Holiday Blues

I usually have a big family gathering for Thanksgiving but for some reason, this year, everybody made other plans.  I don’t know how to cook for one or three so I made the same holiday foods that I usually make.  I cook for 15 to 20.  Why?  This is what I do.  So instead of sitting around feeling blue because the usual suspects had other plans, I cooked.  When I was done, my son asked, who did you cook for?  My reply was us.  He chuckled and said, I eat a lot but not that much.

We went to church on Thanksgiving to a release service where you wrote down the things that you were concerned about on a balloon and release them into the atmosphere. It was a great service and I’m sure people needed to get that pressure off of them.  We say that we give our problems to God but as soon as we have one, there we go trying to find ways to fix them.  On my way out, I talked to several people who were not have a big dinner or did not cook.  I offered them to come and have dinner with us but I think their pride told them to say “thanks so much but no”.  There were two people that I really want to help so I went home and packed dinner for them and delivered it to their homes.  They were so grateful and appreciative.

We felt so good for helping them even though they t0ld us no.  I told my son that  your blessings come from what you do for others not what you do for yourself.  After the delivery service, we went home and had a wonderful dinner.  We felt so blessed and thankful.  The next day, family member who didn’t come to dinner came by and picked up a plate.  I felt like the side chick (getting visits on the day after), but glad that all the food is gone.  I didn’t want to eat turkey and dressing for two weeks.  It feels good to do good.

Ten Things to do in Chicago that are Free or close to it.

As the weather gets better or suppose to, I have looking for things to do in Chicago that are interesting and close to free.  Here is some of what I found:

  1.  Lincoln Park Zoo.  Lincoln Park Zoo is in the heart of the city and a fun place to especially if you haven’t gone in a while.
  2. Millenium Park.  Millennium Park offers free concerts, pubic art exhibits and free dancing lessons.  Learn to salsa cha-cha or marange like the professionals for free. Try dancing under the stars to the live bands that play after the lessons.
  3. Chicago Botanic Garden.  Go and commune for free.  Learn more about flowers and all that the Botanic Garden has to offer.
  4. The Old Town School of Folk Music.  Attend a jam session or explore new instruments.
  5. Shedd Aquarium, The Field Museum, or The Planetarium.  The all have free days, figure out which one you want to visit on the free day.
  6. The Beach.  Lake Michigan run from Evanston to South Shore.  Figure out which spot is most comfortable for you and have beach party.
  7. Chicago Cultural Center.  The center has exhibits with locally produced art.
  8. Chicago Park Districts.  The is plenty of ways to make your own fun at the park.  Go on their website and find events that you want to attend.
  9. Garfield Park Conservatory.
  10. 10.  DuSable Museum of African-American History, The Swedish Museum, Chicago History Museam and/or the Greek History Museam.  Every ethnicity in Chicago has a history museum.  Explore different museam and expand your knowledge of other ethnicities.

Whatever you decide to do, just go out, explore and have fun.  You may find that your save much on the events, treat yourself to a nice lunch.

New Year, New Adventures

Adventures in fifties follows the life of a fifty something black women still trying to figure life out and having fun doing.  All my loves:  my children are grown and living in other states; I have finished the coursework for my doctorate but that damn dissertation is haunting me; I have two trips scheduled this year to places that I have never been.  First, the Kentucky Derby, can’t wait to put on that big hat and sip my mint julep.  Next, Dubai.  What is all the hype about but I’m going to find out.  This year is going to be full of adventure.  I want to do new things and step out of my comfort zone while being safe and happy.  Once a month, I want to do something by myself.  I want to be crazy but not crazy enough to be in danger.  Sometimes people think that as you age you stop living and having fun, all there is to life is going to work and back home sitting on the couch watching tv.  I’m no couch potato.  It time for new adventures.  Maybe I should give adventurous me a name like Monica or Jessica, I picked those because they are easy to remember.  Maybe I should give adventurous me a new style, as long as it does not cost me money.  Every month, I want to be able to look back and see something new that I have done.  In January, I started a new blogging class and I starting working with the Chicago Intensive program.

Spring break

When I think about spring break, I think about traveling, relaxing, and having fun.  In the advance planning stage, I was thinking in terms of where would I like to go.  Maybe a quick car trip, maybe finding a place in my travel club book, or maybe just doing a staycation.  Spring break is a tricky travel time because, if you go to Florida or Mexico, you tend to run into the college crowd.  If you stay close to home, a quick car trip, the weather is still not nice enough for you to enjoy being outside and sightseeing.  So, I choose a staycation this year.  My week consisted of cleaning closet, cleaning a storage unit, and cleaning the garage.  I know that do not sound like a vacation but it was.  I found pleasure in organization.  I gained some money by cleaning the storage unit after cleaning the garage.  I saved $50.00 a month on the storage unit and got rid of a lot of stuff.  Some things were tossed, some repurposed and some given away.  That was the first three day, I did get to relax after that.

Birthday is Over

Now that the birthday is over, time to find new adventures.  Over the week, I went out to dinner three times, saw a movie, saw a show and had drinks.  When it’s your birthday, most of the time, you don’ pay, so that was thrifty.  Now it time to do other things.  I am in the process of down sizing.  One of the things I would like to do is clean out my closet for a profit.  I am starting to pull things out and sort them.  Some things have not been worn and have tags on them, other have not been worn in quite a while.  I cleaned out one closet and pulled out four bags of clothes.  I put the bags in my car and took them to a store that buys resale clothes.  The Lady in the store gave me so many rules that I turned and walked out of the store.  I went to another resale store that basically only took youth and sportswear.  At that point, I decided to give the clothes to the Salvation Army and receive tax credit.  But first, I have them to my friend and let her pick out whatever she wanted and let her take the rest to the Salvation Army.  My hesitance with giving it away was that they sale the stuff for profit.  I would rest he give it to someone who needs it.  I tried to contact several shelter but sometimes the things that they put you through to make a donation is just not worth it.  One place was calling me back, one place would take the donation and was calling me back to give me the drop out spot, two others would only take monetary donations, the others just said no.  Initially I wanted to make money but later I decided that I would rather have the blessing of giving.  Later I found a store that would take things, sale them and donate the money to a local shelter.  I think I will give them.  Now I know.



The Birthday Girl

In two days, I will be the birthday girl. What makes this birthday special, it represents another year that God has given me to do good works, to continue on my quest and to improve the lives that I touch.  I want to be more than a dash, you know the dash that reads on the headstone from 1961 –     ), the dash is what you did in your lifetime.  So on my way to fulfilling my dash, by doing all the things that I want to do, helping others along the way, being good to myself, and pleasing God.  I want to live.  That means taking care of myself, body, spirit and soul.  Taking care of others.  Making people feel loved and needed.  I have friends who are beginning to retire and have no idea of what that means. It has to mean more than not going to work.  What are you going to do with those 40 hours a week that were taken all those years?  Here are some ideas:  travel to a place that you always wanted to visit, visit family that you said that you would visit if you only had time, find a place to volunteer so that you could teach people one of those special talents that you have, become a part of a ministry at your church, join a church, room by room clean out your house and donate the stuff you don’t use.  There are plenty of things that you could that don’t cost anything but if you are looking to make money, sell your old stuff.  You could volunteer to read to children and seniors.  There many places that could use your help even if it’s only one day a week.  I will be 55 years young in two days and I can’t wait to figure out want God has in store for me in the  year to come.  Peace and Blessings.


New Adventures

As I set out to have fun on a budget,  I need to map out what I want to do, how much I want to spend and what type of adventure I’m seeking.  So I decided that because it was Superbowl weekend that I would hang out with friends.  A friend called to invite me to a Superbowl party that was a pot luck.  She told me the foods that has been already committed so I decided the make a salad.  Since I already had some of the ingredients, I purchased the rest and spend about $5.00.  I prepared the salad, took it to the party, everybody liked it, it was a hit and all I spent was $5.00.  Takeaways: 1.  when there is a celebration going, you don’t have to recreate the wheel.  I thought about going to a public place to watch the game and being in a social atmosphere but by going to my friend’s house, I had plenty to eat and drink, met some people that I didn’t know, enjoyed great adult conversations and didn’t break the bank.; 2.  By meeting new people, you run the risk of being invited/included in other celebrations and expand your social circle; 3.  I was comfortable because I was at my friends house and close to home; and 4.  Find a dish that you can make easily, it taste good and people always ask you to make so when you get that impromptu invite, you get a big response with little efforts.