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When in Chicago Do As the Chicagoans Do

Urbs in Horto

I moved away from our lovely city of gardens when I went to college. It was a big adjustment at first and I missed my city deeply, but it was one of growth as well. Because of that I feel like I lived up to our/your city’s motto fairly well. But it is always a little bit bittersweet when I visit and I have to return “home.” Which is really home? I often encourage people to visit. For one, it is cheaper that some of the other big cities, and it has a lot to offer. A trip to Starved Rock state park is about an hour and a half outside of the city, but feels very remote. Do you get that when you travel to NYC? If you enjoy hiking, Midwest hiking (there is a distinction), it is a nice experience. You will be treated to some lovely canyons and waterfalls there. And check out Matthiessen State Park as well. It is smaller, it amounts to about a a mile long canyon, but it is a fun experience when walk through it. One thing that I have begun to notice when I got back is that you will encounter many European tourists. They enjoy traveling the Old Route 66 from Chicago to Springfield, Illinois, making it sort of a day trip. Some of the bigger towns along the way make a special effort to welcome them. There are several organizations that provide information. But that is far from everything. If you like history, you can go to the Cahokia Mounds in Colinsville and on the return trip stop in Springfield, IL to see some sites where President Lincoln lived. Another fun trip is going to Galena, Il which has lots of history and great architecture. But be warned, the downtown has turned into pretty much of a tourist trap with all the “ye olde” stores there.

Outside of Chicago?

Something in Wisconsin might interest you. In fact it is where Chicagoans go to escape the concrete jungle. It’s a two day trip but it is where you go to see the great outdoors. For example, if you are looking for a true hike, you will want to explore Devil’s Lake State Park. There are some pleasant trails there. and some awesome rock formations that are usually occupied by true climbers. Definitely worth a trip, and you can hike from 5 miles to 20 miles before heading back to the city in the same day. It’s about a 3 hour drive, and you could stop in Madison for the night (it’s the capital city of Wisconsin). The area has plenty to offer.
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The Price of Knowledge

Knowledge is free, all one needs to do is make the effort to read it. I read and write a lot, which brings me a lot of enjoyment – when I read, I both enjoy the book, and analyze it for “tips” on how to improve the way I write. It can really eat up your time. <- Pun I was eating dinner with some friends the other day, and we kind of agreed that everyone else in our lives just didn’t get why we were spending so much time on our hobbies. They will not stop asking us to do things with them because they knew we’d be busy with things we enjoy. Even when we spend time with each other on regular basis. So is life. Learn, love, live!
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My boyfriend likes to collect comics. Sure it is seen as childish by some, who cares, it is his hobby. And it meant a lot to him to share that with me. But like a little kid he is collecting the newest issues when they come out. He calls them floppies. When he finds some that he likes he will end up getting them as trade paper back. I prefer hardcovers. When I learned that they also came out in hardback collections I stopped collecting the TPBs. For one thing hardbacks look better on the shelf. They are also easier to read, and they’re more durable and long-lasting. The down side? The wait is bad enough if you collect TPBs, but it’s even worse with hardcovers. Especially with Marvel. They often take way longer than they have to. Take the current Deadpool run, for example. The TPB of volume 4 (issues #20-25) was published June 2014. They could have printed the volume 2 oversized hardcover (with issues #13-25) at the exact same time. They delay the hardcover printing so that you’ll double dip. It’s a year later, and the volume 2 OHC is only just now getting published in a few weeks. Another point is that I find them more collectible. The more of something you have available, the less “in demand” it will become. While this may not b entirely true. Fewer copies of every isse are being printed. This has been going on since the late 90s in fact – there are also fewer copies of books printed – than just about any time since comic books became a thing. More comics are being sold however. In general once an item is seen/deemed a collectors item by the general public and they are easily obtainable the collect-ability of the item for profit goes down. There are exceptions to the rule of course but mass production and the general public saturation most will not hold any value. For the floppies that I do collect I bag, board, and put them in binder sheets. I place them in a 3 ring binder and stand them vertically.
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In Yoga Terms

I didn’t realize how much a desk job would take out of me. My dad worked his whole life in construction. When I say whole life I mean it. His father owned a company and so he was right there in the thick of it from a young age on. He had aches and pains. And yet it never occurred to me that I would also ache after work. My legs feel a little fatigued sometimes right after sitting. I’ve gotten into the habit of doing a few poses of yoga to help aide in getting the blood flowing going when this happens. But the same can happen if I meditate, too long. It was because for a long time I wasn’t really practicing meditation or yoga. What we westerners call yoga is mere the 3rd step out of the 8 steps in classical yoga — asana or posture. Asanas (physical postures) traditionally is to make the body healthy and stable for meditation, wherein the yogi would have the experiences of the higher states of consciousness and eventually become enlightened. Even though westerners don’t actually believe in enlightenment, they found that the yoga poses – based on the yoga system of body energy – gives excellent results in terms of creating peace and health in the human body. For excample, studies have proven that yoga is more beneficial in reducing anxiety than other forms of exercise. The term yoga has meant union or yoking the individual consciousness with the experience of the entire universe. A yogi was one who had accomplished this union or at the very least was aspiring to it and using a systematic method of accomplishing his aim. A yogi named Paramahansa Yogananda came to the West in 1920 and wrote the Autobiography of a Yogi which became quite well known and inspired the careers of many well known yoga teachers. Classical yoga has spirituality as its base, which many of us are allergic to. I was pretty skeptical myself in the beginning, but through the yoga methods they taught I learned to prove to myself the value of these systems in a step-by-step systematic way. The organization he started explains the classical purpose of yoga here and goes deeper into explaining the eight steps of yoga. A good yoga set will get you closer a meditative state. You can meditate during yoga. But when you practice yoga first, it warms up the spine and quiets the mind. Stillness includes movement and movement includes stillness. The stillness of meditation requires a certain kind of circulation, an ease of body-and-mind. It can be quite difficult to focus on meditation while also doing yoga. I found it took me about 4 months of practice (doing yoga every other day) before I was physically adapted enough to be able to perform the poses without getting flustered, out-of-breath, etc. and I was then able to focus more on ujjayi breathing and drishti and be able to have a good meditation session while doing yoga postures. Classically, yoga is primarily focused on meditation, and asana is just a good preparation for that.
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The Big Rustic City

I lived in Chicago, it is not the biggest city but we are enough removed from the country landscape that you would not notice. When I was last there I realized that you really can tell that it is located in the Midwest. There was so much rustic fashion for lack of a better word. But not just that it was the whole ambiance. One of my best friends from high school will be getting married in a couple of months and I am expected to attend. Actually I said “you want me to come?” to which she responded “I expect you to come.” SO I don’t really have any way out I guess. Which is fine, it will be a blast if I know her. Which I thought I did. But in high school she was totally into techno. It wasn’t out of place in our school, but it wasn’t main stream either. Now she has gone total country. She rattled off a list of possible songs and you can find them on the Billboard Top 50 for country music. I asked her since when she like country music. She responded since she realized it didn’t suck. That was a change, the girl only listened to trance and techno anything else didn’t make her playlist. Now she is even going back to Johnny Cash. I have never met the fiancee, that will come soon enough, maybe he is a total country stud. Though that sounds a little bit wrong now that I type it out. Forget you ever read that! 🙂 I am curious to see what else she has on the plan. Stay tuned for an update.