Monday, October 22, 2007

(Obsessive) summer progress report, a tad late

So the staff here at CofD HQ have convened, vodka-cranberry drinks in hand, to discuss how well Katherine met her summer goals, the ones she listed, or meant to list, in early June, that would guide her through the official end of summer. The report was supposed to be issued in late Sept., but because it's barely felt like fall yet (pushing 80 degrees in late October), the staff got a little distracted. But here it is: how much did Katherine achieve from June to September? (The report will now switch to first person because writing like this is VERY annoying.)

BICYCLING: Ride Critical Mass for the first time in years? YES: twice. Bike all the major diagonal streets in Chicago, all the way? SOME: Broadway, Elston, Northwest Highway, Ogden, Rogers. Crazy long trips? SOME: more on these later. Bike the entire lakefront? NO. Keep track of exact routes and total the miles per day and see if I averaged 5 miles/day? HELL NO. (But next year...)

DATING/FRIENDS: Go on dates: YES. Kiss someone? YES: I'm not saying much more than that. Get dumped a few days before my birthday? YES: What a remarkably prescient (and depressing) thing to put on one's "goal" list. Well, of course I didn't, but why not put it on next year's list? Why expect birthdays to be anything other than utter vortexes of self-loathing and despair? But hey, of course I'm friends now with that guy, cause that's my style, you know. And he's the one who got me into Flickr, and through Flickr I've made new friends, and both Flickr and the odd hobbies I've picked up through it (traipsing around in decaying buildings) are BETTER than...uh...anyway... Keep up with friends? YES: but not enough. Make new friends? YES: through Flickr and MySpace, and some are even friends in real life. (Oh, and I did have a good time hanging out with friends [two different ex-boyfriends!] on my birthday, it wasn't all bad.)

EVENTS: Get to at least a few of the 100s of festivals? YES. Parades? YES: LGBT Pride, and the entire Bud Billiken parade for the first time (4 hours! I'd only seen bits of it before). Gigantic hipster concerts? SOME: totally missed Pitchfork (it sold out so I stood outside the gates for parts!), didn't try Lollapalooza, did go to the second day of the Hideout Block Party. Make use of my Chicago Architecture Foundation membership by going on walking tours for free? YES: lots, though I didn't seem to have a membership till July, even though I'd volunteered there over a year. Giant free events in Millenium Park or wherever that I'd feel like a fool for missing, I mean, look at all the stuff this city does for FREE (even if the schools and public transit are falling apart)? SOME: The Decemberists, "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me", a New Orleans-themed concert, "Young Frankenstein" in Grant Park. No Summerdance, none of the early Sat. morning yoga/pilates/workouts in the park--next year, sure, right, ha!

FOOD: Visit lots of farmers' markets? SOME: but I never bought anything. Cook frequently with summer produce? SOME: but not really until I brought back a ton of tomatoes, peppers, and herbs from Iowa. (Blog briefly interrupted to check on the two hot green peppers still in the fridge. Still solid, but dear god, can they possibly be edible?) Visit all my favorite ethnic grocery stores? SOME: by which I mean hardly any. Visit dive bars I've meant to try? NO: but a few non-dives I hadn't tried. Visit family restaurants/pancake houses/24-hour grills I meant to try? YES, oh yes. Visit other sorts of restaurants/coffeeshops? YES, quite a few. This is one of the only true "achievements." Visit Filter in Wicker Park every day the last two or so weeks they were open? YES: can't believe how much time/money I spent there. I miss them...what happened to that whole reopening-in-Logan-Square thing?

NATURE: Beaches? NO: dipping my feet in at Howard Street and North Ave. beaches but never actually going in the water/swimming because I don't know what to wear for a swimsuit (I'm thinking men's swim trunks) doesn't count. Parks? SOME: didn't get to all the big ones, but enough.

READING/WRITING: I don't know what my reading goals were, suffice it to say I visited a lot of libraries (including Evanston and Des Plaines) and read a lot of books. Write this blog? SOME: restarted in late August. Re-establish this as a fabulous, frequently updated blog, get some flashy cards, attend the BlogHer conference in Chicago and promote myself? ABSOLUTELY NOT. But it was my dream months ago. Write stories/essays? SOME: one finished piece. Write a zine? NO. Complete any of my obsessive Chicago projects (i.e., retaking the routes in an old tour book and writing about it)? NO.

TRAVEL: Visit family in Iowa? YES. Go anywhere else, including conferences I meant to go to in Detroit and in Portland, OR? NO. And my roommate went to the latter, which just made me feel worse.

TRYING NEW THINGS: Oh, finally some success! Besides the new routes I biked, restaurants I tried, festivals I attended, I'd say getting onto Flickr (I started the day after my birthday), and then MySpace, and then LibraryThing, and then GoodReads (and I signed onto Facebook and Shelfari but haven't done anything there yet) is pretty significant. And then the whole exploration thing: 10/22 was my one-month anniversary! I went to the Brach's factory with a Flickr group. And that's going to be a huge, huge part of the blog from now on, sorry to anyone who wants it to be about...whatever the hell else I've been pretending I'm writing about.

Overall verdict: We just got a little more to drink and we're mulling this over. A truly impressive amount of running around this past summer (oh, did we not mention Katherine didn't have a job during this time?) but few coherent accomplishments. But she's making up for it now, really she is.

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