Sunday, October 11, 2009

September in Phoenix & Fall in Chicago

Friends couldn't understand and always wondered why I didn't really connect with Phoenix when I moved there...and it's easy. There were a few things I didn't like, and I apologize for those who might be offended at this list:

1. Driving with the Phoenix drivers in the early morning--There were many an accidents that could have come "this" close from those who weren't going the speed limit, not looking before changing lanes, etc. Furthermore, DON'T get on the freeway if you're not going to go the speedlimit, not turn on your headlights in the pitch black of 6am and change lanes without looking to see if someone else is there.

2. Lack of grass--When I first flew over Phoenix, I saw green all over the place. I sat there descending and thinking that my parents were lying about Phoenix people not having grass and yards. Well, once I landed I realized they were right, but only partly. Some people DO have grass yards, while others take green painted rocks and dump tons of them to create a "green" yard. Very odd....

3. Lack of real seasons. Or should I say distinctive seasons. I went in for my first interview with UoP in September, while it was 95 degrees out that day. I was in a long sleeve white collared shirt and a black suit jacket and pants. However, I didn't feel uncomfortably warm. Hello1 NO HUMIDITY! But as it got to be Fall and then Winter, I was wondering what I would see. Other than the slight frost on the windows when I drove into work every morning, I didn't really notice anything other than the weather holding strong at a daily high of 75-80. I missed the fall turnover and the winter solstice...full of frost, ice and snow in all its glory!

So, I left...well, and I was in love with (before the move) an awesome guy who had cheated on me, which I found out right before Christmas. Don't do long's stupid and pointless. Anyway, I wasn't connecting with my surroundings, was heart broken, had a grandmother going in for a surgery and missed my family like mad. After Christmas, I packed my stuff and made the long drive back to Illinois.

I hadn't been back to Phoenix for over three years when I went this September to see my cousin. Three years! I still have a best friend out there along with my cousin. And I miss them both. When the plane was landing, I starting thinking of everything that happened before my move back home to Illinois, and I started tearing up. I had flown over the New Mexico mountains, saw the hills and mountains of Phoenix and realized everything I really liked about it.

The raw environmental beauty that I didn't get in Illinois.

I landed, called my cousin and awaited her at Door 7 on the North side of Sky Harbor. The airport always amazed me because it was so clean and fresh looking from the street. O'Hare and Midway always looked dingy in comparison after I flew into Phoenix.

Forgot to tell you why I went back to Phoenix in the first place--other than the fact I wanted to get away from work and have a couple days where I didn't worry about work or keep prospecting/researching companies through dinner. MY COUSIN WAS PREGNANT! It was the first pregnancy among my dad and aunt's section of our family. She had just bought her first home about five months earlier, had a rough go around with her long term boyfriend and was in the best pregnancy zen I could ever imagine.

Katie, my cousin, had no morning sickness, only gained 23 pounds and looked only six months pregnant when the baby was born! How lucky! Every other uncomfortable pregnant woman's jealous dream! Since she told me she was pregnant, I joked about how I hoped it was a boy when she wanted a girl--Oliver Liam Grundman LeGreco was born on 9/23/09, A BOY. I also planned my trip a couple weeks before Oli G. was due because I am not good with babies, which Katie joked she hoped the baby would come when I was there. Then my dad, aunt and grandma said the same thing; they all felt it would be good "experience" for the member of the family who didn't want kids or to be around them to actually see the power and miracle of birth.

Well, as soon as Katie's driving us out of the airport, she said to me. "I've got a surrrrprrriiiiise for you!"

"You're getting induced," I answered.

She looked at me, shocked, and asked if I had talked to Grannie the night before, which I had not. I did, however, have a dream earlier that week that she had an early induction due to the fact the baby was so large. The baby's dad, Casey, is a GIANT! Well, not clinically a giant, but socially speaking. Casey's 7'9. And my mind was like "Dang, that's a tall dude!"

So, my trip to Phoenix in September was helping prep the rest of the baby needs, go shopping, and just relax. The weather was beautiful and topped out at 101. For a summer in Chicago that the average temp in July was 69, this change in weather was much needed. I also got to see my best friend, Ash (it's a boy, not a girl), for lunch, where I got to meet his long-term girlfriend and future fiance. I hadn't seen him in two years since he came to Chicago for a long weekend.

Katie was induced Tuesday night and Oliver was born on Wednesday afternoon. However, even though I had extended my stay from leaving 7am Tuesday morning to leave at 1pm on Wednesday, I missed him being born. But I did leave feeling excited and hopeful that I might have a child someday, too. Yes, I now want A, one, uno, ein bebe!

When I got back to Chicago, work picked up. (Work is also another reason for my lack of blogging--big product launch, lots of new business efforts, etc.) Then it was October 1st. The weather turned quite quickly. One weekend it was about 75 and the next week was low 60's and then high 50's.

And then, I woke up to the morning temperature of 42. Granted it was at 7:30am; however, the high was 52. GOOD-NESS! It is freezing. Plus my roommate didn't want to turn on the heat. I run cold naturally, and it was/is getting a bit too much to deal with. So, this weekend while she was gone for some family reasons, I turned on the heat. AAAaaahhh....nice to be warm rather than freezing when I go to bed.

However, when I was walking around Lincoln Park yesterday and then driving on 55 South today to meet my dad, I realized how beautiful fall is. Look at the leaves and the sky, even though it might be slightly cloudy. It's almost like the clouds are preparing for the earth to take a long nap. The leaves left on the ground are a bright colored quilt stitched by nature. Protecting it when the snow, rain and ice come. I really love the seasons, and I can't wait for winter to come. Everywhere in Chicago, people are prepping. The boots are on, scarves are nestled under our chins and the jackets/coats are out of storage. I can't wait for the Festival of Lights.

To ring in Fall's spirit, my friends and I had a Fall inspired dinner, with a menu that consisted of pumpkin and squash courses. There's a certain feeling you get from winter veggies. The warmth, color, smell and feeling is amazing and heart warming.

While I was left feeling in love with Phoenix, my cousin, the new baby, my best friend and the heat...I realize why I truly am a Midwest girl. You know...I was emailing my friend Kris last week and he said to me that people on the west coast will never compare the kindness in people in the Midwest. He said when you can't drive or even walk into a doctor's office without encountering rudeness, "Houston, we have a problem."

Look around you. See the nature. Experience the preparation for the next four or five months. Be happy. And while I'm not inspired enough by Phoenix to move back, I WILL be going over for Christmas to see Oli G for the first time. I already have his present--a onesie that says "Mommy's Poop Master."

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