A Better Black Friday (The 21st Day of Thankful)

black-friday-poster-560x448

Let me preface this by saying that I’m always up for a good deal. Always. But recreating a tackle football game with a bunch of fellow stuffed Americans in the name of a bargain just isn’t my idea of a good time. So I’m going to go ahead and put it out there that I’m having a better Black Friday than those people, and for a few reasons:

1) I Turkey Trotted.

I’ve always wanted to do one of these really smart pre-gluttony 5K runs, and yesterday it finally happened! The best part? In lieu of a registration fee, the Hillstriders Running Club accepted donations for the Crystal Lake Food Pantry and volunteers filled up a huge trailer with non-perishable items. To say we crushed that cold (cold!) 5K would be an understatement. This lady is not a runner, but an easy 33:41 later I had wiped away any guilt of the upcoming bucket of creamed corn that would eventually make it’s way to my face.

2) Just because I don’t like Wal-Mart doesn’t mean I don’t like a deal.

Here are a few you might want to know about: The Joffrey Ballet is having a Black Friday special on opening night Nutcracker tickets. The Nutcracker isn’t something to be scared of, and now that it’s 25% off (using the code FRIDAY) there’s no reason not to go. Oh, and while you’re at it, work off your pumpkin pie at SixPax down in the South Loop. They’re great people, and also super chiseled, and you want to look like them. Plus, they’re having a sale today on Pilates lessons and group classes.

3) I’m going to the gym, and I might be the only one there.

Though I hope the best for the American obesity crisis, I have to admit I like going to the gym and knowing that no one else will be there. The day after Thanksgiving, in the middle of the afternoon, I’m banking on having the place to myself while the rest of suburbia feasts on leftovers and takes naps. I could probably ride on the whole Turkey Trot thing as being enough to justify doing the same, but I have a high stakes event tonight that involves fishnet tights and seeing people from high school. This makes me anxious, so I want to burn as much of that creamed corn as possible before seeing anyone who knew me before the turn of the century.

So, how are you spending your Black Friday?

Advertisements

Eighty Years of Thankful*

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Second only to the Macy’s parade in NYC, Chicago knows how to throw a party. Through the years, the parade has been a standing tradition for many families watching in person or on television, or as volunteers along the route.

It’s easy to get caught up in the holidays and forget what makes them awesome. As we fought for a parking spot at the grocery store this morning, amidst a police shake down of an unruly customer, we heard on the radio that a guy is already lined up for Black Friday.

Yeah, no joke. He has turkey delivered to his tent on Thursday.

My hope is that people remember that this isn’t supposed to be about consumerism, and fighting over parking spots, and non-stop glutinous eating and drinking. It’s supposed to be about friends, and family, and spreading joy, gosh darn it.

I won’t be making it to the parade this year… on the docket this Thanksgiving is a 5K Turkey Trot in the ‘burbs benefitting the Crystal Lake Food Pantry. But as I warm up with brunch and a hot apple cider post-3.1 miles, I’ll be sure to tune in on the tele (with thanks that I’m not stuck in downtown traffic).

Check out this amazing photo montage spanning 1935-2004. The parade was initially called the Christmas Caravan (these were the good old days pre-corporate sponsorships). The floats, balloons, and attractions change, so you can go back time and time again for a new experience each year. Those of you who are suckers for vintage (like me) might find this really cool!

Many thanks to The Silverman Group for sharing these photos.

*Read: I accept defeat on the 20-day challenge to document the things I’m thankful for. Look, I’m not perfect, ok? Better luck next year, I suppose.

Twenty Days of Thankful #10, 11 and 12

Day #10-12: Forgiveness

It was a lofty goal to try and blog every day for twenty days, and I got half way through without wavering. An uncommonly busy Monday (and Tuesday, apparently) threw me off course and so this is me making up for lost time.

I mean, who wants to listen to me yammer on every day anyway?

Hopefully you forgive my negligence, and will accept this little list of some of my very favorite posts as an apology:

Unknown Damn you, Foam Roller

tumblr_mo5o9xV1Uf1qmywbko1_500 Don’t Knock Wyoming ‘Til You’ve Tried it.

2012-12-24 12.00.11Small Town America Through the Eyes of Waldo, FL.

Enjoy!!

Twenty Days of Thankful #9

Day #9:  The Love of my Life

<3

You might have thought I already covered this, but let’s make one thing clear: coffee stole my heart long before anyone else.

More than one person has asked me if my tattoo of a teapot was the result of a drunken escapade. Not so – as a matter of fact I have a deep affinity for hot beverages. But it’s not just how coffee tastes – the thing that I’m really drawn to is the gathering of people together that accompanies a pot of joe. Communing this way is a quality of nearly every culture of the world, and many of our differences could perhaps be worked on by sharing a cup.

Visiting a coffee roaster in Pluma Hidalgo, Mexico
Visiting a coffee roaster in Pluma Hidalgo, Mexico

More than just a caffeine fix, coffee is something that reminds me to slow down and connect with people, share ideas, and explore our differences.

Contemplation over coffee
Contemplation over coffee

Twenty Days of Thankful #8

Day #8: A Humble Abode

This is not the first post expressing a backwards sort of gratitude for downsizing to an apartment. A couple years ago I bought a house, and a year later I moved out. Circumstances aside, “the house and the yard and the dog” are things that almost every person wants, and I most certainly was one of those people. But I was drowning in an unmanageable schedule, with an unmanageable commute, and an impossible financial situation. Taking a step backward (according to the writers of The American Dream), was actually a huge step forward for me personally. In downsizing to an apartment, I’ve managed to pay off two credit cards in the course of a year and get all my expenses under control. My bank account is black all of the time. My responsibilities have returned to a reasonable load. Everything is just – better.

I do hope that there will be a time when the house and the yard and the dog make sense for me, but right now is not that time. I’ve learned to value things that matter over, just, things. I love the courtyard view out our living room window. I love the sunshine pouring into our dining room each morning. I love my little kitchen and how I have everything I need. I LOVE that this is a space that can realistically be clean and organized *most* of the time.

It’s not fancy, and I don’t own it, but this is my home. And that, as they say, is where the heart is.

IMG_2997 IMG_2908 IMG_2841

Twenty Days of Thankful #6

Day #6: Not the Vampire Slayer

IMG_2896

Although, like Sarah Michelle Gellar she can do anything she puts her mind to.

It’s still Thursday, right? It is if I’m still awake, I suppose. This is Buffy the cat. She came into my life by accident, stayed in it by design, and is one of the silliest animals there every was. I’m pretty sure her mom had an affair with the milkman (milkdog?) because her temperament is definitely fido.