Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Chicago Trip

Mr. E and I recently spent some time together in Chicago visiting with his parents and running the BTN 5K race, which we did for the first time last year.

Friday, July 20-Monday, July 24
Mr. E actually headed to Chicago on Thursday, July 19th, but I stayed in Sac one more day before joining him in the Midwest. He picked up our race packets at Fleet Feet on Thursday, which was very helpful. My direct flight on American was uneventful right up until we landed, when heavy thunderstorms and lightning blew into the area. We landed just in time to avoid getting stuck in airport ground crew closures due to a nearby lighting strike -- phew! Given the nasty weather, we took a taxi into the city and caught a glimpse of a full rainbow half-arc on the way as the rain started to taper off and the sun emerged. After dropping off my bag in the apartment, we trotted off to Mariano's to pick up dinner items to bring back to the apartment for ourselves and Mr. E's parents.

On Saturday, I started off the morning with an hour swim in the awesome pool that's part of the 7th floor Fitness Center, and we grabbed a taxi to head north to the Chicago History Museum. Neither of us had been there before, and I had read about a fashion exhibit currently on display at the Museum in my France-Amérique magazine. We both enjoyed the Making Mainbocher exhibition as well as the extensive information detailing the fascinating history of the city of Chicago. Mr. E had a snack at the Museum Café -- a classic Chicago Dog with homemade chips:

We then walked a couple of blocks to find some Divvy bikes and pedaled our way back south along State Street to a Divvy station near Millennium Park, as I wanted to get some froyo at the underground station. A combo of dairy-free coconut and pineapple -- yum! Mr. E worked out in the afternoon while I found a cozy spot to read, and we then met up with M, R, and MK at the London House roof-top bar. The outdoor terrace was a bit too warm and sunny for me, so we managed to find a bit of shade to linger in before heading down one level to the indoor lounge for additional drinks and snacks. When we departed, R and I made a detour to Dylan's Candy Bar on Michigan Ave for some sweets and then met up with Mr. E, M, and MK just around the corner at Howell's & Hood for more snacks and drinks, including the awesome Shark Week themed Shore Thing cocktail for me, which came with a shark accent and red vines straw and with some of the proceeds going to support the Shedd Aquarium:

Sunday morning was warmer and more humid -- not ideal conditions for our run! We had already decided to run separately, since Mr. E had a time goal in mind and is definitely faster than I am. He ended up placing 5th in his age group and was pleased with his time. We met up at the UW alumni tent at the end, and he took advantage of the free beer and brats while I went back to his parents' building and swam for about 30 minutes to help cool down and stretch out. Coincidentally, my mentee R, who currently lives and works in D.C. but is originally from the Chicago area, was also in Chicago for the weekend for a friend's bridal shower and bachelorette party, so we were able to coordinate our schedules to meet for late morning coffee at one of the many Starbucks on Michigan Ave. I then caught up with Mr. E and M at the AMC Dine-In Theatre just a block away, where we watched the expensive new Luc Besson production, "Valerian." The effects were pretty spectacular, but the storyline was rather predictable, and the love story in particular between the lead characters Valerian and Laureline felt incredibly trite and forced. After the movie, we went across the street to Eataly for late-afternoon drinks and then walked back to the apartment, passing by the innovative and interesting female-architect designed Aqua building. Mr. E had taken a great photo of it from the underside during his earlier walk:

From this angle, it doesn't even look like a building! All of the sinewy patterns are a result of the staggered and differently shaped balconies that crawl up the sides of the building, making it look like a wave (hence the name -- Aqua). We enjoyed a yummy homemade shrimp spring roll and chicken pho dinner with M and Mr. E's parents at the apartment. M left after we ate, so Mr. E and I had some additional conversation time alone with his parents.

On Monday, Mr. E's mom left early for work, as she's teaching two courses for the summer session at the School of the Art Institute through mid-August. I did a final swim preceded by some yoga, and we had breakfast with Mr. E's dad before going to the Art Institute to view the Gaughin: Artist as Alchemist exhibition, which had also been featured in France-Amérique. Thanks to the Family Pass from Mr. E's mom, entry to both the museum and the special exhibit was free! We finished up some leftovers back at the apartment for lunch and chatted a bit with Mr. E's dad before he left for a clinic appointment. Before heading off to the train for the airport, we did some travel planning for upcoming trips and then walked to the Metra station to catch the Blue Line to O'Hare. Mr. E walked me to Terminal 3 for my American flight and then went off to Terminal 1 for his United flight. We checked in with each other during his layover in Denver, which coincided with my arrival in Sac (yay for direct flights!), and I fetched Odo from the daily parking lot and drove home, where the kitties greeted me with meows and purrs and fur. By the time Mr. E got home near midnight, the felines and I were all in bed!


Belated Travel Updates -- J Family Trips

Friday, June 30-Sunday, July 2: Lakewood
On my way back east for my annual 4th of July week visit to Mom, I stopped off for a long weekend in Lakewood, CO, to hang out with my girl A. R and F were off on their own adventure in Kentucky for about a week, so A and I got to have some in-depth girls-only time together to chat and catch up.

We took advantage of the sunny and relatively cool weather on Friday to go for a hike and then focused on indoor (air-conditioned) activities on Saturday and Sunday, which were both warmer and more humid. Yuck! Not my favorite!

During the weekend, we hit up Ikea for breakfast and a bit of shopping (note to self: bulk candy display apparently doesn't get refilled until later in the day - darn!), did prep for several "freezer meals" that will be easy to pull out and cook when the new baby arrives, put together the crib and new changing table, assembled a new lamp, decorated the back of F's door with an animal growth chart decal, played several games, and put together an entire puzzle in one evening. Oh - we also went to the Alamo Drafthouse to see "The Beguiled." Neither of us was blown away by the movie, despite the great cast and positive critical reviews, but we definitely enjoyed the fresh popcorn and veggie pizza. And my cocktail was also quite tasty!

It was great to have some quality time for just the two of us, and I'm looking forward to a return trip around Halloween to help celebrate the holiday and meet the new family member, who is due to arrive within the next few weeks.

Monday, July 3-Monday, July 10: Marshfield
My flight from Denver landed in Boston in the early morning hours of Monday, July 3rd. The drive to Mom's was pretty quick at that time of day, and I did minimal unpacking before going to bed. This visit was relatively quiet and mostly restful. A few doctor's visits for both Mom and me, but luckily we managed to fit them all in even with the July 4th holiday.

We finished Mom's entire project list, including some computer work and some house chores, so the week was also quite productive. And we even got some beach time early in the week before the tide schedule got a bit tricky and prior to the heavy rainstorm on Friday.

Mom and I both worked on Wednesday & Thursday, and Mr. E arrived on Thursday afternoon for the weekend. He had been in Chicago visiting with his family since Saturday. I was also able to meet up with my high school pal, E, for lunch on Thursday, and we had our traditional lobster dinner with Aunt M & Uncle J on Saturday evening, since Mr. E left mid-afternoon on Sunday.

Mr. E and I took advantage of the very rainy weather on Friday to catch "Wonder Woman." We initially attempted to see the show at the Patriot Cinemas in Hanover, but the rain and an accident on Route 3 delayed us by nearly 25 minutes, so we were too late for the show time we wanted. Instead, we grabbed lunch at a nearby D'Angelo's and then headed south to the Kingston Mall to see the movie later in the afternoon. I'd definitely rate "Wonder Woman" more highly than "The Beguiled" that I saw with A!

Throughout the week, I headed several times to the Percy Walker Pool in Duxbury to swim laps and also went to multiple Zumba classes at The Workout Club, which is always one of my favorite activities when visiting Marshfield since the CAC here in Sac no longer offers Zumba as part of the Group Fitness programming.

My return flight on Monday was direct from Boston to Sac on Jet Blue, and I was lucky enough to have a middle seat empty next to me, just as I had had during my Southwest flight from Denver the week before. Mr. E and the kitties welcomed me home, and we all settled back into our regular routines for the week.