Friday, September 28, 2007

Gives me hope

The Washington Post has a fantastic article on cheerleading squads for those with developmental disabilities. Sometimes the scale of the social problems we face in the world is overwhelming, especially when it seems like nobody cares. This article gives me so much hope. I love seeing the way that walls are coming down and the community is coming together.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Erin vs. The Salad

As a teenager and undergrad, the salad was my nemesis. I hated salad for what it symbolized to me. Salads were what girls would order on dates so boys wouldn't think they were fat cows - hence salad symbolized worrying about what others think about you. Salads were what 90 pound girls would eat while complaining they were fat - salad symbolized harmful gender expectations. I hated the whole diet/exercise routines for the same reasons - different genders were held to different standards, the media had far too big a role in what was considered acceptable, and at its essence, it meant not being comfortable with yourself. I was a vocal critic of these things, absolutely refused to weigh myself, and took pride in the fact I could eat like one of the boys.

But as I've matured, I've finally discovered that there is a difference between worrying about what others think and living healthfully. And I'm gradually making the move towards living healthfully. I still refuse to weigh myself, and I still refuse to call a leafy salad a meal (although I will count pasta salad), but I am making lifestyle choices I previously looked down upon to promote better health for myself. I certainly don't say no to every dessert that comes my way, but I don't say yes either. I don't have a crazy 4AM jogging routine, but I go to the gym twice a week (often to do water aerobics - can I just say that I LOVE water aerobics?). I'm paying a little attention to nutrition by trying to add more fiber to my diet. And yes, I even eat salads. Given, they are usually salads saturated with cheese and bacon, but still, this is a big step for me. While I am far from being a health guru, I am genuinely enjoying this lifestyle change, and this is a great place to be.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Dreaming about Chicago

Since I've spent most of the morning coordinating details for a conference in Chicago (which I sadly don't get to attend), I've been fantasizing about going there most of the morning. I've always loved big cities. I love the pace, the public transportation, the culture, and the diversity. So I can have an outlet, I'm going to blog about what I would like my Chicago trip to be like (and of course, I'm ignoring the fact that I can't afford the majority of the things I've listed).

Hotel Monaco
OK, the picture is kind of goofy, but I'm loving the window seats that look out over Michigan Avenue, the slightly funky look, and its close proximity to Navy Pier and Grant Park. It seems very nice, without being snooty.

Architectural Boat Tour

When my family went to Chicago right before my brother went on his mission, this was my parent's favorite thing. The architecture of Chicago is incredible, and I love being out on the water, especially in or near a city.

Deep Dish Pizza
Sounds delicious.

Navy Pier
Looks like a charming area to explore. I'm especially intrigued by the idea of the Shakespeare theater there.

Alright, I know it is the cliche thing to do right now, but several people whose artistic taste I really trust raved about it, and I think it is the kind of play I would enjoy.

And I of course want to check out the Art Institute, Sears Tower, and Field Museum - but I thought pictures would be superfluous.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hoosiers don't know how to use quotation marks

I thought I'd share some amusing signs I've seen as I've driven around this state. Clearly, the teachers here have not communicated the concept of quotation marks well.

  • "Now" hiring
  • Westward "Ho" Campgrounds
  • Westward "Ho" Flea market (you can kind of see it on the left side)
And my personal favorite:
  • "Jesus" is coming
And to think that people in my town have a hard time getting elementary ed teaching gigs...

Thursday, September 6, 2007

I've got music ... who could ask for anything more?

Sometimes you acquire an item and then wonder how on earth you made it through life without it. Last time it was my rice cooker - this time it is my brand new mp3 player. I selfishly decided to use some of my birthday money towards the inexpensive and magnificent item you see above instead of, um, fresh vegetables (my daily vitamin will give me nutrients, right?). I cannot get over how much I love it. I listen to it at the gym (yes, I have started going to the gym - that will be my next post), and my workout flies by. I listen to it while I do long and boring copy jobs at work. I listen to it as I wait for the bus. I used to make fun of people that never removed their ear buds - now I'm checking out books on CD from the library in hopes I can listen to them while I buy groceries. I'm obsessed.

And if that isn't good enough, for my birthday Rob bought me a portable stereo/CD player for the kitchen, so I have been singing along to "The Way You Look Tonight" as I make enchiladas, and dancing to Eric Clapton as I do dishes (it's terribly attractive, believe me). Chores have never been better...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Before I leave Indiana

I've had the dawning realization that I could possibly be leaving Indiana in 8 months. I'm not claiming I'm heartbroken about this (no offense to you Hoosiers out there). However, there are a few things that I want to see before I leave. Ironically, only one of them is actually in Indiana.

Mammoth Caves

OK, so this is technically in Kentucky, but I don't know if I'll ever be in this region again. I've been caving in college, but I haven't been in full-on caverns since about the 1st grade. Mammoth is supposedly the longest known cave system in the world, and I would be very sad if I missed out.


I have never been a tourist in Chicago - I have only gone there for events, and haven't hit any major landmark. I would love to take a trip to Chicago - the theater, the museums, the restaurants, the buildings taller than 7 stories high (sigh), the water ... need I go on?

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Sandy and rocky beaches, trees, hiking trails - what's not to love?