Monday, August 23, 2010

Taking A Trip To St. Louis This Week

I've mentioned this man, Easy, in recent blog posts. I think I may have mentioned the basics, but in case, here they are again. I met him at a wedding for this girl I grew up with at church. We hit it off at the reception and started hanging out a lot. He seemed like a fun guy, and we always had so much fun together. Somewhere along the line it hits me that I'm really kind of into him. Into him enough where I don't want anyone else. Not even PT, The man I've been stressing over for the last 10 months. Yes, this guy I'd known for 6 weeks, pushed aside one I'd known for almost a year. What can I say, it happens. I've been so frustrated with PT, I had basically decided I was giving him til Halloween or until I found someone I liked better before officially moving on. And as soon as I get my Disney Princess DVDs back, that's exactly what I'll do.

Just as I'm realizing I'm into him and I'll probably stop seeing other people cause I'm just not that into them, he announces that this other woman he was dating expressed an interest in them being exclusive. He said he didn't know what he was going to do, but he didn't want to lose me as a friend, no matter what happened. I expressed how that wasn't really an option. He decided to take some space (from me and her, oh and his ex-girlfriend he'd only been broken up with for four months after five years of togetherness) to figure out exactly what he wanted. That didn't go so well. He still ended up calling me the very next day and we continued to hang out as if nothing had changed. Then he was having trouble finding work for this coming school year (he's a music teacher), but had a possible job opportunity in St. Louis. He ended up getting the job, but didn't find out until about 10 days before school started and 2 days before he was going on a week-long vacation.

Right before he left to move to St. Louis, he expressed a desire for space to "settle into his new life". That sucked especially hard because I had decided during the course of his week-long awayness on vacation that I didn't care that he was moving away. I was going to forgo my immediate aversion to long-distance anythings and be a rebel and we would make our own rules because I still wanted him in my life. But, just like before it didn't go so well. I ended up talking to him four times this first week of school, which was last week. Then I called Easy on Saturday to find out if he was feeling better about being in St. Louis not that he was a week in. He said he was glad I called because he was about to call me to tell me he was in town. He wanted to know what I was doing because he wanted to see me. Also, he wanted me to go back with him to St. Louis to have a visit this coming week. Easy said he no longer felt like he needed space, but that he felt like he didn't need the space to still be able to settle in. I was happy to hear all that he had to say and made my way over there after I finished my other activities (church's annual picnic and then Michelle and I saw Camille off to her gala ball with Malik).

I decided I wasn't going to drive back to St. Louis with him because today was my church's 96th anniversary. But I would drive down tomorrow. Plus, I'll get to see my best friend Lion who I haven't seen since before he took Step 1 and finished his second year of med school. Then tonight, Easy calls me and says, "we have to talk. There's something I have to tell him." I reminded him he wasn't allowed to give me any bad news for at least a couple of weeks. After assuring me it wasn't bad news, he tells me he's been feeling pretty bad about the idea of pre-marital sex and how it goes against his Bible. Don't get me wrong, his Bible is my Bible, we've just come to different conclusions on the matter. I've ended relationships before on this subject. I hate limitations of any kind. I had such a bad reaction to it, he thought I was ending things right there and said, "I guess you won't be coming to St. Louis now. I won't have any hard feelings if this is something that is that big to you." I realized I had to take a step back. I told him I would think on it tonight and we'd discuss it tomorrow. I still intend on going to visit him in St. Louis, and I'll do it without trying to seduce him. But how many curve balls can one woman in take in such a short period of time?

I like Easy a lot, but this has been such a tumultuous experience. I'm starting to question the wisdom of having any involvement with a person this mixed up who hasn't yet settled on who he is. There's so many ways that it can go wrong. If he lands in the wrong spot, I'm gonna be left hanging in the wind. But I am kind of feeling him. So until that changes, I guess I'll just hang on, I did always say I like roller coasters.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Things That Make Me Happy Right Now

1. I'm in my church's bowling league. The team I'm on is filled with people I've known for years and genuinely like and whose company I enjoy. Bowling is something I've always wanted to do consistently, so I'm glad that at least for now, I can count it as an official hobby. Also, I know for sure I have something to do Friday nights. The league bowls every Friday (not including holidays) for 35 weeks.

2. I'm reading lots of books on my Kindle. Because I have a Kindle, and not an e-Reader or nook, I'm able to get books for Amazon's dirt cheap prices. How dirt cheap? Free.ninety.nine (thanks Kanye for making that bullshit term part of my vocabulary). I finally decided I'm going to force myself to read Jane Austen's novels, in the order they were published, not written. They are considered classics, and I feel I should be able to say I've read them. Most of the people I know who love Jane Austen are not the kind of people I look at and think, boy I'm just like them. So, I figured I'd have to force myself through it, like with the Scarlett Letter. The Scarlett Letter, which I'm still not done reading, is written in impossible language, and kind of dull considering the subject matter. But Sense and Sensibility is simply fantastic! I'm really enjoying reading it and can't wait to move on to the next one. I am, of course, assuming the next one will be even better. Seriously, who would've though Willoughby would have an illegitimate child!

3. Thinking about the end of next May. In my mind, by that time, I will have a job, have saved some money, and will be looking at apartments with Michelle. She graduates from college int he beginning of May. I figure that month will be spent apartment hunting. We'll want to live close to where ever we work, but not to far from the church. The church is a good point to aim for because both our families, and a good number of our friends live near our church. We talk about living together occasionally and that makes me happy because it references a time in the future when I can freely assume things will be better. For instance, we'll be driving down the street in her car or mine and we'll see a For Rent sign. We always have a critique. They include: Nope, I can't do window air conditioning, I need central air. Hey, I like that place... soooo many windows! Oh hell no, there's no way I'd want to live on this busy ass street. It just makes me happy to focus on the future while putting in the work today to get there.

4. Talking to Easy. While he gets settled into life in St. Louis and all that brings, he still reaches out to me. When all my concerns about the inevitable Cancer/Libra crash and burn arise, he tamps them down. I don't think he realizes how much I like him. That's probably because I haven't told him I've lost me desire to date other people. I also haven't told him I want to continue to be involved with him even though he's in another state. In spite of all this, we still have been talking so frequently. I think today is the first day I haven't spoken to him since it was completely settled that he didn't get the job in Chicago that might've prevented him having to move. I didn't want to bother him on a Friday. It was his first Friday in town. I figured he'd either be catching up on missed sleep from the week or getting ready to go out and enjoy the city night life. I imagine he probably thought to not bother me on a Friday. His assumption was probably that I might have a date. Well, if he ever lets me know he likes my plan of us being rebels and making our own rules, I'll gladly fill him in on all he doesn't yet know. But until then, I'll just enjoy the times we talk. Because he's so funny, and sweet, and he makes me feel beautiful inside and out. Those are all very happy feelings indeed.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I've Finally Had Busy Day

Since I withdrew from medical school, my life has been uneventful. This is sometimes a good thing and sometimes a bad thing, depending on how I'm feeling on a certain day. But I do know that it finally felt good to have more things than I had time to do today.

I had to be up at 8:25 to get to a hair appointment by 9 am. I've been waking up in the 8 o'clock hour the last couple weeks or so, but having to get up is different from waking up and just turning on HGTV until I pull out my laptop and begin applying for jobs. I get to my hair appointment around 9-ish and I get done around 1-ish. That is a long time, but it's because of my hair. I'm growing dreadlocks and my hair is kind of thick, so it takes longer to tighten my locks than it does for some people.

At 1, I ran some errands and picked up lunch. My keychain is now heavier because I've got spare keys to my great aunt's house now. I'm imagining the extra duties that will come with that... Then I came home and got ready for a trip to the beach. I joined my girl Michelle at her job and we headed to the beach as soon as she got off work.

We had fun at the beach making the world's whackest sand castle (definition of whack; it's #2 and #3), but at least we had fun doing it. We left the beach and went to pick up food for a meeting at our church. After the meeting, Michelle headed to choir practice while I went home to pick out clothes for our night out. I still hadn't decided by the time choir rehearsal was over, so I just headed to her house so she and our other friends could help me choose my outfit.

Then we headed out to this great spot in downtown Chicago called the Fit. It's a rooftop club at the Doubletree Hotel on State & Lake. Great atmosphere, pretty good crowd, ridiculously overpriced. But I recommend it if you pre-game first. We had fun talking, laughing, and people watching. I texted Easy to crack a joke about drunk-texting (he was amused, thank goodness). Turns out he played at the Fit last month sometime. Must've been one of those random gigs he went on that I heard about in passing. That definitely would've been one I would've wanted to attend.

I finally got home about 30 minutes ago. I had a 17 hour day. I haven't done that since early April. I must admit it feels good. I'd love to have days that are busy more often. But instead of hair appointments, errands, and hanging out, I'd like all of that to be spaced out over a number of days and to be stuff I did after work. Oh, if only I had a job to go work at, stupid Chicago unemployment.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Maxwell Songs Are Playing On Repeat In My Head

I'm having an issue with trying to go with the flow when it comes to Easy. I've been saying that I'm not a go-with-the-flow kind of person. But the fact remains that I keep attracting men who don't know what they want. For now, I want Easy. I don't want PT, I don't want anyone. I don't even want to pick up some random guy in an attempt to distract myself. I'm unfortunately into this guy in a way I haven't been in a while. We'll see how long it lasts. My interest in men seems to be directly correlated to how long I've known them. A very small number of men (two to be exact) have been lucky enough to have my feelings for them grow over time instead of fade. I still miss the Ex and I still miss the First. Don't get me wrong, I don't have crazy ideas about still being with either one, but the fact remains, they made a lasting effect on me.

Back to these Maxwell songs. I keep playing "Love You" and "You're The Only One I Want" in my head. If you don't know those songs, you need to listen to them, they're amazing. I usually have a running soundtrack in my head for my life, but this time it's just irritating me because it's not the reality of my situation. Easy just moved to St. Louis for at least one school year. St. Louis. Where his very recent ex-girlfriend lives. He's feels incredibly antsy about long-distance relationships. I'm feeling antsy about a relationship in general.

One thing is slightly different with him than with previous guys who I've been in similar situations with. While he's definitely doing the I-don't-know-what-I-want thing, he's not using that as an excuse to pull back away from me. We talk very often, and even though he's super busy, that doesn't stop him from including me in his world.

So for now, I'm waiting to see what will happen. It won't be long before my giving him time to get settled expires. At that point, I'll let him know I don't like limbo and won't stand for it. I want us to make our own rules. I don't want/need a boyfriend right now. I just want what he and I have been sharing since we met Fourth of July weekend. We have fun and laugh so much together. We share our passions and open up to each other with ease. There is an undeniable chemistry that I don't want to let go of. But I don't want that obligation and requirement to constantly consider how everything you do will affect another person. I just hope he's ready for that conversation sooner rather than later. Otherwise, I'll be back to the drawing board, wondering why it didn't work out with a guy, yet again.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Two Crazy Stories: Boats & Ho's... & Golddiggers

This summer I've written posts on this blog and my blog about my friends' love lives, I've talked a bit about character traits I feel will work better for me at this stage of my adult life. These two stories help illustrate some of that.

Story One. A post I wrote said, I'm not spontaneous, I'm just a go-with-the-flow-hedonist. As I'm getting closer to my friends from my teenage years at church, we're getting to know each other as adults. We're almost all the same people with a bit of changes here and there. I don't know that they think I'm easy-going (in fact I rather doubt it, that's just not me), but spontaneous could describe me by some definitions. Whenever something is suggested, I'm down to try it. Last minute plans? I'm in. Change of plans at the last minute? No problem, I'll drive or I call shotgun.

But I'm not spontaneous, I'm a hedonist. Part of me loves trying new things and loves doing something I didn't think I'd be doing when I woke up that morning. The other part doesn't like walking into situations I can't predict the outcome of. For example, deciding around 9 pm on a Monday to go to a club  that night is something I would be totally into. Deciding at 9 pm on a Thursday to get on some guy's boat who I'd met two hours previous, not so much. Anyone see the difference? One involves dancing and drinking with my friends. The other involves a likely possibly dangerous situation.

When Michelle and I went to the beach last week, that boat thing happened. A friend of hers (and her counsins) from school decided she was getting on this boat with this man. Her reasoning was somewhere along the lines of "oooh, he's got a boat, he must have money." My response was, "we don't know him. He's probably a raper-man. I get that vibe, and I trust my reads of people." I wasn't driving, so unless I wanted to sit in a hot ass car for an hour by myself (which will be my choice should this happen again), so I was on the boat too trying to appear as unfriendly and likely-to-call-the-cops as possible. We were on the boat for about five minutes when Michelle asked him what he did for a living. He said, "I'm a professional rapist." He was joking. That shit wasn't funny. We told her friend that her dreams of going on out the boat that night (in the dark) weren't happening and we were leaving and she'd be wise to join us. On the way home, one of Michelle's twin cousins (who shall hereafter be called Thing 1 and Thing 2) discussed the boat. Thing 2 (or Chocolate Thunda!) was with us in the confusion of how the hell we ended up on that boat. Thing 1 expressed that he was a nice man and she intended to go back on the boat and out on the water. I'm not saying I think she's crazy. I think that other friend who's idea it was to get on the boat in the first place is a boat booty. A boat booty is a car booty for boats. I suspect she's also a car booty. The point is, it will be a long time before I take her suggestion on anything. Seriously, anything: evening activities, grocery items, bible verses. It's that serious. Moving on to my next story.

Story Two. I wrote a post on this blog about my desire to not let what my parents want for me to so heavily influence the choices I make in my life. I think I've decided that just in time. My mother came into my room last night and asked what I was doing Thursday. I told her Michelle and I were going back to the beach (without that friend who's advice I'll never ever take) and then we were heading to church for a meeting with one of the teen groups we work with. She gave me a look that indicated my plans weren't nearly as important as what she had in mind. A friend of hers possibly has tickets to some Foundation thing Dwayne Wade is hosting. Even though I changed my look from one of interest to one of slight judgement complete blankness, she still kept talking. She said we should go to this party. There will be sooo many eligible bachelors of the sports persuasion there. This is when I know my mother has lost her marbles. With a few exceptions, I avoid athletes like the damn plague. And each level higher just makes things worse. I can deal with someone who used to (operative word used) play high school, collegiate, and/or minor league sports, but damnit, not professional sports.

But my mother wasn't done. She went on to say that her and my friend Top's mom and her had been discussing that if Top wasn't going to law school and if I wasn't finishing medical school, then we needed something else. What was that thing? Rich husbands. I made one joke about a starter husband who was rich and could help me pay down my school loans... two year ago! Apparently, it stuck in my mother's and Top's mother's head. They have decided we must marry well if they can't count on us to do what we're supposed to do career-wise. As my disbelief grew that she could actually be serious, my mother said she'd let me know for sure on Wednesday (today) if her friend was going to bring us to the party. I tried to give her a look, any look, saying something other than, "I think you're batshit crazy." But, this is my first opportunity to make a decision based on something other than what my mother wants. I can let her know I have no desire to rub elbows with 6'5", likely uneducated, hardly ever attractive, athletes and their hangers-on. I wonder how she'll take the news.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hanging Out At The Beach

It's been so hot in Chicago recently. The thing to do is get some sun and hang out at the beach. At least that's been floating in my head for some time. I just hadn't gotten around to getting to the beach. Finally, my friend who I call Michelle on my blogs and I decided we were going yesterday. We headed to Navy Pier to pick up her cousins and then headed back south to stop and Harold's and get some chicken wings. Then finally we made our way to the 55th Street Beach. Our goal was to go around 4 pm so as to miss the hottest part of the day. That worked out better than we planned because we didn't get there until the six o'clock hour. It was still very warm, and we still got about two hours of (setting) sun. One of our friends brought her dog, and he had tons of fun frolicking on the beach.

Navy Pier is always super crowded in the summer time, but loads of fun if you like just walking around and looking at things and then eventually spending too much money. If you go to Navy Pier you have to either do the hot air balloon or the Ferris wheel. I like the miniature golf, but then I'm pretty competitive. And make sure you stop and get some Garrett's popcorn.

Harold's Chicken has some of the best fried chicken in the Chicago area. Their mild sauce is to die for. All Harold's are not created equal though. My two favorite ones are the one east on 53rd and the one right by the expressway on 87th. Yesterday, we went to the one on 53rd since it was right up the street from the beach. I got my favorite order: 6 wings with fries and mild sauce and a Grape Strawberry Mistic. If you've never had a Mistic drink, I suggest you hunt one down.

Finally the beach. It's one of the more culturally diverse beaches you'll see in Chicago since it's at the east edge of Hyde Park, which is incredibly diverse. And the views are excellent. You can't see downtown's skyline from there, but you still get the view of the water, and you can see the Museum of Science and Industry behind you. We parked by Bar Louie, which is a great bar and if you ever go there, try the Buffalo Calamari, they are amazing. It's a nice scenic walk from where we parked to where we were at the beach. The only thing to be conscious of is the sand. it's a pretty lightweight sand and there are tons and tons of little rocks in it. My feet were actually hurting by the time we left. But if you are less of a Princess Pea than am I, you should be fine.

Places Mentioned In This Post: Bar Louie, Harold's Chicken Shack, Museum of Science & Industry, Navy Pier, 55th Street Beach
Neighborhood in Chicago Area: Downtown Chicago, Hyde Park
Recommendations: 1. go with what you like at Harold's. If you're a dark meat person, don't order wings.   2. bring an extra towel to the beach. You'll need it when your first one gets irreparably sandy.   3. Don't try and go to the museum and the beach in one day, but Navy Pier and the beach in one day is okay. Either way, you'll be very tired at the end of the night.   4. Be careful who you make friends with at the beach. I'll be writing a blog post on about that soon.
Who To Do This With: A group of very flexible friends

Topic #4: I Learned More About Who I Wanted To Be As An Adult

I wrote a post recently about my summer. I have a 4-topic series about the highlights of the summer. You can read the post that leads to these four posts here. Read Topic #1. Read Topic #2. Read Topic #3.

A big part of who I am is based on how I was raised. I don't know for sure, but I suspect that it is a bigger part of who I am than most people. Every major decision is weighed heavily based on a bit of what I want and a lot of what my parents, family, and close friends would expect/want. I'm starting to really resent that quality in myself.

The decision to withdraw from medical school was a particularly painful one. This wasn't because of any regret or hesitancy on my part, it was from the years ahead I knew I could count on. Things such as dealing with my mother's bitter comments about wasting my time/life. My father's off-color jokes about me being a drop-out is something else I knew I could count on. Oh and the long-term doozy: my future children asking why grandma told her I threw my life away and was consequently not as large of a success as my potential suggested I should be (yes, my children will use words like that, it's inevitable). That was probably the biggest cause of my hesitation in leaving school.

I'm not a fan of how I end up choosing men either. I blame my mother, my father, and my judge-y friends. That's so not true, I blame myself for my reactions to them. My mother has the world's highest standards for men for me. I would love her standards to sit somewhere around "treats me right" and "is a good person". But no, they're more like, "from a good family, very good looking, funny, smart, driven, strong Christian man, perfect in every way, second only to the Messiah, chiseled Greek athlete figure, best features ever to pass on to her grandchildren, excellent medical and dental history". And my father hates every guy as well he should. But occasionally, he'll hate one less than the others and then he gets sooooo invested in said dude that I feel compelled to never ever bring him up because I don't need to see my Daddy plotting out a marriage that will likely never happen. And as far as my judge-y friends, I specifically surround myself with that type of person because it amuses me and keeps me honest. It's just always a bit taxing to be discussing the latest guy with one of my friends and to get their opinion of him based on if they were dating him. We all lead such different love lives and make such different choices when it comes to the opposite sex, why would they think we'd approach anything romantic the same way? I don't know.

But what I do know is that I'm kind of over letting what those close to me will think have such a big effect on my life and the choices I'll make. I don't want to feel like I'm not being me. Being the best version of myself should be based on who I really am and what I seek to improve about myself.

That being said, I'm so over the disappointment I'm sure to be to my parents. I'm going to redouble my efforts to work towards my dream that I worked out for myself. I will take my mother's horrible career suggestions in stride and let them float away like so many feathers. And I will make my own decisions about men. First decision: I'm so over PT. He had serious potential and he's exactly the type of guy I've always wanted for myself (based mostly on what others wanted for me). But a part of me has always admitted to myself (thought to no one else) that there was something missing, and I didn't really put my finger on it until I met Easy. Easy may or may not be the guy for me (things like that are never based solely on one of the two people involved), but he has reminded me of something I've long forgotten. The best resume in the world can't make up for depth of feeling, emotional connection, and common-ness of spirit. I feel like I've been waiting my whole life to finally realize what it is I'm looking for. And it's not someone who has a great career so they can be one half of my dream power couple. It's someone who I connect with on a deeper level. I could explain further because "a deeper level" is incredibly vague and cliche. But I'll just keep my understanding to myself. I get it and I don't need anyone coming along with their opinions and mucking it up.

So, in a nutshell, two of my biggest priorities in life, my romantic life and my career, and shifting gears so as to focus on what I know is right for me, in spite of whatever someone else thinks/wants for me.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Topic #3: I Strengthened Some Important Friendships

I wrote a post recently about my summer. I have a 4-topic series about the highlights of the summer. You can read the post that leads to these four posts here. Topic #1 and Topic #2 are done too.

When I came back to Chicago, I began to spend more time with friends. Bad was one friend I began to spend more time with. We got even closer, which I'm glad about because he's such a great person. I've had him as a close friend for years now, but it was mostly a long-distance friendship. Between rock climbing, going out to eat, hanging out downtown, we had been kicking it pretty hard. Things are going to change this weekend when his girlfriend Jordan moves to the city. She starts grad school next year. I'm not a fan of being a third wheel, but I'm hoping it's not too rough of a transition from hanging out with just him to hanging out with both of them.

I also reconnected with some other friends from church. In particular, my girl Michelle. There is a group of six women (eight when we're all in town) that kind of hung out a lot while we were in high school in our church youth group. There are actually two more, but because they never lived near us, they were never in the permanent group. All except one of us are done with undergrad (for now or with a degree), and we're back in the neighborhood of our church. As we begin to get involved in church as adults and make lives for ourselves, we're spending time together. My favorite evening of a week is when we sometimes get together, just have a couple of drinks and play cards. We also go out and we really help each other out when something comes up. They're not exactly the Sex and the City crew I always wanted and imagined I'd have, but they fit for this time in my life.

And lastly there is Sonny. We were friends in elementary, middle, and high school. He always has these over-demanding girlfriends, so we kind of lost touch throughout college. But now that I'm an adult and have learned the beauty and benefit of befriending my guy friend's girls, we spend more time together. His fiancee Cher is... interesting... I think I could really like her, but because of some issues with his family and other friends, she's not 100% receptive to my offer of friendship. What I do know is that she is fun and sweet and I am wearing her down over time. It's only been a couple of months, so I'm not giving up yet. And getting her to think of me as a friend will be instrumental in keeping him in my life. In the time since I've been back, he's proven himself to be a good friend to me. He needs me (I helped pick out her engagement ring and was the only person he would've even thought to ask) and he's there for me when I need him (he helped me move from Rockford). And we have a lot of fun hanging out (I mean the three of us and just Sonny and me).

With these friendships blooming happily, I'm really excited for my future friendship prospects. All of these people are people I've known for the majority of my life. I've always been fearful that friends from when I was young wouldn't fit once I was older. That's been true about some people, but I"m glad it hasn't been true for everyone.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Want To Go Bowling? Of Course You Do

I love bowling. I always have, but most of my friends don't, so it hasn't been a big part of my life since I was with my high school sweetheart who was on the school bowling team (and who left behind a bowling ball, thanks sweetie).

When my parents joined the church bowling league, I wanted in, but I was away at school. Now that I'm back in Chicago, I have the time and availability to join the league. So I'm in. My father goes to practice with some people from our church and I've started going with him occasionally to step my game up. Where do we go? Dolton Bowl, in Dolton, IL. I like this place for a number of reasons.

They've got free parking (I'm looking at you entire north side of Chicago). They've got great prices (I'm looking at you entire downtown of Chicago). They also do a lot of Professional Bowling Association (PBA) stuff that I'm just now learning about. Things like oil patterns that help people train for tournaments and stuff like that.

But they know their crowd. They also turn the bowling alley into a club at 10:30 pm. I believe they do it everyday in the summer, I can't speak for the rest of the year. The place gets overrun with people who can't legally drink yet and the music is sooooo loud. But we still bowl with deeper concentration.

They have food, the simple stuff you can get in a rec place: nachos, pizza, ice cream. They have a small bit of alcohol. They have friendly employees. Because this is Dolton though, the crowd is, in a word, ghetto. If that doesn't bother you, this is the alley for you. They take really good care of their alley lanes, computers, balls, even their bathrooms. Grab some buddies who like to pretend they don't need the bumpers and work on your game.

Places Mentioned In This Post: Dolton Bowl
Neighborhood in Chicago Area: Dolton, IL
Recommendations: 1. if you don't like all the noise, go before the teens show up at 10:30 pm.   2. Eat before you go, the food isn't that good.   3. Ask about the oil pattern on the lane. If you want something special or something normal, you'll want a specific lane.   4. Don't be afraid to switch balls if the one you have isn't working.
Who To Do This With: Friends or on a date

Topic #2: I Moved From Rockford To Chicago

I wrote a post recently about my summer. I have a 4-topic series about the highlights of the summer. You can read the post that leads to these four posts here. You can read Topic #1 here.

I've been talking on this blog about me making the decision to withdraw from medical school. I had a plan for what I wanted to do next: clinical research or laboratory research. I've gone to job fairs and have been applying endlessly online. I've asked people if they know who's hiring. It's been quite the journey to my current situation of frustrating joblessness. I knew this could happen. I left school in the middle of a recession. I knew the risk I was taking. So I can deal with it.

One other aspect of leaving school and looking for work is there was no need for me to be in Rockford any longer. I didn't like it there. It taught me something about myself. I can live in a big city or a small (college) town, but I cannot live in a small city. Rockford had a real downtown that hardly ever had anything going on. The nightlife was reasonable, but didn't have the energy that a college town provides. I was so happy at the prospect of getting out of there.

Since I haven't gotten a job, I don't have the means to live alone, so I've moved back into my parents' place. I had to organize a whole moving day to get out of there. I have a lot of stuff, so it was a big trip. Luckily my friends, Sonny, Cher, Michelle, and another friend from church who hasn't been given a name yet in this blog.

So my parents, friends, and I got all my stuff from Rockford to a Public Storage spot outside the city. I pray to God my stuff sits there no longer than a year. I'd love it if I had a job a money saved up to get a place just in time for Michelle to graduate from college so we can get a place together. Melody mentioned yesterday that she and I should get a place together. She'd be an interesting third roommate for Michelle and I because she's still in school. But it may not be the best thing because she is the Ex's little sister. And if he comes to visit her, that would mean he'd need to go to her house, which would be my house. That shit is not okay. But it's an idea. I'm excited to see where I'll be a year from now and who I'll be living with. Let's face it, even though I'd love to live alone, it's really not an option if I want to stay in Chicago.

Monday, August 9, 2010

When You're Leaving River Oaks Mall, But Don't Want Hooters or Olive Garden

I've been talking a lot about live music on this blog because that's what I've spent a lot of my Chicago time doing this summer. The place I went to Saturday night is perfect for that. Unlike what I expected, it's very bright in there. That keeps if from having a lounge-y feel. Its really just a restaurant with live music on Friday and Saturday nights.

The restaurant is called N'awlins. That's slang for New Orleans. You can guess the cuisine. Yes, you are right. It's the location you would go to for New Orleans food. I've heard mixed reviews from patrons at the restaurant. If you're not a picky eater, order anything. If you are picky, go eat somewhere else.

If you are a drinker, get the Barracuda. Men and women were loving this drink. I love it because it has everything I love to have in a drink besides champagne. Literally, almost everything. Vodka, peach schnapps, melon liqueur, orange juice, pomegranate juice. I don't know about you, but to me, it sounds absolutely perfect!

And the music was amazing. They played R&B. My mother, aunt, and I would all love the music and we have pretty varied tastes. They did Aretha Franklin, Tevin Campbell, Jill Scott, etc. If you like R&B (real R&B), Soul, and Neo Soul, you would love the group that played at N'awlins. They're called Back 2 Basics I believe. They had electric bass, drums, keyboard, saxophone, and a vocalist.

It was all in all an enjoyable night. The combination of the crowd, the music, and the drinks made it great for me. They have locations in Lansing, Chicago Heights, Dolton, and they're opening one in Calumet City. I haven't been anywhere but the Lansing location, so that's the one I'm recommending.

Places Mentioned In This Post: N'awlins Crab House
Neighborhood in Chicago Area: Lansing, IL
Recommendations: 1. Go on a night they have live music.   2. Talk to the bartenders; they're awesome.   3. Talk to the band and the other patrons. It's a friendly crowd in there.   4. Each person order a different dish and share.
Who To Do This With: Go with a group of friends that you like to laugh with and share food with and meet new people with.

Topic #1: I Met A Great Guy

I wrote a post recently about my summer. I have a 4-topic series about the highlights of the summer. You can read the post that leads to these four posts here.

So, about this great guy. He's a Cancer, which terrifies me. This isn't based on something I read in a zodiac book. This is based on life experience. Most of my close friends are Cancers and Libras. Cancers and Libras do not do well with romantic relationships. There is always always a horrific crash and burn. It has never not happened. This guy needs a name, we'll call him Easy.

I met Easy at a wedding fourth of July weekend. We hit it off at the reception and started hanging out. He's so different from PT. He perfectly fits the problem I've been frustrated about with men recently: He's four months out of a five year relationship. And yet I find him to be completely wonderful. Yeah, those are the basic facts.

I love spending time with him. There's just something about him that's so fun and so awesome that I can't help myself. I could be around him all day. I know this for a fact. I've been around him for an entire day. He will invite me over for an early lunch and come up with activities that last us for 15 hours.

The thing about this guy that stands out to me is that when compared to PT, he will never live up to my parents' expectations. He's a teacher but PT is a principal. I feel so frustrated by that fact. And it leads me to feel feelings of resentment toward my parents because it's a recurring theme with them and me. I think way too much about how they'll feel about something. I'm really kind of over that.

To compare PT and Easy in my head shows a stark contrast. PT is the guy who's great on paper, like and investment property in a great neighborhood. Given the right circumstances, you could fall in love with the property and never move. But Easy is like the vacation home that you intend to just go to and have fun, and next thing you know you've decided to pack up and make the vacation home your permanent home.

I wish I could explain it. But the newly married couple whose wedding we met at can see it. There's something special there. Something that I had almost forgotten could exist.

There's just one problem. Well there's more than one problem. PT is still in the picture. I don't know what to do with him. Also, Easy just got a job in St. Louis that starts next week. He'll be teaching there, so he'll be there at least until June. I feel lots of negative feelings toward the idea of having a long-distance anything. I don't want that obligation and emotional commitment of a relationship with a person who lives somewhere else, which also happens to be where his very recent ex lives.

I seriously need to re-assess how I keep ending up in these situations. But for now, I'll enjoy the tiny bit of time I have left to hang out with Easy. I can worry about PT next week.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I've Had Quite The Summer And Gosh-Darnit, I'm Going To Blog About It

I've been so busy that I have barely had time to blog. I've barely had time to do much of anything. Main things I've done this summer: 1. met a great guy, 2. moved from Rockford to Chicago, 3. strengthened some important friendships, 4. learned more about who I want to be as an adult.

I'm going to talk about each of those things in four upcoming blogs. I'm doing it in spite of the schedule I've blogged myself into. Even on days I'm not so busy, I think, "it's Science and Medicine Monday and so I don't wanna blog because I want to talk about men, or sex, or my friends, but there's no room for that on Monday." So screw my self-imposed rules (more about that in post 4). I'm going to blog about what I want.

I thought I wanted more structure to my blog. I say the hell with that (for now). What I want is to be able to write about whatever comes to mind. This blog was started as an outlet for me to talk about becoming a full-blown adult and embracing life. It's just not natural for me to put these limitations on myself. On Fridays I only talk about family and friends. Not anymore. Anyone who knows me knows how random I am. It's time for my blog to not only reflect who I'd like to become, but also who I am now.

And if I happen to have a great news story on a Sunday, or a great medical story on a Monday, or a great family story on a Friday, well then I'll talk about it then. But for now, I'm doing away with the self-imposed rules. Go me.

Live Jazz Music and Good Food

Jazz music isn't my most favorite genre, but it does make the list of music types I love to hear live. A friend of mine is a musician so I've been hearing lots of live jazz music this summer. Last night I went with him to a gig at this place called Lagniappe Creole Cajun Joynt.

This restaurant already has a location on Chicago's South Side on 79th just east of Ashland. But they've opened up this outdoor spot on RiverWalk. RiverWalk is not a continuous path along the river, so to get to this portion of RiverWalk, you'll need to go to the northwest corner of Dearborn and Upper Wacker Drive. Then go down the steps. The smell of creole food and the sounds of live music should greet you as long as they're not getting too wild across the river at this other restaurant I've been meaning to try.

The open air atmosphere of Lagniappe feels like the parts of RiverWalk that are still just grass and concrete: as the sun moves across the sky and finally sets, you feel like you've enjoyed several different experiences. Late afternoon has it's own culture, including drunken yacht-ers out on the river and Happy Hour diners at the RiverWalk restaurants. Early evening brings in the cute young couples and the last of the tour boats. Twilight has the about-to-be-clubbers and the out-to-dinner-foodies, along with the occasional kayak architectural tour. Then full-blown nighttime brings the I-was-looking-for-a-party-and-heard-live-music crowd. With them comes the drunken foodies who have just finished dinner and are looking for dancing. And drunk people will dance to anything. Even uptempo jazz music? Yes, even uptempo jazz music.

So, pick the crowd (or amount of sun) that's perfect for you and go to Lagniappe. They'll only be open during summer and early fall I"m assuming, since it's completely outdoors. After that, you'll have to head to Chicago's South Side to get some of the food and live music.

Places Mentioned In This Post: Lagniappe Creole Cajun Joynt
Neighborhood in Chicago: downtown Chicago, RiverWalk
Recommendations: 1. Sit at a table closer to the kitchen than the music. The waiters can be difficult to get a hold of.   2. Order water with your drinks. They're incredibly small.   3. Go for the Po' Boy Sandwich if you're not sure what to order.
Who To Do This With: By yourself, In a couple, With your girls, With your boys (if you're over 30), With your parents
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