Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Race Recap: Rave Run 2013

Scott and I ran in Chicago's Rave Run on Saturday night, and it was great.  As I told my mom, I didn't break any records, but I didn't break any bones.  That's a win for me.  :)

The race started at 8:30pm so it was run entirely in the dark!  It started - and finished - in Grant Park, and took a big loop around that area.  There were several thousand runners, all decked out in neon and glowsticks.  Ha!

The race itself was great - cool course, spirited runners and enthusiastic crowds - but I had a couple gripes.  There was no gear check.  Not a big deal, but every other race we've run in had one, so we didn't anticipate it (poor Scott had to carry our full-sized backpack for all three miles).  Secondly, the course was unmarked - meaning that there were no mile markers.  Neither of these were a big deal, but the race was between $25-$50 per runner (depending upon if you used a Groupon-type deal or paid full price) and about 5,000 ran so they made a ton of money.  I think a little of that cash could be diverted from the crazy light show or fog machine and moved toward a secure gear-check area and mile markers.

It was my first race post-Boston, and while it was definitely not a marathon, it still felt slightly disconcerting to be in these huge groups of people (especially when there was no gear check, so many people were wearing backpacks).  Does that make me paranoid?  Probably, but it's a feeling and I acknowledge it.  I also didn't let it stop me (screw you, terrorists) and felt very good about my run.  My lungs were tired but my heart was full.

Solid race.  I'd do it again next year.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Baconfest 2013

Last weekend Scott and I went to Baconfest and it was AWESOME.

We went last year and this year easily topped it because we were joined by some awesome friends.  Matt and Kelly came with us, and so did Scott's cousins, Allison, Dave and Julie, and Scott's friend Brad.  It was great.

Baconfest is a festival of all things Bacon.  There are about 75 vendors present who each have a signature bacon dish (anything from Bacon Cupcakes to Bacon Souffle, to BLTs - and everything in between).  Your admission ticket allows you to wander around and sample anything and everything.  It's ridiculous.  And gluttonous.  And fabulous.

In addition to unlimited bacon, you also got seven (!!) drink tickets.  Each ticket entitles you to a drink - a PBR, Oldstyle, glass of wine or bacon-themed cocktail.  The cocktails range from Templeton Rye and grapefruit (I think that's what it was) to a delicious chocolate and banana liquor concoction that had a single bacon strip strategically placed inside.

Our crew ate about a bajillion pounds of bacon prepared in a bajillion different ways, we drank way too much, and just had an awesome time.

See you next year, Baconfest!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Scenes From A Week: April 28

I had a terrific week, and an amazing weekend.  I'm not sure what made it amazing, really, because I didn't do a lot.  It was a weekend spent mostly at home, and it was bliss - haven't had one of those in quite a while.

Here's to a new week!

green driving shoes (for a girl that rarely drives)
bathroom renovation 2013 - Scott's a tiling machine!
saturday night was the rave run 2013 (race recap coming later this week!)
finally spring!
a new bbq joint downtown - bub city
Fruit, vegetables... and eight bottles of wine.
Bottoms up!
new salad - brussels sprouts, dates, goat cheese, balsalmic

Friday, April 26, 2013

Interesting Person Interview Series: Kelly

This week I'm thrilled to share my interview with my friend Kelly.  Not only is Kelly an amazing friend and sounding board, she's also my future sister-in-law (less than six month countdown, wahoo!) .  I've known Kelly for a decade - which just blows my mind - and I am excited to share her interview! 

Kelly's interview, after the break!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

on Reese and responsibility

I'm about 72 hours late to the topic, but it's nevertheless still relevant.

Reese Witherspoon and her husband, Jim Toth, were pulled over last weekend.  Apparently he was at the wheel and swerved, leading an officer to pull him over for drunk driving suspicion.  As he was being questioned, tested and arrested, Reese apparently grew agitated.  She allegedly told the police officer that she didn't believe he was a real police officer, and asked the officer "Do you know my name?  You're about to find out who I am".

After the arrests were made public, she released a statement:

"Out of respect for the ongoing legal situation, I cannot comment on everything that is being reported right now. But I do want to say, I clearly had one drink too many and I am deeply embarrassed about the things I said.  It was definitely a scary situation and I was frightened for my husband, but that is no excuse. I was disrespectful to the officer who was just doing his job. The words I used that night definitely do not reflect who I am. I have nothing but respect for the police and I'm very sorry for my behavior."

I will admit that I was disappointed when I heard the news.  Reese always seemed like such a "good girl"juxtaposed against tragic Hollywood types like Lindsey Lohan and the Kardashians.  She seems like a golden girl, a genuinely nice and responsible person.

I understand that people make mistakes - even genuinely nice and responsible ones.  I can very quickly "forgive" her for what she said after having a drink too many - I've definitely said things I regretted (both when aided by booze and when stone cold sober)!  The thing I am having a harder time getting over, though, is the fact that her husband blew a .139.  He was significantly over the legal limit, and they both still thought it was a good idea for him to drive a car.  That's inexcusable.  Call a cab or - you got $20 mil on your last film - hire a driver.  Drinking and driving is not ok.

I appreciate the fact that Reese quickly owned up to her behavior, as many times celebrities try to skirt the issue and never own up to their mistakes.  But though she owned it, I don't think that's nearly enough.  If I were her PR team, I'd be suggesting making some big gestures.  A gigantic donation to MADD.  A PSA against drunk driving, urging people to have taxi numbers pre-programed in their phones.  An essay for the Times or Glamour magazine or an appearance on GMA.

I know she's an actress, but like it or not, she's also a role model - and she's capitalized handsomely on that fact.  She and her husband modeled some pretty shitty behavior, and I would like to see them model something good.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Quote of the Day: House of Cards Edition

"Choosing money over power is a mistake almost everyone makes. Money is the big mansion in Sarasota that starts falling apart after ten years. Power is that old stone building that stands for centuries. I cannot respect someone who does not see the difference" - House of Cards

I just started House of Cards and I am o-b-s-e-s-s-e-d.  It's so good.  If you like politics even a teeny bit, I'd urge you to check it out.  If you haven't heard of it before, it's a Netflix original (meaning that it's only available for Netflix streaming) but it's well worth your time if you have Netflix.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Scenes From a Week: April 21

Another week in the books and while there was major darkness across our country (especially in Boston and Texas) there were also good times.  A trip to New York, family time with both Scott's family and my brother and Kelly, Baconfest 2013 (more on that later) and exciting news for Scott's cousin.

Here's to another fun week!

Bathroom Renovation Project
Baconfest 2013
Beautiful Chicago
Times Square, NY
crazy awesome kitchen in my NY office

Saturday, April 20, 2013

on terrorists and fame

I had a hard time turning away from the Boston coverage today.  It was horribly suspenseful, and unbelievably extraordinary how quickly the terrorists were neutralized.

I turned on the TV this morning before work, as I do most days, and the Today Show was pre-empted by the coverage.  Boston was in lockdown, and virtually shut down, as the terrorists were hunted down.  The story slowly developed - overnight there was a firefight between the police and two suspects.   Suspect A was killed.  Suspect B was on the run.

I had a hard time turning off the TV to go to work, but I did - albeit very reluctantly.  Throughout the day I often checked my phone, and refreshed the browser set to CNN.  What was going on? Had they caught him?

But they didn't, and when I returned home they still hadn't.  I turned on the TV and resumed the coverage.  Gunshots, and widespread nervousness, and then, ultimately - clapping in the street.  He was captured!

Throughout the day, I kept having a recurring thought as I'd read the coverage:

I don't want to know anything about them.

I don't want to learn their name.  I don't want to hear about their upbringing or their family or their background.  I don't want to know about their ideology, or their beliefs or if they did this in the name of God.  I don't want to know, because I don't care.  My interest in them ceased when they set down their bomb-backpacks on Monday.

We live in an information hungry society, and I get that.  Hell, I contribute to it.  But this seems different.  Why do we give bad people such substantial news coverage?

Instead of focusing on the evil-doers, let's focus on the heroes that rose from the debris of the bombings.  The heroic bystanders who ran towards the blasts, not away, to rescue and to aid.

Let's talk about the doctors, and the nurses, and the hospital staff, who worked hours and hours on end, not going home to their families and their home safe-zones, because they knew they could save even one more person.

Let's talk about Jeff Bauman, the victim in the tragic but iconic wheelchair photo, a severely wounded victim.  I'd love an update on him - how is he doing?  Is his family holding vigil by his hospital bed? Is there a fundraising effort that we can contribute to? (ETA: Update!  I found his fundraising page!).  Show me a picture of him from a happier time.

Tell me about eight-year-old Martin Richard - show me his grade school picture and give me an update on his mother and his sister.  How about next year's Boston Marathon has a mile dedicated to him?  (I'll run mile 12 of the Chicago 1/2 in his honor).

Tell me about the other victims - Krystle Campbell, only a year older than me.  What were her goals in life?  Let's interview her family and her grandmother and show her picture on every news site.

What about Lu Lingzi, the 23-year old student from China, who apparently loved Nirvana.  Let's put a song she loved on our radios and sing it to her in heaven.

Tell me about Laura Wellington, a runner who had nearly completed the marathon when the blast hit.  Let's hear more of her story - about how she was alone, a half mile from the finish line, when a fellow runner Brent Cunningham, came upon her, and, in an unrehearsed and off-the-cuff moment, gave her his medal because "she deserved it too".

Tell me about Shawn Collier, the courageous MIT security guard who was killed last night.  Tell me about his background, what led him to be in law enforcement.  Tell me about his family, and the people that are grieving his loss so profoundly tonight.

I'd love to hear more about the Boston police force,  men and women who have a level of bravery that I can not even imagine.  Police who searched door to door, and unlike the rest of us, hoped to find Suspect B when they peered into a dark basement, or turned a corner into someone's fenced-in backyard.  Bomb Squad members, prepared to deliberately and intentionally interact with bombs like the ones that caused so much havoc.

I'd love to hear more about the regular Bostonians who literally opened up their homes - to strangers! - to make sure that everyone had a place to sleep on Monday night.

Tell me about the group of marathoners, who on Monday ran a marathon and then literally kept running to the closest hospital to give blood.

Monday's bombing was unbelievably tragic and horrible, and that probably makes it newsworthy.  There is so much material to cover... and it should be covered.  It's a way of paying tribute to the victims, and aiding in the closure that all of us need.

But let's not do that by giving the terrorists any more attention.

I could spend all day learning about the true heroes involved (and today, I just about have).  But I refuse to spend another minute thinking about them.

"The hunt is over.  The search is done.  The terror is over.  And justice has won!" - Boston Police Department, via tweet

Quote of the Day: Boston Edition

"Tonight our nation is in debt to the people of Boston, and the people of Massachusetts." - President Obama

Friday, April 19, 2013

Interesting Person Interview Series: Lj

This week I'm thrilled to share my interview with my aunt Laurie - Lj.  I sometimes post to this blog as "KJ"... well the J is for Jeanne, a middle name that Laurie and I share (after my grandmother and Laurie's mother, Jeanne Marie).  Laurie is an extraordinary aunt, and some of my favorite memories include her: Christmas Eve visits on Koser Avenue, a trip to Orlando with Christine and Dan, family vacations to her Lake, a reading at my wedding. 

Her interview, after the break:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Springtime in New York

I was in New York earlier this week for three nights, and it was just awesome.  I love New York... really, really love.  If it were a few hundred miles closer to my family, I'd move there.   Anyway, I arrived on Sunday night, and made it to Times Square (where my hotel was) around 10:30 pm.  Since it's the "city that never sleeps", I decided not to either ;)  I wandered around a little, and even found myself on the Times Square Jumbotron!  (Far left hand side, in the grey coat with the red bag).

The next morning, I got up early and made my way to the studio where Good Morning America tapes live.  Unfortunately Robin Roberts was out sick (boo! on multiple levels), but I got to see George Stepanopoulos, Amy Robach, and Josh Elliott!  That was a thrill.

Even more thrilling were the day's guests - Nick Lachey and Mark Wahlberg!  I'm a big celeb junkie (it's totally my guilty pleasure) so this was especially awesome.  It was so fun to see them in person, and was a great way to kick off my trip.

The trip was for work, but between my meetings and training, I was able to squeeze in some solid tourist-time.  I saw the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Bryant Park, Madison Avenue, Park Avenue, Times Square and Central Park.  I walked miles, explored a little, and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

It was a great trip.  A ton of work-related work, but also fun.  (Until my flight was canceled.. but that's another story).

Until next time, New York!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Quote of the Day: Boston Marathon Edition

"Let’s schedule another Boston Marathon as soon as possible. Cave dwelling is for terrorists. Americans? We run in the open on our streets — men and women, young and old, new immigrants and foreigners, in shorts not armor, with abandon and never fear, eyes always on the prize, never on all those “suspicious” bundles on the curb. In today’s world, sometimes we pay for that quintessentially American naïveté, but the benefits — living in an open society — always outweigh the costs."  - Thomas L. Friedman, NY Times

I read this on the plane home today, and was sitting in my seat, nodding furiously in agreement, and aching to be home already, where I could tie up my running shoes and hit the street.

Shout out to DFR for the article recco!

Scenes From a Week: April 14 Edition

This is coming way later than my normal Sunday post (it's already Wednesday, eek!) but maybe that shows you a little somethin' about the past week.  Mayhem!  But really good mayhem.  It started with the Cubs opening day, and ended with a visit from my parents, and then a trip to New York!

Mimosas at Opening Day
First time of the year at Sheffield's Beer Garden!
Post card from two of my all-time faves! <3
The Maloney ladies

Monday, April 15, 2013

on Boston

I was in NY this week when I heard about the bombing in Boston, and I don't have very much to say about it. It's horrible?  It's tragic?  It's done by cowardly *$%^s who actually showed their weakness, not their strength?  It's all of those things, and not nearly enough of those things and it's just... there aren't any words to sum it up...  It happened, and it's now etched in our heart and history.

Being in NY during this time was a strange experience, and although it's so completely not about me, I will say that being here is a little unsettling to my bleeding heart.  Just about four miles from the place where over 3,000 lost their lives in a different terrorist attack and in a city where the wounds are still so raw.  I was staying in Midtown, and in the early evening I walked toward St. Patrick's Cathedral.   The past half dozen times I've been in the city the Cathedral didn't appear to be open, but it was, fittingly, today. 

I walked through the open doors, and was shocked to see so many people seated in the pews.  It was full of people.  Not jam packed, but many more people that I expected to see in the middle of Tourist Town.  There were families that appeared to be tourists, young men seated alone, elderly couples seated together.  There were a handful of people that were taking pictures or playing on their phones or whispering together, but for the most part, there was a lot of sitting silently.  Contemplating, thinking, praying.  Being there in solidarity with each other and with Boston. 

I lit a candle for Boston, and I sat for a few minutes, joining the people around me, and feeling like I suspect they felt: like there was nothing we could do except sit there, and that somehow that didn't feel like "nothing" but like "something". 

I sat for a few moments, and on my way out, I noticed some signs that I didn't see on my way in: "In a city that never sleeps, everyone needs a place to pray".

I'm really looking forward to running the Chicago half marathon this July.  And while the thought crossed my mind that maybe I should not run it, that maybe I should avoid it in the small chance of subsequent or copy cat attacks, it only took a second for me course correct, and recognize that it was a wrong attitude.  F*ck the terrorists, whoever - and wherever -  they are.  I'm running, and I'm going to think of the Boston victims every step of the way.

Love to Boston, from Chicago by way of New York.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Interesting Person Interview Series: JFM

This week I'm thrilled to share my interview with my brother Joe.  Joe is five years younger than me, and is currently rocking life in Milwaukee.  Joe is unbelievably intelligent and can talk to you about any subject under the sun.  You know when you meet someone and you just know that they are going to change the world?  That's my brother Joe.  Remember his name.  You'll hear it again. 

His interview, after the jump:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rooftop Views

My brother and Kelly have an unbelievable rooftop view of the downtown Chicago skyline.  Every single time I go there, I feel compelled to take pictures because it's just so stunning.

I've been on their rooftop multiple times, and this is the first time I've ever
noticed the view from the other direction... equally cool!