18 August 2011

So Long Juneau, Sweet Home Chicago

I'd forgotten how wonderful the silence on the El as it crosses the canal between Merchandise Mart and Washington/Wells can be.  It's eerie, as every person on the train stops checking their phones and reading their Kindles to look up at the skyline, turning around to catch a glimpse of the other bridges before the train car is engulfed in a jungle of concrete pillars and windows facing office cubicles once again.  Of course, I also forgot how creepy it is when somebody or another causes a ruckus on the train shortly thereafter, as was the case yesterday as Ainslie and I rode the brown line to see the Bean (get it?  I took my Bean to see the Bean!  Photos ensued) and hang out with Mary, Sarah, and Sarah's twin boys Johnny (who is Ainslie's new boyfriend) and Emmet.  The aforementioned ruckus happened when a guy wearing a Nikon hat and sporting a large camera with a telescoping lens started taking pictures on the train and a woman a few seats down from him didn't want her photo taken (along with everyone else on the train...let's just say Ainslie was quickly covered by a blanket and Mama Bear was ready to pounce), and Nikon guy wasn't too happy with that.  Gosh, I've missed the ups and downs of Chicago.

Kasey and Matt's wedding on Saturday was lovely.  Ainslie was very interested in singing along with the Gregorian Chant choir, which meant that we spent the entire wedding in the back of the church keeping her quiet, with the exception of when Matt and Kasey walked down the aisle at the end, which we felt merited Ainslie's squeals of joy for the happy couple.  I held her as she wiggled and clapped at them as they approached her.  Too cute in my opinion (and, as Ainslie's godmother, I'm pretty sure Kasey would agree).  Seeing everyone again was surreal since most of us are now married, and I've come to the conclusion that I don't think I'll ever quite get over the feeling that I'm entirely too young to be living the life I am.  The next day, we joined the new Mr. and Mrs. Rose for my first ever Latin mass at St. John Cantius church, which was really interesting.  Kip and I pulled off the most amazing transfer of a sleeping baby ever to happen in a Communion line, and I felt extremely Marian taking Communion kneeling at the rail, with my head covered, holding a sleeping baby.  How very Catholic of me.  

We've been staying in Kasey and Matt's apartment while they're on vacation, and it's been a fun few days of sightseeing, taking Ainslie to the Shedd Aquarium (she loved the jellyfish), and generally partaking of as many trips to Julius Meinl as possible.  Kip left to go back to work in Juneau on Tuesday afternoon, but Monday night contained what I have officially minted the nicest family dinner we've ever had.  We sat in the newly opened back garden at Tre Kronor and ate amazing Swedish food while the breeze blew away most of the bugs and rustled the leaves in the trees overhead and the grasses in the garden beside us.  Ainslie topped off the night by clapping for us (a skill she'd learned only a few days before) and charming everyone else in a twenty foot radius.  I was pleasantly surprised when our bill came with three Anna's cookies, a tradition I'd thought they'd forgone (Ellen, they're apparently still doing it for dinner at least!).  

To say that I'm less than super psyched about being separated from Kip for the foreseeable future is a severe understatement.  I deal with it by alternating between denial and sadness.  Once he has a job in New Hampshire he'll move out too, but we haven't gotten any leads yet.  I know we made the decision to do this as a family--the financial aid offered at BC was too good to turn down and wasn't guaranteed if I deferred, it's the best thing for the family for him to go from one job right to another, blah blah blah--but it still sucks.  We're planning on getting into a schedule of Skyping, emailing and sending letters so hopefully that will help.  As he put it, "Some of our best years were long distance.  Years!  We can do this!"  For now, I'm trying to keep busy and enjoy Chicago and its hot weather before we continue on to New Hampshire next week.  Ainslie has dealt with the heat remarkably well considering where she was born and the fact that she's never experienced it before for any length of time.  And I'd like to think I'm doing pretty well, too--this morning we took a walk to a restaurant that doesn't allow strollers, and it was too hot for the Ergo carrier, so I just took the lightweight scarf that I'd used to cover my hair at church on Sunday, tied a knot in the end, and used it as a sling to great success.  Maybe being in the Lower 48 makes me more resourceful, but I think maybe I should credit that to Alaska.  So long, Juneau, it's been swell.  

03 August 2011


I'm a list person. I make lists. So here are the two lists i have been keeping as of late, mostly beause i need one or the other of them depending on the moment.

Things I Will Miss About Juneau:
-ridiculously easily accessible hiking
-being near the water
-friends, so many of them
-Katy Rice...she deserves her own unique bullet point
-the separation from mainstream American ridiculousness (ex: i really heard none of the craziness surrounding Michael Jackson's death)
-the laidbackness of it all
-the yarn/fabric shops

**note: these are subject to revision and in no particular order**

Things I Will Not Miss About Juneau:
-the rain
-lack of diverse shopping (you really don't know how much you appreciate Old Navy until you live somewhere where you literally cannot buy anything quality--not that Old Navy is super quality--in your size)
-driving past the birth center all the time
-lack of ability to pursue theological interests
-distance from family and friends
-how weird it is to everyone when you dress nicely
-lack of local, fresh produce
-the skanky bars on Front Street