Peak Summer

We spent the 4th down on the far south side.  A grad school friend, who lives in Chicago with his wife is from here. Their families are from here- south side white families that are fascinating to me.  In the middle of the 20th century, there were large neighborhoods of whites who lived on the south side, near factories and industry.  They lived in places like East Side and Mount Greenwood, with Irish, German, and Polish and other Eastern European immigrants.  Knowing a little about these neighborhoods reminds me of how fast Chicago has changed.

I like going because I get to make some delicious dessert and take it… without the guilt of eating an entire tray of it.  This year, I went back to Smores Bars, which I took a couple of years ago.  I had one when I first got there and then had to claim a second (it was that good). I mean…


It was nice to see my friend, his wife and this large group of friends who I am starting to get to know through Fantasy Football.  I tried, weakly, to talk shit to the guy who is periennally a front runner for our trophy, but honestly, it felt wrong.  The first year I was in the league, I had some major good look, but every season since then, my team has been a dumpster fire.

In any case, my friend’s crew are all really into fireworks, so there was a pretty big fireworks display, which involved timers and

such.  The weather started out pretty garbage.  But then came around.


I got to snap some pics with my phone- which I used as a background for my ubiquitious IG post… fireworks pic+Springsteen Lyrics=Basic Bitch JBR in the house.  I did switch it up scotch this year by going with the Independence Day lyrics (instead of the Sandy lyrics).

Honestly, I am glad I am a grown up now, because if I was a kid, everyone I know would get me a basic bitch barbie every year for Christmas.  And I would desserve it.

In other news, we are getting travel plans in place for our trip to the UP in August. In a stroke of crazy luck, the Federal Government has moved some camping sites at National Parks into an online reservation management system.  Which is incredible.  Because there is a very specific place I wanted to stay in the UP.  Basically, it is a place that my mom described to me.  And based on 7 months of googling and deciphering clues, I think I have it figured out.  And the only way to get a campsite was to actually, with my feet, like some type of peasant in 1750 walk to the campsite and reserve it.

Until this summer, when all the camping stuff in the NPS got moved into an online system.  The system when live and 5 minutes later, I had a site reserved, which I am thrilled about.

I am feeling a certain kind of way… which is hard to describe.  It is probably a little bit of overwhelm that I am feeling… there are so many things I want to research and do while we are there… shipwreck glass bottom boat tours, fishing, blueberry picking, camping (obviously), making good noms over a campfire (even more obviously).  I am trying to figure out which lake we can hike to in the morning for fishing and whether that will be too far?  What kind of bait do I need? Like, I want to actually catch A fish this time.  Should I try some of those fancy fly lure things?  I can get some from Amazon.  Interesting.  Are these for fly fishing or can I just tie this to a line and throw in the water.  But maybe I will need worms.  Where can i get worms there?  Probably any store.  Don’t be stupid, JBR. Assuming I catch a fish, will any of the knives I have be long enough to filet it?  Sharp enough?   I want to make smore cones, do I need foil for that?  I understand that there are wild blueberries among the birch forrest… how different are they from commercial U-Pick berries?  I mean, I think I’d recognize them, but maybe I wouldn’t. Can I get a book on edible/poisonous plants in the UP.    Also, do I need some type of grill thing? Like, what is that called?  Like, to set over a fire ring?  It seems like I could take the rack thing from the oven, that would work, right?  Do I even need this, since I have a two burner Coleman stove?  Plus a MSR pocket rocket? Do I have straps for my hammock?  So, when you’re camping, can you just set up your tent and leave it there, or do I need to pack and unpack every time we leave the campsite?  Will anybody bother our shit?  What if I come back from fishing with Nico and there is a bear in the tent, tearing shit up?  What if the bear wants to fight? I mean, he wouldn’t be wearing a gi… but maybe his fur would be long enough to throw him with Osoto Gari?  Right?  No.  That is ridiculous.  You can’t do judo with a bear, JBR.

So… basically my brain has about 30 browser tabs open at this point in time.

I have been thinking, “This is too much information to track and filter and engage with. Could I just have a book that tells me what to do?”  So, I think we’ve reached peak information age.

Dave is going to have to do at least some work while we are there… so we’re renting a hotel room for him to work in during the day.  The UP is definitely not covered with cell service, so I didn’t want to risk him not being able to work.  Also, Lake Superior is like in the 50s even in the summer… so I wasn’t really gung-ho on that being my method of shower.  We are taking a water purifier though, so it will be fun to sort of camp, rustically, but with backups not far away.  Because I am going to need him to recharge my battery packs, since I have over 3,000 stories saved in my pocket app and I plan to read them all.

Great Weekend=Cubs Lose, Wolverines Win (barely), and City Wins.

Oh, where do you start with such an awesome weekend?

Well, JJ and Scott got to town late Friday morning.  And pretty much as soon as they arrived, we took off for Wrigley.  Nico was at school, so he didnt come with us to the game (A fact that he reminded me of later when he was looking at pictures on my phone.  He said, “Oh, I don’t think I remember that day at the Cubs game…”  Yeah, because we didn’t take him!! Yikes!  How is it that he is four and is already mastering the guilt trip??)

When the game was almost over, Dave split to go get Nico from school and get our pizza and I was in charge of navigating us back to the house.  In doing so, I accidentally navigated us onto the purple line train to Linden.  It was express, so we had to ride all the way out to Howard before we could get off.  Yikes!!  
Friday night, we hung out at the house, which was fun.  Nico and I showed JJ our new game called Two Square (hint: its just like four square).  JJ played lots of games with Nico and is generally well-liked by Le Beast.  So much so that when he came down stairs on Friday morning, Nico took a flying leap off the 4th step at JJ (who caught him).  No big deal.  

Saturday morning, Dave and Nico headed to swimming lessons at the YMCA and Uncle Scott, JJ, and I hung out at the house watching football and soccer.  I made us some delicious burgers for lunch and when Nico and Dave got back, I put Nico down for a nap.  After, JJ and Dave headed to a birthday party at an indoor waterpark/splash place.  While there, Dave networked with grownups and may have even got a lead on a adjuncting job at NEIU, which, coincidentally enough, is one of TWO universities in our back yard.  Not like, Gary, IN is in Chicago’s back yard.  But like in the Albany Park/North Park/Peterson Park neighborhood of Chicago.  Isn’t that sweet?
When they got back from the party, Nico helped me make some egg fondue.  
Normally, this is a Christmas only kind of dish, but thought it would be great to have for breakfast on Sunday, since it didnt require anyone standing over a stove on Sunday morning.  This was really important for me because of the Manchester Derby.  A day when the two teams in Manchester play each other.  It was made even better this year, because it’s early in the season and they were tied for 5th place.  A win for either team would help that team immensely in the standings.  
My team (Manchester City) is sometimes sketchy in the back.  I love them, but seriously, they lost to Cardiff a couple of weeks ago.  Losing to Cardiff is like Wakulla losing to Godby (no offense).  But seriously, they have one-two strong players… there is no reason Wakulla should lose such a game.  United (JJ’s team), on the other hand, is usually so class.  So imagine my surprise when this happened:

Yeah, it was pretty awesome. That said, there is still plenty of time in the season for City to screw this up.  🙂