All I Hear Today is Sunshine

navy pier

It is sunny. 70 degrees Fahrenheit. There is a cool breeze. The breeze rustles the leaves on the trees rhythmically. Everything outside seems to be swaying in time, like the earth is dancing to an unknown synchronized routine.

There is something divinely inspirational about this weather. Despite being in Chicago, surrounded by millions of people, I don’t seem to mind. I notice that I don’t seem bothered by the fact that I sat on the highway for 45 minutes. Instead of feeling the overwhelming desire to get away from all these people and relax in the sanctity of my home, I find I am overcome with the unexplainable urge to wander the city, see the sights, and blend in with the hum of the giant machine.

Instead of feeling called to my responsibilities, I feel like staying outside all day. What time is it? I don’t even care. I want to go to the beach; walk, run, explore. I want to find the secrets between the skyscrapers. I want to sit in a park and draw, paint and write.

I sat in my car and didn’t feel irritated or annoyed by all the cars and bad drivers around me. Someone cut me off? Sure, no problem. Go ahead. I missed a green light because that Camry wasn’t paying attention? What’s the rush?

Never mind the fact that my pasty complexion would quickly turn a sunny day into a disaster, or the fact that my weary body would tire after a few hours of walking, running and exploring. These things don’t seem to matter today, because the sun is out, and it is 70 degrees with a cool breeze.

What is it about this weather that is so perfect? It is not too hot. When it’s too hot everyone is crabby and in a hurry. The incessant honking fades into the background. The yelling, loud music, and construction all become silent. All I hear is the sunshine and the breeze. 70 degrees with a cool breeze makes me forget the need to rush. I just want to be in the sunlight and take in all that surrounds me.


Sherlock Holmes Has Got it Goin On


On and off for the past year I’ve been reading Sherlock Holmes, The Complete Novels and Stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. To put it mildly, I love Sherlock Holmes. I’m positive that Sherlock wouldn’t have had any of the same admiration towards me that I have for him, as he is incredibly sexist and thinks little of women and their ability. Nevertheless, I’m still obsessed.

I’ve watched movies and TV shows about Sherlock (I LOVE Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock almost as much as I love the original character of Sherlock) and can’t say that I’ve seen anyone more convincing than Jeremy Brett as a TV or film version of Sherlock Holmes and who he truly is as the original character created by Doyle (until recently, when Benedict Cumberbatch took on the role in BBC’s Sherlock).

What I love the most about Sherlock Holmes is hard to pinpoint, but I love that he is completely confident in his abilities and knows exactly what they are. Sherlock can come off as condescending, arrogant, and haughty, but he knows exactly what he is capable of and what he observes the people around him to be capable of. Therein lies the true remarkableness of Sherlock Holmes.


“He loved to lie in the very centre of five millions of people, with his filaments stretching out and running through them, responsive to every little rumour or suspicion of unsolved crime. Appreciation of nature found no place among his many gifts, and his only change was when he turned his mind from the evildoer of the town to track down his brother of the county.” –John Watson, page 663, “The Resident Patient”


I grew up shy, unsure of myself, and insecure. Until I stumbled upon different abilities that let me express myself and assured me that I had potential, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of myself. Track gave me a place to feed my ego. I was good, showed promise, and surprised myself and the people around me. Despite what seemed like never ending health setbacks, I felt like I had found a home.

Humor is another avenue I explored a lot and discovered to be a form of expression that came more and more naturally to me. When I was in elementary school, I would sit and listen to adult conversations and try to come up with one-liners, puns, jokes, anything that I thought might be funny (most of the time it wasn’t, but I tried). Now I find that I (and sometimes others) enjoy my wit and sense of humor. Seriously, if we can’t amuse ourselves and laugh at our own jokes, who will?

And of course, writing. Writing is a hard-earned skill I developed most significantly in high school. So many papers were met with low grades and requests to “expand” and answer “why?”. My freshman year meant realizing that I couldn’t just say something and not have any evidence to support it.

I say all this because I think it’s important to be egotistical and confident in our abilities. You shouldn’t be self-absorbed to the point of being ignorant or delusional, but rather in tune with your abilities and shortcomings so you know how to best utilize and maximize them. When I don’t feel good about myself, I can either look through the perspective of motivating myself in spite of defeat, or just let myself step back and know when I’ve reached my limits.

“’My dear Watson,’ said he, ‘I cannot agree with those who rank modesty among the virtues. To the logician all things should be seen exactly as they are, and to underestimate one’s self is as much a departure from truth as to exaggerate one’s own powers. When I say, therefore, that Mycroft has better powers of observation than I, you may take it that I am speaking the exact and literal truth.’” –Sherlock Holmes, page 683, “The Greek Interpreter”




Other quotes (trust me, I have more):

“Sherlock Holmes had listened to this long narrative with an intentness which showed me that his interest was keenly aroused. His face was as impassive as every, but his lids had drooped more heavily over his eyes, and his smoke had curled up more thickly from his pipe to emphasize each curious episode in the doctor’s tale.” P. 673


“Art in the blood is viable to take the strangest forms.” P.683

Blood Moons and Mediums


On my day off this week I happily binge watched Netflix, particularly a show called “Long Island Medium”. The show focuses on Theresa Caputo and her family in Long Island, New York. While we learn about Theresa and her family, the main focus of the show is Theresa’s ability to channel the souls of individuals who have passed away and are now on “the other side”. Whether or not you believe in the premise of the show or the ability of Theresa Caputo, the overall message of the show is one that everyone can identify with: even though loved ones are not physically on the earth anymore, they are still with you.


It can be hard to believe that someone you can’t see or talk to is with you, but I’ve found that the key is to not forcefully look for “signs” that you can interpret as validation or whatever you want them to be. For example, as much as I would like something as blatantly obvious as a phone call, light flicker, or neon sign conveying a message from my grandfather, it just isn’t going to happen, especially not on command.


The beauty of reminders of the people we love lies in the small things. The “blood moon” this week is a phenomenon of nature, but it also immediately made me think of how my grandpa would always let me know that there was going to be a full moon—which we frequently would watch growing up with root beer floats and popcorn—or some sort of natural occurrence. This occasion could be significant for me then because I’m reminded of memories and part of my grandpa.


The same day that the blood moon occurred, I happened to see, oh so briefly, an old Ford Fairlane, which was a slightly different model of an old car that my grandpa inherited after his brother died, and would drive us around in in the summer months. What better signifier that my grandpa is still a part of my life than to have even the smallest experience that triggers an avalanche of memories.


Even in my day-to-day life I am reminded of my grandpa’s eccentric personality because of my job. Working in retail means never having a second to think, and means constant interruption. Whenever I get irritated that there are a million things going on around me or that I am pulled away from my work by a customer, as soon as I say “Do you need help with anything?” I immediately hear Grandpa’s voice in my head say “Oh, only all I can get!”, just like he always did when out and about. At the time I was embarrassed, but now it makes me smile.


Instead of forcing myself to go through the pain of wishing my Grandpa was only a phone call away or dwelling on what’s left of him in the physical world, I choose to focus on how much of his soul is still with me. I will never be able to rid myself of him and I think that the people who decide to focus only on the sadness of someone being gone are short-sighted and looking at life with the wrong perspective—they’re certainly missing out on a lot.

“Tiny Dog Embarrasses Big Dogs at Park”

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted, and I was inspired by the rain today. Rain inspires me to do just about anything other than go to work. So, in the spirit of creativity I’m going to try something different and post some pictures that I’ve gathered over the last few weeks.














My car hit 180,000 miles a few weeks ago.

Now for some of my cake creations:






A delicious steak dinner from last weekend:



And, since no week goes without irritation:

Not So Good With Kids


I was texting with my sister this week and she sent me a message about how she started laughing hysterically after seeing a baby in a restaurant.  I should probably preface this by saying that we’ve always joked about how awkward I am with children and like to joke that I’m going to have my sister raise my children until they can talk because I don’t know how to communicate with them if they can’t say what they need.


Whenever I see a baby I always end up making eye contact with them and then feel super uncomfortable because they stare, and then I stare, and then we’re just staring and thinking about how weird the other is.  If I cross paths with a dog I always smile and say hi, but if I see a baby I freeze.  I think that maybe some of the tension between me and babies comes from how similar we can be.


For instance, at work the other day (I work in a bakery) I was envying the smell of the popcorn being made across the way from me.  It smelled so good and actually made my stomach rumble.  I’m over here practically salivating like Pavlov’s dogs and look to see a little girl sitting in a cart, clutching a bag of popcorn as big as she is, and laying on it like a pillow.  She was smiling so big and looked so happy that you wouldn’t question that it was the best day of her life.


I couldn’t help but smile and think “you smug bastard” all at the same time.  I was jealous but also knew that, if I was honest, I would do the exact same thing if I had a bag of popcorn to cradle.


Because our store is all about customer service, we’ve been told many times that we must always greet the customer, say hi and ask if there is anything we can do to help them.  So, I temporarily overcome my natural instinct to become invisible, and always try to make eye contact and say hi.  Everything goes fine when the customer has proper social cues and goes about their business, but when the customer is a parent with a kid in the cart, I know there’s only one way this interaction can go.


I’ll smile and say hi to the parent, then see below my eye level a little human looking at me.  Sometimes they smile, but mostly they stare and then of course I stare and then we’re just staring and I can’t help but think that I don’t want to be the first one to break the staring contest but then realize that the parent is probably noticing that I’m staring at their kid and try to discreetly go about my business while trying to nonchalantly win the staring contest.  Sometimes I make faces when the parents aren’t looking so the kid blinks.  Usually they look at me horrified.


One of the suggestions our store manager made about “above and beyond customer service” was

“If you see a little kid crying, imagine how great it would feel to them if you walk over and hand them a cookie to make them feel better”.

I was just like, do you know how awkward I would make that situation?  Flustered, I’d jab a cookie at them and be like “um, here’s a cookie” and then probably stand there uneasily and hope that the parent wouldn’t be mad that this weirdo was giving their kid a cookie that they may or not even be able to have.


One mom and her daughter asked me to write “Happy Birthday Nanno” on a cake for them.  When I brought it back, the mom showed the little girl and said excitedly, “Look how pretty!”  I looked at the girl and said (I thought sweetly) “Is it your birthday?!”  The girl looked at me like I had just suggested that she eat her own poop and the mom said slowly, “No, it’s her grandma’s birthday”.  “Oh, ok.  Have a good birthday!” I said and then quickly walked away.

The Day of Love?


Friday is Valentine’s Day, the Hallmark holiday of extravagance or the anniversary of a bunch of Chicago mobsters murdering each other; it depends on where you fall on the spectrum of opinions of St. Valentine’s Day.

Some people cherish the day as one of romantic gestures, and are maddened when the gestures are not as romantic as they imaged (or when there is no gesture made by their significant other).  Some people feel like they don’t want to really celebrate away from home because of the crowds or they “don’t really get into Valentine’s Day” (this probably means that they secretly do care about the romantic gestures—hint hint).

Personally, this is hell week, which means my uterus is trying to kill me via PMS, so I am perfectly content with a box of donuts and sweatpants.  And my significant other couldn’t care less about the holiday so it’s the best of both worlds for us.  We won’t be perusing the internet for the “Best places for Valentine’s Day” or “Top # of Valentine’s Date ideas”.  That’s right internet, we don’t need you!

I would like to point out that it’s silly to celebrate love and caring and relationships (no matter what kind) one day a year.  If someone really is special to you, you shouldn’t wait for a “special” occasion one day a year to show them.  Instead of making a huge, expensive gesture one day a year, why not spend the entire year making continuous efforts to make someone feel loved and special?  That’s what love is about.

Why This Dog is Better Than You

CBS Chicago says that after today’s 6.9 INCHES OF SNOWFALL (I wish I could capitalize that number) winter 2014 is officially on the list of Chicago’s top 5 snowfalls. Every time we think we’ve seen the last snow–BAM! more snow.

Clearly there are the problems that accompany snow, like the salt shortage going on now, the insane drivers, and even more insane residents who are so territorial about their parking spaces they dig out that they will practically murder you. Seriously.

Today my car got stuck, I had to drive in the snow like 6 different times, and I (and everyone else) was super cranky because of the dangerous driving conditions and drivers. But, guess who wasn’t cranky because of the snow? This weiner dog. Watch this dog frolic and tell me that isn’t the definition of happy.

Is it cold? Yep! Will that stylish coat not protect those little paws from the cold? Yep. But weiner dog doesn’t care! We could all take a positive attitude lesson from this adorably vivacious pup this weekend when the next round of snow shits down like Mr. Cloud just took a giant laxative. And after you watch the weiner dog, click here:
and see some more awesome dogs in the snow. And try to stay positive people.