wrapping up chicago, 2014

Greetings from 15,000 feet and above!  (Just kidding, this was 24 hours ago and I was too tired to post this when we got home.)  Eric and I are currently crammed onto a Spirit Airlines flight back to New York, and it’s quite cramped quarters even for me!  The tray table doesn’t pull out, so my laptop won’t even fit on it…and my elbows are to the back of the seat.  You know an area is small if I’m saying it’s tight!  For those who are wondering, our flight attendants did not recreate the humorous atmosphere that they did on our flight to Chicago, which makes me a little sad.  I was looking forward to some corny jokes to take away the sting of leaving Chicago and the holidays behind.

Our visit to Chicago wrapped up pretty nicely with some time spent with friends and family, some time at the movies, and more than enough time eating cookies.  I’m currently sad that I didn’t stuff my pockets with leftover sugar cookies, and I’m definitely anticipating sugar withdrawal in the coming days.  It’s a tough life, my friends.

For those who were wondering (and those who noted I’m a bad blogger who didn’t include any pictures of the finished results of cookie decorating…), the final products came out something like this:

IMG_6814 A mix of decorators…

IMG_6811 Eric was proud of his cookies.

IMG_6813 I’ve been sabotaged!!

Eric did a good job of proving his cookie decorating worth – certainly a type of initiation into my family!

unbroken

As for Unbroken, I was going to put something about seeing the movie in this blog post, but I feel like I have more to say about it…as well as a few things related to it.  Hopefully I will actually turn that into a blog post instead of something I just write in my head and never get down on paper.  But my short version of it would be:  Read the book.  The movie is good, but the book is so much better.

Remind me to write that blog post.

RUNNING!!

One ever ongoing aspect of my visits home is running at home!  As I mention every single time I head home, I love revisiting my old running routes.  These are the routes when I learned to run, learned different paces, ran further than I ever did before.  I trained for high school cross country and track on these roads, and then I took to the streets to begin training for my first marathon.  I still know all the mile markers without even using my Garmin – back in the day, I didn’t have a Garmin (gasp!  I know…), but I knew just about where the mile marks were so I could check my pace.  Old school, let me tell you.  And lots of mental math on the run!

Running in Chicago (well, suburbs) was pretty good this year – I had checked the weather before leaving, and it didn’t seem like it would be too cold.  Some capris, a long sleeve base layer, a light long sleeve shirt, gloves, and a headband – good to go.  My first run, I wore everything but the gloves and headband…but since it was sunny, I ended up stopping halfway through and took off the base layer.  A light long sleeve shirt in Chicago in December?  This is madness.

Of course, that all turned around on me the next couple days when it was gray, windy, and more like 28 degrees.  At least you warm up after that first mile…

I don’t know if there’s something different about these running routes, but I always manage to run a bit quicker of a pace than what I’ve typically been running in NYC.  Admittedly, I’ve been struggling to call an 8:00/mile pace "easy" these days, but once I got home, I was flying at 7:50/mile like it was a walk in the park.  One of my favorite running routes has the wind in my face on the way out 99% of the time…and it’s uphill.  ("Hills" in the midwest…)  When I turn around to head back, it’s downhill with the wind at my back and I fllyyyyyyyy.  7:16 mile?  No big deal.  I like it because I’ve felt like such a slug lately, and I get really down on myself.  The truth is that I really need to put in some work, but I’m not that out of shape, specifically for easy runs, so I shouldn’t be dragging at an 8/mile pace.  These runs certainly make me happy and give some hope for some faster days.

image Eight miles!

The day after this run, my legs felt super sluggish, so I held the pace back to 8:10-ish to shake the legs out.  Look at me, being smart about paces.  Don’t worry, that didn’t last long…

image Ten miles!

I told myself over and over again that I wouldn’t pick it up on the way back, that it would keep it easy.  NOPE NOPE NOPE.  Sometimes your legs just carry you…

So running was lovely, the cookies were lovely, being home and snuggling with a dog for a few days was quite lovely.  Our flight back to NYC was delayed by about 2.5 hours, which didn’t get us back to our apartment until almost midnight.  Fail.  And just like that, the holiday season is over, as I’m back to work.  I’m working both NYE and New Year’s Day – I typically enjoyed working NYE on night shift because we always had lots of food and hats and got to crowd into an empty patient room and yell, "Happy New Year!" as loud as is appropriate in a hospital at midnight.  I will most likely be lucky to make it to midnight, but that’s alright.  A wrap up on 2014 and looking ahead to 2015 will be coming soon!

I hope you all enjoy your last day of 2014 – yikes!

chicago christmas 2014

Greetings from Chicago!  (Okay fine, the suburbs of Chicago.)  Blogging has been a little slow in my neck of the woods, which I attribute to life.  And by that I mean working, making our apartment look like we’ve actually lived there for two months instead of just moving in, holiday things, and running.  So that’s that.

Being a nurse during the holidays is always a nerve wracking time for me as I wonder what holiday I’m going to get off and for how long.  Luckily, I have a deal with one of the other nurses I work with since we both tend to travel for the holidays.  I worked a stretch of days for him over Thanksgiving (five shifts in a row, oof), and he’s working a stretch for me.  It’s the only way to guarantee yourself time off, which is necessarily when doing things like buying expensive plane tickets.  I worked Sunday-Tuesday and left directly from work to catch a 10pm flight home.  Luckily, no bad weather was around to foil our plans, so holiday travel has been good to us so far.

We decided to fly Spirit Airlines for the fact that it was the cheapest ticket available.  Our tickets were about $270 each, roundtrip.  (For reference, last year I think I paid about $400-450 for my Christmas plane ticket.)  Spirit Airlines is one of those “low cost” airlines that charge you for everything, even to print your boarding pass at the airport instead of at home.  But when all is said and done, it was still cheaper than the competitors, so winning.  Also, the lead flight attendant on the flight was hilarious.  He was cracking jokes the entire time, including my favorite:

“I have my Grandma on speed dial. I call it ‘Insta-gram!’”  I laughed, most of the plane did not.  When we landed, he said, “Well, we left New York with 178 passengers, and we landed in Chicago with 178 passengers…we consider that a win.”  It was funny, and I wonder if that’s their “thing” or if we just had a particularly happy flight attendant.  We’ll find out on the way back to New York, I suppose.

Otherwise, we’ve been doing the traditional family things.  My sister lives locally and my brother and sister-in-law flew in from Oregon for the holidays.  Christmas Eve was a day full of making sugar cookies and eventually decorating them.  My mom had read all the tips and tricks to make the cookies juuuuuust right, so the shapes actually looked they are supposed to!  Otherwise, cookie decorating is always a time for the artistic in the family to shine.

photo 1 (27) We’re professionals, don’t you know?

Christmas Eve tradition in my family also includes Chinese food and a movie (and no, we’re not Jewish).  We ordered from my favorite Chinese food restaurant ever, which is Heng Wing in Palatine.  I have yet to find egg rolls that match theirs, so if you ever find yourself in the northwest suburbs, check it out.  We used to joke that I would get them to cater my wedding, although I won’t say that idea is totally off the table.  So we enjoyed the Chinese food them settled into the living room to watch a movie.  Eric bought “The Interview,” so we pulled our shades just in case North Korea was watching.  It wasn’t exactly a high quality film, but we weren’t expecting it to be either.

photo 2 (27) Christmas tree!

As for Christmas, we enjoyed breakfast before opening our stockings and presents.  Some may call us lucky, others may call us spoiled, but we have an abundance of presents on Christmas morning.  It’s fun to go one by one and see what everyone gets, from things off a list to funny things.

Eric always jokes that I’m “Internet Famous” because when we were in Germany for the Berlin Marathon (after only a few weeks of dating…), a girl (hi Lindsey!) asked if I was Nurse on the Run while we were drinking coffee in the hotel lobby on race morning.  I don’t have a big blog by any means, so I think it’s funny…and Eric still calls me internet famous.  Anyway, that’s a long story to say that he got me this shirt…

image 

This is now my official blogging shirt, so I guess it’s good I only blog once a month, ha!

I received (and gave!) some other lovely gifts, so I’m looking forward to reading (hello, Kindle!  Books won’t take up ALLLLL the space in my apartment now!), knitting (NYC knitters, say hello!), scrapbooking, and running, of course.

Eric and I found a pet shop near our new apartment, so being the good dog aunt/uncle that we are, we bought my parents’ and sisters dogs some NYC gifts.  One went over quite well, and the other needs some warming up…

photo 3 (16) Miles loved his squeaky taxi…

photo 4 (7) While Jax isn’t so sure about his I <3 NY sweatshirt.  (He needs a bigger size, too!)

It was a lovely day!  We spent the rest of Christmas hanging out, watching football, cooking and eating dinner (and SOOO MANY COOKIES), and eventually watching some movies.  It’s the good life, my friends.

I hope you all have lovely Christmas with your family and friends (or coworkers since I know a fair amount of readers are nurses!), and I hope your are as lucky as I have been this year and holiday season.

Tonight my family is going to see Unbroken, the story of Louis Zamperini.  I thought I had a picture of my Dad and I both getting the book for Christmas a couple years ago, but I can’t seem to find it.  I’m in the middle of rereading the book, but won’t make it to the end before movie time!  I’m excited to see the movie and will definitely report back!

Any favorite holiday moments to share?  Do you eat Chinese food for Christmas (Eve) too?  Have you seen Unbroken?

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