Monday, August 12, 2013

Weekend Update

Another weekend has come and gone way too fast.  And I feel the next 16 weeks are going to be a blur.  Thursday night is the official "start" date of student teaching, which begins with an open house and meeting the kiddos and their parents.  This day totally snuck up on me.  I have no idea how I'm going to make it.

Anyhow, Friday was pretty low key.  Since it was my furlough day, I met up with a friend and we had lunch and custard.  I wish I would have taken a picture of my custard, but it was just too delicious and I had to devour it.  Right?!

Friday night I was supposed to have a book club meeting, but I was apparently the only one that had started the book, and by the time everyone decided to cancel the meeting, they all magically had plans for Friday night.  So I spent my night home by myself because Joel was off playing Airman somewhere.  Loser, party of one...

But, Saturday brought him back to me!  It was nice to have him home, even though we didn't do anything too spectacular.  We did cross off a "101 Things to do in the Lou" bucket list, which was to see a show at the Muny.  The Muny is the oldest continuously running outdoor theater in the country, and it was truly a beautiful night to see a show.  This weekend concluded it's 95th year, and we saw "West Side Story."  They also said farewell to an employee that had been there for 50 years.  Fifty years!!  Crazy.  It was a fun experience, and I'm glad we went.  My suggestion to anyone that goes is to pack a picnic basket and eat dinner there.  They have entertainment set up around some picnic tables before the show, which we didn't know about.  We had planned on eating at the only nearby restaurant, but it had a freaking 90 minute wait.  So we ate at the cafe, and paid $10 for a super tiny microwave pizza.

Sunday was filled with errands as usual and gearing up for the coming work week.  I had a terrible migraine, so it was a pretty low key afternoon.  We played with our new foster boy Willard, and caught up with our DVR.  If you know anyone local looking to adopt a pug, Willard is a super sweet boy that really deserves a good forever home.

Willard, with a Pugsley photobomb

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Losing it (Control)

I am a bit of a control freak.  It's not something that I am particularly proud of, but at the same time, I can't help it.  When we watch tv at home, I always have to have the remote.  When we go on vacation, I already have a detailed list of what we are doing, where we are eating, and the most expedient route to do these things.  And don't even think of asking me if I want to grab dinner without at least a day's notice.  I have already mentally prepared for tomorrow's schedule (even if it includes nothing more than cleaning and errands), and it takes me out of my comfort zone to be spontaneous.

As a military life, the fact that I am not in control of our destiny stresses me out immensely.  I know I can't control things, and it kills me a little on the inside.  I know that Joel will be getting orders next year.  What I don't know is where they will be to (or if he will get another assignment here).  I don't know whether I should be looking for another federal job, looking to teach, and if I teach, will my licenses transfer.  Will it be somewhere stateside, or overseas?  And if overseas, will there be any quarantines for the pets?  Is the job market good, what will housing look like (off base, hopefully...never on).  What will the weather be like, will I love it or hate it...  It's not even for ten more months, but I can't stop constantly thinking about it.

I don't know how to curb my constant need to control things (and the stresses that are present if I can't).  Joel is so laid back, thank God, because we definitely need to compliment each other in this area.  He loves moving and I hate it.  I am so thankful that he is there to mellow me out, but I don't even know what to look for for next year?  Should I still try to network here and move up after my practicum, or should I maintain the status quo because we might leave soon?  Should we try to sell or rent our house (I am totally going to miss our little house!)?  I know that only God knows the answers to these questions, and I know my destiny is in His control, but it's still hard not knowing.  Is the unknown this scary for anyone else?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Chicago = Food Coma

I love St. Louis BBQ.  It is the best (save Kansas City), and I can't get enough of it.  When I lived in Germany, do you want to know what the only food I couldn't get was?  That's right, BBQ.  But, do you know what Southern Germany had plenty of (besides beer, schnitzel, and pretzels)?  Delicious Italian food.  The area I lived in had a large population of Italians, and there was definitely no shortage of tasty pasta places.  Do you want to know what kind of good food St. Louis doesn't have?  That's right, Italian.  (Following me here?)

When we moved here, we were informed of a neighborhood in St. Louis known as "The Hill" that supposedly had terrific, authentic Italian food.  Not to sound all fancypants, but living in Southern Germany I visited Italy many times.  The Italian food at The Hill tasted nothing like anything I had in Italy.  The sauce is super duper sweet (almost like they add sugar), whereas (for example) the bolognese I had in Italy had a nice salty taste to it.

So, whenever we make the trek up to Chicago, I bet you can already guess what type of food we go for.  Oh, yes.  Chicago knows how to do its' Italian right.

I decided to try a new restaurant called Scoozi.  I honestly just picked a place that received good reviews on Open Table and booked a reservation.  Open Table (so far) has not failed me, so off we went.  First impressions were great!  The hostess was super friendly, and we were seated right away.  We were immediately served water, fresh bread, and olive oil with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  Yum!

The waitress appeared shortly, and helped us pick out a wine to go with our meal.  It was delicious, so score one for her!  We then ordered, and I got the bolognese, which I always get.  I figure if they screw that up, there was no point in ordering something more expensive that won't be what I expected.

It was really good!  The meat sauce was very flavorful, with just a hint of spiciness.  It had carrots and celery (I think), which is typically find in a good bolognese.  I was super pleased with the whole experience, and would definitely recommend and return.

The second thing I always make sure to eat?  A good gourmet pancake house.  This time we tried the Wildberry Cafe.  We got there super early, so there was no wait.  (I'm talking 0800, people).  When we left, there were probably about 40 people waiting.  Yikes!

I ordered a vanilla latte to start, and got a huge, delicious mug of it.  I wanted to just order a coffee, but decided to go a little fancier.

They had a specialty menu, and I saw what I just knew I had to order.  White Chocolate and Raspberry pancakes.  That just combined most of my favorite sweet things.  When the pancakes arrived, they were so beautiful that I almost didn't want to eat them.  Almost...  The were pretty tasty, but I wish that had done a better job of layering with the white chocolate and raspberries.  There were some raspberries in the middle, but all of the white chocolate was on top.  Regardless, they were absolutely delicious.  It was definitely a gem of a breakfast place.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

To Chicago, WIth Love

My friend T and her sweet daughter M and I drove to Chicago for the weekend for a little girls' getaway.  Our main purpose was to participate in the Shape Diva Dash, but I couldn't go to my favorite American city and not do it right, could I?  Of course not.

Me getting ready for the Dash.
The Diva Dash was an obstacle course 5K.  It wasn't a mud run (thank God!), but there were about 10 obstacles we had to conquer along the way.  It was great, and definitely broke up the monotony of just running the whole thing.  Costumes were encouraged, so my lovely friend made us some flashy wear to run in.

All finished!
After the race, we went to our hotel, showered, changed, and were ready to go out on the town!  I love anytime I can squeeze in some Chicago time, and I was glad to show the ladies my favorite way to enjoy the city.

I wish with all of my might that I could move to Chicago.  It is such a busy, bustling city.  I could be content being on the go or doing nothing at all.  We have at least a couple more trips planned, and I can't wait.  I haven't been able to see Chicago much in the summer, and it was absolutely a beautiful, perfect, but all too short, weekend.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Concert post - Past Due

Hey, folks!  The night before we left for Portland, I went to a concert with one of my gal pals here, and I never talked about it.  D'oh!  It's only semi-embarrassing to talk about.  It was Boyz II Men, 98 Degrees, and NKOTB.

Now, my very first concert ever was Boyz II Men, so it was a total flashback for me to go.  They opened the show, but I think they only sang about five songs, and the only uptempo one was Motownphilly.  While it was so cool and fun to hear them, it was cut way too short.

Next up was 98 Degrees.  While I am sure I swooned over them when they were popular, and I did enjoy seeing Nick and Drew Lachey, their performance was very underwhelming.  Many in the audience their their seats during this time.  I could have done without them and with more Boyz II Men, but that's not how the cookie crumbled.

Next was New Kids!  Now, this was more for my sister's age (mine was NSYNC), but I had still heard a few of their songs and at least knew the chorus.  The crowd was pumped, so it was really something spectacular.  I'm old enough I don't swoon over boy bands (especially when they've been performing sine I was 3), but we still had a great time.  And Donny actually made it with an audience member.  Seriously!!  It was crazy fun.