Thursday, July 10, 2014

A hello, halfway through the year

Hi to old and new readers. Of course I didn't mean to make it halfway (plus more than a week) into 2014 without posting, but it's been an unusual year. I feel I can still blame a lot on months of terrible winter, right? I didn't travel, I barely made it outside my closest neighborhoods, I even had six weeks during the worst of winter with no working phone, and until this week, rode all year on a bicycle without working brakes. But I'm back and here's what's up, briefly:

Big events of emotional significance:
June 21 I had a high school reunion in Ames, Iowa. It went well (except for one of the most horrific Megabus stories ever, resulting in my missing the more casual Friday night event).
It was also the first time I'd been to Ames since Thanksgiving 2013. I'd meant to come back for Christmas...or possibly New Year...or any of my family members' birthdays...or Mother's or Father's Day. For weather and other reasons, that didn't happen. (My mom kept my Christmas stocking hanging up a long time, though.)
Then June 30 was my final session with a great therapist I've been seeing since spring 2011.
Then July 4 marked one year since a very...interesting friend, a local bartender, came into my life, and has been a huge support during a lot of terrible things that happened since. My time at this bar has been a great source of photographic and writing material, if not in this space...yet.

Recent great news:
After months on the aforementioned terrifying bike, a friend spent weeks fixing up a vintage Hercules (British brand, no longer around) bike for me and gave it to me this week. Enjoying it so far!

After nineteen years in Chicago, I've sort of made it: I am included, extensively (words if not photos, ah well) in a COVER STORY in the Chicago Reader, "The ugly beauty of urban exploration", by a friend and excellent local journalist, Ted McClelland. It may have gotten you to this blog, since I'm linked. (Sorry I haven't posted urban exploring stories here in ages but there's a few good ones in the archives. It got me named an editor's choice best local blog in the Reader! 2008.)

And...there are rumors of my return, after four years, to the live lit scene, which wasn't even popularly called the "live lit" scene here when I last read, I don't think. First up will be a story about the bartender I mentioned.

Two current projects:
I don't do New Year's resolutions, but I started something I called "Things I've Been Meaning to Do." Every day in 2014, I either visit a place I've meant to try or long meant to return to, or start or finish a task at home (organizing, signing up on a website, a food I haven't cooked before), or anything else that fits the description. On my worst days it may just be opening something dubiously old in the pantry; on the best, long bike rides where I try several restaurants/bars for the first time.

And 2014 is my fifth year of "New Place a Day" (and third posting it on Twitter as #newplaceaday), where every day of calendar summer I visit a new-to-me place or have a new-to-me experience in Chicago, or wherever I am at the time. Obviously this overlaps with TIBMTD, and for reasons of time, energy, money, most of the latter project counts as the former project. (But I'm doing a few things besides.)