Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Megan's mom Pattie and her friend Luanne are in an online photo gallery! They race-walked the Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon and were snapped by a Daily Oklahoman photographer and featured on the front page of the sports section. Pretty cool! Below is the copy from the web site. Click to see the rest of the images.

Marathon runners Luanne Hale and Patricia Jarolim, from left, make their way down the final stretch to the finish line during the eighth annual Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon on Sunday , April 27, 2008, in Oklahoma City, Okla. PHOTO BY CHRIS LANDSBERGER

Also, Megan and I ran in the Ravenswood Run, a 5k in our 'hood. It was my first race, and I lived! Actually, it was kind of fun. I actually beat Megan! Thanks to Flickr user SFMoe for the race pic.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Rain Rain Go Away

Day 2 of cold, rainy Chicago spring weather. It wouldn't be so bad if we weren't totally spoiled with a warm, sunny, beautiful Saturday. The bad news is that we're scheduled to get even more rain tomorrow, which could make my Fartlek Run (for explanation, see a couple of posts down) with my running group even more unbearable. We both had a major case of the Mondays. The internet was down all day at John's job. When he's having down time, which he is right now, the internet is what gets him through the day. I just had a normal crazy Monday, but those are never good. Hopefully this week will improve!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Laughing Out Loud on the El

I am in the middle of a really great book, It Sucked and Then I Cried by my fave blogger, Heather D. Armstrong. John and I have been avid readers of Armstrong's blog, Dooce for a few years now. She's a talented and witty author, and her new book does not disappoint. The book chronicles her pregnancy with her daughter, Leta, her battles with depression, and a brief stint in a mental hospital after her daughter's birth. While Armstrong acknowledges the seriousness of her depression, she recounts her experiences with entertaining sarcasm and wit. I often find myself laughing out loud during my morning commute at her tales of baby poop and how the most common word in new mothers' vocabulary is 'boob.' Heather is a really great mom, and I've enjoyed this closer look at her early parenthood experiences.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Beautiful Day and a 5K

It has been a gorgeous couple of days in Chicago - just in time for my mom to visit. I haven't seen her since mid-January, and this is literally the longest I've gone without seeing her, including the time when I spent a semester in Italy. I escaped work a little early yesterday (barely), and we did a little shopping on Michigan Avenue before heading back to the neighborhood for dinner.
This morning we ran the Wrigley Start Early 5K in Lincoln Park, and weather was absolutely perfect for the race!

Mom, me, and Beth (coincidentally, we ran in to her on the way to the race) after
we finished -- note the Starbuck's van in the background.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sponge Bob Controversy

For the past couple of days, the news programs I regularly watch (including my beloved Today Show), have been airing segments on the new Burger King commercial, featuring Sponge Bob Squarepants, some dancers, and Sir Mixalot singing a re-worked version of "Baby Got Back." Apparently, a lot of parents are up in arms about the allegedly scantily clad dancers in the commercial, and for some reason this is newsworthy. I really think that there are more important things for parents to worry about than dancers in a kids meal commercial, such as how much television their children watch and childhood obesity. Honestly, when I think back to when I was six years old, I probably could have cared less about this commercial. The dancing ladies in their hotpants would not have turned me into a floozy. In fact, I probably would have been too busy thinking about other important things, such as how many squirts of Electric Youth perfume to put on, or who was cooler -- Barbie or She-Ra Princess of Power. I guess that I'm just frustrated because parents these days seem to worry about so many more unimportant things than my generation's parents did, and I don't think that our parents' lack of worry about such things as this silly Sponge Bob commercial made us any less likely to succeed.

Okay, off the soapbox for now...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Yoga 101

John and I have been taking a beginner yoga workshop for a couple of weeks. I actually attended the workshop in 2007, but I'm back for moral support for John, who really wants to become more flexible. We go to this really great studio in our neighborhood called Bloom. Not only does Bloom have lots of classes each week, but they also have several other non-yoga activities, like belly dancing, knitting, and parenting classes. The owners are really nice, and they actually live in the neighborhood, so it's a true local business.
I sort of fell of the yoga wagon last year, but I'm definitely ready to get back on. I've been doing lots of running in preparation for my upcoming half marathons, so all the stretching feels great. And yoga is a great de-stressor, which of course I really need. I definitely recommend the various programs and workshops at Bloom for anyone in the Chicago area wanting to take up a yoga practice.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hoppy Easter!

We were heathens and did not go to church this morning. We haven't really found a church that we're wild about, so we figured we would just stay home instead. We met our friend Kristen (who was not a heathen this morning, and even ushered TWO services at her church) for brunch at Bin 36 downtown. When I made the reservations a few weeks ago, I didn't know that there would be a special Easter buffet rather than the usual Sunday brunch menu. After we got there and sat down, I saw the buffet and was immediately disappointed. I am fundamentally against buffets -- they remind me of that Old Country Buffet place in the mall, or Golden Corral, and are generally fat magnets. And unsanitary. So, not only was I annoyed that the buffet was my only option, BUT I saw that it was $38 per person! And I had a mimosa on top of that! So, one hour and $150 dollars later...
We've been pretty lazy the rest of the day. John's been perfecting his guitar skills on Rock Band for the Wii, and I've been squeezing in some work so that I can take most of Friday off and hang out with my mom, who comes in town Thursday night.
Hope everyone had a fun Easter!
Us, after not eating our money's worth at the buffet. At least Kristen took
home that little fruit trifle in her purse...

I am the queen of holiday-themed dish towels. My grandmother sent me this
super-cute Easter towel this week.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I meet weekly with a running group to train for upcoming races. Tonight's workout was called a 'Fartlek' run -- it basically consisted of sprinting intervals. The Fartlek wasn't very fun, especially since I've been having serious asthma issues, but the name still makes me giggle.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Long Lost Brunch Club

A couple of years ago, some friends and I started a brunch group, and we rotated who got to pick the location for our monthly brunch date. Brunch Club, as we called it, has sort of fallen by the wayside. I honestly can't remember the last time we all got together for brunch. But yesterday we rekindled the club in honor of Sarah's upcoming birthday. We went to M. Henry in Andersonville. It was delicious and worth the nearly one hour wait. Maybe once spring and summer come (and thus outdoor seating), Brunch Club will make a comeback.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Last night we went to see Rent at the Oriental Theater downtown. We've seen Rent four or five times, but this production was waayyy different: it starred Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp, the original Roger and Mark. One word describes the production: Unbelievable. I can't even begin to describe how last night's performance blows all past performances out of the water. Those two were meant to play those roles.

I first fell in love with Rent in high school. My best friend at the time, Alli, and I would drive around in her Lebaron convertible and sing along to the soundtrack at the top of our lungs. Naturally, that activity was very cool (or at least we thought it was). Since then, Rent has always held a very special place in my heart (and iPod), and I still listen to it, even though I have pretty much worn out disc one of the two disc set.

After the performance, the cast did a little auction to solicit money for an AIDS charity, since living with AIDS is one of the musical's central themes. The item up for bidding was an evening backstage with the cast and crew, getting ready for the show. It ended up going to two different bidders for a total of $5,000. John and I are really working at being fiscally responsible, but had he not been there to hold me accountable, I would definitely have been tempted to put in a bid (especially since they took Visa--aka "free money").

Saturday, April 4, 2009

To Add or Not to Add

My mom has recently joined the stalking tool otherwise known as Facebook. John and I have had profiles for about a year or so, but recently the "parent generation" has discovered Facebook and all sorts of friends' parents, long-lost teachers, etc. have come out of the woodwork and become my Facebook friends. When my mom created her profile, I told her that I absolutely would not be her friend. However, the folks at Facebook have a different idea. Every time I log on, the "People You May Know" tool on the side of the home page is always suggesting that I befriend my mom! It's sort of sad, seeing her little picture there in the corner, and ignoring the possibility of Facebook friendship. I'm still on the fence: should I add her?

Spring in the City

It's a gorgeous Saturday in Chicago -- the complete opposite of last weekend. We just returned from the Lake: John hit some golf balls at the Diversey driving range, and I ran five miles on the lakefront path. Lots of other people were out enjoying the weather, and we were reminded of why spring and summer makes this city a great place to live. The running path was packed with other joggers, walkers, bike riders and rollerbladers who had just come out of hibernation. In looking at the forecast, I don't think this weather is here to stay (I saw the dreaded s-word), but we are going to take advantage of it while it's here!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Pizza Art Cafe

Last Friday John and I visited Pizza Art Cafe, a delicious pizza spot in our neighborhood. We first visited this little spot a year ago, and we were one of two couples dining at the time. The food was so delicious that we were a bit worried that the place wouldn't survive. Well, we didn't need to worry. When we walked in shortly before 7 p.m., the place was packed and booked with reservations for the rest of the night. The only seating option was at a shared table with another couple. We were hungry, so we didn't mind sharing space if that meant pizza for us (plus it was too cold to walk to our other fave pizza spot, I Monelli). Oddly enough, Pizza Art is owned by a Bosnian family, but the pizza tastes just like the pizza that we enjoyed too much during our semester abroad in Italy. I had an amazing salame (basically pepperoni) pizza, and John had this calzone-ish thing with smoked beef inside of it. I thought his was a little gross - sort of a brisket pizza pocket - but he liked it. Another good thing about this place: it's BYOB with no corkage fee! Unfortunately, we did not come armed with wine, but we will have to remember it for next time. That, and to make a reservation.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Beer Time!!

Megan and I had dinner with a friend at RJ Grunts, a restaurant in Lincoln Park that has not changed since the 70s. They claim to have invented the salad bar; I'm not too sure about that. But, they did have Bell's Hopslam, one of the best beers I've ever had. If you ever happen upon the chance to try any of Bell's beer, I recommend it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Knit One, Purl Two

John's sister, Stephanie, and I have been taking knitting classes at a neat little knitting shop in North Center called Knit 1. The idea of knitting came to me while one vacation in Mexico. I wanted to come up with activities in which to fill my evenings. That way, if I had a commitment, I would also have the perfect excuse to leave work and do something for myself rather than stay chained to my desk.

We have mastered most of the basic stuff -- knit stitch, purl stitch, casting on, binding off -- but I recently started working on my first real "project": a scarf. I am not a crafty person, so the fact that I have nearly knitted a scarf is a big deal (at least to me). It's made of alpaca, and I'm knitting it on size 15 needles, so it's going to be sort of chunky. I only have a few classes left, but I think this is something I will continue.

My magnum opus