A little more than a month ago, a friend asked me what I’d be up to the weekend of Nov. 21. Since the answer was, “Nothing,” I found myself invited along on a weekend trip to Iowa City.

Of course, when I agreed go to Iowa City, I didn’t expect to come down with the plague the Tuesday before. (I never got an official diagnosis on what beat me up last week, so I’m going with the plague.) My friend wanted to leave on Friday, which was fine with me and my boss, but then I ended up staying home on Wednesday and Thursday due to feeling lousy. I still took the day off work on Friday, but I felt bad about it :/ I had already taken a half day on Monday due to a totally unrelated doctor appointment, so even though I technically worked four days last week (I worked from home when I was sick), I was only in the office for 1.5 days last week, and that didn’t set well with my rule-following self.

But regardless, my friend showed up at my place at 9 a.m. Friday, and west we went.

We actually spent Friday in the Quad Cities, which, for those of you not from the area, are four cities (duh) on the Illinois/Iowa border, with two cities in each. One of the Quad Cities is Rock Island, IL, and that was our first destination. My friend went to Augustana, so we wandered around campus a bit and visited professors (my friend’s, not mine. I didn’t go to Augustana, and even if I had, I certainly wouldn’t have spent much time with chemistry professors haha.). I had never been to Augie before, but my alma mater is fairly similar to Augie in the sense that they’re both small, liberal arts, DIII schools, so it was fun to see a college campus that kind of reminded me of my own.


We spent the night in Davenport with the intention of carrying on to Iowa City early the next morning for the Iowa vs. Purdue football game. The snowstorm that rolled through Friday night/Saturday morning but a damper on those plans, however. We ended up hanging around Davenport until 10:30 or so, and since the game started at 11:00, we definitely didn’t make it to Iowa City in time to meet up with my friend’s friend who had the game tickets. The highway was fine on our drive over, but I bet we saw at least two dozen spinouts in the 45ish miles between Davenport and Iowa City, so I’m really glad we waited to go.

Instead of watching the game in person in 20-degree weather, my friend and I posted up at Vine, a bar right by the University of Iowa’s campus that makes no secret about its allegiances.



I’ve never had much of an opinion on Iowa. I’ve always been a Michigan fan, so my strong negative feelings in the Big 10 are reserved for Ohio State. I did feel a bit of a poser cheering for Iowa since I knew absolutely nothing about the school, the football team’s history, or, true life: the fact that the University of Iowa is in Iowa City (I knew that before the game, of course, but I thought Iowa State was in Iowa City until I Googled Iowa City a few weeks after I agreed to go. Oops.), but no one seemed to care, so for the day, I was an Iowa fan. I also held down the Michigan fort at the bar, since someone had to cheer for the Wolverines when they beat Penn State, thus preventing Ohio State from clinching a spot in the Big 10 Championship in a few weeks. Michigan State also helped out that cause by beating OSU on Saturday as well – God bless you, Spartans. Michigan’s hope of a championship game berth live on!

After the game, we met up with my friend’s friend and a bunch of her friends (so many friends of friends of friends this weekend) and went to the mall of all places, where I realized that I have definitely become an urbanized asshole, because I was so scornful and superior I could’ve punched myself. Haha. I honestly don’t remember the last time I went to a mall before Saturday, and I’ve gotten so used to city living that the concept of anything remotely suburban, including a shopping mall, makes me turn up my nose. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in the corner hating myself for having so much ‘tude.

My throat, which had been my biggest plague-related problem since my fever broke (I couldn’t swallow without wincing, and for three nights in a row, my throat hurt so bad that it woke me up.), began to seriously act up while we were at the mall (maybe it was disgusted by suburbia too? :P ), so we ended up just going back to our hotel instead of going out in downtown Iowa City with my friend’s friend and crew like originally planned. We were both really tired too, so not going out was just fine by me. Plus there’s the whole issue of driving, which didn’t even occur to me. I didn’t drink in college, but even if I had, all the bars anyone went to were within very easy walking distance of campus, so no one ever drove to go out, and of course no one drives to go out in Chicago – they walk, or take the CTA, or take a cab, or take an Uber, but never once in my entire Chicago life have I ever known of anyone who drove to a bar. I wasn’t all that interested in drinking, so I could’ve DDed, but the idea of driving a car that wasn’t mine in a city I had never been after dark when I can’t see anything wasn’t particularly appealing, either. So bed time it was!

We came back to Chicago Sunday, listening to the Bears lose the whole way. Granted, I didn’t see all that much of Iowa, but I have to say, I did enjoy being out in the country again. Don’t get me wrong: I love living in Chicago and very much enjoy city life, but I grew up in the country, and seeing rolling farmland feels like home in the most wonderful way.

Have you ever been to Iowa?



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Thursday Things

1. I’m sick :(

I woke up Tuesday morning feeling totally normal, but by lunchtime my throat started to feel a bit…off. I figured I was coming down with a cold, as I once again did not heed my own advice to not kiss boys who have colds, and experienced the unparalleled dread that comes with knowing you have a cold and there’s nothing you can do about it. By the end of the day, though, I felt MISERABLE. I had no energy, no motivation, and just generally did not feel well at all. I slogged through my commute home, heated up some food in the microwave, decided I couldn’t go to dance feeling that lousy, and had my pajamas on by 6 p.m. I’m supposed to be going out of town this weekend, so I wanted to kick this as fast as possible.

Wednesday morning, I wasn’t feeling any better, and by that point I had developed a low-grade fever as well. I’ve been monitoring my resting heart rate every morning since the end of July, when I was worried I was overtraining during marathon season, and continue to do it out of habit today. Post-marathon, my RHR increased from the high 50s/low 60s to high 60s/low 70s, depending on the day. On Wednesday, my RHR was 90. In nearly four months of tracking, the highest RHRs I’ve ever had are 76 (when my alarm woke me up during a nightmare) and 80 (the morning after the marathon). I actually took that before I took my temperature, but by that point I knew I didn’t need to take my temperature – I was clearly sick (Letsrun says so. Though I already knew an elevated RHR was a sign of illness.). I consulted with my mother, as one does, who confirmed that I should take the day off work, and promptly emailed my office to let them know I wouldn’t be coming in that day, which, fun fact, is the first legitimate sick day I’ve taken in almost three and a half years of work (I took a sick day when I got dumped, but I obviously wasn’t actually sick that day. Heartsick, I guess.) I spent nearly all of Wednesday in bed, except for dragging myself to CVS to pick up a prescription and then dragging myself back to CVS to visit the MinuteClinic (I signed up to go there when I picked up my prescription, but there was a two-hour wait.). The nurse practitioner who saw me offered little help (though my pulse had gone down to 77, so that made me feel good). They swabbed me for strep, but the test at the clinic came back negative. She said I could have the flu, but since I got the FluMist almost a month ago when I was in Seattle (side note: how on earth did CVS know I had gotten the FluMist?! I didn’t put that down on any of my intake forms, and I didn’t get it at a CVS in Seattle. I don’t know if they even HAVE CVS in Seattle!), she didn’t seem to think that was what I had.

Personally, I think I have the flu. Getting the flu shot doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get the flu, since they don’t really know what strains are going to be the most pervasive each season. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a flu shot, of course: even if the strains in the shot aren’t the same as the strains making the rounds in a particular season, your body will still likely fight off the flu better if you’ve been immunized, since you’ve already got antibodies that know what to do with the flu. I got the flu every year in high school (or definitely came down with something distinctly flu-like every year in high school), and that’s the closest to how I feel now (i.e.: totally miserable). The NP told me to not go to work today, either, so chances are I’m horizontal in bed still (though I’m writing this Wednesday evening, and I suppose if something miraculous happens overnight, I may go to work if I feel up to it.). Pending the weather, I’m supposed to be going to the Quad Cities tomorrow and to Iowa’s football game Saturday morning, so I’m really hoping I feel a lot better by then. Or at least a lot less miserable.

In other news, half marathon training has gotten off to a rough start, considering that I intended to start last Saturday, and since then have logged exactly one run and one strength training workout due to all this nonsense. Alas.

2. Will someone please explain to me why WordPress feels the need to change its blogging format every 4.6 seconds? I don’t hate the update, I suppose – I just don’t understand why WordPress has to overhaul things all the dang time. This change isn’t nearly as dramatic as when they changed the stats page (still smarting over that, since the newer stats page is way harder to use/understand than the old one, in my experience), but it seems like none of these changes improve upon earlier problems: they all just completely reformat things for the fun of it. DOES NOT APPROVE.


3. All my dreams came true last Thursday when I saw Ryn Weaver live at Park West.

As you may recall, I’ve raved about Ryn Weaver on here before, and having to miss her Lolla after (due to the after starting at like 11 p.m. on a Friday night during marathon season. LOLNOPE.) and her Lolla set (due to it being on Saturday when I only had a one-day pass for Sunday), I was STOKED when I found out she was playing a show in Chicago. I bought a ticket as soon as they went on sale without even bothering to see if any of my friends wanted to go.

To be honest, I was not into either one of the openers at. all., though I did think it was kind of cool that Liz Nistico, the singer of HOLYCHILD (the first opener), came out into the audience multiple times. That was fun.


After sitting through way more HOLYCHILD and Astr than I ever needed or wanted to hear, Ryn Weaver finally went on a little after 9:00, and OH MAN.


It. Was. Awesome.

I smiled until my cheeks hurt. I wept at both Traveling Song and New Constellations (true story. I’ve never cried at a show before, but you have to have a heart of stone to not be moved by a live performance of Traveling Song, which is written about and dedicated to her grandfather, who passed away in January). I screamed along and jumped all around to Octahate. I’m hesitant to say Ryn Weaver beat Fall Out Boy at the Metro in 2013 as my Favorite Show of All Time, but they might be tied. Had their not been opening acts at Ryn Weaver, she might’ve taken the crown.


It was also just so nice to go to a show again. Even though I went to ALL OF THE FESTIVALS this summer, I haven’t been to a show show since March (yikes!), and I’ve really missed that atmosphere. I love love love live music, and it felt nice to experience some again.

Best show you’ve ever been to?
When am I going to feel not sick?


Filed under Life

Thursday Things

1. This has been an incredibly uneventful week, meaning this post is going to be a random collection of nonsense. However! Tonight I’m going to a concert, I think I have a Friendsgiving on Saturday (still not 100% sure on the details of that, including whether or not it’s actually happening, whether or not I am, indeed, invited, or whether it’s on Saturday or Sunday. Three cheers for flying by the seat of our pants!) and Sally from Sally’s Baking Addiction is going to be in Chicago for a book signing/demo on Sunday which I am FOR SURE going to (provided Friendsgiving isn’t on Sunday), because Sally is my baking hero, so in the future I’ll have plenty of fodder for slightly engaging posts.

2. I have long suspected I’m psychic (<– not really), and on Tuesday, I once again proved the powers of my mind. I’ve been climbing on and off for 11 months now (HOLY SMOKES does time fly), but I had yet to convince myself I should take the plunge and get belay certified at Brooklyn Boulders, mostly because I did not at all like the thought of paying $79 to get belay certified. Heck, I don’t even like the idea of paying $35 for a day pass + gear rental. A little while ago, I found a deal on Gilt City for belay certification at First Ascent, which I bought (and have yet to use, but will use sooner rather than later…hopefully before the end of this month), despite the fact that I have yet to actually visit First Ascent (though once I check out the scene, maybe I’ll go there more often, if for no other reason than to continue climbing without the risk of ex-boyfriend encounters :P ). As I was getting ready for work Tuesday morning, I was thinking about how I need to get to First Ascent ASAP and take that belay class, and then thought to myself, “I really wish Brooklyn Boulders would show up on Gilt City again and have Learn the Ropes on there so I can get belay certified at BKB, too.”



Screen shot 2015-11-11 at 11.29.31 AM


As a heads up, for my fellow Chicagoans inspired by my marathon season climbing dedication, BKB also has some killer day-pass deals on Gilt City right now, with three day passes for $49 ($16.33/day) or six day passes for $90 ($15/day). Ladies Night, the best deal otherwise available at BKB (and obviously only available if you’re, y’know, a lady) is $19/night, making both the three-pack and six-pack a better deal than…well, anything else BKB offers, including memberships (unless you have your own harness and shoes, that is, and plan to go climbing frequently).

So. Between the six-pack, my belay class (which includes two trips to BKB), the free day pass I won at Belaybor Day in September, AND my belay class at First Ascent (which includes two trips to First Ascent), I’m looking at 11 climbing trips in my future *insert a billion heart-eyed emojis here*. And I still have a few Trainology classes to use. And I have a month at another studio to use. So…yeah. I mean, I still have to join a regular gym so I have access to a treadmill if I’m going to do this whole half marathon training thing. But I may sub out some (um, most) of the Best Body Bootcamp stuff I planned to do with these other things. We’ll see. This is what I get for trying to make a plan!! Haha.

3. Who’s up for a little Thursday etymology lesson?!

Yesterday, Erin used the word “whelming” to describe the scarf in her outfit, and I intended to use the comments to complain about the fact that whelming is not a word. Well! You can imagine my surprise, then, when spellcheck did not flag “whelming” as a misspelled or nonexistent word. Curious, I took to Google, where I learned that the verb “to whelm” is an archaic word meaning “engulf, submerge, or bury (someone or something).” Who knew! This then led me to believe “overwhelm” is redundant, because how could you “overbury” something? If it’s already buried, isn’t that the end of it? That confusion led me to this website, which explained that “whelm” would be more appropriate to describe water coming up to the edge of a boat, where “overwhelm” would describe that water spilling over the edge into the boat. Someone on that site also noted that their only familiarity with the word “whelm” in modern language was from The Solid Rock, which includes the line “His oath, his covenant, his blood support me in the whelming flood,” which I definitely should’ve noticed before, because goodness gracious, I bet I’ve sung that hymn approximately eleventy billion times in my life, as it is one of a handful of hymns with remarkable staying power.

So there you go! Your word history lesson of the day. Doing right by my BA in English ;)

What are you up to this weekend? Because I have no relevant questions to ask based on the content of this post hahaha.


Filed under Life