Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Junkies and Songs and Lessons in Perspective

Living in the city has it's benefits and drawbacks. A benefit and drawback all in one is the close proximity of, well, everything. Sunday was a warm day -I woke up hot and stifled from blazing humidity.

It was a nice day but too hot to be in a church sanctuary. I dropped the kids off at Sunday School and headed across the street for a pick-me-up at Starbucks: my double skim latte. Sweet wakefulness in a paper cup!

Walking back toward church I noticed that Starbuck's outdoor patio was pretty empty as was the one of the restaurant next to it. One thing that is awesome about our church NOT having an air conditioned sanctuary is that they have all the windows open. This means that the community song of the worship service floats and wanders all over the streets of Chicago. I love this effect. I encourage you all to take a break from the sanctuary during worship and have a seat at Starbuck's outdoor cafe. And Listen. Smell the air, view the sites, drink a fav beverage.

While sitting with my cup-of-ambition, I pulled out my sketch pad (which I carry with me everywhere). I drew the parking meter right in front of me, a portion of the patio umbrella. Boring! But good exercise. Then I started working on perspective practice and sketched out the street scene.

While sketching out the street scene I noticed a man coming out of the alley and around to the side of an adjacent apartment building. The man was rail thin, wore a scarf around his head, Lynard-Skynard style, and had tiny red dots all over his arms. This was all from a small distance so the detail wasn't crystal clear. Having been outdoors painting the entire weekend, I thought they could be mosquito bites. I'm such an optimist. Then the city chick in me kicked in and I realized, they had to be track marks. In a rather lovely, but not obnoxious sing-songy voice he was calling up to someone's apartment window. Kind of waking them up (this was about 10:30am - time for the morning hit). He wasn't scarey or loud. He was rather pleasant. Hey, manipulation 101 (or marketing 101, you choose, hehe)

Literally on one side of the street there is a church service in progress. People praising Jesus, quite beautifully, in song. Across the street, is another song being sung.; a junkie waking up a drug dealer. Interesting cosmic perspective to think that maybe (not all people) are singing for the same reasons. To connect with something that makes them feel good. I , personally, think worship songs are praise to God. But I KNOW that people take refuge in singing them. A comfort for weary hearts. It's the intent that matters, right?

Across the alley, on the junkie's side, is a woman, skipping church, drawing and sipping coffee. On the junkie's side of the road. Where was my song? Regardless, I like to think that the church music influenced the "wake up style" of the skinny man. We'll never know. Or perhaps we will... maybe he'll walk into church for Coffee Connection and I'll show him my sketch.

BTW - I'm not very good at drawing people, but I want to be. It's been said, "if you can draw a person, you can draw anything". So I'm working it. Need to get to classes too. I'll get there someday.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Busy, dreary week in Chicago

It's been quite an eventful week for the Anstee girls. Being the last week of school for Indigo, there have been many year-end festivities and outings. Saturday, during our neighborhood garage sale, Indi and Ais were invited to a classmate's bday party. There was a trampoline, real pony rides, and even beer for the adults. What a blast. Indigo thoroughly enjoyed the pony rides and was enamored with the ponies and their cute little names (Cinnamon, Snowball...)

Indigo's Kindergarten class continued their annual trip to Foster Beach. It was cold and rainy. It was a misty day at the beach. The only thing missing was the brine. Our hair still got tangled in knots.

There was a break in the misty, rainy weather when the sun came out momentarily. Indi made the most of it by filling in the outline I made of her on the sidewalk. No crime scene here. Notice how she colored in exactly what she was wearing at the time! Great job Inda!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Summer Fun

I've mentioned many times in this blog that I love Winter and snow! This is very true. But now that Summer is here, I love it too. Is that so wrong? I love all the seasons. Although dreary with no rain is pretty depressing and unenjoyable for me.

I live in the middle of Chicago, Il. I am an urban dweller. My property lot is 25 ft wide by 125 long. All that claims a house, backyard and garage. Not a lot of room to expand and enjoy. I have been told by many people with HUGE city houses "wow, you have a backyard". I don't have a McMansion hogging the lot.

Many, many years ago when my backyard was nothing but a bunch of grass I decided to try my hand at gardening. It gets a lot of sun back there so I was a bit worried. The first couple years I used the wrong plants or did something incorrectly, because the lot of the plants got scorched. I learned. I planted hearty perennials (lavender, sage, sedum, black eyed susans, day lillies, dianthus). And lo and behold the landscape theory of sleep-creep- LEAP took hold. As my back yard gardened bloomed, blossomed and grew, so did my sweet little girls: Indigo and Aislin. Soon to be ages 6 and 3 respectively.

Being early June, the garden is taking shape. You can see some of it in the photos of Indigo eating smores on her swingset. I'm glad 1) my kid loves to make smores and be outside (usually) 2) I'm not too uppity to keep the swingset and kid toys in my awesome garden.

More pics as thing bloom. Raspberries and strawberries come next. Then day lillies. Hopefully by early July it will all be in harmony together!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Working Out How to Work it Out

I had a good day today. I didn't win the lottery. But I did get something for free.

First off, my foot is injured - the arch - and I've been resting it. It's tough. I like to do bouncy, cardio exercise classes. I've been grounded! gmmmff. Although I did what I could in class. I modified my bouncy movements with others- mostly squat stuff (tougher on the legs, easier on the joints). At any rate, it's irksome being injured and has dampened my mood. For those of you who work out regularly, being told to "rest" is the kiss of death! Anything but that.

Today after the gym I shopped with my buddy and fellow strongwoman , Emily Haight (keep kickin' butt Em), for some parting Preschool/Kindergarten class gifts. We hit the local dollar store and scoured for items that fit a "beach" theme. We scored! On the way out, a postman in a truck took care to let me know that the star I was wearing was the nicest star he's seen in awhile. Thanks, I said. Then I realized he was talking about my booty. (Duh, I need to get out more often). Sidebar: I made the shorts for my first Turbo Kick audition so I'd be easily noticed by those whom I was instructing (women).
I thought it would be a fun bucket stuffer for the kids to get a free lunch at a neighborhood sandwich shop. After Ais and I had lunch, I waited for the counter to clear and then asked for the owner, who was not there, then asked the manager if they would donate 37 kid lunch certificates for a PreK and K graduation gift bucket. They said "sure, I'll have it for you Thursday after 5." Wow, that was easy as pie! Easier. So snaps to Costello's Sandwich Shop in Lincoln Square for being so generous. I'd like to remind you all that they also generously donated sandwiches and kids meals back when we did The Amazing Mama Race! (I miss Rox). Patronize them. The meatball sandwich is my favorite.