Category: Academics

Academics: majors and classes at UIC.

Where did my summer go?

I have less than a month of my summer left.  What the heck happened?  The polar vortex is back.  Seriously?  I’ve worked my butt off for two months.  Where is the money to show for it?  Oy.

The Competitive Foot closed.  It was a very, VERY exhausting week not only for the store’s emotional closure, but also because I was working about 60 hours with no day off and I was physically exhausted.  I had some long, LONG days.  I celebrated with co-workers for the success we shared and the good times we had together.

On August 18, I officially unofficially start student teaching.  I have to be at school and go to meetings and whatnot, but the kids don’t come until the 25th.  THEN I officially officially start student teaching.  I’m very excited and super nervous.  The good thing is that my mentor teacher and I are both new to the school so it will be a learning experience for both of us.

Three weeks of summer left.  Where does the time go?

Last weekend, my cousin, my aunt, her friend, and I went to see Blake Shelton at Wrigley field.  Even though I am a SOX Fan….Let me repeat….SOX Fan, it was very cool.  We had rooftop seats and I had never been on a rooftop before.  I think they purposely put the stage where we couldn’t see it, but we heard it and it was still awesome.  The weather was perfect, too.

It wasn’t long before I noticed some people that I knew down below on the last section of the bleachers.  It looked very VIP and I saw a familiar face.  I squinted down and stared realizing, “OMG that’s Jonathon Toews!!!”  Word traveled from rooftop to rooftop all on my discovery.  It ended up being the entire team.  Bryan Bickell waved to me.  I saw all the new guys as well.  It ended up being an extra show to watch. 

We were on Twitter looking to see if they were saying anything about being at Wrigley, and sure enough…the word was getting out and they started posting pictures and statuses.

It was very cool to see them out having a good time after working so hard during the season.  Don’t have too much fun boys! We have a cup to win this year!!

As for the next month, I’ll be working, seeing Jake Owen at the Illinois State Fair (yeah…I didn’t know we had a state fair either), planning a weekend getaway with my boyfriend to Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, MI, seeing Luke Bryan at Soldier Field, the Chicago Jazz Fest, and then mid-September going back to Wrigley to see Zack Brown Band.  A lot of country music.  This is actually the FIRST year I won’t be going to Lollapalooza. Sigh. There’s always next year.

In the meantime, I am going to enjoy the rest of the summer because you can’t get a better summer than a summer in Chicago! <3

Medieval Times

My boyfriend and I are really bad at surprises. One of us usually figures it out or decides to buy whatever it is, unknowingly, when the other already purchased it as a gift.  It’s an ongoing joke.  So, I was going to try my hardest to keep the secret that I bought tickets to Medieval Times.  Every time we happen to pass by, he mentioned that he’d like to go and hadn’t been since his golden birthday when he was 8 years old.  The last time I was there was when I was in 4th grade for a field trip.  I remember thinking, “we have to eat with our HANDS and drink the soup from the BOWL?” All the girls were grossed out.  And I also remember hoping that I got a rose from our knight. I guess things don’t change over an 18 year period. Anyways, I purchased the “celebration package” about a month ago which included VIP seating, a photo, an announcement during the tournament (A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO LORD KYLE!! —said in an English accent), and cake. What else do you need? He was a bit concerned I was going to make him dress up for the photo.  As much as I would have liked to ;) I couldn’t do that to him.

To keep my secret, I only told a few people and I told him I was taking him to Shaw’s Crab House in Schaumburg for lunch.  We had been there once before and they were within minutes of each other so I thought it was a good alibi.  I freaked out a little bit when he offered to put the address in his phone for GPS.  I snapped, “JUST LET ME PUT IT IN MY PHONE, OKAY KYLE? GEEZ!”  I thought for sure he would put two and two together.  Luckily for me, he was too busy waiting for Carmello Anthony’s big announcement (and a bit annoyed with me for my crazy coming out) to look up from his phone.

When we pulled in the parking lot, he looked up from his phone completely confused.  I said, “So, by the way, we’re not going to Shaws, WE’RE GOING TO MEDIEVAL TIMES!”  He said, “Wait, what? What’s going on?”  “Umm hello!! We’re going to THE CASTLE…”  He was surprised and I was proud I was able to keep it a surprise.

We were in the red section with the red knight and NO :( I didn’t get a rose this time EITHER!  The food was great, and the show was even better.  We had a great time!

Before the show, you can sign up to have someone knighted.  Since Kyle expressed to me SINCERELY that he DID NOT want to be knighted and embarrassed, we watched from afar.  It was so cute seeing all of the little kids (and more adults than I expected) kneel before the king.

                                                       The red knight won!!

We had such a good time.  I would definitely go again and I’m glad he enjoyed his birthday surprise.


Support for our farmers

The agriculture industry.  It’s a tough one.  Especially if you’re a farmer and most especially if you’re a farmer who wants to grow organically without chemicals and agents.  In this day and age, almost everything we eat is loaded with chemicals and processed so much, it shouldn’t even be edible.  Ever wonder why workers who are spraying pesticides on fruits and vegetables have to wear masks?  It’s because what they are spraying is so toxic, they can get really ill if they breathe it in.  Except….we’re eating that food that’s being sprayed and there is an enormous company trying to force farmers to do it.

Another thing that scares me is the way animals are treated on “farms.”  Many huge companies that you may get your meat from have “farm fresh” stamped on their product.  The problem with that is most people don’t know that “farm fresh” means literally nothing.  Many of the cows, chickens, pigs, and even fish are cramped together in unlivable environments and are pumped with steroids to make them bigger and given antibiotics to keep them from getting sick from standing in their own filth.  Those things they are given, obviously are still in them when we eat them. Not to mention they are fed things that shouldn’t be in their diet, like corn and meat from other animals rather than grass.

I chose to write this week about supporting farmer’s markets.  There are many small farmers that are trying to make their products as natural and organic as possible but are being sued, frightened and bullied into following policies of bigwigs that don’t want them to succeed.  For more information about this, I encourage you to watch two documentaries: Food, Inc. and Farmageddon.

After watching those two documentaries, I have been interested in going to local farmer’s markets and giving them my business.  I went to one last week in Elmhurst and loved it.  I bought basil, mozzarella cheese, balsamic vinagrette, tomatoes and bread and I made myself the most AMAZING sandwich.  It was all so fresh and I felt good supporting these small farmers who care about the product they produce.

Here is a list of local Chicago farmer’s markets (or go to Illinois farmers markets for suburbs)

Division Street

May 10-October 25, 2014

Division & Dearborn

On Division between State & Clark

Every Saturday

7 am-1 pm

This market accepts the LINK card.

Lincoln Park

May 10-October 25, 2014

Armitage & Orchard

Lincoln Park High School Parking Lot

Every Saturday

7 am-1 pm


May 11-October 26, 2014

95th & Longwood

Every Sunday

7 am-1 pm

This market accepts the LINK card.

Lincoln Square 

June 3-October 29, 2014

Lincoln/Leland/Western (City Parking Lot adjacent to Brown Line Station)

Every Tuesday

7 am-1 pm

This market accepts the LINK card.

Hyde Park 

June 5-October 30, 2014

53rd Street & Hyde Park Blvd. (Harold Washington Park)

Every Thursday

7 am-1 pm

This market accepts the LINK card.

Fulton Market Pop-Up (New)

June 10, 2014

Fulton St. (btwn. Peoria & Green)

4-8 pm


June 14-October 25, 2014

Belle Plaine/Damen/Lincoln

Every Saturday

7 am-1 pm

Bridgeport Art Center

June 21-October 4, 2014

1200 W. 35th St.

Every Saturday

7 am-1 pm

Printers Row 

June 21-October 25, 2014

Dearborn & Polk (Printers Row Park)

Every Saturday

7 am-1 pm

Southport Market 

June 21-October 25, 2014

Blaine School, 1420 W. Grace

Every Saturday

8 am-2 pm

Garfield Park Conservatory

June 22-October 26, 2014

300 N. Central Park Ave.

Every Sunday

11 am-4 pm

This market accepts the LINK card.

South Shore-Rainbow Beach Park

June 22-August 24, 2014

79th St. & South Shore Dr.

Every Sunday

12 Noon-5 pm

This market accepts the LINK card.

Columbus Park

June 24-October 28, 2014

Harrison & Central

Every Tuesday

2-7 pm

This market accepts the LINK card.

La Follette Park

June 25-October 29, 2014

1333 N. Laramie

Every Wednesday

2-7 pm

This market accepts the LINK card.

Austin Town Hall

June 26-October 30, 2014

Lake & Central

Every Thursday

2-7 pm

This market accepts the LINK card.

Englewood/Anchor House (New)

June 28-October 25, 2014

76th & Racine

Every Saturday

8 am-1 pm

This market accepts the LINK card.

West Humboldt Park

June 28-October 25, 2014

3601 W. Chicago (NHS Parking lot)

Every Saturday

10 am-2 pm

This market accepts the LINK card.

Union Park Community Market (New)

July 8-September 9, 2014

Ogden & Washington

Every Tuesday

4-8 pm


July 9-October 29, 2014

111th & Cottage Grove (In Arcade Park)

Every Wednesday

7 am-1 pm

This market accepts the LINK card.

Devon Community Night Market (New)

July 9-September 10, 2014

2720 W. Devon St. (Republic Bank Parking Lot)

Every Wednesday

4-8 pm

Ford City Mall (New)

July 9-October 29, 2014

7601 S. Cicero Ave.

Every Wednesday

8 am – 1 pm

This market accepts the LINK card.

Argyle Night Market

July 10-September 4, 2014

Argyle & Sheridan Rd.

Every Thursday

5-9 pm

July 4th crafts

During the summer, the older boys I nanny usually take part in several camps.  Baseball camp, Lego camp, Golf camp.  Whatever it is, it makes things a bit easier on me.  When they hang around the house with nothing to do, one or more of these things can happen: 1) they have friends over (which usually I don’t mind but sometimes I can get overwhelmed with 6 boys running around the house); 2) one of them will go to a friend’s house and relieve me and the other brother of constant fighting; 3) mass chaos of children running around the house in circles, throwing pillows at each other, while they faintly hear my voice yelling to “be careful!!” or “settle down,” neither of which are fully heard; OR 4) they will actually behave and we can do fun things together (which almost never happens).  So, they have stuff to do and places to go.  Woohoo!

However, last week their camps only ran for 2 1/2 hours in the morning.  So, I knew I had to come up with SOMETHING to do.  PINTEREST TO THE RESCUE!  I found this cute idea of making T-shirts with their handprints as part of the American flag.  Done and done.

I went to Micheal’s crafts and knew I could find some inexpensive T-shirts. After finding the right sizes for the boys and me, I searched for fabric paint that would easily come off of their skin since they had to smear their hand in blue paint.  I came across this brand called Tulip.  I’m sure there are other brands to use but this seemed to be exactly what I was looking for.  I also bought a small black, fine tip, fabric paint marker so they could put their names and the date on the back.

When I picked them up from camp that day, they were so excited to start the shirts.  Phew! Sometimes when I plan things, they are all about it in the beginning and then change their mind later after I have gone through all of the work of getting the things together.  Although, video games were way at the top of their list of priorities so I ended up doing mine first as an example.

They loved doing it.  There’s something about getting your hands dirty.  We let them sit and dry for a day and then returned to them to finish the back of the shirts with our names and July 4, 2014.

I thought this was a great idea for them to do and a special memento because I may not be their nanny much longer due to me embarking on my student teaching in the fall.

My favorite things

Last year I wrote one week about my favorite things. You know, like Oprah did on her show that you wished you could have gotten tickets for since she always gave her audience what she presented.  Just like that…except without free stuff ;).   We all have our favorite things whether they’re cosmetics, clothing, shoes, places or people.  Without further ado, here is my new list of favorites.

#10 The “Happy” music video. This song actually really does make me happy.  And the more I learned about Pharell, the more I started liking him.  The song and video unleashed an enormous trend of groups of people making their own video of people dancing.  Did you know there is a Youtube video of the song that plays over and over for 24 hours?  24 hours of Happy.  Every hour is a different person dancing.  But more than just a great song and video, it has a great message.  Sometimes, I think we tend to focus on the negative things going on in our lives instead of being happy about the positive things.  Guilty! Here’s to being happy about the good things in life and not letting the bad things take over.

#9 Women’s Brooks Adrenaline.  Over the many years of being in the running industry, I have tried many different running shoes.  I used to wear the Asics Kayano, which I still love but I couldn’t get them.  Not to mention they are about $150 now.  So, I tried the Brooks Adrenaline and wow…I couldn’t believe I have been selling this shoe for so long and never really gave it a try myself.  It’s supportive, lightweight, and cushioned.  It’s a great stability shoe that has been one of the top sellers in Runner’s World magazine for years. The price point is better at about $120, and just like the Asics Kayano, I feel like I’m running on air.  I always say “Running is hard. It can be uncomfortable.  So, invest in the products that make you comfortable, (and for the sake of tying things in here), invest in the products that make you happy. :)

#8 Riley’s Gathering Place in Elmhurst.  I have been a regular at Riley’s for a couple years.  It’s owned by the Riley brothers and definitely is a great neighborhood bar.  Many of the patrons are, in fact, neighbors and friends.  Whenever you go, they always make you feel part of the neighborhood.  Wednesdays are Trivia nights, Fridays they have a Fish Fry, and Saturday is, of course my favorite, karaoke.  The always make you feel comfortable and cheer you on for singing your heart out.  Many of the waitresses are now good friends. No wonder I keep having my birthday party there.

#7 No7 Quick Thinking Wipes.  I came across the No7 brand while browsing the Target cosmetics department.  The target cosmetics department is kind of like a black hole.  Once you get in, you cannot get out without a cart full of nail polish, makeup, and hair products that you don’t need.  In this case, however, I was looking to refill my usual makeup remover wipes.  I like using them before I wash my face because sometimes, face wash doesn’t get all the makeup off.  And there is nothing worse to me than going to bed with an unwashed face.  I took a gander at the No7 brand and decided to give it a try.  The No7 Quick Thinking wipes are a little more expensive compared to something like the Pond’s makeup remover wipes, but I do like them better.  They have an entire line of skin care products that I would love to try once I get rich.  But for now, I’ll stick to the Quick Thinking Wipes.

#6 Gogroove Bluetooth system.  I have a 2006 Honda Accord.  Great car, except for the fact that there is no Auxiliary port OR (heaven forbid) a tape deck.  There was no way I could play music from my phone or Ipod, until now.  I have to give my boyfriend the credit for this one because he was the one who found it.  It plugs into the lighter and you set it on a station that is clear, as you would with any bluetooth system, and it comes out so clear with no or very little static.  It also has a feature that allows you to switch from the music to answering a phone call without touching your phone.  You simply press the phone button and the microphone turns on and its a great hands-free way to talk on the phone while your driving.  I love it.

#5 Express (Minus the leather) Jacket.  I absolutely love this jacket.  I had been wanting this jacket for so long but it costs a pretty penny, like many of the things at Express.  Every single time I went there, I would try it on and try…JUST TRY to justify paying for it.  I always left without it.  But if you have the chance to take advantage of their sales, you can usually get away with some cute stuff without giving an arm and a leg in return.  This jacket is cute and goes with pretty much anything.  The pockets have zippers as do the sleeves.  My boyfriend got it for me for my birthday (because he is AMAZING!) and I get compliments every time I wear it.

#4 365 Unrefined Organic Coconut Oil. The first time I heard about coconut oil was last summer when my brother’s girlfriend suggested I try it as a tanning oil.  She used it for tanning and said it did wonders.  So, this year I went to Whole Foods and got some of my own.  There is actually an entire list of things you can do with coconut oil.  I use it for moisturizer, tanning oil, and it can be used for bug repellant, too! I’ve been using it for a couple weeks and can tell the different in my skin.  #3 Hunter Boots. A couple months ago, I was on the hunt for rain boots.  I tried a bunch on at DSW and Target and could not find a pair that looked good, felt good and wasn’t insanely expensive.  Well, I gave up the search and kind of talked myself out of looking due to it not really being in my budget.  I have seen people wearing them and every single time would think “Hunter boots!! I want some!!!!”  Well, I ended up getting a pair for my birthday (once again from my amazing boyfriend).  I tried them on….and  They were comfortable AND super cute!  They can be used as winter boots too because they also make boot liners!  I am indeed a lucky girl.  I can’t wait to wear them in the rain.

#2 Sam Smith. Sam Smith is a guy who just came into the music scene recently.  The first song he came out with was “Stay with me,” and I immediately loved it.  I have to admit, I don’t know much about him but his voice is just absolutely amazing.  I’m always interested in artists who have a different sound.  And he definitely has a uniqueness to him.  I know when I really like something, it gets it’s own Pandora station on my phone.  The other day, I saw a video of him doing a cover of Whitney Houston’s “How do I know.”  It blew me away. I would definitely recommend checking him out.

#1 David Sedaris. After finishing all the Gillian Flynn novels in a week, I needed a new book or series to get tied into.  A co-worker suggested “Me talk pretty one day.” As she was telling me one of the stories in the book, she could not contain her laughter just thinking back to how funny it was.  I decided to go to my neighborhood book store, The Book Table, and get it.  I ended up getting two.  “Me talk pretty one day” is so funny.  I have not laughed out loud at a book since I read “Good In Bed” by Jennifer Weiner (which I would also recommend reading).  The way he humorously describes his life makes it easy to relate to with everything from your life, love and family…..and all the awkwardness that comes with them.  I haven’t finished it yet, but once I do I will read the second book I bought called “When you are engulfed in flames.”


So, there you have it…these are my favorite things. <3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3

the Competitive Foot

The summer I was entering my sophomore year of high school, I was walking around Downtown Oak Park with a friend.  I came across an athletic shoe store called the Competitive Foot.  I had always played sports and thought maybe I’d check it out.  After walking around the store for a few minutes, I noticed there were a couple high school kids working there.  “What a great place to work!” I thought.  I didn’t have a job at that point but wanted to get one so I could have my own spending money. So, I asked for an application.

Thirteen years later, I am proud to say am still an employee.

The business started in 1974 and was the very FIRST athletic shoe store in Illinois!  The store was started by Tim and Tyna Eggert and has served loyal customers, athletes, and the community through numerous races, fun runs, and many other events for 4 decades!

They worked hard and now, it’s Tim and Tyna’s turn to relax and enjoy retirement.  The Competitive Foot will be crossing the finish line of its 40 year run this July.

I am honored to have been able to work for such a great institution for as long as I did.  Through high school, college, other jobs, and grad school, I never left and there is a reason for that.  I developed some great friendships, learned an incredible amount about so many things, and I truly feel lucky to have grown up in such a great place. And that’s just it.  I grew up there.  It’s home to me. It’s home to many.

I am sad.  An era is ending.  A chapter in my life is ending.  13 years.  13 amazing years.  But, a new chapter is beginning, for all of us at the CFoot.  We were all blessed with a really great boss who worked around everyone’s crazy schedules, sought you out for input on various things, and trusted your judgment.  We were a family.  We are a family.  I love my CFoot family and I will never forget the times we had.

We teamed up with Share Your Soles to collect used shoes for people suffering from natural disasters like the hurricane in Haiti and Hurricane Sandy.

We had sidewalk sales every summer, with tons of tables full of shoe bargains.  Playing music and having fun with employees.  It was always a good time.

And sponsored many, many races.

Most of all, I think I will miss my co-workers.  My family.  Thank you for being such great friends.  I know this isn’t good-bye and we will see each other often, but it will surely be different not working together.

It has been an honor and a privilege.

Thank you, Competitive Foot.

Mirror, mirror

A positive body image is something all females want to achieve.  Or is being skinny really what females want to achieve?  For as long as I can remember, I have been confused about if my desire to be thin is healthy or harmful.  Is it healthy because I choose to eat salad all the time when I’d LOVE pizza?  Is it harmful because I look in the mirror and think I’m fat? It’s summertime and those unhealthy thoughts run rampant.

I think my problem with body image was created in my teens, as most body image issues are.  I read all the magazines girls love to read, portraying actresses and models and how they got their beach body.  “Here are 10 steps to getting a great body.”  Lie.  “(Insert name here) worked really hard to get those abs of steel.”  Not completely truthful.  “Top beach looks to get that guy you want.”  Ridiculous.

All of my life, I have been extremely active.  In grade school and the beginning of high school, I played sports, I ran races, and I never felt bad about my body.  That was the life.  For more than 10 years, I have been up and down on the scale, cried that nothing fits me right, and tried countless “diets.”  And I have to admit, at 28 years old…I’m not sure I’ll ever fully “love” my body.  Is that something that’s even achievable?

I feel bad for my boyfriend sometimes.  He can never say the right thing when I ask how I look.  He does know how to make me feel good.  But I’m sorry to say, that will never be enough.  At this age, my mind is already warped by what I’ve seen on TV, in magazines, and ESPECIALLY how clothes are made to fit.  I can no longer shop at certain stores because I do not have the body type that represents the clothes they sell for thin young girls.  Sure, I can go for a larger size.  That only makes you feel worse because those clothes weren’t designed for larger sizes.  And before you know it, you find yourself in the fitting room wondering where you went wrong.  You come out upset and your boyfriend asks why you never come out in the clothes so he can see and tell you how good you look.  You leave the store with nothing but a lower self-esteem.

I’m not a big girl.  I weigh about 140 lbs.  That’s nothing to be ashamed of.  Why do I feel like I am?  When my schedule freed up after practicum, I finally had time to work out.  I had a pretty rough and stressful winter and did not care much about my health.  I ate and drank whatever I wanted making excuses like “I’m stressed, I need this.”  It may have felt good at the time but it sure doesn’t feel good now. It’s been two months of working out 6 days a week, most weeks.  I am not nearly the size I thought I’d be.  And it’s not just losing lbs.  I want to look tone. I want to feel comfortable in shorts.  That’s all.  So, in that sense, that’s not unachievable and unhealthy.  It can be when you obsess over it like I do.

And I’m not alone.

The “thigh gap” controversy in a Target bathing suit ad is the root of the problem, I think.  Girls are shown that this is what you should look like. This is how you will fit in the clothes you want to wear.  It’s demeaning and it’s dangerous.  I will never have the thigh gap.  I’m OK with that.  I am making progress on feeling good and healthy about my body.  But it’s an uphill battle as I’m sure it is for many females.

I recently went into a clothing store and noticed that many of the tops are short, the crop top look. It’s cute if you can pull it off.  Maybe the look is to have your stomach showing, I don’t know.  And there is nothing wrong with wearing this style, but many girls don’t want to expose their belly.  What options do they have? I’m one of those girls.  I just don’t fit the body profile of high-waisted jeans and short tops.  Why is it all I see in stores?

I guess I’m just tired of being shown what I should look like, sold clothes that weren’t made for my body, and feeling bad that I’m not a size 2.

I’ve had it.

My mission for myself is to be as healthy as possible, physically and mentally.  I am going to continue working out daily because it makes me feel good and NOT because I’m trying to reach a certain weight.

I shouldn’t feel bad about myself after leaving a fitting room.  No one should.

‘Til next season

Well, the Blackhawks are out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Sigh.

We were so pumped after Game 6.  My boyfriend and I went to Union Park Bar and Grill to watch it because it was an official Hawks bar.  It was cool because every time the Hawks scored, the owner would put play our goal anthem, Chelsea Dagger, like they do when you’re at the United Center.  We were on our feet.  Not one person was sitting in the place.  The game was great, especially because we ended up winning in the end to force a Game 7.  It was a great night. Then…we were to wait until Sunday for Game 7.

Then Sunday, June 1st came….Game 7.  We had the advantage because it was at home and the Hawks record with Game 7′s was pretty clutch.  I think everyone was a bit nervous but when we scored two goals right in the beginning, we felt a bit more confident.  Then the Kings came back.  Then we came back.  Then the Kings tied it.  Then we scored.  Then they scored.  Then….OT happened.


I’ll never forget the 2013 playoffs.  We made it to the Stanley Cup final and we were up in the series.  Everything seemed to fit into place.  They ended up winning the Stanley Cup on my birthday.  You can’t get any better than that.  I’m not married yet so I can say this…..

The intermission in Game 7 between period 3 and OT was probably the most nerve racking 15 minutes ever.  I thought, “We got this! Right? They have this? Anyone? Anyone?”  I didn’t know what to do so I started brushing my teeth.  Yeah..weird I know.  I sat in the living room with everyone as I was brushing my teeth as OT started.  Everyone sat in disbelief when the Kings winning goal went off of our own defenseman into our net.  Crushing. Totally crushing.

I barely slept that night.  I couldn’t believe it.  As the mocking text messages and Facebook posts started pouring in, “Are you in mourning?” and “Are you taking a bereavement day?” I decided to take a day off of Facebook and try to mend my wounds.  I was not only a zombie the next day, but I was a zombie with a broken heart.  Trying to see the silver lining in all of this (if there even WAS a silver lining), I woke up with a sense of clarity a few days later.  I am not ashamed of my Hawks.  Yes, they made some mistakes.  Things need to be tweaked.  Seabrook and Sharp may be on the chopping block and I used to hate when anyone from our 2010 championship was traded.  But now I know changes need to be made.  Our defense needs to get shaken up, that’s for sure.  I don’t blame Corey Crawford.  He CAN be inconsistent, but when he’s on, he’s REALLY ON.  They will never get rid of Toews or Kane so we have that to count on.

I think the silver lining in all of this is….we have more recovery time until next season.  And i’ll be waiting.  Go Blackhawks!!!.

Gillian Flynn novels — possible spoiler alert

One thing that is great about having free time is that I can read as much as I want…for fun. The first three books on my summer reading list were all Gillian Flynn novels. I finished them in two weeks. They are page-turners to say the least!

Gone Girl Synopsis: I had heard a lot about this book and I decided to make it my first book.  Each chapter is spoken from a different character, mostly going back and forth between Amy Elliot (Dunne)’s diary and her husband Nick Dunne. Gone Girl is about Amy Elliot Dunne and the rocky relationship with her husband, Nick.  They met in New York living as writers.  She writes personality quizzes and he writes for a magazine.  Due do his mother getting sick and eventually passing away, they move to Missouri.  On their fifth wedding anniversary, she disappears.  Nick goes through a wave of emotions while he embarks on Amy’s previously planned anniversary treasure hunt, hoping it will give him clues to her disappearance.  But as time goes on, faith and trust begin to disintegrate from his family and the community making him a prime suspect in her disappearance and assumed murder. His apparent affair with a former student does not help his innocence.

I read this book in two days.  Page after page, trying to find out what happened to Amy.  When you find out, it all starts making sense.  Is she alive? Is she dead? I admit, I think I was a bit disappointed in the end but it made me understand this couple’s toxic relationship was what made them thrive.

Real-life realization: I’m so incredibly grateful that my boyfriend isn’t crazy.

Since I loved it so much, I decided to get another book by Gillian Flynn.

Dark Places Synopsis: The main character, Libby Day, talks about her family being murdered when she was just a mere 7 years old.  Her mother, along with her two sisters, lost their lives in a supposed “Satanic ritual sacrifice,” while she survived while hiding.  Her brother also survived, with no alibi, making him the prime suspect because people thought he was troubled.  Ben, her brother, was found guilty and sent to prison for 25 years for a crime she isn’t sure he committed.  A group of people obsessed with notorious crimes try to convince her he was not the murderer.  Libby takes on their requests to investigate what may have really happened on that fateful day.

This book is also a page-turner.  Throughout most of the book, I was pretty sure he had nothing to do with the murders but all of the clues pointed to him.  Towards the end, I began to have my own suspicions and was pleasantly surprised.

Real-life realization: My brother’s actions, yet sometimes questionable, would never include Satanic rituals of any sort.

The only other book by Gillian Flynn is Sharp Objects.

Sharp Objects Synopsis: A reporter by the name of Camille Preaker is assigned to something that no one who escapes from a difficult childhood cares to face, returning to her hometown to cover the murders of two little girls.  Camille has a very difficult relationship with her controlling, obsessive mother and has to immerse herself in her childhood memories at home where her mother has a new husband and a daughter (Camille’s half-sister) that she barely knows.  Camille talks to old friends, old enemies, and meets a new young detective eventually reopening the closed doors to her troubled past to solve the crimes of the two young girls.

Great read! My gut feeling from the beginning turned out to be partially correct.  I enjoyed this character because she seemed so real.  Dissecting her own troubles opened her eyes to find a link between her childhood and these young deceased girls.

Real-life realization: My mom is not nearly as crazy as Camille’s mom. Phew!

Loved the first three books on my summer reading list and I’m looking to start the next.  Stay tuned!


UIC medical

The past few weeks have been a bit stressful filled with doctor visits to UIC Family Medicine Center.  I have never really had any health issues my entire life except for being diagnosed with “sports induced” asthma in my early twenties (whatever that is…).  During my yearly visit to my female clinic, the nurse practitioner who saw me noticed a new mole that I had noticed maybe in the last year or so.  I have tons of birth/beauty marks all over my skin, but they aren’t raised on the skin so I was a bit concerned when this new one popped up and was clearly raised.  They say if something new pops up, that you should always get it checked out to be safe.  My nurse practitioner reminded me of this and also referred me to the UIC Dermatology Center.  I figured I’d give them a call since I am lucky enough to have CampusCare and can easily have it figured out.  That was my initial thought.  Then as I was leaving, she caught me in the hallway and asked me to sign the referral and make sure she covered it all with me.  Well, I tucked the referral in my purse and decided I’d read it on the train.  When I took it out later, I saw the info she already gave me and up in the corner it asks to specify the reason for referral.  It said “Serious/Potential Malignancy.”  WHAT?  THAT part was not mentioned to me.  Or maybe she implied it when she said I needed to get it looked at.  Or maybe there was no other option available to describe the situation.  I’m not exactly sure but as I was on the Green Line heading west, I definitely was freaking out.  I was heading to work and had to somewhat compose myself.

When I first called the Dermatology Center, they said they couldn’t get me in until June. Two months? Are you kidding me? Well, I called my mom to ask her advice and she said just to make the appointment and try not to worry.  I called back and was able to somehow get in the next week which made me feel much better.  They asked if I had a referral and I said I had one from my nurse practitioner from my female clinic.  I guess I was under the assumption it could be taken care of immediately.

The next week was my appointment.  My mom took the morning off of work to come with me only to find out when I was being called to check in that my “referral” wasn’t a referral they accepted and would need to see my primary care physician first.  OK.  So, that office happened to be the floor below the Derm center.  I walked down there and had to make an appointment for the next day.

The next day, I went back and saw my PCP and finally had the first bit of relief.  He told me it looked more like a skin tag than anything and he would put 2 orders in the system for me; one for a consult with Derm and one for removal.  Then I had to make ANOTHER appointment back up with Derm which was the following week.  At this point, I felt a bit better but thought I’d go just to see what they said.  The first doctor was great, nice and pretty much said the same thing my PCP said.  However, he told me I had to come back again to have it removed.  I asked him to double check because clearly my PCP put in the two orders because of the first misunderstanding with the referral paperwork.  That’s when the other “main” Dermatologist came in.  She was very short with me and as I tried to explain the situation, she shushed me.  I mean…I…had…no…words.  I thought, “Well, I will be complaining about THIS to someone later miss sassypants.”  Anyways, turns out when the receptionist checked me in, she clicked the “consult” not the “biopsy.”  So, I had to make ANOTHER appointment to have a biopsy.

Thankfully, I had two different Dermatologists for the actual procedure.  They were both so nice and comforting.  I was a bit nervous when they brought me in the procedure room and I had to put a gown on.  They also gave me some relief in telling me it does not look like signs of malignancy but they’d send it in just in case.  I was in and out in 15 minutes.

After all of the paperwork and scheduling misunderstandings, I still have to be grateful for the last couple doctors I saw AND that it was covered under CampusCare.  When I received an email to take a survey, I made sure I complimented the doctors that deserved it and gave a comment about the other doctor who shushed me, a grown adult in her late twenties who was nervous and confused about what was happening.  Two weeks later, I’m doing ok and the mole is gone and the site is healing.

Again, I feel very lucky, even through the hiccups, that the UIC Family Medicine Center took care of me.

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