Posted in Free Time Fun, Life Lessons

Spirituality & Bahá’í Temple

Since moving to Evanston, IL I have spent the majority of my commute on the Purple Line. I kept seeing signs urging train riders to visit the Bahá’í Temple & Gardens in Evanston. The temple itself looked beautiful and I am always looking for new places to explore so I waited for an opening. This past weekend the opportunity presented itself during a blue sky sunny eyed Saturday when I found myself without plans. I grabbed Thom and we rode the train to the end of the purple line, the Linden stop. Then we walked three blocks east.
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Posted in Life Lessons

Goodbye Lincoln Square, Hello Evanston!

The past weekend I moved to an apartment in Evanston. Three stories up with no elevator. We were too stubborn to hire movers and a part of me thinks we might always be. Maybe that’s okay. My sister, brother-in-law and I have spent a decade helping one another with moves, so at this point we’re pros right?

I talked myself out of this move so many times. Four years ago I moved back to Chicago in Edgewater ending my marriage. I needed to be near my sister and I’ve spent the past four years within two miles of that area. The past two have been in Lincoln Square, and this past one has been with my best friend. There were a lot of times I told myself I couldn’t live with her and that it wouldn’t work, but it did, so much so that we’ve arranged for a weekly hangout swearing not to grow too far apart.

We got to know the area and we have our favorite places. There’s Quick Bite, Jimmy’s Pizza, Shelly’s, Garcia’s, Yogurt Square, Rolls & Bolls, Lou Malnati’s, and so much more within walking or delivery distance. Events are nonstop throughout the summer: festivals, farmer’s markets, and live music nights. A week or two ago there were bubbles in the fountain of Lincoln Square!

bubbles

We’re a long walk or a short bus ride from the beach. The days where we would lay on the beach and pour wine into our plastic cups, people watch, talk, sit in silence, nap, snack… those are some of my favorite memories.

So, why did I move? I could have easily spent a few more years rooming with my best friend, but not without another area of my life suffering. Before I offered to take the place of her supposed-to-be roommate that bailed two weeks before they were supposed to move in, I let her know that at the end of our lease I would likely be moving in with my boyfriend. We had already been together almost a year and in my mind it made sense.

A year came and part of me wanted to change my mind, tell my boyfriend too bad I’m staying! I also kept trying to convince them that all of us should move in together. Up until the week before I still debated if I was making the right decision, but I cannot put into words how grateful I am to have Thom as a partner.

He stepped into my life at a very dark point. I was sick, my father was dying, and I was really manic. He was patient and he brought the light. He’s willing to wait for the roaring storm to pass and for me to come to my senses and realize that I’m being unfair.

What’s even more important is that we talk. We went through my concerns about moving in one by one. He wasn’t mad or upset even though it was only a month before we were going to make the leap, instead he agreed this conversation had to happen. I spent a lot of my adult life voiceless in intimate relationships. I could complain to friends and family about all sorts of issues, but I never had the balls to sit down and work through it with someone.

Recently I came across a great post about relationships through the reader. Matt’s post “What To Do When Your Spouse Isn’t Your Soulmate” struck a chord with me. It came at the time I needed it and affirmed what I already knew. I have an amazing relationship with a wonderful man, and it is mine to lose.

So, here we are in our third floor apartment with our three needy cats taking it day by day.

 

Posted in Ecological Endeavors, Free Time Fun, Picture Posts

Get Your Green On!

I grew up as a city girl. We lived at the Oak Park stop on the “L” so we felt were close enough to the city to consider ourselves “Chicagoans.” I’d prefer laying inside basking in the A/C watching TV to hanging out at the small parks close by or trekking a few miles away to a lackluster forest preserve. I quietly consented to being an “indoor” person.

No more! When I moved back to Chicago a few years ago my first apartment was a few blocks from Lake Michigan. At the time my frustration with my body was at a high and I decided to start utilizing the lakefront path to learn how to run.

It was those hot summer afternoons slow jogging from Bryn Mawr down to Irving Park and back that ignited my need for nature. The running part sucked, but I loved the feeling of the sun on my skin and the smell of the water. For once in my life I wanted to spend more time outside.

Since then, I have discovered that there are so many beautiful green spaces in this concrete jungle of ours! Before we know it we will be shivering and shuffling through the frozen tundra, so enjoy summer’s bounty while you still can. Here are a few of my favorite naturescapes:

Lincoln Park Conservatory – I list this first because it is FREE and you don’t need to leave the city to go here! There are beautiful green fields and some flowered sections leading up to the conservatory itself. Inside you will be wowed by exotics from around the world and you’ll also get to meet the friendly staff. They are passionate and love talking about this treasure. When you’re done head over to the zoo or walk south for even more green space.

Chicago Botanic Garden – If you don’t want to have to travel far, but want to be surrounded by spectacular gardens this is the place for you. It’s less than an hour away from downtown and the cost is $25 per car ($30 on the weekend). Bring a few friends with you and that’s nothing!

 

Morton Arboretum – Although a bit pricier at $14 per person, this one is more than worth it. You’ll want to dedicate a whole day to exploring it because it has at least double if not triple the space of Chicago Botanic Garden! These pictures are from our most recent visit where we got the chance to view Origami in the Garden which runs through October 22nd.

 

Starved Rock – I feel like this is a frequent escape for city dwellers. The paths are paved, the views are nice, and there are waterfalls! This is also the furthest from the city at almost 2 hours, so perhaps it feels like a more authentic “get-away.” We made the mistake of visiting last year during Labor Day and the lot was full, but luckily there are a few other parks nearby and we had an equally great time navigating Matthiessen State Park.

Honorable mentions that were cut from my list because at this point I’m losing your attention: Moraine Hills State Park, Beverly Lake, Independence Grove, 606, Lake Geneva.

If you have a nature spot that I haven’t referenced please comment, I want to see them all!