sunrise, sunrise.

jefferson park train jefferson-park-winter-metra jefferson park chicago

“Run baby run baby run!” a homeless woman cheers as I sprint to catch a train. Yet. Again. On the 5:12 Metra, the conductor, a monopoly-man-lookalike named Bill, bops through the aisles, chanting “evenin-erbody-whadda-we-got-fer-tickets-tuhnight” in a thick Chicago accent. Every day is the same – 6:30 alarm, train, bus, work, bus, train, home, sleep.

Routine is supposed to be a comforting thing. A cast of characters and litany of tasks that will consistently fill your day, every day, in the same way. I never think of my life like that, though. In my woe-is-me mind, I’m a drudge whose day is consumed by banality and despondent faces.

Standing on the train platform, in front of the billboard for Ben & Jerry’s newest creation, I realize I’ve watched the sun rise over the I-90 from this exact spot for a whole year now. Every weekday, I observe the same scene. Through winter, spring, summer, fall, and now winter again, I’ve found beauty in this moment – so much so that I’ve taken more iPhone pictures of smoggy sunrises than I can count. Over the past year, this one part of my routine has given me comfort and peace. But that’s just not really enough.

metra jefferson park sunset

six dates of christmas.

rosemont lights 1

Twelve dates of Christmas was something I really wanted to do in December 2014. We ended up with six, because twelve is a much bigger number than you’d think. On the first night, we had sushi and went to an elaborate light display in Rosemont. There were goats and sheep and thousands of lights and it was lovely. The next night, we saw my dad’s choir sing in the Elgin Symphony Orchestra’s holiday concert. The third was a double-date brunch with our friends at Lula Café in Logan Square, and the fourth was an after-work excursion to the Christkindlmarkt at Daley Plaza. Five and six were classic dinner-and-a-movie dates; we saw Wild and The Theory of Everything, and I loved both. The holidays are so chaotic with family and parties, so it was nice to consciously slow down for these six outings.

rosemont christmas lights rosemont chicago lights chicago christmas lights rosemont rosemont lights goats goats rosemont lights rosemont lights sheep rosemont lights

looking back: 2014.

2014 was a big year. I turned 21! I moved in with Max, started working full-time, and received my first promotion. I traveled to Idaho (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 67) and visited NYC (1, 2, 3, 4) and DC for the first time. I said goodbye to my sweet 18-year-old corgi, Mikey. I read a lot of books and drank a lot of tea and ate a lot of chocolate. I added some wonderful girls to my assemblage of fabulous friends. It’s hard to remember all the things that happened over the course of a year, so I’m glad I have this space to collect memories and look back on moments in time.

little goat chicago photobooth chicago skyline from museum campus northern trust chicago canal mca chicago stairs garbage smashing max boise german shorthaired rocky shoshone falls idaho perrine bridge centennial park snake river centennial park horton peak chocolate illinois starved rock fall leaves united states botanical garden national garden fall central park belvedere castle top of the rock 9-11 idaho sawtooth mountains

fall reading list.

It’s the last day of November…here’s what I read this fall (Sept – Nov):

1. Max got me a really nice edition of The Windup Bird Chronicle for Christmas last year, and it took me a while to get to it because it’s so long. My favorite recurring trend of Murakami’s writing is his intertwining stories across characters and time periods, and this was the best example of that (out of what I’ve read of his so far).

the windup bird chronicle murakami

2. Dark Places was my least favorite of Gillian Flynn’s three books – but that’s not saying much, because they were all amazing.

3. Elders…sometimes I buy a book based on its cover design, which is what happened with this book at the Strand in NYC…and I would say I learned my lesson, but I also bought Everything Matters! on the same trip for the same reason, and that one did not disappoint. I think organized religion is fascinating and after going to Idaho, I was really curious about Mormons, but this book was more about two guys who didn’t get along than about the LDS religion.

4. I feel like my public-school education failed me a little bit, considering I just now read George Orwell’s Animal Farm on my own at 21. Max has a really cool illustrated edition, but he thinks I mess up every book I read, so I had to read a library copy.

5. Everything Matters! by Ron Currie Jr. is something I’m going to recommend to all my friends. It made me think about life, death, and everything in between in the way that “Interstellar” and “Boyhood” and The Alchemist made me think about life, death, and everything in between. It’s books and movies like these that make me love books and movies.

everything matters ron currie jr

Summer reading list: here.