Another year just went by, so long 2014! It was rather a quiet year. We didn't travel much, didn't really do anything to make the year special. As I'm trying to make more plans for 2015, I surely am glad 2014 is over. Scrolling through my iphone's camera roll, gave me the best, and most accurate picture of last 12 months. Otherwise, I had really hard time to remember what we've done, since there wasn't too many memorable events. Or maybe I am just getting older, and don't remember anything anymore.
January and February was definitely really, really cold in Chicago. Everyone talked, tweeted, facebooked, instagramed about the polar vortex. All five great lakes were frozen shut. I have to say, it was probably the coldest I've ever experienced, but with enough layers of clothing, right boots, hats and gloves, it was doable. And not like we had a choice in saying, right? Lake Michigan looked really amazing, something I've never seen before.
[tired after new years shenanigans]
[winter in it's finest]
In March we did a quick weekend in Nashville, even 50's were a huge improvement from what we had in Chicago those days. My sister and her BF went with us. The drive went pretty fast, always does going there, it's the way back home that seemed long and exhausting. But I guess that is what happens after two long days of partying Nashville style. As usual, we stayed downtown, at the Renaissance on Commerce, a block away from Broadway Street, where all the action is, at least the touristy action we were going for. I thought of exploring East Nashville, but we run out of time. Maybe next time. Broadway was just perfect to scratch the live music itch, it always does the trick. Hopping from one Honky Tonk to the other, Jameson was flowing, live music was playing, just a perfect getaway from the cold everyday life in Chicago. My favorite thing about Nashville is that you can walk in to a bar on Broadway at 10 am, and there is a live band playing. 10 in the morning!!!
Nashville is changing though, as we've been going there for last 6 or 7 years, it's not hard to notice that it's becoming more of a "college kids party scene" versus what it used to be, just the casual place to go and listen to some good, ole country. Old bars are building up, making three-story-tall party central clubs, long lines to get in, tons of drunk kids that have no appreciation for the music. Nashville is becoming NashVegas. At least the Broadway Street, where all the old original Honky Tonks are. In my opinion, it's loosing it's character. Maybe next time we should explore East Nashville in hope to experience what we first loved abut Nashville. Live music, live old country music, with Merle and Hank, Willie and Johnny, and many more that helped shaped the music.
April - I am not completely sure, but by April, Chicago had thawed out a bit, and temperatures returned to more of a norm. I actually don't remember much about April of 2014. Was Easter that month?? Tim's mom was turning 70, so we decided to fly to Tampa for a few days, get some sun and celebrate the milestone birthday.
[beach in Venice, FL. day]
Beach, pool, good food, and good company made the few days fly by. I was so sun-hungry, that all I wanted to do is lay on the lounge chair, on the edge of the pool, and bake. It worked, we had a beautiful weather, just a bit of rain on the last day, I came back with a nice golden tan... feels good to have some color. Pale skin just doesn't look good on me.
May in Chicago was cold. We usually plant flowers on the deck first weekend of May, but last year we waited until the Memorial Day weekend to do so. Nights were still pretty cold, and I didn't want to risk it. We started taking longer walks to our neighborhood park with Kodie, this is his favorite thing to do, all he wants is to go the park EVERYDAY, sometimes even twice a day. He is just so happy to run around, and smell his doggie smells, hang out with friends. He can sit and watch what's going on for hours. Little happy dog.
I almost forgot - again, thanks to the camera roll - we went to Parade for the Polish Constitution Day, May 3rd. We walked in the parade with Lowell Foods, whom my sister is working for, hint the blue T-shirts... interesting experience.
What did we do in June? Hmmm. We went to a Lookinglass Theatre Madhatters Ball along with few of my co-workers. Fun night. My feet hurt so much, I had to walk barefoot on State Street looking for taxi to get home. The bottom of my feet were nothing but black.
The rest of the month flew by in preparation to the 2nd annual Lake Shelbyville family camping trip June 27th to July 5th, 2014. We finally were able to enjoy the warmer weather, and hang out at the park a lot, especially the weekends. Kodie loves the park!
Oh, good old Shelbyville! Week of July 4th - camping, and I mean it. Not some glorified trailer with AC and a full size tub. Tents and tents. ok, we do have electric sites. But that's about it.
There will be a separate post with few photographs from the trip. A week of bliss on the pontoon boat, with tons of sunshine and fun. Simple pleasures. Hello Summer!!!
[our camping site, #106 before we set up, Coon Creek Campground]
[luau day on the boat]
[early evening, calm water of lake Shelbyville, amazing day on the boat]
[rainy Lollapalooza Fields, mud city]
[Lolla pre-party at our roof top deck]
We did another camping trip this summer, only 2.5 hrs drive from Chicago, Potato Creek State Park in Indiana, about 12 miles south of South Bend. Nothing spectacular, just a long weekend nature gateway for the three of us. It was really nice to not have any plans, not have anything to do, just hang out at the campsite, walk to the like or hang out on a no-wake lake in a little dingy boat. Very relaxing and quiet weekend.
Rest of the month, along with September and most of the October, I was buried in work. We spent weekends outside, grasping to the last days of summer, and slowly transitioning to fall.
Fall is probably my favorite out of all four seasons. The smell of the air, the leaves, the cool evenings, the first time you wear your favorite sweater, and the moment you take a sip your favorite red wine sitting by the fire...
Later in October we made a quick trip to Michigan, Upper Peninsula. I was hoping to catch the color change, but unfortunately we were bit too late. It was still great to get out of Chicago, and enjoy the nature. 45 degrees and rain - I didn't care, as long as we were outside strolling along the trails, and Lake Superior beaches. Kodie loved the cold water, he sniffed and sniffed... little otter dog.
November flew by, Thanksgiving as usual. Lot's of work, food and relaxing weekend after. We actually got to go to the movies! December was hectic, family Christmas. We survived it somehow. I was finally able to take few more days off work after Christmas, to clear the mind, and have a fresh start on 2015. We welcomed the New Year with a fun little house party - mardi grass style.
[my thanksgiving 2014 table]
[Christmas centerpiece, featuring the owls]
[Christmas morning, after the church. This might be the new tradition, walk downtown, check out the Macy's Christmas window display]
[New Years Eve 2014 - mardi grass style]
So Happy 2015!!! May it only be better than the year before. I think this new year I will be a year of making decisions, and hopefully following through with them. Taking action, because you truly don't decide unless you act on that decision.