va-ca-tion. noun, often attributive: a respite or a time of respite from something: intermission. a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation.
vacation. something i don’t seem to take a lot of (a check with human resources revealed that i am currently harboring a hefty twenty solid days of paid time off), but something that when finally taken, can’t help but to remind me of how much it truly is needed.
if it wasn’t clear by my ode to packing for unpredictable weather (and my lack of daily outfit posts on friday and tuesday), i took a much needed “intermission” of sorts from my current life responsibilities in america’s finest for a labor(less) extended holiday spent amongst the cornfields and small-town charm of dekalb, illinois.
truth be told, when i boarded my flight bright and early friday morning, i envisioned my time in this quaint chicago subburb quite differently than the actuality of the events that transpired during my stay. but that’s the funny thing about this miss over-planner, sometimes i can’t help think that i all but miss what a vacation is truly meant to be. sometimes, yes, it’s for non-stop exploration, for a schedule so packed you all but need a second time away to recover from the first. but other times, it’s a time for rest and relaxation. a time for recharging one’s batteries and relishing in the quietness of a momentary pause from the busyness of everyday life, too.
and it’s funny how life (aka God) always knows when our souls need the latter as opposed to the former. because whether i knew it or not, this time of unprecedented “just be-ing;” was something i needed more than i was ready to admit. if only for the fact that i got to “just be” with one of my oldest and dearest friends for an uninterrupted five day span.
but first, i think it’s important to define what exactly “just be-ing” entails. because you may think it entails pajamas and comfy couches, snacking on hummus and carrots, chips and guac, and the occasional pumpkin chocolate chip whoopie pie or two, and taking in a hills episode or twelve when you stumble across a marathon on mtv.
and you would be absolutely correct.
but you would only be partially correct.
because in addition to learning that midway airport does not have a stand-alone starbucks (RUDE), i also learned that “just be-ing” can teach you many a splendid thing.
so a random compilation of said splendid and learned things:
a trader joe’s in any other state is just as sweet (trying to rip off shakespeare here, i don’t think it’s working).
dekalb has a lot of corn. a lot of it. it also has a chipotle and a drive thru starbucks. and a really great breakfast place with a witty name (eggslusive!) whose decor and ambiance reminded me of home and whose servers were more than happy to oblige my insatiable
addiction totally regulated adoration for caffeine.
polka dot jeans are new to illinoisans but survey says -they like them, they like them! (seriously, i got like four compliments when i donned my pair out to lunch on saturday and it made it a bit easier to justify their above-average pricetag).
instagram -responsible for fortuitous high school reunions since 2012. true story: after seeing an instagram post from our high school girlfriend of her and her hubby’s (also a high school friend, awww, high school sweethearts!) chicago adventures, momma R and i planned a last minute rendezvous for four (and a half!) at a thai restaurant just outside of town. and just like that it was 2003. albeit random, it was a blast.
apparently, this is how i look while sleeping (which means this is how i looked for a good portion of my vacay). gentlemen, the line forms to the left. also, how cute is weenie?!
in case you didn’t know, jeff daniels has come a long way since his days as harry dunne (dumb & dumber). as in, hey, he’s like a legit actor; as evidenced by his current role as will mcavoy in aaron sorkin’s (of the social network directing and oscar-winning fame) masterpiece the newsroom. a masterpiece momma R and i are now officially obsessed with after successfully watching the entire first season in three days time. and for those of you who don’t have hbo, i (and momma R) don’t either. allow me to introduce you to “on demand”. it will become your new best friend. (p.s. it has just come to my attention that i might be alone in my love for this show. whatever haters (that is said with love, mind you), i’ll love it enough for the both of us, k?).
speaking of best friend… in case you didn’t know, my best friend is a rockstar. no but really, she is. not only is she an amazing mother (y’all should see her with baby E, it makes my heart melt just thinking about the bond that exists between those two), she’s totally a kick-booty (trying to keep it PG, here) cook. basically she’s killing it on that whole being domestic thing. her hubby is one lucky dude.
oh hey college football, i love you a whole lot. especially when i get to watch you from the comfort of a couch in my over-worn abercrombie & fitch sweats whilst consuming copious bowls of homemade guacamole. also, go huskies!
showers are overrated. as is makeup.
baby E loves her auntie. i mean she wouldn’t let just anyone bounce her for two hours straight in the ergo (this kid needs constant movement, which you know, was basically my cardio for the weekend) so momma R could get her bake on in the kitchen, now would she? that’s not rhetorical, she wouldn’t let just anyone, in fact, she’s quite particular. which means, again, she just really loves her auntie. and her auntie loves her, duh.
i’m pretty sure i could be a professional airport people-watcher (i’ve logged enough hours to earn that title, just saying). i just wish the travelers at midway international had been a bit more swoon-worthy (the good-looking ones must fly out of o’hare).
and speaking of airports and airplanes, i learned this weekend that spending two hours in an idle airplane won’t kill you (despite popular belief that may state otherwise). it will make your bum fall asleep, but it won’t kill you (especially when they manage to keep it well air-conditioned. props to you, southwest for at least getting that right).
and to piggy-back off of that, two hours spent on the runway waiting for some wiring to get fixed in your san diego-bound jet also lends itself to becoming fast friends with the gent thirteen years your senior who is currently occupying the window seat adjacent to you. never mind the fact that your conversation is focused on the two subjects societally deemed “inappropriate” (politics and religion), it was nice to talk to someone that wasn’t the one-dimensional figures splattered across the pages of my september issue of intstyle magazine. also, hi, how cool is it that we could talk about Jesus? let me tell you, it was VERY cool.
also, during our almost six hour conversation (two hour delay plus four hour flight) my “friend” (i never did catch his name, maybe because he never threw it) managed to take a break from all of the political fodder to recommend a pretty good book. he even let me read an excerpt or two during the great flight delay of 2012. i returned the favor by pimping out my unofficial food-critic gig and giving him a few stellar restaurant recos in san diego. he (and his stomach) will thank me later.
finally, while i loved “just be-ing” in a foreign locale, i think i love “just be-ing” more in my beloved san di-ah-go. because for as lovely as it is to get away for a weekend or two, it is still really quite something to have those airplane wheels skid on the concrete runway of lindbergh field and know that i am home.
mad “thank you’s” and “you’re the greatest’s” to my favorite midwestern & married gal, guy and babe. missing you already.0