Wednesday, June 30, 2010

gnat necesita una poca de gracia

so far i had only really meandered from the apartment in one direction - north. i figured it was about time i familiarized myself a little more with my surroundings so yesterday i set out towards the east. from the train station two blocks over:

i didn't get very far though, cuz i live about three blocks from the lake, but i did walk by soldier field onto the museum campus which houses the planetarium, the natural history museum, the aquarium, some pretty sweet views, and lots of tourists who are happy to take your picture (albeit crookedly):

once i hit the water i had little choice but to head, well, north (it was either that or south, i mean come on) so i walked up past the marina back to millenium park where the grant park orchestra was having open rehearsal:

daniel managed to get off work early and met me at taste of chicago for, yeah, more free music. we saw los lonely boys and los lobos. i had only heard one los lonely boys song before then (check it out) and wasn't expecting them to be as completely awesome live as they were. seriously so fun to watch.

los lobos played a long set too which was fine but we were a bit distracted:

by this guy:

at least, until they played la bamba.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

gnat is reminded of why the heck she came all the way out here in the first place

i just got back from class and it was AMAZING! no but seriously, it was. my classmates are amazing, my professors are amazing, the readings are amazing, the campus is amazing. i think i'm really going to enjoy this program a lot, which is cool, since that's why i'm here (as much as all of my previous entries may have made it sound as if i were here to hang out and listen to free music).

the rest of my day was less than notable, the bulk of it was spent hanging out on my bed making my way through all of the reading for today's class that i have been neglecting since i got the syllabus, oh, two weeks ago.

last night i reconnected with a friend from high school who i hadn't seen in eight years. now, i say a lot of less than nice things about facebook but if it had not been for kristin's status update i would never have known that she too was new in the city and looking for people to explore the food scene with.

in other news, roast beef sandwiches are awesome. i know, cuz i'm eating one right now.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

gnat makes friends (both human and non-human)

i spent most of friday bumming around the apartment then walked down to grant park to meet daniel at taste of chicago for the "rap down rewind" concert. we saw salt n pepa, slick rick, doug e fresh, these guys:

(there's absolutely no way to tell, but that's bell biv devoe) and some other fools. the place was packed. i thought jazz reggae was nuts, but it wasn't like this:

and this was from pretty far back away from the stage.

yesterday i went down to the bar next door to watch the usa/ghana game in hopes that i'd find some friendly people to sit with and i DID! i made a friend who actually lives nine floors up in my building.

after the game i set off on a quest to find a good nearby coffee shop where i could do some reading (total fail) which was (thankfully) interrupted by a phone call from my roommate to ask if i wanted to go hang out with her fiance and his friends. on the way home we grabbed groceries and i cooked dinner but really sorta disappointingly. i don't have any kitchen mojo here yet, think i still need to get used to everything being so nice... it seems only cook well in kinda crappy kitchens with hodgepodge cooking implements that need to be re-screwed together every now and again.

OH yeah, the other friends i mentioned. they love crawling all over my wall of windows (how the heck do they get up here? i'm 21 floors up...) and yesterday i met a particularly large one.

i didn't get a chance to name him before he disappeared, with my luck probably into my bed. oy.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

gnat gets her first taste of this "weather" thing everyone keeps talking about

at 4:39am, about eight minutes ago, i was wrenched from sleep. (sleep that was by no means easy to come by, so naturally i was a little upset.) i couldn't figure out what had woken me up, since i'm usually a pretty sound sleeper. i'll spare you examples of things i've slept through, but seriously it's not easy to wake me up.

it was freaking thunder. i mean, i thought i had heard thunder and seen lightning but it's like the damn apocalypse out there. it's calmed down a bit but still i feel like a little girl huddled in my blankets watching the storm.

on the agenda for tomorrow: buy an umbrella.

Friday, June 25, 2010

gnat swears this will get easier (right?)

the last two days have been, well...


moving across the country to a city where you know exactly one person, a person who is really busy, is not easy. i knew it wasn't going to be when i decided to do it, but i guess i didn't quite expect this. it's only day two, and it wouldn't be all that fair to say i was trying my hardest to get out there and enjoy the city because i haven't but still... there is a big part of me that wants to admit defeat, pack up the little bit of stuff that i've unpacked, and head back to california.

in the meantime i've been applying for jobs and volunteer positions, looking for classes (what kind of classes you ask? cooking, music, knitting, improv, basically you name it and i'm interested), and checking out chicago social networking opportunities.

i just need to make it a few more days and then all of this will get easier. i think. i hope. no, i know.

on a lighter note, last night daniel and i went to a pretty awesome free concert in the park. we saw el ritmo de la vida with doc severinsen, who used to play trumpet for johnny carson on the tonight show. hes completely awesome. and he performed in pink leather pants.

and finally, by request, the view from my apartment which is, sadly, far less spectacular than the view from daniel's:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

gnat gets mixed signals

after spending the preceding few days dealing with this:

yesterday i did one final pack/repack/repack-again/realize-there-was-more-stuff-in-the-laundry-and-repack-some-more and headed with mom to SFO. the first leg of the trip (san francisco to las vegas) was super turbulent but otherwise fine. no sooner had i lined up at my gate for leg two (las vegas to chicago midway) than an announcement came over the speaker that we were being grounded due to weather conditions. weather in chicago. thunderstorms and a tornado watch. wtf? tornado watch? you must be joking.

by this point i'm beginning to think that hey, maybe chicago doesn't want me. maybe it's trying to keep me on the west coast where i belong. the delay was only an hour, though, and the flight into chicago was, well, long. i was sandwiched between a larger gentleman whose left arm found its way into my seat every time he dozed off and a twitchy lady who reeked of cigarettes and obviously was hurting for one pretty badly, she chewed an entire pack of gum one stick at a time over the 3 hour flight.

i deplaned and immediately found myself surrounded by banners proclaiming "we're glad you're here!" from mayor daley. the MAYOR is glad i'm here.

the mayor may have gotten his wires crossed though. after waiting for an hour in a cab line that ran the length of the terminal, i wind up with a driver who starts talking shit about me to his buddy on the phone as soon as i tell him where i'm going. in arabic. in egyptian arabic. so not only is this guy a tool, he's also an idiot. he made it through about 8 minutes before he had to hang up because his battaraya khelset (his battery died). i paused for a moment then asked "so you are egyptian? me too." he shot me a pretty awful "oh crap" look then turned the radio up and left it up for the rest of the trip. he was really nice about helping me get my bags out of the car. then i met up with ANOTHER egyptian (a nicer one, though) who i had kept up waiting for me with all of the "adventuring" i had been doing.

so here i am. daniel left for work, i'm supposed to be gathering my things and heading on to the new apartment but all i really want to do is take a nap. here's the view from the window in his room:

kinda neat, huh?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

gnat says goodbye LA, it's been fun

friday was a mad dash to finish everything i could at work or to put sticky notes with detailed explanations all over everything i couldn't.

saturday, after early breakfast with brig, i proceeded to pack all of my remaining belongings into bobby (who is, by no means, a large car) then take them out, then repack them, then take them out, then repack them in such a way that i could still mostly see out through the windows while driving. then i left my key with patty and headed to my uncle's house where now (sunday) i am downing some coffee and preparing myself for the drive up to nor cal.

i keep repeating to myself - just because the consequences of a decision aren't easy doesn't mean it was the wrong one.

Friday, June 18, 2010

gnat does something impulsive (and nobody is surprised)

besides the whole, deciding to move to chicago thing, which i think also falls under the "gnat does something impulsive" umbrella along with piercing my nose and going to france sophomore year of college.

but i digress.

i sent my camera back to the manufacturer today, the warranty isn't quite up and the lens is finicky so everything looks blurry and out of focus when i turn it on. hopefully they can fix it and send it back. in the meantime i thought it was a damn shame to do this big move without a spiffy camera to record it all, so i hopped into bobby the silver sentra (who is a little miffed that he is getting left behind in favor of much crappier and less drivable weather) and made my way down to best buy where i promptly bought the most beautiful little point and shoot canon digital camera you ever saw. photos to follow (taken WITH the camera, not OF the camera).

today was my last thursday/funday with patty and the other kids. tomorrow is my last day of work - we will just have to see if i survive.

AND i just found out that not only does taste of chicago, an entire festival just about food, start the day after i get there, but also that BELL BIV DEVOE of hideous pant legend is going to have a free concert mere blocks from my apartment. to which, of course, i say YES PLEASE!

pictures of my dirty dirty dirty apartment (and of bell biv devoe) to come later.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

gnat experiences separation anxiety

pat is gone for the night and the apartment is eerie and sad without her, and without even the consolation of figures moving on tv to make this space seem less empty.

i am seriously wondering if i have made a horrible mistake.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

gnat makes do with the leftovers

and i don't just mean food.

i thought i had done an ok job of holding onto the stuff i would need this week, but more than once i've found myself madly searching for a sweater or a pair of shoes before realizing it was long gone, or intended to watch a movie while cleaning before realizing that i am no longer an owner of dvds.

but yeah, also the food thing. day one of "cook everything that's left in the kitchen" was easy enough, although more than once during the cooking process i reached for oregano or cayenne pepper before remembering that i had already bequeathed all of my spices (with the exception of a small amount of kosher salt) to the cousins. today i managed steamed zucchini, roasted garlic risotto (i'm not sure if you can call it risotto if you use a combination of short grain, medium grain, and long grain rices but it looked like risotto and it tasted like risotto, hodgepodge though it was) and panko breaded chicken with dill. this promises to get more difficult as the contents of my fridge and pantry dwindle.

in other news, sleeping on the floor is beginning to take its toll on my neck and shoulder area happiness. more on this, i'm sure, after i do it for several more days.

Monday, June 14, 2010

gnat attempts to divest herself of as many possessions as possible

all of the furniture is gone and everything is boxed, bagged, or suitcased with the exception of clothes and items i'll need this week and some random knick-knacks i'm still hoping to pawn off on friends and family before i go. i unloaded the plastic hangers and a large percentage of my pantry and spice rack, as well as my tv and dvd player, to the cousins today, found a clever hiding place within the apartment to leave the paint, and procured a vacuum cleaner strong enough to pull all of the dust from the carpet thats been hidden in the crevices between furniture and wall. (gross, i know.)

it wasn't until i had done all of these things and paused to feel extremely satisfied with my progress that i remembered i will still be living here for another week, and now without the luxury of distraction that's been provided thus far by packing. it's been like a game, almost, a race to find a place for everything to go. i've been putting off the saying goodbyes stuff for at least a week now with the self-directed excuse that i needed to get things in order here at the apartment first. what comes next is the sorta nice but mostly crappy part, where is awesome to see everyone and hang out but with the caveat that it's the last time i'll get to do it for a long time.

actually, i just noticed that i lied. ALL of the furniture isn't gone. there's still a chair that i found on the sidewalk in front of my apartment four years ago. one of the legs was falling off but i reattached with with some haphazardly applied wood glue and a few carelessly placed nails. i guess maybe i'll put it back on the street where it came from, maybe someone else will get as much use out of it as i did.

dammit, i gave the tv away and now i can't watch good eats while i fall asleep. that was bad planning.

Friday, June 11, 2010

gnat walks the fine line between avoiding waste and having a hoarding disorder

i hate packing. i have packed boxes and boxes and boxes and still i can only see about one square foot of bedroom underneath all of the crap. crap i have no earthly idea what to do with. crap that i know i haven't seen in five years which feels impossible because it's only been two since last time i moved. how did i accumulate so much stuff? i don't want to keep it but i feel intensely guilty for wanting to throw it away, it's not bad, or old, it's just useless, to me at least. i wish i could find homes for all of it but there just isn't time...

at least packing is keeping my mind off how much i am freaking out about moving. something else to focus on.

ugh. it's going to be a rough week.

things gnat needs to work up the nerve to throw away today:
- "bison" colored can of paint. ("bison" is a nicer description, it seems, for the color of crap. it's a can of crap colored paint.)
- four sets of banged up but still functional plastic drawers.
- 17284392925 plastic hangers. can i donate these? sell them back to target?
- a pirate flag. yep, a pirate flag.
- pennies. a billion pennies. wtf, pennies. i can't even use you to do my laundry. you suck.