Tag Archives: writing

Chicago – my home town

I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to my aunt’s 95th birthday party to be held in her condo complex in Chicago, where I sort of came from.  Both of my parents and both of my siblings were all born in Chicago.  I happen to be the only one in my family who was not born in Chicago.  By the time my sister came along my parents needed a bigger home.  They decided on a new development in Carpentersville, west of Chicago, and that’s where I spent my first 9 years.

My father had three sisters, two of them and most of their extended families still live in the Chicago area.  I have been back many times and always have a great time there.  This time was no different and was filled with non-stop, mostly fun, activities.  We had the hiccup that was my bag getting lost.  It decided it wanted to see Detroit instead of Chicago but was returned to Chicago the following morning.  And since I flew a budget airline, you guessed it, I had to go get my bag.  No matter, we kept our spirits up for the most part even though it cut into our sight seeing time.  But, what do you do?  Get crabby and ruin everyone’s time? I think not! I was pretty disappointed since this was my first time flying with this airlines but it all worked out in the end.  I got my bag, was able to finally change my clothes and we headed downtown for our one day of sightseeing.  On the way we all decided we wanted to go up Willis Tower.  It was a gorgeous day so would be perfect for viewing from the 103rd floor.

But first, lunch:

Outside Willis Tower:

that's a long way up

that’s a long way up

As one might imagine, there was quite the line to ascend an elevator to the top of Willis Tower on a beautiful summer Saturday afternoon.  Here’s a “time lapse” set of photos of the wait that spanned just over an hour.  And yes, it was worth it.

There are things to keep you busy while you wait, several monitors with quizzes and factoids along the walls like this one:

Finally, we got to the top!  Rather, the 103rd floor.

My sister and I decided to sit out the skydeck.  A newer addition to the building, there are four glass boxes that jut off of the building where you can look down to see the street below.  This is a photo my daughter took of my nephew’s and her feet looking down at the street:

And one more of the three brave ones in the skydeck:

We spent that evening with the family of my other aunt and had a wonderful time catching up with all of them.  The next day was my other aunt’s party and believe it or not, I took no photos?  I was too busy chatting I suppose but I did copy some that my brother-in-law took.  Here are a couple of the birthday girl:

It was a very nice party and I hope that when I’m 95 I will look as good as my aunt!

We had a little time to kill before being dropped off at the airport so we decided to take a ride down Lake Shore Drive and end up in Millennium Park.  But first my brother took us on a little tour of a few places from his childhood (before they moved to Carpentersville).   One of those was the apartment building that my grandparents and parents lived in when my parents were first married.  He pointed out our grandparents’ apartment which was easy to spot as it faced the street and then showed us the door that led up to where our parents lived.  I was amazed that he could remember where the apartment building was after so many years!  It was great to finally see that piece of history from long ago.

We decided there wasn’t enough time to park and walk through Millennium Park so we were content to just drive by.  I did get to see “the bean” just not up close and personal.  Perhaps next time.

I have just one more photo to share that I hope my blog friend sees.  I couldn’t help but think of Lady of the Cakes when I saw this shop in the airport:

It was a quick but fabulous weekend and I can’t wait to go back.  I love Chicago!  What is your favorite thing to do in Chicago?

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On being positive

Being positive is one thing I have been trying to learn more about.  It’s been a struggle for me but I think I’m finally learning how to be more positive.  By no means am I an expert.  But I have learned some things along the way and would like to share.

When negative thoughts appear you should ask yourself if the thought is reasonable.  Indeed I’ve heard that about 98% of those negative thoughts never occur.  Here is an apt quote that tells it like it is:

“Some of the worst things in my life never happened.” – Mark Twain

Chase those negative thoughts away and replace them with positive thoughts.  An exercise I’ve found useful is affirmations.  They are statements you say in your head that reinforce what you actually are and not what your negative thoughts or fears suggest that you are.   Here’s a sample of some of the affirmations I say:

  •          I am smart
  •          I am confident
  •          I can learn anything
  •          I can accomplish anything I put my mind to
  •          I am organized
  •          I am detail oriented
  •          I am efficient
  •          I can handle whatever comes.
  •          I can choose a positive frame of mind.

I had two days start out completely different recently.  On the first day I awakened and decided to be positive, all day.  I laid in bed a bit before getting up for the day and breathed deeply: “peace and tranquility” breathing in, “I can do anything I put my mind to” breathing out.  When I got to work I was all smiles and greeted everyone I came across.  I had a great day!!

The next day I started the same way with breathing deeply for several minutes before getting up.  The difference was I wasn’t able to maintain it once I got to work.  The report I had done the day before had some errors in it and I let that be the start of my not so positive day.   I am somewhat of a perfectionist and was shocked that I had some errors in that report!!  I set to work figuring out what happened and I learned even more about the report.  So, in the end it was a good experience for me.

Also, I couldn’t stop thinking “what is my assignment?” I read a great blog post, What Is Your Assignment?, which is what prompted my question.  As I lay in bed the night of the not-so-positive start to the day I kept pondering this assignment question.  And an idea came to me to streamline this report.  This is one thing I’m good at and I set about improving that report’s process.  So, even though I started out in a negative vein, I ended the day on a positive note with my idea to streamline the report.  You see? You can turn a potentially negative event into a positive experience.  It’s all in your attitude.

Now, I can’t say that I’m positive every day.  Absolutely not!  But what I’m finding is that I am having fewer negative days.  It is hard work to become more of an optimist when I’ve been basically a pessimist for most of my life.  But, I know it can be done and I am not going to give up!! That’s what makes me so good at my job.  I don’t give up.  When I get stuck on something, I exhaust all my resources until I find the answer.  So it stands to reason I am not going to give up on myself.

I have found that on my positive days I am on top of the world, like anything that happens won’t phase me one bit.  Do you know what happens when you smile at and greet people?  They are generally very receptive and smile and greet you back.  It’s amazing!  Try it.  You might like it.  :)

Random beautiful flower photo:

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Filed under Inspiration, Writing

On dealing with difficult people

I have apparently not learned this just yet so I went looking on the internet for stuff on this topic.  I thought its own post with some things to refer to when I have to deal with difficult people might be useful.  It seems to come up time and time again and my reactions must change if I’m ever going to co-exist with these people.  So, once again, here are some quotes I found.  I can’t be the only person that doesn’t do this very well.  So if I help anyone out there that struggles with this, all the better.  Okay, ready then?  Here we go!!

This first one really says it all, don’t you think?

When dealing with difficult people, remember you can’t control their actions, only your own reactions to them.

Boy howdy.  Perhaps the next time I am confronted with what I perceive as an attack, I will remember this.  Along with this one:

When dealing with difficult people always remember, it is about them and their problems. Be compassionate.

It truly is about them!!  Remember this.  I have such a hard time remembering this one.  And wait, be compassionate? One, I never thought of this!  Two, um…..well……that’s a tough one!!  How does one be compassionate towards someone who is constantly on the attack?

Oh yea, this one sure hits home:

Be thankful for all the difficult people in your life, and learn from them. They have shown you exactly who you do not want to be.

Dealing with difficult people, you learn compassion and patience.

And there’s that darn patience thingie again.  You might recall my previous similar post with quotes:  Patience…..and waiting  I wonder if I will ever learn these lessons.

I found some interesting articles on the web as well so I’d like to share them here too.

Tips on Dealing with Difficult People

Dealing with difficult people

10 tips for dealing with difficult people

Some good quotes and tips from these articles:

Holding a grudge against someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

Try not to place blame on yourself or the other person for the negative interactions. It may just be a case of your two personalities fitting poorly.

Know when it’s time to distance yourself, and do so. If the other person can’t be around you without antagonizing you, minimizing contact may be key.

In dealing with difficult people, don’t try to change the other person; you will only get into a power struggle, cause defensiveness, invite criticism, or otherwise make things worse. It also makes you a more difficult person to deal with.

This post obviously has nothing to do with travel.  Rather, consider it another post on my travels through life and the lessons I continue to learn.  I’ll leave you to cogitate.  How do you deal with difficult people?  Feel free to share any thoughts in the comments.

Reflect on the beauty of the Queen of the Prairie:

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Patience….and waiting

I seem to always be waiting for something in my life.  I waited a long while to find the man of my dreams.  Okay, I am sure there are people out there who likely have waited longer.  But it sure seemed like I waited a long time for him to show up.  I got married at the ripe age of 30, he was 36.

Next, I waited to have a child.  I once had the idea of writing a book about that experience.  Now that she’s 13, I wonder if I will ever finish that.  Perhaps it will take another form.  That wait was nearly three years.  But, I know why I had to wait for that.  I wrote about it for a daily prompt called “My favorite person“.  Do have a look if you’re interested, it brought her to tears. And it does me as well whenever I think about it.

And now I am waiting for something else.  I’d rather not write about it just yet lest I jinx it somehow.  Instead, I have been perusing the internet for quotes about patience and I wanted to share some in a post.  So, here are some of my favorites right this minute.  I may come back and add more later.

“Waiting and hoping is a hard thing to do when you’ve already been waiting and hoping for almost as long as you can bear it.”
― Jenny Nimmo, Charlie Bone and the Time Twister

“A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”
― Aristotle

“The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter.”
― Paulo Coelho, Veronika Decides to Die

“There’s no advantage to hurrying through life.” -Shikamaru Nara”
― Masashi Kishimoto

“We need to learn and embrace patience. Patience is a holy key that will unlock the door to a more fulfilling life. Behind the blessed door of patience are found better parents, powerful teachers, great businessmen, wise masters, and a more compassionate world.”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

“And sure enough, even waiting will end…if you can just wait long enough.”
― William Faulkner

That last one, well, you just never know when the wait will be long enough do you?  Here’s hoping I don’t have to wait much longer!!

And what would a post of mine be without a photo?  So, here’s one of my favorites:

DSCN2446

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Daily prompt: my favorite person

WordPress has a “daily prompt” whereby we are given an idea to write about and as soon as I saw today’s prompt I knew exactly what I would write about.  Justify the existence of your favorite person, place or thing in 300 words or less.  Continuing my theme of the week, my favorite person is my daughter.  So, here goes!

I was a teenager when my first niece was born. She and I spent a lot of time together during her early years.  We became very close as a result and it was due to our relationship that I decided I wanted to become a mother some day . I am also very close to my mother and I wanted this kind of relationship with my own daughter if I were to have one.

When I got married I wanted to start trying immediately.  Ah, but  that was not to be as my husband wasn’t so sure that he wanted kids.  Finally, after being married just over five years hubby darling said okay.  But it took almost three more years for my dream to become reality, an experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone.  I won’t go into that here.  I will just say that after she was born I knew why I had to wait so long:  she had to be born on the anniversary of my father’s death.  I believe in God and I believe it was always his plan for me to have the desire of my heart: a little girl.  But what I didn’t know was that he would turn what used to be a sad day in my life into one of great joy.  I remember telling one of the nurses this story shortly after Miss M was born and she said “Life really does come full circle, doesn’t it?”  It really does!  The day my daughter was born was the best day of my life.  My dream was fulfilled in a way I had never imagined.  And I am so grateful.

With my favorite girl: Sagrada Familia, May 2010

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Filed under Challenges, Writing