Saturday, May 25, 2013

Reasons to Celebrate

I feel so incredibly lucky.  I spent Mother's Day weekend with my mom and sister in Chicago for some serious girl time.

After a long trip of planes,  trains,  and automobiles,  I met up with the pair of them at the Auditorium Theatre in downtown Chicago.

We arrived just in time to see my girl Jillian Michaels. What better way to hear her message of "Maximize Your Life" than with two of my biggest supporters!

We learned about food and food quality (preaching to the choir on that one); exercise (I heard the phrase 'move your ass FASTER' in my head this morning; and probably the most impactful, the self-exploration session. As in, figure out your Why.  What is standing in your way. What destructive pattern are you playing out over and over. And why. A bit of light discussion :/ 

Saturday morning brought a leisurely brunch and then Spa Day!!!!! I have not had a massage since we went to Vegas and let me tell you - this did not disappoint. I think I need to go again because man was my lower back on the right side tender. Ever since I injured it a few years ago, it still flares up from time to time but I was really surprised how sore it was as she started working on it. Even after 70 lbs gone...I guess I just better keep going and strengthening the core and back! 

Saturday afternoon was a late lunch at Gage with Amy's friend Elizabeth, where apparently I ordered like a Korean because I chose five dishes...oops... Back to the hotel to drop of some stuff, then cabbed our way over to the Magnificent Mile Bloomingdale's to shop for a dress and shoes for Amy, and a new purse for Mom. 

We freshened up again to get ready for dinner at Trencherman...which also happens to be the first time Mom met Amy's new boyfriend. I think it went extremely well - the conversation flowed all evening!

Many hugs upon awakening on Sunday morning - it's Amy's birthday AND Mother's Day!!!  After an early rise to get to the airport on time, I was back in ATL for the afternoon.

Whirlwind but so worth it :) my family!

Friday, May 17, 2013

What to do when it's your birthday weekend

And you're determined to go camping but it's pouring rain.
1) Sleep in till 8:30AM
2) Take a long time to get dressed
3) Head to the bathroom but hang out with your honey under the overhang and watch it rain
4) Suit up with a poncho, head scarf, and umbrella to take a walk around the campground

5) Make lunch and eat by 11AM

6) Invent new names for the pop-up lake accumulating outside the door
7) Reject Lake Eloise (too ghostlike) and Lake Raven (too spooky) and settle on Lake Blackchair
8) Close eyes while waiting for birthday surprise
9) Woohoo!  Eat cake!!!

10) Open gifts - geocache swag doubling as a representative horse I am gping to learn to ride this year

11) Go for another walk while it's misting, not pouring
12) Try to rearrange outside chairs in hope of not floating away
13) Naptime...for one of us

14) Load up crockpot with chicken and veggies
15) Clean up a bit and read magazines
16) Go into town because you are a bit stir crazy and shop at the only place we could find...the Dollar Store
17) Have a Pizza Hut birthday pizza because it's STILL raining
18) Back to the campsite and tuck in for the night

32 looks good on me YALL!

An Amazing Rekindling

What an amazing vacation.

People use that term all of the time - but in this case, the Alumni Weekend was truly magical.

Starting off, Jeff and I flew in on Wednesday, April 17th to snow flurries on the ground.  We thought about upgrading our rental to a Tahoe or something like that, but decided we could get around just fine in the snow and ice in a Maxima.

After a super quick lunch at Taco Bell (YES CHURROS!!!!), we headed over to the SDSMT campus to take a look at the new ChE building(s) and talk to a few professors.  Man, oh man...that place has really changed since we went to school.  As Jeff said on way more than one occasion, "It looks legit."  Multiple labs, no scary White Elephant, air was really startling.  We had a really nice chat with a few professors as well, who gave us the skinny on happenings within the department and what other alumnae were up to.

Then we headed over to Old new Music say HELLO to Dr. Feiszli and Michelle - who just happened to be some of the most influential people in my college life.  We got the GRAND TOUR of the new facility, practice rooms, offices, stage.  I think I said on more than one occasion, "It looks legit."  Truly impressive.

We checked into our hotel, then met Jason and Bobbie (Jeff's brother and wife) for dinner at - where else - Qdoba!  It was redecorated from the days when Jeff and I had puppy love, but the food still basically tastes the same :).

On Thursday morning woke up, hit the gym (WHOOP), headed over to campus for a late lunch at Grubby's, and more walking around before rehearsal started.  As folks starting trickling in for the Alumni Choir rehearsal there were many SCREECHES,  HUGS, HAIR FLUFFING, HANDSHAKES, HIGH FIVES, and general EXCITEMENT to see people for the first time in...5 years? 8 years? 10 years?  Then we all got on stage to make some pretty dang good music for old fogies...I think there were about 70 people that made it back, but from our little group back in the day, we probably had 10-15 and truly some of our bestest bestest best friends in attendance.  (Nikki, Jaaron and Megan, Jenny, Steve, Marci E, Marci M, Amanda, plus others listed later...)

Thursday night was a really cool after-hours event at Speakeasy, which is an underground bar of an establishment in Rapid City.  We had the whole place rented out, with drinks and apps, and spent some good time catching up.  Then the party moved to Paddy O'Neils where of course everyone drank a LEETLE too much...with overtones reminiscent of being 21 but with the bodies of 30-somethings (the recovery in the morning was tough).

Speaking of mornings, Angela, Aaron, Jeff, and I all decided to go to Perkins on Friday morning to help our aging, dehydrated bones recover with pancakes, eggs, toast, was perfect.  We had a great time laughing about our lives, tearing up at some memories, and reconnecting.

Friday afternoon held more rehearsal time, and then THE BIG EVENT!  Four choirs, over 100 singers...and in case you missed it, here's the encore:

Friday evening was an after hours black tie event at the Vertex bar, atop the Alex Johnson hotel.  (More chatting, drinking, eating, and laughing!).

Saturday events began to wind down and after a nice breakfast, several of our group went over to our friends house to hang out: Tad, Kelli, and Olive; Isaac, Alison, and Brooke, Aaron; Angela, Abram, and was a full house but so fun.  Almost like college days, but with a few more little feet running around.

Sunday we had brunch with Jason and Bobbie again before heading home for Atlanta.  Our flights went great - no issues - but we were mentally and physically exhausted.

It's overwhelming the deep love and respect I have for my friends from college.  Even now, I look back at the weekend with a sense of longing, and also gratitude for the events and experiences that brought us all together.  I miss you guys.