Since I have been complaining about the cold a lot, and really, no one likes a complainer, I decided the best way to avoid complaining 'bout the frigid temperatures is to escape into a little fantasy world where it's summer all the time (Or... Southern California. Why did R and I move back? Why?). Anyway, summers in Chicago ARE. THE. SHIT. Sorry, other cities, but Chicago rules and you just drool.
The things I get to look forward to every year: walks/bikes along the Lake Michigan lakefront path, beach volleyball, Taste of Chicago, outdoor concerts, and most notably: Castaways at North Avenue Beach.
For the out-of-towners, Castaways is my favorite place in the world. It is my own personal Disneyland: The Happiest Place On Earth. It is a seasonal, summer only bar on Chicago's North Avenue beach, atop a building made to look like a giant ship. They serve bar food (Nachooooo!) and some very excellent frozen, fruity drinks. My fave? The Miami Vice - half Pina Colada, half Strawberry Daiquiri. YUM! It's also packed to the gills on a daily basis with over-tanned meat heads and their silicone breasted girlfriends.
It's like The Jersey Shore in Chicago. (I realize this is, like, the 4th post in a row that I have referenced Jersey Shore, but... I can't help it. It's so trashtastically wonderful! Gym, Tan, Laundry anyone?)
What could be better than people-watching on top of a fake boat, getting sloshed during the middle of the day? The answer, my friends, is nothing. Nothing is better than that.
Anyway, I have all these wonderful existing summer traditions, but 2010 is about new things! As of late, I have been day-dreaming about this summer and all the fun things I want to do. I thought I'd share, and maybe gather some further suggestions for 2010 summer adventures. And away we go!
Simply T's Summer 2010 To-Do List:
1. Brave the Sears Tower Ledge - It is not the Willis Tower, I don't care how much you try to get me to call it that. The Glass Bottom Ledge is new as of last year, and you can step out onto THE LEDGE and feel like you are floating in mid-air. A trillion miles up in the sky. I'm pretty much scared of heights, so we'll see how it goes...
2. Meet Jen Lancaster - Jen Lancaster is a Chicago-based author of a series of memoirs. If you haven't read Jen Lancaster, then you are truly missing out on life. She is HI-LARIOUS. I'm serious when I say I laughed myself to tears reading her books. Check out her blog. Anyway, she is coming out with a new book this year, and she usually follows her book releases with a book-signing tour. It is my greatest hope to meet her and become her bestest of friends.
3. Ride some jet skis - I know the E. Coli runs rampant in Lake Michigan, but I figure if you are speeding along in a jet ski, you are technically kind of above the water, and thus unaffected by the gross-ness. I'd like to rent jet skis on a really hot day, and ride around making all the people on the beach super jealous.
Mainly, I want to rent jet skis so I can associate jet skiing with something positive. I currently have only had 2 encounters with jet skis in my life, both overwhelmingly negative. They make great stories, though!
The first time I ever paid any attention to jet skis was because of a boy. Of course. I used to have a crush on my dad's next door neighbor, who would ride his (bright yellow) jet ski around on the lake on which my dad's property sits. While visiting my dad, I would hover around the glass doors leading to the back yard... Waiting for that familiar sound. Like a puppy excitedly awaiting his owner's return, I'd run to the window, pant, drool, and wag my tail. And then I'd ever so casually go out on our dock to read a book and "get some sun."
Except that I failed to see one vital flaw in this plan - I was in a stage in my life (probably 14 or 15 years old) in which I decided that I hated my legs, and I would never be seen wearing shorts, skirts, capris, or anything besides long jeans.
You see, at that age, I was under the impression that I was a huge, fat, cow. (Honestly, what girl didn't?) Looking back at pictures, truth is: I was a shrimp. Even up to the age of 18 when I apparently hit puberty, I was a bonafide member of the itty bitty titty comittee, I had tiny little twigs for legs, no ass, and my favorite feature: my lanky-ass Go-Go Gadget Arms. Then I turned 18, went to college, and discovered beer. That's when I grew my "more than a handful is a waste" boobies and finally learned how to fill out my pants. Sadly, my Go-Go Gadget Arms remain. That will probably never change.
ANYWAY - This boy rarely gave me the attention I so desperately desired, and rightfully deserved! Come one, come all! Behold the freak show with her crazy long arms and inability to show leg! How white ARE her legs? If you can guess, you win a stuffed animal! He did occasionally come over to chat, but usually I'd sit on the dock for an hour or two before he decided to take a break from zipping about the lake on his "little banana" (his words, not mine) to shoot the shit with me. But I was in love. When I returned from my visit with Dad, I decided I simply MUST send neighbor boy a letter. (Before email was the preferred method of communication.)
So, I wrote him a letter and included a picture of myself (in case he forgot who I was... ummm...) and my AOL screen name so he could IM me. What happened? You guessed it. He never IMed me. Or even responded via "snail mail." And the next time I was in Florida visiting my dad, he pretended not to see me sitting on the dock, anxiously awaiting his talky talk. REJECTED. Whatever. He's so two thousand and late.
My only other experience with jet skis was in Acapulco my junior year of college. We 4 spring break ladies decided to rent jet skis for a 30 minute ride. We rented 2, and rode 2 people per jet ski. The deal was: Lady # 1 drives for the first 15 minutes, then Lady # 2 drives for the last 15 minutes. I went first. I am terrified of slimy sea-things and of getting my hair wet, so I drove fairly conservatively. Then, my partner in water-sports, CK - a college friend, former roommate and sorority sister, took her turn at the wheel. She drove like a blind, maniac, meth addict with crippling arthritis of the hands. I clung to her waist, just praying for it to be over. When - BOOM - we hit a giant wave!
We both went flying into the air, doing flips, kicks, 180s and shit and finally came down on a wall of water that felt more like a wall of concrete. NBD, right? The jet ski, like a treadmill, has an emergency stop system so that if you fly off - it pulls the plug, preventing the jet ski from... well, skiing away. Well, the velcro cuff broke right in half, leaving us in the ocean, and our jet ski... over there.
Do you know how hard it is to swim against waves to a water-vehicle that is idling and slowly getting farther, and farther away? No? Well, it's really fucking hard.
Finally, another jet skiier took pity on us and pulled our jet ski around to us. Thanks dude! Or as they would say in Mexico, Muchos Gracias, Amigo! After all that trauma I think it's about time I have a good jet ski experience, don't you?
Back to the list...
4. Buy a Vespa. Lately, I have become infatuated with the idea of owning a Vespa. I drive a big SUV, which isn't the most environmentally conscious or parallel parking-friendly vehicle. However, it has proved itself to be very useful during my internships while I traveled the country - not spending more than 3 months in one place, bringing only my dog, A, and a couple of suitcases. But parking can be a bitch in our neighborhood sometimes - See: my post about NYE 09/10.
So, if I have errands to run around the 'hood and I already have a bad ass parking spot, those errands are not getting done. I will usually just neglect the errands until they are absolutely necessary, or do them during the work day (shhhh!) when I have to move my car anyway. So, the idea of having a zippy little Vespa that can fit in any tiny little space is quite appealing to me.
Only problem: I hate when the wind blows my hair around. I don't allow R to open the windows when driving faster than 30 mph. It gets all stuck in my lip gloss, yo. But... that's what helmets are for, right? Protecting your 'do?
5. Travel to some place exotic and/or historic and/or awesome to the X-TREME - R and I like to travel - for me, vacations are better than therapy. I need to have vacations planned strategically throughout the year so I have something to look forward to. Even if it is just a long weekend, it's still a break from reality, and I need that more than anything. Otherwise it's just work, work, work with no end in sight. And all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, right?
Anyway, so far we have traveled to Jamaica (July 2009), Cancun (December 2009) and will be taking a short snowboarding trip to Keystone/Breckenridge/Arapahoe Basin in Feb 2010. Prior to my relationship with R, I did some traveling with family and friends. I have ventured to Mexico - Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco (x 2)... but I have little recollection of those trips, being that they took place during college spring break. I've also been to Puerto Rico (multiple times - ah, the homeland), Canada (just over the border from Detroit to Windsor - that is a story for a different time. Whoo boy.), Paris, Rome, and various locales in the contiguous United States.
So, we are trying to figure out where to go this summer. I believe our budget will be about $2000 each, because we do want to try to go to Europe or possibly the UK, and a vacation like that tends to be pricier than your typical all-inclusive Mexican Fiesta. I love vacays like that, but like I said, 2010 is for new things.
PS. If you are looking for amazing vacay deals for those tropical destinations - try Bookit.com and Cheapcaribbean.com. If you aren't pinned down to a specific travel date or destination, you can scout out some amazing deals. We have booked through both of these, and our trip to Cancun was booked through Bookit.com. It. Was. AMAZING - our package included our hotel - we stayed at the newly built tower at the NH Krystal Club, all inclusive (amazing food, too) for 7 nights and 8 days, shuttle service to/from the airport and airfare. The price was RIDICULOUS. Granted, we booked the trip in June for a December departure, and December is the off-season in Cancun, but in total, for the both of us? The trip was about $1200. $600 a piece! Less than $100 per day... that's INSANE. Deals like that are not uncommon on bookit.com, either. Whenever I tout up something I love I feel I must clarify that I don't work for either of these companies, but the service was really great and I'd recommend it to anyone.
So here are our potential summer destinations: England/Ireland (we'd probably do both in one trip), Venice, Greece, Brazil, Chile, and Europe in general. We'd like to go for a week or so, and I am not set on one specific location. It will mostly depend on timing and the deals we can find. So now I ask you, my readers: What is your absolute favorite vacation spot? Where should R and I go this summer?
Next on "Dear Diary..."
Nov 27, 1994
Dear diary. Sorry I couldn't write to you for a long time. I lost the key to your lock. I finally learned how to use a paperclip to open it. (And apparently I learned how to use a period, too. Finally.) I've got alot to tell you. First Alicia dumped me. (See, told you she was a crappy friend. Isn't it a shame - this is how all girls are in elementary school/high school. Friends one minute, enemies the next...) Cassie stuck with me until she became friends with Alicia. I guess Alicia was spreading rumors about me to Cassie. Then Casssie dumped me too. My Finger got bumped at basketball and I was trying to steal the ball from her and she got mad at me and told her mom I tried to wipe blood on her and she told me her mother was quote quote very upset. (Apparently I felt it was easier to write out the words quote quote instead of just using quotation marks.) I have no friends at all. (Sad.) Dana is nice shes new this year but shes friends with Alicia and Cassie and everyone that hates me which is everyone. (Sad. But most likely exaggerated.) Thats as far as friends go as far as boys go welll Alexs cute now I used to sit at his table. After Chrissy left Me and him would tease Jared. (I was so hurt and offended by being teased, but I had no problem teasing someone even less popular than myself. Typical Catholic School kid.) He was the only boy who really acts like he doesn't hate me well besides Jared and Cory except I like Alex. He's funny and cute and he laughs at jokes I make. Zachary is still cute except he doesn't act like he doesn't hate me. (Prerequisite for dating me: don't act like you hate me. Check.) Every year he tries to talk to me but I sort of Ignore him. (He always just left me speechless! Even more so than usual!) For example I was coming down the stairs of school after school you know the second staircase coming down to the first floor (of course I know) anyway they were putting in the new windows on the first floor and we weren't allowed to go through those glass doors the ones next to the computer room well he said "They haven't even started putting in the new windows yet." and I just raised my eyebrows and left. (What happened to the efficient and correct use of the period that I saw in the beginning of this entry? It all fell apart mid-entry.) I don't even think he saw me raise my eyebrows because my bangs are so long. (Hahahaha) I read in teen that boys usualy act like they don't like a girl when they're boy shy and they think theyre just unfriendly so they act like they don't like them. (Wait, what? Let me see if I can translate from pre-teen to standard English. I think I'm saying that I read in "Teen" magazine that a boy will not crush on you if you are shy and act like an ice cold bitch by raising your eyebrows under your shaggy-dog bangs, because they think you are... well, a bitch. Makes sense.) I don't act unfriendly around Alex but I do around Zachary. (Stone cold bitch.) That why Alex acts like he doesn't hate me and Zachary does. Aarghh! I don't know why I just screamed. Thank you for listening for so long. (As if you had a choice. You are made of paper.) Actually I think if I read this it would be a lot shorter than it took me to write. (Um, yeah. Your brain sends information in fractions of fractions of microseconds. If your hand moves that fast, you should be in Guinness Book of World Records. I actually owned a Guiness Book of World Records because I had aspirations to break a record or create my own record. I'm still working on it.) Till next time diary, keep my secrets a secret and don't let anyone read you like a book. Corny pun huh? (Rolling my eyes. So far. I can see the back of my eye sockets.) Bye!! PS. I got glasses! (Written along the margin with a tiny drawing of a pair of glasses.)