Farewell, Summer

September 21, 2011

Summer has come to a close. Fall is here. Winter is not far behind, and I hibernate during winter. So I thought it would be good to recount some of the things I’ve done this summer.

Attended Maifest in Lincoln Square

Visited The Art Institute

Looked out over the city from the Hancock building

Attended Blues Fest

Listened to Music in the Park at Millennium Park

Worked out with the rest of Chicago at Millennium Park

Took pictures of the bean

Watched the face water features at Millennium Park

Enjoyed amazing food at Taste of Chicago

Purchased fresh produce at the Park Ridge Farmer’s Market

Visited Buckingham Fountain

Took in the scenery downtown during lunch time runs

Cooked out with friends

Vacationed in Lake Geneva, WI, and Orange Beach, AL

Joined a book club

Enjoyed a couple of picnics

Spent a couple of evenings on the porch swing with the hubs

Knowing my memory, I’m sure I have forgotten something, but it’s been a busy summer! And I have at least 2 more events on the agenda: a nighttime airplane tour of Chicago and a visit to the Skokie driving range. Then, the hibernation begins! Farewell, Summer!

What fun things did you do this summer?

Focusing Your Writing

August 20, 2011

Hello, Blogger World. It’s been awhile. I hope you’ll forgive me. I needed time to think about some things, like: What is it that I want my blog to accomplish? What things am I really passionate about? Do I want to be a writer?

Imagine me sitting with a rose, peeling off petals.

  • I write
  • I write not
  • I write
  • I write not
  • I write

During my time off, I have set new personal goals for me and the hubs. I’ve been on vacation in the lovely Orange Beach, AL. I’ve been busy with my professional commitments. I’ve been happy go lucky. I’ve been down in the dumps. I’ve lost family on my husband’s side. I’ve met new people and joined a local book club.

I think I’ve done just about everything except clean my house…

And this is what I think that means: I am a writer!

But I’ve also decided that maybe I’m not the writer that people expect. I don’t really want to write fiction – at least not at this point in my life. I can look at someone on the train and make up a story about them in a heartbeat (it’s the Southern in me), but I don’t feel passionate about writing those stories down.

Instead, I feel like I am a non-fiction writer through and through. I want to serve others. I want to offer something that will improve someone’s life. When I look back on my life, I realize every job I’ve had – whether I realized it or not – was providing a service in some way. It was meant to improve someone else’s life.

One minor exception: retail. But who hasn’t done a stint in retail?

So, I’m going to focus my writing. I have some ideas up my sleeve; literally, they’re written on my arm (just kidding, Mom). So stay tuned. This writer’s life is just beginning.

How do you focus your writing?

A Time to Sell

July 19, 2011

Have you ever tried to sell something that you absolutely loved? It’s bittersweet really. My townhouse in Alabama is on the market and has been for quite some time. I love that house. It was my home. The cozy 2 bedroom, 2 bath place served me well for the years I spent in it. My master bedroom was enormous – at least to me – with room for a king size bed if I had wanted. I had it set up with a queen size bed with a sleek black comforter, white shams, and zebra print blanket. I had a walk-in closet full of clothes, shoes, and bags that puts my current 1920s bungalow-sized closet to shame (no offense, Hubs). The attached bath and linen closet provided more than enough room for my super soft pink towels and bath salts. And that was just bedroom 1!

From the minute I walked in, the whole house knocked my socks off. It was deceptively large, had a decent sized yard, and was in an extremely safe area. I was in love.

The problem?

Then, I fell in love.

With my husband.

In Chicago.

I had to leave my perfect home!

And it was worth it.

But now, it’s still on the market in Alabama, and it’s time to sell.

Everyone has been talking about how tough the market is right now. I’ve heard it compared to the market during the Great Depression. It’s sad really because low prices should make it a buyer’s market…so why aren’t people buying?

I don’t have the answer to that.

But since it’s time to sell, my husband, realtor, and I (we’re quite the team) have developed a sales plan for the place, and we’re looking for other ideas!

What strategies have you used to sell a house in this market?

What words of advice do you have to offer?

Say a prayer and spread the word – It’s Time to Sell!

Find the house here.

Book Title: Talent is Never Enough
Author: John C. Maxwell

Book Review:

John Maxwell is the leader of leaders, literally. He is one of the predominant experts on leadership. I just finished his book Talent is Never Enough. Here’s my reaction:

It left me encouraged and driven. We all have talents. We all have dreams. But sometimes we forget that we are responsible for achieving our goals. What’s more than that – the choices we make every day will help us or prevent us from achieving those goals. Maxwell’s book takes you through 13 choices – that’s 13 things you can do to maximize your talent.

If you need some direction for your dream-filled life, this book may be what you need to guide you.  If you’re trying to achieve your goals but find yourself struggling, this book may lift you up. If you need a little kick in the caboose, this book may have boots.

Have you read Talent is Never Enough by John Maxwell? What did you think?

Note: This review expresses my personal opinion about John C. Maxwell’s Talent is Never Enough. I was not paid for this review.

Get Inspired

July 10, 2011

I don’t know about you, but I need to get inspired. The problem is, a word that rhymes with inspired is usually a better descriptor of me…tired!  I’m busy. I work a lot. I get home from work and cook dinner, eat dinner, make lunches, take a shower, and go to bed so my day can start over in less than 8 hours. I have so many ideas that shoot across my mind each day, but I don’t always have the time to bring life to them.

I’ve read that writers should write in the mornings. You should know, if you don’t already, that I’m NOT a morning person. I will convince myself in the mornings that there is no one else in the entire world awake, and therefore, I should not be awake either. Nevermind that hubs is already at work. I am very good at ignoring that fact. :)

So, write at night, you say. The thing is, I’m not really a night person either. I’m tired at night, and I want to sleep!

You may be assuming at this point that I fill my evenings with television, games, or reading, but if you are, you’d be wrong. I rarely watch t.v. I have one show that I’m keeping up with right now, and I have to record it just to see it every week. I’m not much of a gamer, and I do all of my reading during my 1 hour commute to and from work.

I’m really just. that. busy.

And tired.

So I’m reaching out to y’all (that’s southern for you guys) for inspiration.

What do you do to motivate yourself? What plans have you made or goals have you set to make sure you achieve your dreams? How do you get inspired?

You should know – just because it may be humorous to those of you who know me - I’m multitasking at the moment, and I may or may not be blogging in an apron. But it’s okay. I’m southern.

Tastes of the Taste

July 5, 2011

This weekend I went to the Taste of Chicago for the first time. It’s one of those things that everyone says you have to do once…and then, you never feel the need to go back again! So, this weekend, I decided was my one time at the Taste.

And it was great! And crowded. And hot. But great!

I started round 1 with a taste portion of mac and cheese bites from Cubby Bear. (Note: a taste portion just means small.) Round 2 consisted of stuffed sausage pizza from Bacino’s. Delish! Round 3 was a beignet from a restaurant that I can’t quite recall its name. Oops. And round 4 – a little out of order because it probably should have come before the beignet – was chips and guacamole from another restaurant that also doesn’t have a name in my mind.

This is what I liked about the Taste. I can’t think of any other place where I could have the “tastes” of the city and actually get tastes of the world. From Italian to Mexican to French to American, we have it all in Chicago. And it’s all delicious!

I had just woken up to the rolling thunder and the snap of a tree branch outside when the phone rang. I rolled over and glanced at the clock beside my bed. It was 3 minutes after midnight.

I know where this prompt is going because it is part of what I’m writing, but where would you take it?

  • Who is the “I” in this prompt?
  • Who was calling?
  • Why was someone calling at midnight?
  • What happened next?
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