Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Ten Mile Weekend

Saturday morning at 7:30am I started my first official race ever- the Soldier Field 10 Mile Race! My good friend Ashley was my partner in crime as we ran down and up the Chicago lakefront (alongside 10,000 other runners) for 10 miles in the blazing sun, finishing in 1 hour, 36 minutes at the fifty-yard line in Soldier Field! And yes, we came in 4,123rd place at a 9:41 minutes per mile pace. It was a blast! Mark was our ever-present photographer, capturing us at the start line, the almost finish line, and the post-race exhaustion line. Now that I've got this 10 mile race under my water-belt, it's onto marathon training, which begins next week. After the race, the New DeLews went camping with friends and had a great time. There's something absolutely fantastic about long weekends. We're so thankful to have these sweet times together and with friends.
All geared up at the start line

At mile 9.2, so happy to spot Mark! And to be almost done.

This picture is kind of like 'Where's Waldo?' But I promise I'm crossing the finish line!

My lovely husband supporting us all the way! He's the best.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wednesday's 'Stream'

Much of our thought life involves a steady flow of internal stream of consciousness. Now this New DeLew tends to be what you would call a 'verbal processor'. As a result, the Other New DeLew endures, I mean benefits from hearing my stream of conscious thoughts. I'm sure he can testify that's it's pretty exciting stuff (insert sarcasm). Although at times there's some depth to the 'stream', I often find myself mulling over very mundane life-things. And because today is one of those days where the stream is taking over any focused thinking, I have shared a few of my stream themes.

-Transportation- when I've squished into a seat next to someone on a crowded bus, what is the protocol when an empty row opens up but I'm getting off in a few stops? Do I, a) get up and sit in the open row just for a few stops, causing unnecessary movement b)continue sitting all squished next to the person and stare straight ahead c) just stand until we get to my stop?

-Economics- How many pairs of cheap Forever 21 sandals do I need to go through in order to justify buying Rainbows?

-Agriculture- I think that there are three types of farmers- meat farmer, basic food products (soy and wheat), and fruit/veggies. If I had to be a farmer, I would definitely be the fruit/veggie farmer. And I'd plant peaches.

-The Five Senses- how is it that one city block can have so many odors? Walking east I get wafts of steamy sewage/trash from the alley- buttery Garrett's popcorn (classic chicago thing, but at 8am it's not so appetizing)- fresh laundry from the hotel- cigarette smoke. It's all a bit much.

-Science- When the New DeLews are melting in our teeny furnace-like bedroom at night, if we put a bowl of ice cubes in front of a fan, will the fan blow cold ice-vapor-air toward us?

-Health and Fitness- My big toe hurts everytime I run. There's a blister growing under my toenail and I'm afraid that I'm getting this thing called 'runner's toe'. My toenail might fall off and I'm freaking out about it. I might become that person with the gross big toe.

-Parenting- I love watching little kids play in fountains on my lunch break. They run through the water with such abandon. It's a freeing thing to observe.

That's this New DeLew's stream of the day. Very mundane and very real.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The New DeLews' Anniversary!

This past weekend was The New DeLews' first anniversary weekend! *queue applause and unruly cheering* Yep, we made it. And what did we do to celebrate this monumental event? Romantic getaway to an isolated cottage? A trip to the Bahamas? Although those would be cool options, we didn't quite get there. Instead we took a road trip with 5 college friends in cars with no A/C to meet up with other college friends at the Powell's wedding- and it was quite a wonderful trip. On Saturday the ladies and I got to put-put around town all day, take mallets to crabs, and absolutely enjoy the beautiful wedding festivities. Since many of the boys were in the wedding, they ate a big breakfast, played in the pool, and then got all swanked up for wedding pics. Woot woot to the Powells!

And actually, besides the sleeping in separate beds part, it was a fantastic way to celebrate our anniversary. A year ago we were hanging out with all these friends in preparation for our wedding. It was fun to be on the other end of it this time (i.e., not getting married) and to reflect on God's faithfulness over the past year in our lives and in our friends' lives. We are just so thankful.

Sunday was our official anniversary (May 23rd!), and we spent it eating Panera Bread with about 11 other friends and then roadtripping it in 90 degree weather (reminder- no A/C) with complete focus and fervor so that we could make it home in time for the LOST finale. At 7:30pm we pulled into Chicago, dripping with sweat and stains on our clothing from eating atrocious fast food in the car, and ran into our friends' apartment on the south side, just in time to make a quick salad and watch LOST. It was a great end to our anniversary weekend.

Sometime in the next few weeks we hope to officially celebrate our anniversary in a super romantic way, but the truth is, a weekend full of friends and celebratory events was perfect for the New DeLews. This is how we roll. We really do believe in community- which means we share all aspects of our lives with each other. And I'd have it no other way.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pictures have arrived!

The time has come to share preliminary photos of... drumroll please.... The Medill!!! (applause and cheers). Now i say preliminary because I took these pictures about a week ago, before we had finished putting art on the walls. So the pictures look a bit sterile, but I promise, the Medill is anything but sterile. Hmm, I think that might sound weird. Oh well. Warning- the Medill is not really as 'glow-y' as these pictures appear- we just have a horrible camera.

Picture 1: The Medill- We're on the first floor

Pictures 2 and 3: The parlor- remember, we have more art on the walls now.

Picture 4 and 5: The dining room- note the faux brick (much faux-er in person). We have attempted to cover the brick with a curtain, which just looks weird, so now we're not quite sure what our next move will be.

Picture 6: The Master Bedroom- our teeny tiny room with 2 doors.. really?

Picture 7 and 8: The glorious kitchen- please convince Mark that the wall color is cranberry, not pink. And those curtains are not ours!

Picture 9 and 10. Your bedroom- come visit and you can stay in this room! We've added some Zambian and Papua New Guinean art on the walls in this room. You can stare at those all night!

Please come and visit the Medill! It's a great place to be and we'd love to have you.

Oh So Sore!

This week the New DeLews have dealt with an unwelcome visitor- Soreness. Now to give some context, Saturday was the most hard core Sportsy Couple day yet. But this time, our sportsy activities were separate- I ran 11 miles along the lake front, and Mark had a 6 hour Ultimate frisbee tryout. During mile 8 I had a revelation- I love this! I could run all day long. I was smiling and feeling all good about myself. My positive thought- 'Marathon? bring it!' ... ahem, then I hit mile 9. Suddenly my hamstrings felt like steel bars and I desperately fought to make it through the last 2 miles. My sudden swing of emotions brought on my negative thought- 'damn you, marathon!' Exhibit A- my tendency toward extreme reactions. Nevertheless, I made it through the 11 miles, felt tired and had some major hamstring soreness, but phew, I did it. Now my husband, on the other hand, took care of business at the tryout. He was sprinting, 'cutting', 'going deep', 'laying out' (notice how I know all these ultimate frisbee terms?)... Although Mark has been running with me periodically, he hasn't been playing very much frisbee. So, needless to say, he was pretty wiped after the tryout was over.

Now of course, thanks to the New DeLews impeccable and thoughtful planning, we had planned to host our first party at the Medill on Saturday evening. I had a nice list of things for Mark to do when he got home at 4pm (start time for party, which included dinner- 7pm). But much to my dismay- Mark couldn't move. Now I understand soreness- it hurts, but you push through the pain. Now in Mark's case, however, he couldn't push through the pain because he actually couldn't move. For reals- this was a soreness like no other- it was a beast! Obviously this made the party preparations interesting (and very slow!), but it eventually worked out. And for the next 3 days, I learned how to serve my husband in different ways, like putting on his socks for him, carrying him down the stairs, and enduring his groans everytime he took a step. It was a bonding time for us. And I guess we better get used to dealing with soreness- Mark has many more days of Ultimate frisbee, and my marathon training officially starts in June. So, cheers to soreness, we'll be expecting you!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

You win some and lose some

You win some and lose some. And yesterday I lost. Completely lost. It was one of those days where nothing turned out and everything was frustrating. But then the New DeLews went on a 4 mile run (since we're that sportsy couple), and some of my frustration waned. Actually, I am really enjoying this whole thing called exercise and running. I always thought that those supposed 'endorphins' were a joke, but I'm really starting to think that they are legit. When we run, 1. I get distracted because I'm obviously trying to survive. 2. I have time to think through things and remember that there is more to life than my daily frustrations. 3. I feel relatively productive, which helps anyone feel like a winner (kind of like how cooking allows my winning creative juices to flow).

All that to say, I'm thankful that our lives are not just one-dimensional. Although we might feel like losers in one aspect of life, we're able to explore other winning areas- all in the same day. It's my natural (extreme) tendency to assume that every situation is the most significant, life-altering situation ever. So when I experience 'losing hours', I find it pretty difficult to remember that my entire life is not a loss (remember that extreme streak of mine?). But I think running and cooking helps me rise above any felt loser-ness. It's not necessarily the end results of those activities that make me feel like a winner, it's the process that gives me perspective. These activities take me beyond my day and remind me that there is more to life than my frustrations. So you win some and lose some? Yeah for sure. But I'm thankful that we're not bound by the losing days.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Shared Space

One thing I love about living in the city is that I am constantly reminded that I am in a shared space. The 'space' where I live, work, shop, walk, force me to realize that I do not live in my own world, and that I'm definitely not the center of it. Every morning we take public transportation to work. Together we ride the El (Chicago's subway system), and then I hop onto a bus while Mark stays on the train for a bit longer. We've settled into a reasonable morning routine, which usually includes scarfing down an egg-in-a-hole while walking, eating a mini-Altoid once we get on the train, and fighting through the crowd to give a quick good-bye kiss. It's just what we do. And our mundane routine intersects and interacts with surrounding strangers every morning. Of course, I assume that no one pays attention to us. But the truth is, watching The New DeLews' routine may have become part of someone else's daily routine. Now I know that sounds creepy or maybe narcissistic, but hear me out. As we settle into the normalcy of our lives, we start to take notice of subtleties. There are certain people at my bus stop that I see every morning. I know which bus they take, I recognize their winter coat, I observe their routine- but I don't know who they are. One day a woman came up to me and said "I am always so relieved when I see you at the bus stop because I know that I didn't miss my bus!". She knew my routine, and yet I had never seen her before.

Our lives are constantly intersecting with other people's lives, and it's on public transporation that I'm most aware of this. We can try to pretend that we're in our own worlds by reading or listening to music. But at some point, our 'world' is disrupted by a stranger, a fellow traveler. Sometimes I wonder where everyone is going. We're all in this one train, heading Northwest, and yet, what are we all doing here? For this brief moment, we are strangers sharing a common space. And in some distant way, we have a random connection to each other.

I sensed this 'random connection' very strongly when my plane got stranded in Dakar, Senegal for 72 hours. I was on my way to Zambia alone, and lo and behold, my plane broke down on the tarmac in West Africa. Suddenly I found myself walking through the streets of Dakar to a hotel with 200 other passengers- all strangers. And yet suddenly, our mundane commonality of being on the same airplane turned into a connection. The 200 passengers started to watch out for each other. One lady from Malawi gave me a $20 bill (because I had decided to travel 10,000 miles without cash- who am I??). I felt like I was on LOST the whole time, but really, I became so aware of the connection that resulted from our mundane plane ride.

As it's our human tendency to think that we're the center of the universe, I am thankful that I am forced/given the opportunity to look beyond myself every day and remember that we live in shared space. I have no idea if I will ever see the person next to me again, and I have no idea where they are going or what they're thinking. And yet, we're on the same train. It's mundane, routine, and normal. But there is significance and beauty in the mundane and the 'sharedness' of our lives.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Why so much broccoli?

The New DeLews are as happy as clams in the Medill. Someday soon I will write an Ode to the Medill and share all the things we love about it (with pictures of course). But for now, I'll just say this- we officially love the Medill, and we are very very thankful. Thanks to great friends, Friday night's move was quick and relatively painless (at least for those of us who were directing where each box should be placed, heh heh). We had bribed our friends to help us move by promising huge amounts of pizza and beer. On Friday we weren't sure how many people would show up, but we definitely wanted to be prepared on the food and drink front, so naturally, we bought way too much Costco pizza and beer for days. Yada yada yada, at the end of the night, after giving away about half a pizza, the New DeLews found themselves with lots of leftover pizza (and tons of leftover beer of course- we're not lushes!) So all that to say, in an effort not to waste anything (we pretend to be green here), we had pizza for dinner 3 nights in a row. Now I like pizza and all, but that's a bit much. It was rough.

After the past week of eating so terribly, and now that we have a kitchen again, it is time to eat our vegetables- specifically green things. Yesterday I decided that broccoli would sufficiently kick off our return to healthiness. After searching through a healthy food blog, I found it! Broccoli Quinoa with Broccoli Pesto. We're talking about 4 pounds of broccoli here, people. If that's not going to get us back to health, nothing will! Now mind you, Mark agreed to this meal, mainly because the other option was a tofu stir-fry. Anyway, I was cutting the broccoli, and suddenly I became nervous that I didn't have enough broccoli. So I asked Mark to stop by our local produce Market- Emilio's, to buy more broccoli. When he came home, I was steaming broccoli and stuffing some of it into a blender to make the broccoli pesto. And Mark gently said- 'Em, that's a lot of broccoli'. But I would not be moved- I need more broccoli!

But then, while I was attempting to stir the largest bowl of broccoli you've ever seen, it all hit me- Oh no! this is a lot of broccoli. So we sat down to eat our green slush of a meal, and I must say, we were impressed by the good flavors. But after about 5 minutes, I sheepishly put down my dish- I just couldn't do it anymore! It was too much! And then Mark gently asked the question that both of us were thinking- 'Babe, why so much broccoli?' My overzealous-ness struck again: good intentions but extreme and ridiculous follow through. And we both have to pay the price- broccoli sludge up the wazoo! So as I eat my broccoli mush for lunch today, I only have one thing to say, lesson learned.