Monday, July 9, 2012

Extremely fun

This past weekend was jam-packed with activity!  It was one of the most enjoyable weekends I've had in a long time.

French to English translation:
"Let the good times roll!"

I belong to the Lightly Toasted Toastmasters Club, which meets twice a month on Saturday mornings.  (For those of you that aren't aware, Toastmasters Clubs are gatherings where folks get together to practice their public speaking skills.)  I haven't presented a Toastmasters speech in awhile.  Therefore, on a whim, I decided it was time to do one.  So I spent Friday night writing and rehearsing a speech.

(I know, I know.  You're probably thinking that this doesn't sound like a very exciting weekend.  I can just visualize the look on your face right now.)

(It does get better, I promise.)

The Toastmasters meeting on Saturday morning was a lot of fun, as it always is.  We had a full house of attendees at the meeting, and I enjoyed presenting my speech.  Adam even attended the Toastmasters meeting in person with me to watch me do my speech.  It was great having his moral support.

My speech topic was based on an actual awards program, the NAAAP 100, for which I'm serving my second year as the program director.  In my speech, I presented the award to Hines Ward, who is an actual recipient of this year's award (but who will unfortunately not be able to attend the awards ceremony in person). 

By the way, it's pure coincidence that Hines Ward is a legendary member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, that Adam is a diehard Steelers fan, and that Adam decided to attend this particular meeting with me.  Pure coincidence.

Saturday night, Adam and I went to Millennium Park to listen to one of the free concerts put on by the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra.  The temperatures had finally cooled off a lot so it was very pleasant outside.  The music was outstanding, and the concert included an absolutely gorgeous setting with the backdrop of the city skyline.

The Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park, where the free outdoor concerts take place.

For all you Chicagoans, I highly, HIGHLY recommend checking out one of the free concerts at Millennium Park.  Bring a blanket and some food and drink, and enjoy the incredible ambience and people-watching.  It is quite the quintessential summertime weekend experience in Chicago.

Sunday morning I run-brunched with Erin!  It was our first time running together and it was fun.  I can definitely see how having a running partner can really help keep you accountable in a good way!  We chatted about runner's topics like Ragnar, bib-swapping, and upcoming races - as well as a host of other non-running topics like bike mishaps and how we met our spouses. 

Erin is a faster runner than I am, so I pushed myself a little bit while running with her.  For me, this is a really good thing - I hope to vicariously pick up some speed through her!  According to my Garmin, we covered about 6.2 miles - but her Garmin was consistently about 0.05 miles ahead of mine.  (I think I like her Garmin better than mine.)

After our run, we both went home to shower and then met up at Meli Cafe for brunch with our spouses in tow.  Meli Cafe was a place that I'd been wanting to try for quite some time, and it didn't disappoint.  What a fantastic menu!

Yummy yummy!

After brunch, I drove up to Wisconsin to visit Katie, who is one of my oldest friends in the world (old in terms of length of friendship, of course - not age!)  Katie is farm-sitting at this beautiful property with several horses, as well as various other animals and some gardens onsite.  It was so nice to hang out with her and really catch up on things.  It was also nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a bit.

On the way home, I had to stop at the Woodman's grocery store located right by the Illinois-Wisconsin border in Kenosha.  I am a huge fan of Woodman's!  They have the most complete collection of groceries I've ever seen - including an ENORMOUS aisle of cheese that seems to go on forever.  For someone who loves to cook and eat as much as I do, it's paradise.  I always load up on all the things that I can't easily find at my local grocery store at home, and then some.  In short, I usually end up buying the entire store.  And I've become quite adept at Tetris-ing the whole thing into my car for the ride home.

Unfortunately the weekend ended at that point.  But the fun didn't end there!  This afternoon I went to watch the first day of the Chicago Blackhawks' 2012 Prospect Camp, and tomorrow night I am running the Strike Out ALS 5K.  More on both to come.

To keep the extreme fun momentum going, I'm now off to foam roll the living daylights out of my hip flexor and IT band.  No better way to spend an evening, eh? 

Everybody say it with me: "Ohhhhhhhh, yeahhhhhhhh...."


  1. So fun!! All of it sounds fantastic (but I'm especially partial to the Blackhawks bit, haha). And the next time you're at Woodmans, holler - that's my neck of the woods :)

    1. Thanks so much, Bobbi! So glad to hear that you are as much a fan of the Hawks as I am. =D I'll be posting about Hawks Prospect Camp sometime this week!

      You live close to Woodman's!?!?!? I am so envious! I will definitely holler the next time I am out there, would love to meet up in person!!!

  2. What an awesome weekend! I love that you do Toastmasters. I would like to someday.

    And yes! Free concerts! We love our little tiny one up here in the burbs.

    Erin's Garmin was .05 ahead of mine all day Saturday too. Hmm.

    I went to Meli Cafe last year for brunch for a coworker. We all loved it! I remember the juice was awesome.

    I LOVE WOODMAN'S! We love to get a lot of our refrigerated Fake Meats there. They have a great selection!

    1. Thanks, Kim! Toastmasters rocks - I highly recommend it! If you ever want to check out one of the Toastmasters clubs downtown, let me know and I'd be happy to go with you!

      Aren't free concerts the bestest!?!?

      Interesting about Erin's Garmin. Sadly it sounds like our slower Garmins might be more accurate. =(

      Meli Cafe is awesome - that could be a great place for all of us to get together once we are able to synch our schedules!!!

      I really wish I lived closer to Woodman's. It would be such a treat to have such an incredible selection of groceries right there at your fingertips at all times!

  3. You did have a full (and fun) weekend. Glad I got to be a part of it!

    1. Thanks, Erin! I had a great time running with you! I was glad to be a part of your very well-balanced 7-day workout streak (which is amazing!) as well!!!!!