This is a two month check-in for March and April. It’s a little different than my monthly report but I was so busy that I needed to cram two months together.
My beautiful niece-in-law Kylie asked me to be a part of a surprise 30th birthday trip for her husband (my nephew) Joey. I joined the couple, sister Jenny and the parents in Key West, Florida for a wonderful winter respite. Boots off, sandals on! It was the perfect break from Chicago’s relentless cold. My favorite part of the trip was spending four hours on the ocean ‘fishing.’ I never baited a hook or cast a line but I sure loved speeding across the beautiful turquoise water. The trip was a bounty of tasty meals, spectacular sunsets and ongoing laughter.
I also ventured back to Michigan/Indiana twice. Once I made the journey for my beautiful niece Abby’s visit from LA. I schlepped her to the lake and stayed for a few days that included an impromptu dinner with 75% of our clan. And a couple weeks later, I returned for my Aunt Laura and her husband Tom’s stopover. Laura and Tom were moving from California to Connecticut to live closer to their adorable grandbaby Lucas. I had dinner with them, the parents and sister Jenny.
Besides all the traveling, I used these two months for a bunch a little stuff that becomes a big ole heap. I deep cleaned my condo. I purged and scrubbed it down. I donated boxes of clothing and took my 2000-2011 taxes to the local community shredding event. I also had my annual physicals: blood levels, pap smear and mammogram. The annoying yet necessary trifecta of ensuring I’m in optimal health.
Along with all those chores, I went through the process for Global Entry, TSA pre-check for traveling. It’s something I wanted to do but never had time. The application procedure includes finger prints and an interview at the customs office. I also got to go to the press conference and opening of the new HAMILTON: The Exhibition debuting in Chicago. I took pictures of Lin Manual Miranda, Al Roker and some of the cast of “Hamilton.”
I also had my regular stuff going on…
Serving = 21 shifts! That includes back to back doubles, a quadruple! I continue to be blessed to have this source of revenue along with my savings to fund my career transition. And here’s how I know my Key West trip was beneficial to my overall psyche. I flew back Saturday to work the Sunday brunch shift. I received FIVE tips between 30-40%! I was giving off a post-vacation afterglow delightfulness that inspired folks to be generous.
Job Search = 29 applications, interviews and networking It’s been 2 busy months. Besides applying and interviewing for positions, I’ve had several conversations on specific jobs and my career in general. Over drinks, lunch, coffee or a desk, I’ve sought the wisdom of good friends, acquaintances, friends of friends. I continually reach out for input that is helping shape this journey. Each encounter minimally opens my eyes to a notion that I hadn’t considered. And overall, every exchange broadens my life perspective.
Workout with Josh = 16 times! I credit my resilient body, Josh and Advil that I am able to work back to back doubles. He pushes me firmly and gently to get stronger. As I practice nurturing my aching joints, I simultaneously challenge myself to squat a little lower, lift a little heavier and stretch a little deeper. The workouts bring together my mind-body-spirit connection in an empowering way. And I even impressed my dad by assisting him in his annual mulch project, I shlepped 22 (40lb.) bags of mulch. Bam!
Yoga = 4 classes and a meditation class! In yoga, we practice not being judgmental. Still, 4 classes in two months? That’s not best! Partially, it’s because of scheduling. My two favorite classes are on Tuesday and Wednesday at noon. When I’ve been in town, I’ve had a lot of lunches, interviews and/or networking around this time period. It’s not an excuse. And I’m trying not to judge myself. I need to make space in my life for yoga.
I did take a meditation class with Jane. I’ve been meditating – almost daily – since my yoga retreat last fall. I use the Insight Timer app, reiki, and a daily prayer book to develop a 20-30 minute meditation session. Jane gave me other ideas and resources to broaden my practice, including; candles and beads. I’m going to try some of her suggestions this month.
*5 documentaries! I watched Brene Brown’s “The Call to Courage”. It was a perfect companion piece to listening to her “Dare to Lead” book. Brown is all about living authentically by choosing courage over comfort. I also saw “Why are we getting so fat?” It’s a documentary where a Cambridge geneticist dispels misconceptions about people living with obesity. It was an interesting look at the genetics behind weight issues. There was a fecal experiment that was amazing and alarming. I also watched a documentary on “Cleopatra” and two of Conan’s travelogues to Cuba and Korea.
*2.5 books! I completed two and half books.
I finally finished Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser a comprehensive look at the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House series. Fraser not only gives a factual overview of Wilder’s life but also her daughter Rose Wilder Lane’s. It was fascinating to consider Wilder as a child rode in a covered wagon and as an elderly lady flew in a plane. Both mother and daughter were politically active, conservatives and authors. Lane was more vocal and a bit of a blowhard. She regularly blurred fact and fiction. This practice led to controversy surrounding the Little House series. The book is an American examination spanning 100 years, 1880-1980’s. It is dull and captivating simultaneously!
I listened to Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead book. Brown preaches honesty and vulnerability as the best leadership skills. She cites plenty of examples about how her success is based on knowing her own truth and work habits. The book is part motivation and part ‘how to’ and very inspirational.
I’m almost done listening to Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime. Noah is a well-known comedian and current host of “The Daily Show.” He shares growing up in Africa as a mixed race child raised by a single mother. His stories are marveling especially knowing Noah is now successful and rich. He grew up in poverty, oppression and apartheid. He credits his mother as a formidable force in his life. And bonus on the audio book, Noah is the narrator. Trevor Noah’s childhood recollection would make a powerful movie.
Theatre Reviews = 15 reviews! I saw and reviewed “Act(s) of God” (Lookingglass Theatre), “Doubt” (Gift Theatre), “Dutchmasters” (Jackalope Theatre), “Little Shop of Horrors” (Mercury Theatre), “The Choir of Man” (Broadway Playhouse), “Bronx Tale” (Broadway in Chicago), “Anastasia” (Broadway in Chicago), Othello” (Babes with Blades), “Hamlet” (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), “Admissions” (Theater Wit), “A Chorus Line” (Porchlight Music Theatre), “Pinocchio” (House Theatre), “Poseidon: An Upside Down Musical” (Hell in a Handbag), “Hand on a Hard Body” (Refuge Theatre), and “Best for Winter” (Idle Muse Theatre).
Journaling = 20 entries! I continue to chronicle this journey in my third book, “Unexpected Changes.”
Playing = YES!
I continue to be blessed with a strong community. In Key West, I had many meals with Kylie, Joey, the parents and Jenny. In Indiana/Michigan, I had a family dinner with both the Eitlers, Simons (sans Kylie), parents and Jenny then with Aunt Laura, Tom, parents and Jenny. In Chicago, I had coffee with Collin and Michelle D. I had lunch with KLW, Peter, Bill (five times), Jenny/Abby/Taylor, Collin, Gwen, Jeffrey and Maureen. I had drinks with Paula and Jenny/Abby/Taylor. I had dinner with Jenny/Abby/Taylor, Josh (twice), Bilger (three times), Collin, Steve/Mike/Bill/Roger, Bill (three times), James, Ellen, Bill/Scubi/Ellen, Steve/Bill, and Rick. Tom and I did dinner and a movie and screened Emilio Estevez’s new movie “The Public”. And I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with Bill & Roger at Chief O’Neill’s and Persian New Year at Maryam and Keith’s house.
And I still found time to do my patriotic duty and vote in the Chicago mayoral race, do my taxes and eat a bunch of jelly beans. Plus, I finished my winter project of re-watching all 67 GOT episodes before Game of Thrones debuted their 8th season. And I took myself to “Captain Marvel” in preparation for seeing The Avenger’s “Endgame”.
I continue to learn and live in this transitional time. One of my resonating meditations last month was one that said to: let go, let be, let in. It’s a powerful mantra for the journey.