Apologies for being gone for much of 2016. September reintroduced me to reading and writing with an academic twist as part of my journey of earning my master’s degree in communication at Northwestern University this coming August. I continue to love my job and I also loyally attend those guitar lessons.
Enjoying my school break, this past Wednesday, I went to the annual food drive and holiday concert at Guitar Works. This socially responsible store (homage to my strategic communication class) puts together an hour-long performance featuring the talented owner, Terry Straker, and store employees, in conjunction with the guests who donate food for Evanston’s homeless. Ambassadors to Earth, the four-piece instrumental house band, hosts.
I just missed the show in 2014 because I was new to the guitar. As time rolled on and I looked at the photos from that show, I realized I had missed seeing Dan, my guitar teacher of now almost two years, perform “Hava Nagila” on the accordion. This year, I was so enthralled that I didn’t get to capture EVERYONE who played in photos which bums me out because they are all awesome.
A few weeks ago, Divvy Bikes landed in Evanston, IL. It’s a great market given that Evanston is home to Northwestern University and neighbors with Chicago. Evanston has ten stations and three of them are located at Northwestern University.
These bicycles are intended for quick trips (half-hour trips or less) and have risen in popularity among commuters.
The pricing structure includes: Read the rest of this entry
One thing I noticed about this time of year is how a week ago, I was staring at the beautiful treasure at The Chicago Botanic Garden and now I see people tossing out their trees. Life keeps rolling on. But I digress.
I was pretty quiet in 2015 and it was for a good reason because I was making many positive changes – the most impressive being that I am now employed at a place I love and have wanted to work for years. I really enjoy my job and delight in my 1 mile and 1/2 jaunt to work! Not only do I get to wear purple – it is encouraged! My quality of life in the last year has increased beyond my wildest expectations.
One of my favorite distractions has been learning how to play the guitar at my weekly guitar lesson down the street. It is quite the joy to be able to leave at 1:57 for a 2:00 lesson. Over the past year, I have almost lost my prized purple pick more than a few times to which my teacher, Dan, can confirm. Something happens when I leave my lesson and I think I am putting the pick in my pocket and I can never find it; but then I get home and it somehow finds it way on the floor of my walk-in closet. While there are many more purple picks that can be purchased to replace that one, I have to have THAT one. One week, my pick didn’t reappear before my next lesson and I showed up, dejected. I walked in to see my smiling teacher holding my purple pick! You would think he had given me a million dollars; it was a relief to be reunited with my pick!
We have worked on many songs and although I have been partial to Elvis Presley and Patsy Cline, I am exploring other artists now because I like to do mash-ups of various songs and improvise some melody mixed in within the chords. Per Dan’s observation, a break-through moment was working on “Always On My Mind“. It just flows for me, and I can easily connect with the song and not think when I play it. It gives me peace.
When I went to visit my brother and his family for Thanksgiving, I noticed a whirling circular object floating on the floor. It was the robot-like vacuum cleaner Roomba. While I had heard of it, I never thought I could afford one. Sure enough, it was on sale at Costco so I bought it as soon as I got home. My world has changed with Roomba! I guess you are supposed to name it, but I haven’t gotten around to it and I digress, once again. Read the rest of this entry
It’s that time of year again! The time to capture those delightful lights. The weather in the center of the US has been incredibly mild so I have yet to see the lights in snow, but I can’t say I am complaining since it has given me the opportunity to take long walks on many nights to take in the sights.
When I was a kid, I celebrated Christmas week in the rural midwest with my maternal grandparents and family. Christmas Eve was spent diving in gifts and wrapping paper in my grandparents’ living room. Afterwards, I had the option of doing the dishes or going to church.
On Christmas Day, my family and I would drive three blocks (still kind of crazy that we took the car) to see my eccentric great-aunt and gentle great-uncle, “the engineer” with a hard g. He was from Sweden and had really pretty eyes but when he spoke, it sounded like svenska gibberish, and I had no idea what he was saying most of the time.
When we arrived to the house, cousin Muggsy, an obnoxious Boston Terrier, would eagerly greet us by slobbering all over our legs, biting holes in nylons and causing overall chaos until he was gently directed to the basement. Muggsy morphed into Muggsy 2 and the trilogy ended with naming her last dog Hercules. Hercules made the previous Boston Terriers look like stuffed animals.
There were tons of homemade cookies in the back of the house and my other great-aunt would squeal, “Would you like to have a coooookie?” and her sister would back it up with, “Have one of eaaaaaach!” But I digress.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Take It From Me.” What’s the best piece of advice you’ve given someone that you failed to take yourself? This one is so simple. “You just start a blog and write about….” I find myself saying that to so many people in my life.
Yet, It has been weeks, if not months, where I have gotten back on track with my own blog. I keep giving myself an out with a cornucopia of vacuous excuses. I have the time NOW to do it and I haven’t.
Which leads me to the second bit of advice I give to everyone and abuse it chronically. “Do not squander time….”
Instead of directing someone to write about the topics on my mind, it’s time to step it up and get it done myself.
Read the rest of this entry
The Month of Lauren had some amazing moments and I thank everyone who thought of me on the big day. I am very lucky! The month also had two notable losses.
One of them was the untimely demise of a 53-year-old former colleague of mine. He was always very supportive of me, good-natured and funny. I haven’t seen him in four years but it seems like yesterday. “I’m on Team Lauren,” he would say as he greeted me with a big smile and exuded positivity.
The other loss was my guitar teacher’s 82-year-old mom who was in the hospital for quite a few weeks before dying a few days after Mother’s Day. I had never met her but opted to show support by attending her memorial and get a mental snapshot of the person who had brought this encouraging and witty wordsmith, my guitar teacher, into the world.
How can it be the 11th of Lauren, already? Birthday month is here!
Flashback: When my parents took me home from the hospital. They brought a fire truck, balloon, and a baby. That is the order of preference that my brother welcomed the gifts…
Imagine having a month dedicated just to you. Our expectations are way too low. This one day nonsense for your birthday isn’t enough. Each year we have more things we want to do and run out of time. So it only makes sense that this homage to ourselves get expanded. In my case, the month formerly known as May is Lauren. Today is Lauren the 11th.