Road trip 2015 pics, part 2

Day 5 Tuesday – Clearwater Beach

Day 6 Wednesday – Tampa/New Port Richey

Day 7 Thursday – Orlando

Rental town home

Disney

Day 8 Friday – Orlando/Clermont

Picking oranges in Clermont

Downtown Orlando

Day 9 Saturday – Drive home

Road trip 2015 pics, part 1

We’re back!

We arrived in Chicago on Monday night, after a long, long drive from Florida.

For those unfamiliar with it, this is what the route there looked like.

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Our neighbors told us we took our vacation at the perfect time.  Apparently Chicago was a cold hell while we were gone.

What else is new?

Florida was a lot of fun.  And super super hot.  The temperature during the day never got below 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

We split the time between Tampa and Orlando, spending about three days in each city.

The time spent driving felt long, but it wasn’t too bad.  It wasn’t beyond what I expected it to be.  And it felt great to explore different parts of this beautiful country.

I have seen more small towns of America during this trip than I have in my entire life.  That’s what happens when you have two boys with alternating bladder schedules.

I also have people waiting on me for pictures.  Some of them are angry that I didn’t post a few already.

So now I will be showcasing vacation pics ad nauseaum.

For the next couple of blog posts, you will be seeing almost all the photos we took, sorted out by day and location.

I am glad I have a blog to display them on because I hate giving Facebook access to my pictures.  They do this creepy thing where they download my photos without my permission.

Enjoy!

And for the people that hate vacation snaps, look away, because there are lots of them coming at you!

Day 1 Friday – Chicago

We drove to my in laws place in Terre Haute, IN on Friday and spent the night there.  That cut around 5-6 hours out of the drive itself.

On Saturday, we hit the road, with Atlanta, GA in mind as our next stop.

Day 2 Saturday – Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia

With some late night driving by my husband, we managed to get an hour past Atlanta, to a little town called Byron, where we spent the night.

Day 3 Sunday – Byron, GA

The hotel where we stayed had a cute little produce place next to it.  My sister and I wanted to try the famous Georgia peaches, while my kids really wanted to pick some strawberries from the long rows of bushes in the back.

Finally, after what seemed like forever, we arrived at our hotel in Tampa on Sunday night.

Day 4 Monday, Memorial Day – Tampa. 

Lowry Park Zoo

Tampa River Walk

I thought I could cram more pictures in this post without making it five pages long.

Oh, well.

Road trip 2015, Part 2.  Coming soon to a blog post near you.

I wouldn’t go there

It takes me a long time to get ready and out of the house.  I take long showers, do my hair three different ways before I’m finally happy with the way it looks, and try to put together an outfit that doesn’t hug back fat or show cleavage.

That last one can take an hour in itself.

So sometimes I’m just not up to the challenge.  Sometimes I just want to put on a comfy pair of pajamas, sprawl out onto the sofa, and enter into a coma of laziness.

Most people think that as a stay at home mom, I get plenty of rest during the weekdays and weekends should be reserved for chores and activities.

Eff that shit.

This describes it for me.

vacation

Here’s a snippet of a conversation my husband and I had recently :

Hey, want to go out to Menard’s or Home Depot?

– No.

I noticed the boys’ room needs new blinds.  We could take a look and see what they have.

– I don’t want to. 

Apparently he thinks “no” means I’m playing hard to get.

But we could get new blinds for the whole house.

– I don’t care.  I like our house ugly.

What if the neighbors happen to look in and see you naked?

Send them your condolences.

That last question was just plain silly.  We have nice neighbors who pay way too much attention to their lawn and don’t really seem interested in a game of peek a boob.

Anyway, this past weekend I had to be productive, whether I wanted to or not, because my in laws were visiting.

And we had a wedding to attend.

And it was my mother in law’s birthday.

And my brother’s birthday.

And I had homework.

So on Friday I slept for a grand total of four and a half hours and got my ass up at the crack of Sheema, get up, your alarm has been going off for an hour already!

I washed, scrubbed, mopped, cleaned, dusted, vacuumed, swept, and cooked.  Every time I thought I could rest, I remembered something else that had to be done.

By the afternoon, I was all

a-mess

Then it was time to take my tired ass to the wedding.  By that point, I just didn’t care anymore.  I could’ve been sporting facial hair the size of a cat’s whiskers and I still wouldn’t do anything about it.

I put on the same thing I wore to the last wedding I attended, stuck a bobby pin in my hair, popped in some earrings and off we went.

And because I am tired of typing, here are some pictures.

That was our Friday.

Saturday we went to Lincoln Park Zoo, which meant five hours of constant walking.  Yay.

The day ended with a fabulous meal at a Mediterranean restaurant called Fatoush.  If you’re ever in the Chicago area, I highly recommend it.

Another thing I’d recommend if you visit Chicago : Don’t visit Lincoln Park Zoo.

Sure, they have great views, but apparently they decided it meant that they can short change on the animals.

The exhibits are small, the walking areas are cramped, and traffic/parking is a nightmare.

Everything got done over the weekend except for my homework, which I have been putting off in favor of the funner stuff in life.

Not that blogging is still fun.  I’m actually getting pretty bored of not for profit writing.

But it beats having to deal with political science  and anthropology.

At this rate, I will fail and remain education/degree less for the rest of my life.

I will be old and fat and working at Walmart until I die.

Oh well.  At least I have a plan.

Traffic 

Traffic and construction on the first warm weekend of the year.

My husband wonders if the city of Chicago is really just a massive experiment on how much misery the average human being can handle.

If the winter doesn’t kill you, the taxes will.

Hope everyone is enjoying the wonderful weather!

First day of Spring break

  

This is what the Chicago area currently looks like, even though Spring officially started last week. 😒  

I think this is karma for gloating over Boston having it worse than us this winter.  

This is my living room floor. 

  

And so it begins.

By the end of the week, the room will be littered with toys and there will be no carpet to be seen.  

From my Facebook news feed. 

  

Say hello to my left foot

Spring is officially here!

*Doing a little happy dance*

School and homework are keeping me busy.  The weather is getting better and we find ourselves spending a lot more time outdoors.

I haven’t had the chance to read any of my favorite blogs or devote much time to my own.  😦

Today’s blog post is another click a pic one.  Over the weekend we visited my sister on/near the campus of the University of Illinois in Chicago.  One of the highlights of the trip to Fati aunty’s are the fantastic views you get to see along the way and while there.  Chicago is, after all, famous for its architecture and skyline.

I lived in Queens, New York before moving to Chicago when I was fourteen.  This city has its pros and cons, but New York will always be close to my heart.

If my husband were awake, he’d read this over my shoulder and say So you enjoyed the smell of sewer water and being mugged twice a week? and I would tell him to take his country ass back to Kentucky.

We’re soul mates. ❤

Seeing the Chicago skyline while cruising down one of the city’s many highways is awesome.  Being in the city always gives me a thrill.  Must be the New Yorker in me.

The visit to Fati’s turned into a sleepover for me and my kids because of how late it had gotten.

It was so lovely to see this when I happened to wake up around dawn.  It felt like the whole world was waking up with me.

At night from the balcony.

After seeing all these beautiful photos I have come to one major conclusion : I need a better camera.

I can’t wait for my classes to be over.  School is a pain in the ass.  I wanted to elaborate on the name of my blog and explain why I am so in love with views, but that will have to wait for another post.  I have a mountain of backlog of homework to do. 😥

Abdullah Saleem isn’t the only one

Head of Elgin Islamic School charged in sex abuse of former employee

Can’t say I’m shocked.

Sexual violence happens everywhere in the world and in every type of society.  But few will admit that it is rampant in religious institutions where extreme sexual repression is practiced and endorsed.

It happens and it happens often. In secrecy, of course.  Similar to the scandal that rocked the Catholic community.

What I am shocked about is that the perpetrator is facing charges.  People who hold high, powerful positions are not brought down easily.  Major respect to the young lady who had the courage to speak up for herself.  Major respect for the family that supported her.  Her bravery has led other women to come forward about being molested by the same sick bastard.

Laying allegations of sexual abuse against a figure such as Abdullah Saleem is no small feat.  For the Chicago Muslim community, he might as well have been the Pope.  That’s how revered he was, and still is, to some people who believe the victims are lying.

You might be thinking that I’m too quick to judge.  That everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

True.

But I speak from personal experiences and observances that very often (but not always, of course), those who speak the loudest are mostly full of shit.

If you feel the need to sermonize and make a big tada about your actions, odds are you’re speaking from the mind and the wallet.  Not the heart.

And if your actions are from the heart, you don’t need an audience or a spotlight to showcase you.  The beauty of your deeds and your work will speak for itself and be satisfaction enough.

I am also well aware that a victim’s reputation is always at stake in cases of sexual abuse.  To speak up is to be faced with questions and accusations against ones own ethics and principles, especially in a religious setting and against such a highly esteemed figure as Abdullah Saleem.

No woman or man would tackle something of this magnitude were it not for some major, MAJOR shit having gone down.  No amount of money can equal the fight and the heartache of tackling the tsunami that is the  backlash from a large religious community.

Salem Witch trials, anyone?

I can’t sum up in words exactly how awed I am by the young lady who has now given a voice to other victims.

She has more balls than the entire male staff of IIE put together.

This scandal brings to light how powerful a recruiting tool religion can be.  I’m a sexual predator won’t sell, but religious school for the learning of Quran or Bible classes for young boys will have people lining up to patron your holy cause.

Put a supposedly divine stamp on it and it’s amazing what you can get away with.

A fantastic Indian movie I watched recently, PK (yeah, that’s the title, a P and a K), gives an account of how warped religion has become in the hands of man.  It is religion seen through the eyes of an extraterrestrial.  An alien.  Awesome stuff.  Please do give it a look.  You’ll easily find a copy with subtitles if need be.

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And no, I was not paid for the advertising of the movie.

As if.

Lastly, and most importantly, please listen to your children and create an environment in which they feel safe coming to you for any and all problems.  Abdullah Saleem isn’t the only one, of course.  There are plenty of sickos out there, some in guises of holy pillars of the community and many not.  The trauma of living through sexual abuse is something that can easily break an adult.

Imagine what it has the potential to do to the fragility of a child.

New Year, same crappy weather

Happy New Year!  I’m back!  Literally.

We returned late Saturday night from our mini vacation to the in laws house in Terre Haute, IN.

Here are some pics of the view from their huge living room window.

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I wanted to take more pictures of their beautiful home but didn’t get the opportunity.  I’m lucky to have nice in laws that tell us to leave the boys with them and go out and have fun.  In the two and a half days we were there, my husband and I managed to catch the latest Hunger Games movie and have a belated anniversary dinner.

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Here are pics of the condiments that came with the bread and the soup I ordered because I thought it came free with my meal.

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Terre Haute’s a cute little semi-rural town that’s full of farms, hills, woods, and railroads.  I probably think more of it because I associate it with free babysitting and lots of touristy type of fun, but it’s definitely home to some beautiful natural scenery.  I managed to get a few pictures of the area, but neither my phone’s camera nor the fugly winter weather did the landscape any justice.  I’ll post some spring/summer pictures in the future and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

I also hope to devote a blog post to the neighboring city of Bloomington, IN, which houses the main campus of Indiana University and was my home for a few months after my wedding.  I was accepted to IU but unfortunately never attended :(.  Bad decision making at its finest.

Here are some really ugly winter pics of Terre Haute for your viewing pleasure.  It was a rainy, foggy day when I finally got the chance to drive around town for some camera action.

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Terre Haute is home to Indiana State University, which my husband tells me is famous for Larry Bird.  Whoever he is.  The city also contains the Wabash river state park, which we didn’t get a chance to visit, a huge federal correctional facility, and what seems like half the country’s railroads.  It’s definitely train town there.

We had to stop at the local Walmart for some essentials while we were vacationing.  When we got back to the car, I adjusted my scarf and found this. IMG_4752

Yes, those are two and a quarter old french fries stuck to my scarf via crusty old ketchup stain.  I’m on a low carb diet and mostly sticking to it, so they weren’t even mine.  They must have come from my four year old’s lunch, where he was sitting on my lap, and I missed it because they got lost in the folds of an infinity scarf that wraps around your neck a few bazillion times.

And here I was thinking the people at Walmart were staring and giving me the kind of pitying smile you save for homeless people because of the fabulous new way I did my hair.  I was slightly embarrassed at first, I must admit, but compared to the other social and fashion faux pas I’ve made, this is pretty minor.  Let’s just laugh and move right along, shall we?

We came home to a lovely dinner put together by my family <gushing family love> and this. IMG_4856 IMG_4857

Have I mentioned I find winter fugly?

I’ve given up on football for the season, but my husband is still into it because his team, the Indianapolis Colts, are in the playoffs.  He’s not loving the outcome of the first round, though, where Dallas beat Detroit.  My husband feels bad for the Lions because they live in Detroit they play in the same division as the Bears and the Packers and he feels they never get a fair chance.  Lucky for them that this year the Bears decided to suck ass.

I hope not to spend so much time away from blogging in the future and want to thank the internetters who have been wondering where the hell I have been.  I started this blog as a means of catharsis after the demise of my social life around (how old is firstborn child?  oh, yeah, seven) seven years ago and as a way to keep my writing mojo intact.  Soon after, though, I realized I do have a life and it keeps me busy, apparently.  But no worries.  I return, fashion faux pas and all.

You were meant to read this

Prayers for the innocent victims of the violence in Sydney and Peshawar and for their loved ones.  Posting one of my favorite poems in their honor and memory.  Poem written in 1932 by Mary Elizabeth Frye.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

It’s been a sad week.  Disturbing images of death and grief have kept me from wanting to do anything but just sit and hate the world.  That doesn’t do anyone any good, especially not me.  Too much sitting negatively affects my slower than the turning rate of a dead gerbil’s spinning wheel metabolism.  I realized I needed to get off my ass and just do something, so I decided to blog, even though I have no idea what to blog about.  If this post make any sense, it’ll have the good fortune of being published.  If not, then why should you care. You don’t even know about it.

Now that you’ve read the last paragraph, you can see what the title is implying.

I’ve attempted to blog three times this week and all three times I fell asleep with the laptop warming my thighs and the light from the screen reflecting off my face.  Once I woke up from a nightmare where I was being fondled by a giant i-pad.  I kid you not.  That shit cray cray.  I think my laptop conned its electronic brethren into sending me a subliminal message.  Do this for me or I’ll tell Apple you’re sleeping with Motorola. 

If it could talk I’m sure my laptop would say either fucking write something or get the eff off of me.  Being upset really messes with your blogging mojo.  I don’t write very well in dramatic.  When I try to, my stories come out sounding less like The Fault in Our Stars and more like the script of a bad episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians.  That’s not really narrowing it down, though, since they’re all pretty shitty.  Pick one of your choice.  There.  That’s how bad my drama is.

And please don’t say it.  Don’t.  Believe me, it’s scripted.  All that botox can’t emote on its own.

Sarcastic smart ass is more my dialect.  But there was nothing to be sarcastic or smart ass about within the past week.  There was only sadness.  So I stayed away.

What’s on my mind right now is that a whole group of people will be judged for the actions of the few or the one.  While things have been bad in the past, they’ve never been this bad.  We’ve had to change what we wear.  Alter our plans for the weekend.  Take well lit and more populated roads home at night.  That’s right, folks.  That’s right.  There’s a long, hard road ahead for us Bears fans.

Wait, what?  What did you think I was talking about?

Oh, that.  Pshaw.  I have a cousin in Sydney whose husband is a police officer.  When they visited us a few summers ago, he would go on and on about how everything’s better in Australia, from the food to the weather.  Even the pots and pans.  And we’d get irritated, because while Australia is awesome, you know everything in the US is the bestest.  Including the people.

With the weekend just around the corner, this suck ass week will come to an end, thank god.  This weekend means watching the football game where Jay Interception Cutler will be warming his ass on the bench it’ll be perched on.  Nice to see that he’s working hard for the salary that Chicago will have to, I don’t know, sell the fucking Willis Tower for? 

I don’t want to pick on the guy.  He’s not the only player on the team that sucks ass.  But when you’re being paid one of the highest salaries in the NFL, if not the highest, it’d be nice if you did something other than help the other team win.

Tried to throwback thursday that too was interceptedI’m not a big football fan.  I only got into it because my husband likes it.  I understand precisely half the game and less than that of the terminology, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what it means when you throw the ball and a player from the other team catches it.  You can always count on me to get excited for the local team,  but not this season.  No.  Not this season.  *Shudders*

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Now for some The View Through The Window household news.  That’s the “diamond” my son got me as a present from his school’s holiday gift shop.  He was excited when he handed it to me but said I can always take it back! when I punished him for being naughty later on in the day.  I tried to explain to him that gifts should come from the heart and aren’t conditional, to which he made a quacking duck sort of movement with his right hand and replied blah blah blah.

This is the same child who answered eat more salad when he overheard me asking my husband what my husband would tell me if he could be completely honest.  It’s a measure of how much I love the kid that the remark only got him a time out.  More than being a gift, the fake giant diamond is proof that he has a softer side to him somewhere in his utterly spoiled and sarcastically rude self.  He does love me, I just know it.

Last week we accidentally left the front door to our house wide open on our way out to run some errands around town.  So basically for over an hour our house’s welcome mat stood for my owners are sleep deprived idiots, please come rob them.  When we got back and saw what we had (or hadn’t) done, the accusations went flying even faster than the ones racking up against Bill Cosby.  I blamed my husband, he blamed me, and we both blamed the kids even though we didn’t say it.  Some shit had gone down in the van where they had dropped water on the seats and in the ensuing confusion, I guess we forgot to lock up.

I might have been sleep deprived before, but that night I was a freaking insomniac.  Even with the alarm system on I couldn’t close my eyes for more than a split second.  Behind every corner I thought I saw an axe murderer with a passion for hacking off people’s heads while they slumbered.  Luckily nothing happened, except that the next night I was so tired that I dozed off while putting my son to bed and instead of telling him a bedtime story, I started sleep talking the plot line to While You Were Sleeping

I kid you not.  You can’t make this stuff up.  This shit cray cray.

Poem retrieved from http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/do-not-stand-by-my-grave-and-weep.  Throwback Thursday pic from everywhere you look, because woah, Chicago is pissed.