1. Look what I did this weekend!
I went to the beach!
This shouldn’t be as big of a deal as it is, given that I live in Chicago, where we have an abundance of beaches that I could visit on any day between Memorial Day and Labor Day if I so chose. However, like many amenities the city offers (world class museums! Award winning restaurants! Concerts and sporting events on a nearly nightly basis!), more often than not I forgo the opportunity to do any of these things in favor of doing boring life things, like grocery shopping and doing laundry and cleaning and working. And while nearly all of those things easily could’ve gotten in the way of going to the beach with some of my friends on Sunday, I decided to go to the beach anyway.
It’s funny: going to the beach is something I always assume I’m going to hate, because it involves so many things I do not at all enjoy–being hot, needing to wear sunscreen (and the consequential stickiness that comes with sunscreen use), sweating, being outside in the summer in general–and yet I almost always end up enjoying it FAR more than I expect to. I guess that would be a good argument for trying to go more often, but making it once this year is already more than I’ve been since…uh…I don’t even remember when, so hey! Progress!
2. For the second year in a row, I attended a Cubs game on the Fourth of July, because #america. Plus, I really wanted to go to a Cubs game at some point this year, so this all worked out quite nicely.
The Cubs had a disastrous fourth inning (they gave up five runs – yikes) and though they tried to stage a comeback in the ninth, they couldn’t quite pull it off and ended up losing to the Rays 5-6. BUT. As far as I’m concerned, the outcome of the game is basically irrelevant, because far more exciting things happened during the sixth inning.
I needed to use the bathroom, and the lines for the women’s bathrooms, unsurprisingly, were ridiculous, so I left to get in line at the top of the sixth inning. While I was in line, one of the people I went to the game with texted me to let me know that Ricketts was sitting two rows behind us. For those of you unaware, Tom Ricketts is the owner of the Chicago Cubs and the very, very, VERY last person I would’ve ever expected to be seated two rows behind us in section 530 (aka the nosebleeds. Our seats were only six rows from the very top of the stadium.). I got out of the bathroom as fast as I could and powerwalked back to by seat, where, lo and behold, I saw Tom Ricketts.
I basically died of excitement. I honestly couldn’t tell you a single thing that happened while the Cubs were up to bat in the sixth inning because I was WAY too busy completely freaking out over the fact that Tom Ricketts was RIGHT THERE!! Several people had gone up to him and asked for autographs, and though I, in typical fear-of-approaching-celebrities fashion, was way too scared to actually go up to him and ask him to sign our tickets, others in my party were not, so up two rows we went to see Tom Ricketts and get our tickets signed.
He was super accommodating and didn’t seem even the tiniest bit annoyed that we asked him for an autograph (I mean, he was holding two Sharpies, so clearly he’s used to being interrupted during games for autographs), and when he left during the seventh inning to go elsewhere, he stopped multiple times to take selfies with Cubs fans. AND on top of that, when he got down to the concourse between the 400 and 500 level, there was a young boy, probably about eight years old or so, and (presumably) his father walking by, and Ricketts just handed him a signed baseball. No introduction, no being stopped by the kid to ask for the ball, nothing. Just gave him the baseball apropos of nothing. Is that not the coolest thing ever?? I didn’t need any convincing to become more of a Cubs fan, but when the team is owned by a guy who is that chill and friendly about interacting with fans, how can you not love the Cubs?
3. I really hope you guys are into constant garden updates, because I foresee a lot of them this summer.
Gah! Look at how much my vegetable and herb garden has grown! I took that picture on Saturday, exactly two weeks after planting, when it looked like this:
I seriously can’t believe how much everything has grown! I suppose that should be my baseline expectation, but I really didn’t think I’d see this much development in just two weeks. My basil has gotten much taller, my oregano is bordering on become invasive it’s grown so much, my dill is doing better than expected, and my tomato! I’m just flabbergasted at how tall its gotten in the space of two weeks! When I went out to weed the bathtub (lol what a phrase) on Tuesday, it had sprouted THREE flowers! Flowers have the potential to turn into tomatoes, and I was so excited to see them that I did a happy dance right there in the courtyard. Granted, I don’t actually have tomatoes yet, but at least this is a distinct step in the right direction!
I am also proud beyond measure at the fact that my wildflower seeds germinated and sprouted and are growing into real, live plants! I have never once successfully grown anything from seeds, so even if these are just wildflowers native to Illinois that, one would think, should take little to no effort to grow in Illinois, I’m still just bursting with joy that they actually did something other than die.
Speaking of plant death, my lobelia risk was a complete bust. Nearly all of those plants have died. Womp. I don’t know exactly where I went wrong with them, though I suspect they might have been far more sensitive to the heat and/or dry soil than my begonias or fuchsias. Lesson learned. My fuchsias have been a bit hit or miss. I planted two in medium-small plastic pots and two in medium-large plastic pots. The two in the medium-small plastic pots went in the front of my arrangement, while the medium-large ones went in back. Those in the medium-large pots are doing just fine. One has a katydid living on it, which always makes me jump out of my skin when I’m deadheading the plant and the bug creeps up out of nowhere (they’re very good at camouflage!), but according to the internet, katydids don’t seem to be particularly harmful, so I haven’t made an effort to evict it yet (even if it does freak me out–and gross me out). The ones in the medium-small pots, though, are not doing very well. I don’t know if they don’t have enough space, or maybe they’re getting the wrong amount of light based on their location? I could move them, I suppose, but I haven’t tried that yet. They just have not thrived at all like the ones in the medium-large pots, which is a bit of a disappointment.
Meanwhile, my begonias continue to be the stars of my show. I suppose I’m going to have to just fight my “variety is the spice of life” impulse when it comes to flower shopping next year and just get begonias, because without a doubt, they’ve been the hardiest, easiest, most prolific flowers I’ve ever tried growing, both last year and this year.
What’s the next step in tomato gardening after getting flowers? I don’t want to screw this up!
How did you celebrate the Fourth?