Friday, July 30, 2010

Architectural Boat Tour

While in Chicago, B and I went on an hour-long architectural boat tour along the Chicago River. It was really interesting! It definitely gave us a different view of the city!

While on the tour, the tour guide gave us details about the many skyscrapers in the city, including who designed it, when it was built, etc etc. Not that I remember many of these details; I have the worst memory!

This was the view while we were docked, before the boat ride. See the building second from the right? The squiggly looking one? It's an apartment/condo that was designed by a female architect. It has a couple cool features. One is that the floor of each balcony is slightly different from the ones around it. They kind of slope in and out. The floors are flat, obviously, but the depth varies, so the edge of it looks like an 'S'. Apparently it was designed that way so that each apartment gets sunlight and shade. Pretty cool! The glass is also special. It's opaque when you look at it from the outside so as to deter birds from flying into it.

Ahhh doesn't that water look refreshing? I think the Chicago river recently went from REALLY polluted and hazardous to only a little bit polluted, haha. Yay. Chicago fun fact: Waaaaay back when the city was first being inhabited, the Chicago river ran INTO Lake Michigan and Lake Michigan was the city's water supply. Well, the city didn't have a trash disposal system in place yet, so everyone would dump the trash into the river. Years went by, and as you can imagine, the river became really polluted and disgusting, whick inevitably polluted the lake and the drinking water. There was an city-wide epidemic because the water was unfit for human consumption. Soo instead of cleaning up the river (apparently that's not an easy task, but their actual solution was???) they REVERSED the flow of the river. What?? You can do that?? They dredged the river and banked it so it flowed into the canal instead. Crazy! Some of my facts may be off.. I am not a historian.

OOOO pretty skyscrapers!

These buildings were pretty cool, too. Not sure what they were.. condos? I think there was a garage on the lower floors.

This was once a bridge for trains. Now the tracks on either side go nowhere, so the bridge is perpetually raised. I thought it looked pretty cool amongst the more modern looking buildings.

Speaking of modern looking buildings, look at this gem! Hah.. this actually housed our hotel. We were waaaaaay up near the top.

See the pretty glass building on the right? That's where we THOUGHT we were staying. See the hotel we were at had a website with some pictures. This glass building was in the main picture on the site. What it didn't claim was that this was the VIEW not the ACTUAL building. D'oh!

Helloooooooo ivy.

Now defunct huge ass post office. I think the tour guide said something to the effect of this building being too far gone and too big to repair/renovate?? That can't be right, right?

The tower formerly known as Sears and it's friendly neighbor. The shorter building has these crazy lights on top which they had to dim at night because it was screwing up bird flight patterns. Interesting! The things that people research, haha.

This building was pretty neat! I don't remember what it was. Oh wait, it says right there!

This building was designed by some architecture professor dude. I think he had wanted to build it but it couldn't be done for some reason. His students found the plan years later and finally had it built. Voila!
Wizzing by under a bridge. Isn't wizzing a word? Firefox is telling me it's not and I don't feel like looking it up.. Crap.. it's wHizzing. Also.. I'm not sure why this picture is bigger than the others. I probably shouldn't reveal the fact that I'm a computer programmer and should know these things. Crap.. I just told you.

This building was SOOOOOoooooooooooo big when it was built that it had it's own zip code! Whattttt! Crazy.

Look how huge it is! I couldn't even get the whole building in one shot. Even these two pictures don't reveal its largeness. What you also can't see is that there are huge brass heads/busts in the front of the building. Kind of creepy if you ask me. B and I did some window shopping here, though. In all of the windows along the street there were these awesome looking bathtubs. Brass, porcelain, claw foot, you name it. Do want. I think it would be sweet to have a claw foot tub. And I'd sit in it. With lots of bubbles. And someone would be fanning me. And someone else would be feeding me chocolate and grapes. And champagne. Hey, a girl can dream.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Jungle in my Backyard

Remember this?

My nice, neat garden with nice, neat looking plants.

Look how cute and tiny they are! Awwwwwwwwwww..

NOW look at them! What the heck? I think those other pictures were taken about 2 weeks ago! Is that even possible??

The cucumber and zucchini plants are threatening to take over the entire garden. And my life. Help!!

What you can't see in this picture are the pepper plants that are growing UNDER the huge zucchini leaves! I was warned that zucchini plants were treacherous to grow in your garden because of their tendency to overtake all available space, but I thought one plant would be ok. Apparently not! I don't even see any baby zucchini yet, either :( It's also shading the beets and carrots.

Speaking of beets and carrots.. how are you supposed to know when they are 'done?' I was thinking that I can pull them up when I start to see them above the surface. Is that true? Maybe I made that up.. I can't wait for the beets, though. YUM!

I'm watching you..

Why I Love Chicago

More please.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


So I have officially decided that I am going to postpone all further runs until it cools off in the fall. It's way too hot to run and I'm way too lazy to get up early enough before the sun beats down. I know I know, I have failed at my attempts to train for a full or half marathon. I feel like I just gave up, but I don't have it in me to run in 80-90 degree heat! I'm much more comfortable running in the snow and cold. Maybe I'll train for the Cleveland half or full which is in April?? I'm kind of bummed because I just bought a bunch of new running shorts that I LOOOVE. Stupid Cleveland hot humid summers.

At any rate, B and I went to CHICAGO this past weekend. It. was. AWESOME! We had quite an action packed, fun-filled weekend!

After 6+ hours of driving, we finally arrived! Wow, what a welcoming sight! We were pretty tired of driving at that point! Well, B was tired of driving. I was tired of being the passenger :)

The view from our hotel! I love staying downtown when I visit big cities. It's refreshing and such a change of pace from our suburban lifestyle.

Our first stop of the evening was Harry Caray's at Navy Pier for some adult beverages.

Awwww aren't we adorable? We guzzled our delicious delicious Goose Island beers while we waited to go on an architectural boat tour of Chicago! It was pretty awesome. The boat took us up and down the Chicago river while the tour guide pointed out various architectural aspects of the looming skyscrapers.

I'll post some pictures of the tour later. Leftover tofu stir fry and work are both calling my name right now!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Phew! It's been a busy summer so far! So busy that I haven't blogged in over a month and I haven't gone running in 2 weeks! (whoops.......... there goes my training schedule!)

I actually had (and still have?) pain in my left calf. It only hurts when I press on it though, is that good or bad?? I thought staying off of it would improve how it felt, and it has, but it hasn't gone completely away.

It didn't stop me from running my very first 10k a few weeks ago, though! I ran in A Most Excellent Race which supported The Achievement Center's Camp Cheerful. What a great cause! Annnnnnnnnnnnd I finished the race in .... 51:49!!!! YESSS how awesome is that!!! Wow was I excited :) B signed up to walk the 5k and I was so proud of him for running part of it!!

Since the race I only ran 4 miles, though. Part of it is due to the calf pain, but the other part is because of this damned heat wave!! What's that all about?? It is waayyy too hot if you're not planning on running at the butt-crack of dawn to beat the heat. Even running in the evening is rough because it takes so long to cool down outside! Sooo I've been doing other things like.. uh.. well not working out, that's for sure!

Here's a photo montage of what you missed...

Wow! Look how huge the plants have gotten since the last picture I posted! Crazy! (It actually looks even CRAZIER now!)

B and I went with a couple friends to CMA's Summer Solstice party. It was a blast! ANNNDDD Dim and Dem Sum was serving FREE tacos. YUM.

MMMM smoothie, I love you.

Hydrangeas are so cool. I love how the color of the blossoms depend on the acidity of the soil. Pretty neat! Not sure how to change it, though.

Baby roma tomatoes! I can't wait to eat you, nom nom nom.

B helped me to organize our spice cabinet! Look how freaking cute those jars are! Hmm.. I'm a little low on garlic powder.. I must remedy that!

Mmmm smooooooooooothie..

I love our roses! They smell AMAZING!

Close up of my beauties.

I think these are gerbera daisies? Something like that. They rock my world.

And there you have it! A quick look into the world of Julie. I'd like to promise that I will be a good blogger and keep up with the posts, but summer is just crazy! AHHH.

B and I are actually going to Chicago on Thursday for the Pitchfork Music Festival. I'm so excited! Although, I'm not sure what I'm more excited for.. the festival or CHICAGO STYLE HOT DOGS AND PIZZA!!! nom nom nom.

Alrighty, I gotta get to work! Have an awesome day!