Friday, July 21, 2017

Day 52: Broken Buzzer :(

Uh-oh 



A broken buzzer is mighty unfortunate. But I certainly enjoyed seeing the notification as I passed by! I really enjoy pictures like this. There's always so much more going on than first meets the eye. Let's see how much you see with a [fun] counting game.

How many doors do you see?

How many cars?

How many trees?

How many windows?

Can you see any lights?

How many locks?

How about straight up layers to this photo?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Day 51: Hop, Skip & A Jump

Why is it that we get so caught up in what other people will think of us that we limit our actions, expressions and emotions because of that? Simple example, reading a funny message or story on the train or at your desk at work. Personally, I know I've been trained (through continuous observation of others' similar situations) to try to keep it in and not make a scene. Rather than bursting out with loud laughter, I try to keep it sealed in, maybe only a tiny giggle escaping. Why do we do this? It doesn't make a difference on anyone else's life, so why not just let our emotions flow? Darn societal pressures and unwritten rules ...!

On a slightly different note. Let's talk about skipping. Once I was with my friend downtown and we were hurrying to catch a green light to cross the street. She asked me "should we run for it?" I responded, "yeah, but let's skip!" So we did. Across the street and down the block. And you know what?

IT WAS SO FUN!

Seriously, smiles were plastered to our faces and we couldn't stop giggling. Today, I was watching a short webinar and one of the presenters discussed that when she is excited about something and wanting to celebrate, she skips. "That's so awesome," I thought. "I love skipping!"

Hearing that made me recall skipping across the street with my friend, as well as the conversation that followed:

Me: Oh man, that was great.
Friend: Yeah! I'm a bit out of breath.
Me: Me, too! Wouldn't it be so great to see people out skipping instead of running or jogging?
Friend: Haha, yes! '...I'm just going to go for a quick skip after work...'
[Giggle, giggle, giggle]

But seriously, how great would it be to be going about your business and all of a sudden someone passes by you skipping?! That would make you smile probably, right? Or laugh? Or at the VERY least pull out your phone and take a quick video! I think this is something that needs to catch on.

Skipping provides:
1) Excellent cardiovascular benefits
2) Boost in mood
3) Brings joy to basically everyone who sees it

It's a win-Win-WIN! Personally, I can't see a single argument that could counter how great skipping is.

Skipping is WAY underrated - let's bring it to the level of recognized greatness it deserves!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Day 50: Nature's Perfection

Have you ever observed nature? Like REALLY looked at it to see all of the smallest details? I try to do this, and I think I'm pretty observant, but it's tough to do on a consistent basis. However, there are times when I really tune into what's in front of me to take it all in.

I'm a details person, so this is probably easier for me than other. For example, one day many years ago, I observed a beetle in front of me. It had a decorative shell so I took the opportunity to not just note that the shell was eye catching, but to specify what exactly made it up to be so mesmerizing.

I also did this exercise with a peacock. I know your mind immediately jumped to the beautiful tail of the male, but I'm not even thinking about the tail! Allow me to illustrate - or at least try...

Here are [most of] the colors found commonly on peacocks . . . I wouldn't necessarily combine them all in one creation . . .


. . . but in nature, they are perfect.

Now let's look at some of the different patterns and textures!


Again, not what I would think to pair together . . .

Here, you see how the colors actually look together on the real creature:


And now for the whole bird - 


Magnificent!!! And you're probably not even looking at the tail!


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Day 49: It's A Jungle Out There

RAWWWRRRRRR!!!!


"Please, get me out of here! I've been kidnapped and put inside this glass and wood box. I won't hurt you, I swear!"

'H-how did you get kidnapped? Who kidnapped you? What even IS this place??'

"I don't have time to answer your silly questions!! I need to get out of here!"

[Shocked face, tense body language]

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to snap at you it's just people walk by every day and night and no one has ever stopped. I've been trying to get out for 3 months now and I'm starting to get desperate."

'. . well how did you get here? Maybe if you tell me your story I can understand better and know who to go to for help.'

"Alright, alright. My story is - the short version - that I used to be free, at a carnival in Indiana. My brother and I were the most popular beasts on the carousel. There was nothing we loved more than feeling the wind in our manes and the children's laughter as we circled round and round, rising and falling with the best melody in the world . . ."

'And then?'

"And then the carnival couldn't make enough money and sold everything. It's amazing my brother and I are still together. We tried to get away with our friends - it was such a brutal sight when they came-"

'When who came?'

"The men. A group of men with crowbars and hacksaws, screw drivers and wrenches. They came one day and then our lives were changed forever. Maria, the chimpanzee, was in pieces by the time they were done with her. Gustav, my favorite giraffe friend, was tortured for 5 hrs before he gave in and let them take him away to who knows where. I heard something in the chaos that most of us weren't likely to make it out alive . . . I have no idea what happened to Peter, Gabriel, Tina, or Loma . . ."

'That's terrible! So . . . if you escape, then what?'

"I'll go to Texas. They have the biggest carnival in the country. I won't have to worry about getting taken again if I can just get there... You have to come back! First thing tomorrow, and talk to the owner. Tell him you have a vendor in Texas that will pay top dollar for a pair of li-"

[Footsteps]

"What was that?! Someone's coming! Come back tomorrow! [whispers] You have to come back tomorrow!!"

[Lights turn on]

SILENCE




Monday, July 17, 2017

Day 48: Ninjas are Everywhere

And here's your proof . . .


I found this ninja on my walk to a friend's house. She (or he) popped out of nowhere and onto the side walk right in front of me. Before I knew it she was circling me with her flying fists and powerful kicks.

Not sure what to do, I stayed in place, waiting, until she was done and once again back in front of me.

She sat.

I stood.

Then she said "Bye!" and disappeared in the blink of an eye!

I continued walking toward my friend's house and through an open window I spotted an active Karate class.

Ninjas in training . . .

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Day 47: Fun Family Vacation

While riding the bus I got to witness the joys of family road trips. We were approaching a stop light and as we got closer to the stopped vehicles ahead, I saw a woman getting back into the passenger side door of her car that was in the middle lane.

"That seems weird," I thought to myself.

Then we get even closer and I see the license plate - green tree in the center, blue lettering, mountain in the background: Oregon.

Once the bus finally stopped, my seat was positioned right next to the Oregon car. I peer into the car and everything made sense. Dad is driving, mom is turned around in the front seat, and in the back kid #1 looks on as kid #2 screams at the top of his lungs.

Nothing beats a family road trip.

I sure am glad it's not mine.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Day 46: Creepy Camping

I started an Indiana camping adventure with a few friends today and it got off to a rocky start.

Bump 1: It took MuCH longer than the estimated 1 hr to get to our camping destination.
Bump 2: Our camping destination was full, as were most of the surrounding campgrounds. So we ended up following a fellow siteless camper to the next closest campground, which was ridiculously expensive for tent camping.

We managed  to find a spot we liked and got all set up. Then it was time to explore! Unfortunately, since we were staying at a random camp ground we now had to drive to get to any hiking trails. We were directed by the woman at registration to check out the 'nice trails' at Coffee Creek. So we did. They were nice, but it wasn't really what any of us would have considered hiking. At least it was pretty.



Around 5pm we started to head back to embark upon the eating challenge we'd assigned ourselves when getting way too many hot dogs at the store. [You might be noticing a hot dog theme in many of my stories, it's quite strange. I think this year I've eaten more hot dogs than I have in the last 3 years combined!] 

We got back, prepared to start our fire, then discovered some VERY unhelpful news. 

Bump 3: There was no water. No sinks worked, water spigots, you name it - nothing. What the heck?! We didn't understand what was happening and just thought maybe it was some weird thing and it would come back a little later, so we started - and finished - our feast. 

After some cards we decided to take a walk around the camp ground. As we walked past the bathroom closest to our site, we tried the doors. 

Bump 4: LOCKED!!! What the heck?! No one mentioned to us that there was a closing time for the bathrooms! We walked back to the trail to carry on and I looked back at the bathrooms, surprised and chilled at what I saw. Through the narrow windows near the top of the roof of the building (remember, it's locked) I saw a man's face, peering out at us. It was SO CREEPY!!! We hurried away feeling very uncomfortable.

Before the end of our loop we met some other campers who informed us that there was no water because the well had dried up. 'That's weird,' we thought, 'it'd been raining an awful lot over the past week for the well to be dry.' We went to inquire with the lady at registration who confirmed this adding, 'there might not be water until Monday.' She also didn't seem too sorry about the inconvenience at all.

Ugh! This place sucks! - we were all thinking it. Thankfully we had plans to leave the following day and enough wipes and hand sanitizer to make it through the night.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Day 45: Grill Master

I had one hot dog left over from my friend's 4th of July party, along with a few ears of corn, that I decided it was time to grill.

Despite what you are about to see, it might be hard for you to believe that I'm not a grill master. More of a grilling savant, really. With no formal training, I learned the tricks of the trade all on my own. I've been known to really wow those around me with my skills.

Today, however, really took things to a whole new level. Behold!


Grilled corn and what used to be easily identified as a hot dog. There's a very slim chance I might have overcooked it - just a smidge. The outside layer of a hot dog is supposed to get hard and leathery . . . . . . . right?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Day 44: Explosion By Food Processor

Have you ever seen the movies where someone is making something in their blender and they turn it on before securing the lid and all of the contents fly out and get all over everything? I've always seen those scenes in TV and movies and thought to myself, "how do you forget to put the lid on? That doesn't seem realistic, more like desperate for laughs..." *cough-hater!-cough*

Well I was in the process of making some very delicious mango chicken teriyaki and may have had a similar experience . . .

I was making the sauce in my food processor. It didn't seem like that much so I decided to use the smaller, more shallow bowl. I put everything in, secured the lid, and fired it up.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Liquid immediately started flying EVERYWHERE! I hurriedly turned off the food processor and sadly took in the scene. . .
From this angle . . .


. . . and this angle . . .


. . . and this angle, when I discovered I was also covered with sauce . . .


And it got even better because I only had 30 minutes to finish and clean up this '30-minute meal' I had started roughly 20 minutes earlier, before I had to be at a meeting. If you weren't on to my tone through the quotations, this meal definitely wasn't finished in 30 minutes.

After recovering from the shock of the explosion, I switch the remaining sauce to a bigger processing bowl, wrapped a towel around the lid, and finished my mutilation of the contents. It still soaked the towel, in case you were wondering.

All in all I managed to finish, clean up, AND shovel a few fork-fulls of food into my face before running out the door only a few minutes late.

Words to the wise, if you're blending a few solid ingredients with mostly liquids, use the largest food processing bowl possible!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Day 43: Dress for Success

I don't understand the 'rules' of clothing - and I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Fashion Design. That's not a dig on my chosen line of education or the industry, it's leading into a dig on social norms. I guess I should clarify a bit further, I don't understand the 'rules' of clothing when it comes to the 'professional working world.'

Why is it, that out of ALL of the colors available in the existence of the universe, Black is the primary color deemed 'professional'?! I just don't get it. How did that happen and why?

There's this concept called a Power Color - and everyone has one. EVERYONE. It's the color that when one wears it, they look amazing. Not only that, they FEEL amazing.

Say what?! Looking and feeling amazing just because you wear a certain color?!? YES. If you're intrigued, you should look into it on the world wide web or your local library! [I took this quiz What Is Your Power Color, it was fun and I liked the description.]

Great, everyone has a color that makes them the most beautiful, confident 'them' they can be. So why isn't that encouraged attire? You'd think if there was something that enhanced one's natural powerhouse it would be sought after by every employer to increase productivity, revenue, and hopefully, morale. But it isn't.

On the other hand, there are some who have colors they love and will wear outside of work all the time, but when it comes to situations where the need to hunker down and crank out greatness is called into play (i.e. work), these colors are often turned down and deemed as not being quite work appropriate. That's bogus. [Obviously, not everyone feels this way or follows these behaviors, but I know for a fact that some do.]

I think people should be able to wear what they feel comfortable and good in (within a somewhat modest setting - I don't want to see anyone walking around in their underwear!). I feel super comfortable in jeans. Does wearing jeans affect my work or make what I can do any less professional? I don't think so.

And if we take it a step further, what does 'professional' even mean in the greater sense? Oh boy, we seem to be falling down the rabbit's hole now. We'll save that thought for another day.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Day 42: West Coast, Best Coast

I've always loved the Oregon stickers with the green heart. Occasionally I'll see them, usually out of state (seeing as I'm not often in the state of Oregon), and it's like a special treat. Little did I know what a great treat I was in for on my walk home from the park.

Taking a break from looking into people's windows as I pass by, I turn to look across the street. Something caught my eye before I could even look out into the distance, however. This gem:


Oregon AND California! Wow! Sorry, Washington . . . maybe next time you'll make it into the club . . .

Any guesses on where the car itself was from???


Monday, July 10, 2017

Day 41: Lessons Learned Today

Today I learned a number of things. Below are my favorites:

1) My neighborhood is apparently home to a LOT of garden gnomes!!


These particular fellas, unfortunately, greatly remind me of The Joker from batman. Just look at that white face and creepy smile!

2) We have a DJ ACADEMY in the 'hood!!! I didn't even know such things existed, but apparently they do, and ours is Scratch. ...Which looks like it's operated out of someone's apartment ... but who am I to judge?!

 

3) Even if you don't notice what's going on with your physique, these people DO! Time to start wearing woven, non-stretch clothes, I guess...



Sunday, July 9, 2017

Day 40: Lone Roller

A lone chair sits. Abandoned. Left for dead. Next to the garbage.

Once regal and impressive, the chair is now a cast off.

He's only missing one button cover. He even has all of his wheels! Flying through my mind as I passed by the alley, I briefly contemplated the chair. And then, doubled back to take a closer look.


If I took the chair, how would I get it home? Obviously I'd have to roll it the mile and a half . . . and it's better than carrying it, but awkward nonetheless. 

Should I just push it in front of me the whole way, like a shopping cart?

Sit in the chair and scoot along bit by bit?

Or perhaps launch myself backwards, elementary school style, in order to get the most propulsion? . . . Steering would be difficult though . . .

In the end, all I got was this photo. I really didn't want to deal with all of the looks I'd undoubtedly collect as I walked the chair home. And I simply don't have a place for it. Sorry, Chair. 

In the words of the Narwhal from Elf, "Bye Buddy! I hope you find your dad!" 

"Bye, Chair! I hope you find a new home!"

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Day 39: Flowers & Flowers

Check out the sparkle on these flowers!


While walking by some nature with my dear friend, E-Biscuit, we were dazzled by some glittering goodness that caught our eyes. Wouldn't you know it, it was these flowers! Pop quiz - can you name what they are??

Get ready for more horticulture facts to be thrown your way! 

Very close to the 'sparkle flowers' was a produce demonstration garden (to show the city folk how you can grow your own veggies and what can thrive in Chicago). We moseyed along the edge of the garden checking out the various plant life. All I can really recall was lettuce, but I know there was a lot more than that! Anywho, we came upon some other flowers, which I recognized right way. 

I said to my companion, "E-Biscuit, you can eat those flowers."
[Perplexed and doubtful look. Then a laugh.] 'What?! You eat flowers?!!'
"They're called Nasturtiums and you can bite off the tip and suck out the sweet nectar. Then you can eat the petals - they're spicy."


[E-Biscuit's not convinced]
"Here, I'll show you," I said as I crouched down so the  employees overseeing the garden wouldn't see me picking their flowers. As soon as I had one cupped in my hand and hidden by my water bottle, we scampered a few meters away to sample our loot.

"Suck out the nectar. Do you taste anything sweet??"
'Not really.'
"Oh," I disappointedly respond. "Well, eat a petal, they're spicy!"
' . . . ' [crickets]
"I'll show you," I declare as I rip off a petal and pop it in my mouth.
E-Biscuit's in after that and away we go, chomping down on the flower.
"It doesn't get spicy 'till the very end."
'Oh! That's nice!' E-Biscuit delightedly concurred. 

After our snack we discussed the great appeal of dressing a salad for a dinner party and tossing in flowers to the mix - and our guests' reaction as we dive right into our edible garnish.

Photo courtesy of: http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Nasturtiums-in-Food - check it out to see how you can get more nasturtiums into YOUR diet!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Day 38: Something Fishy . . .

A new fancy housing development went in across the street.

Now I can't play in the empty lot anymore. It was mostly just a plot of grass with a few dirt patches, but I saw it as my own personal park. But not anymore . . .

The bottom floor of the development was left empty. Mom said they were going to put a business in there, but she didn't know what kind.

A few weeks ago they started putting things inside - for the new business. It's going to be a restaurant, a fish restaurant. I overheard some people who lived there say how convenient having a restaurant on the ground floor will be. I don't know what 'convenient' means, I'm only seven, but I think they were happy about the fish.

The restaurant's been open for a couple of months now. At first people were really excited and there were always a lot of people around. Mom made me hold her hand every time we left the house until we reached the train station! Now there are fewer people around, but the restaurant seems to be busy all of the time.

It seems now, the only people who don't like the restaurant anymore are those that live above it. I don't understand. I thought they were excited about it. Mom said it's because of the smell. I still don't understand. I think if my house started smelling like fish sticks every day, I'd be in heaven! Mom asked me if I'd want my house to smell like rotting fish everyday. My mom's so silly, they don't sell rotting fish in restaurants!!

I guess the people who live there are angry because they paid a lot of money to live above that restaurant and now they don't like it. They're trying to make the restaurant move to a different spot. I don't want them to leave though. Every day Mom and I walk to the train we wave at Mary or Dean if they're working. And they always give Rocket, our dog, treats. Not to mention they have a GIANT fish tank inside!

If I can't have my personal park anymore, I at least want to keep my fish restaurant . . .

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Day 37: Windy Day

This piece of art - and yes, I am absolutely calling it art - is titled "Windy Day."


What do you see?

Can you tell what it's made out of?

Earlier this afternoon, I was planning to affix it to either a small piece of wooden board or clear plastic. Unfortunately, pieces kept getting pushed out of place - first by the initial gust of the spray adhesive I had planned to use, and then even more by my fingers ["don't you point those dirty green sausages at me!" . . . anyone know what that's from? :)]

In my frustration, I gave up. My piece of art now looks like this:


RIP "Windy Day."

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Day 36: Resident Food Fairy

Hi, I'm the resident food fairy!


I'm a foodie swashbuckler, keeping innocent people safe from unruly food monsters. It's tough work, but someone has to do it. And let me tell you, there was a lot of work to be done yesterday!

The 4th of July makes for some pretty crazy adventures. You'd think Thanksgiving would be the worst day for me, but not really, since everyone is inside. All I can do then is look through the windows . . . while standing in the snow and cold . . . and occasionally tap my cucumber sword against the glass when someone's about to eat too much. But they don't hear me . . . they never hear me . . .

But back to yesterday. Boy did I see a LOT of hot dogs. And some were even dressed like me! Of course much smaller. And there were so many sides of potato salad I thought surely all of the grocery stores in the city must be out of potatoes! Still waiting for confirmation on that one . . .

I think the worst thing I saw yesterday was the human firework. There was a group of people who had started with their liquid appetizers, if you will, much too early in the morning {what is this, St. Patrick's Day?!}. So when the real food started rolling in, first with chips and dip and watermelon, then salads and fruit and corn on the cobb, and finally hot dogs and hamburgers, one man in particular was in bad shape. He'd reached his limit very quickly into his feast, but was determined to overcome it. Dressed like a heel in his star-spangled outfit, he proceeded to eat and drink and, for the most part, be merry, until dusk approached.

As the sky began to darken his friends wanted to start setting off their fireworks. "I got this, I got this!" the yankee doodle man called. But as he bent over to light the fuse, a very different explosion took place. It was loud and colorful and full of surprise. Unfortunately, it wasn't at all pleasant or beautiful for anyone watching. What they saw, that terrible sight, was the rejection of everything that had once passed through that man's mouth. And instead of a lingering scent of smoke and sulfur, the air around him smelled of emptied bowels. It was atrocious!

I evacuated the area immediately. If anyone is unable to be in control of their own body, I'm of no help to them! Instead, I wandered east, and found a nice porch to swing to take in the night's show. Thanks to Ethel and William, the perfectly aged couple that lives there, I learned of the friendship between fireworks and hearing aides.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Day 36: Happy Coming-of-Age, America!

Happy Independence Day! Or, if America were a person, happy recognition day of when you officially left the kid's table to take your place with the adults!

As I'm sure you know, there are many other - more common - celebrations of the day: fireworks, wearing the American flag in some form, and (made official by my Dentist's office) HOTDOGS.

This was the image of my 'Happy 4th of July' email from them:


Wow, a mustard "America," that just takes it to a whole new level. And don't forget the baseball!

Animals especially love the July 4th holiday. As witnessed on my walk to the train:


OWNER: "Oh, it's alright. Come on, Sweetie, just pee. Just one time."

Monday, July 3, 2017

Day 35: Contemporary Street Art

Piled up on the side of the road.

Not a typical location for an art installation, but modern art tends to stretch the boundaries far and wide these days.

Walking by at dusk, the pile seemed massive; strategically placed to resemble an effortless abandon. Bravo!


And in the darkness, the reflective strips emit an eerie glow from a colony unknown.


Now, if we view this pile of caution cylinders from the perspective of one who is NOT going to an art show, but simply going about their normal life walking down the sidewalk, we might think this pile looks like it was a complete accident, through which a car may or may not have driven into it multiple times.

But hey, who am I to question ART?!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Day 34: On This Date . . .

28 years ago, I was born. Happy birthday to me! And happy day to you, dear reader, as you are in for a treat. Well, I hope you are. I enjoyed what I'm about to show you, so I'm hoping you have as many giggles as I did.

I know another special lady, let's call her Janice, who is also celebrating a birthday today. In preparation for the start of a new year, she decided to get herself a new hairstyle - as seen here:


Unfortunately for Janice, she was caught in a sudden rainstorm, soaked in the downpour. She then turned into what resembled a drowned rat (hehehehahahahohoho! Sorry, Janice, I just had to).


I never got an update on whether or not she was able to re-fluff those locks, but I did see how God made up for his funny trick afterwards.

A BEAUTIFUL RAINBOW!!! [in a golden city]
(Bonus points for you if you can identify where this is.)


I found it quite fitting this was taking place for our shared birthday - especially the rain part - because, on this date in 1843, the following was recounted in an article from the Times-Picayune newspaper of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Headline: The Day an Alligator Fell from the Sky.


Credit: onthisday.com

Is the article true or not? We'll never know. But at least we can gain renewed perspective that getting caught in the rain isn't such a big deal. Getting caught in the rain, tossed in the air, and dropped down in a completely new location however, is a different story.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Day 33: Artificial Fail


Two 10 year old boys sit in the middle seat of an Uber van. Just finished from playing arcade games, they were hard at work digging into their loot, which, of course, consisted entirely of candy.

First up:  Gummy Bears.


After eavesdropping over the conduction of very scientific taste tests to distinguish the acuteness of one's palate, came something I NEVER thought I would hear as a complaint:

BOY 1: "I hate the orange ones."

BOY 2: 'Why?'

BOY 1: "Because they taste too much like real oranges."

Too much like real oranges. Wow, Artificial Flavor-Makers - you've really missed the mark on this one. Making flavors that actually resemble the natural food you're trying to replicate?! Preposterous!


But that conversation? Hilarious.