Sunday, April 5, 2009

Warm and Fuzzy

I'm sitting here on our living room couch with my beloved husband. We both have cups of chai tea and laptops on our laps. Up until a few minutes ago, the snow was swirling devilishly outside our huge windows. I can't help but feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

After all this gloom and doom dread, I'm realizing that snow in early-April really isn't that bad. I just suddenly feel ridiculously grateful. Life is good. Sure it sucks that Chicago's winter seems to never end, but without this long period of dreary cold (Erin, your recent blog post inspired me) how would I truly appreciate the beauty of the summer? This 6 month plunge into the ice age will only make the warmth of June so much sweeter.

I have always embraced the notion that the key to being happy is to embrace an attitude of gratefulness. Everything else falls into place after that. Of course, adopting that eternally positive attitude at all times is a challenge, but it really is life's elixir.

This weekend was wonderful. Friday night I cooked kimchi jigae, at the request of my husband, after finding a recipe on the web. I strayed from the recipe by adding ground turkey instead of slices of pork (totally non-Kosher. Koreans, unless you're in my family, love their pork!). We had a nice night in. It's funny. We always seem to have these ambitious plans to go out to dinner/a club/other fun activity on Friday nights but they never seem to materialize. We just seem to be too tired on Fridays to leave the comfy confines of our home. Maybe when the weather gets better, we'll overcome our tiredness to venture out more on Fridays.

On Saturday, I enjoyed a rare girl-centric day. I went with a girlfriend to get manicures and drink wine flights afterward. We chatted up a storm and I had so much fun. I really miss having my girlfriends around. I have made very little effort to meet new girlfriends in this town and I'm feeling the effects of withdrawal from not having meaningful interactions with other women. I will have to get my butt out of this house and make more of an effort.

Today, Sunday, my husband and I grabbed brunch at one of my favorite breakfast spots in our hood, Hot Chocolate. It was such a memorable experience, that I had to write about it as soon as I got home. If you feel like checking it out, here is my Yelp review.

I swear, the food was so good I was kind of in a trance/zone...I'm not too impressed by food at restaurants that often anymore, so this was really good.

After we ate, we walked around the neighborhood window shopping and ducking into a few random stores here and there. Eerily, the streets felt a bit like a ghost town...there were very few people out and about. The few stores that we did enter, we were usually the only people in the stores. At first, my mind immediately chalked it up to the blasted economy. However, one of the sales clerks attributed the slow foot traffic to the reports of imminent sleet and snow. Apparently Chicagoans' hopes of a warm April Sunday had been dashed and they were too bitter to leave their homes. I believe the words she used were "hunkering down." I thought only people in the South said that?

The sales clerks seemed abnormally talkative (as if we were the only human interaction they had had in a while. I guess you can only gaze admiringly at your own inventory or surf the internet for so many hours)but they were all really nice and friendly. One lady, when she found out I was an attorney, even went out of the way to give me the contact info of her legal-recruiter friend. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I would rather stick a hot poker in my eye than go back to the law (yet, very schizophrenic and telling that I still identify myself as an attorney ). This species of friendliness oozes out of the Chicagoans we meet. Or maybe we are just supremely likeable. ;)

When we left the last store, we saw how ominous the sky looked and realized that we would have to outrun the oncoming storm since we were sans umbrella. We walked a bit faster, but, in all honesty, I didn't mind the bitter cold or the sleet that eventually pelted our vulnerable, hatless heads. It was fun and it was our little Wicker Park adventure as we ran hand-in-hand back home (ok, the hand-in-hand part didn't actually happen the whole way home, but it sounded good. C'mon, this is Chicago. It's rare that we remove our hands out of the warm depths of our pockets).

When we got home, we cranked up the heat and bundled up under our chenille throw. Only a few hours later did the beautiful snowflakes begin to flurry wildly outside our window. We didn't mind. We were inside, warm, and blessed to have the option to go inside to escape the cold. I'm trying to see the beauty of this early April snowstorm weather, and I'm getting there.

None of this means that I have stopped my intense longing for the day when I can venture outside without strategizing my layers. I'm just realizing that life is so much more than the weather and learning to appreciate whatever is thrown our way.

Let's hope that this coming week will be filled with productivity.

And gratitude.

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Hellish Kitty

Hellish Kitty
My beloved childhood diary