***I have some hobbies I'd like to get better acquainted with. I have some hobbies I'm interested in taking up. This day's post is dedicated to the adventure of developing hobbies so I stay a well-rounded person. What hobbies do you engage in?***

This week's post is about gardening. My father and I are working on the back yard of my parents' house. It's very hard work because we're basically taking everything that's back there out and starting completely over.

We've literally had to call people in to haul away 4 cubic yards of soil. I don't know if you know how much that is, but it's a lot. A damn lot. And it cost us $200 to do it. But we have a plan, and if we stick to the plan, our backyard will be beautiful.

I definitely got my green thumb from my father and he got it from his mother. My mom and my brother help us out too, but it's mostly me helping my dad. I convinced him that this endless job (we've been working on it since April) needed some point of accomplishment to feel like a checkpoint of sorts. He finally agreed and we bought mulch to finish the plants area at the front corner. We marked out the curved edge of the area and laid down the mulch. It looks awesome!

Well... it looks awesome if you ignore the bricks needed to hold back the mountain of dirt always building to the west of it. And the old garden parts strewn against garage to the south of it. And the incompletely-planted annual bed to the north of it. And it cracked and soon-to-be-replaced concrete walkway to the north of it.

So you see why I'm not putting up pictures... yet. But to stand there and look at what's going on so far give me a sense of accomplishment. And that's something I could really use in my life these days. What hobbies do you have that get your hands dirty?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

In My 20s Tuesday + Post-It Notes: Still On The Job Hunt

I know I've been super MIA. These things happen, especially in the summer time. My biggest reason for being absent is issues with my laptop. I can't get it to charge. But I've convince my mother to let me make use of hers for a couple weeks til I can figure something out. So hopefully, I'm actually back in action now! I've missed the blogosphere and look forward to catching up on everyone else's blogs as well.

***In My 20s Tuesday is all about things that should matter (maybe) to someone in their 20s. It's about life as we head into real adulthood. It's about laying the groundwork for a life: starting a career, setting up a home, starting a life with someone, etc. It's about things that will affect our lives down the road: politics, current events, pop culture, etc. Well, it's not about all those things at once (that'd be near impossible, lol). But hopefully I'll reach someone in their 20s who's looking for someone to feel what they're going through.***

Today's post comes because I still don't have a job. This is not exactly a surprise because everyone knows the situation in the current job market. Also, I chose to leave medical school during graduation season so I'm also competing with those just entering the workforce for the first time.

But things have changed in the last week. Before, I was only applying to jobs that fit my criteria for my career plan. But once June ended, I expanded. I'm now looking for anything that will enhance my skill set for the job I want. So that basically includes anything I'm qualified for in hospital or clinical setting as well and any office/secretarial job. It's kinda of disheartening to move away from my dream. I'm still applying for research jobs, but that's not enough anymore. I hope I hear something soon from anyone. Because of this doesn't work, then starting in August, I'll be applying for literally anything. I'll even do sales associate. There's nothing wrong with that job, I'm just hesitant to do work that doesn't enhance my skill set for my dream career.

But I've also got something else in the works. My pastor and I have been doing research to put together a proposal to get some of the funding allocated in the health care reform law for clinics. My community could really use a strong medical presence. Having my own clinic has always been one of my dreams, and if I could press fast-forward on that while helping the community I grew up in, I would be just as happy as could be!

Also, I've been up to some interesting things in the time since I've paused blogging, hopefully I can get some of that down in future blog posts!

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