Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Chicago! Olympics! Exclamation points!

Welcome to my first blog post since my move to Chicago!

Yes, one week ago today, I set out on 1-90 W with my mom and my diabetic cat, Maude. Sitcom fodder, I know, right? We arrived the following evening after driving through the scenic states of Massachusetts, New York, Ohio and the top of Indiana.

My new digs ain't too shabby:

There are skylights and an amazing amount of natural light. There's a dishwasher. A patio. A fireplace. Central air. I feel like such a grown-up. It's all so civilized. Maude's adjustment has been a little rockier, as her new home is inhabited by another cat, Miss Meaty. The cats are hopefully moving toward being civil or at least aloof toward one another; right now, there's a lot of hissing and growling and chasing. 

In between unpacking, I have also, like the rest of the world, been watching a lot of Olympics. I realized yesterday that I watched the Beijing Olympics also after just relocating to a new city (Boston). I think I will always associate the Summer Games with living out of boxes and feeling disoriented.

I love watching gymnastics, probably because it was the only sport I was even halfway decent at as a kid. I totally had the gymnast body, before my boobs came in: short, broad shoulders, strong stocky legs. If I'd had a little more grace and balance, I coulda been a contender. I was good at vault and floor -- couldn't stay on the beam to save my life. But I remember feeling awesome after doing my first unassisted back walkover. I was a good little tumbler -- being close to the ground helped. I went to All-American Gymnastics in St. Louis a few times a week. Other than the foam pit, the thing I most looked forward to most was getting a reward of a small bag of Farley's Fruit Snacks after practice. Nothing like some high fructose artificially-fruit-flavored gummies to ruin your dinner.

The best part of watching the Olympics is how everyone is suddenly an expert. It's easy to get lost in the moment, beer in hand, bemoaning to your peers how not sticking the landing is going to result in a 3/10ths deduction. I mean, we all sound like assholes. But it's all in good fun. I nicknamed this gymnast Bangs:

Bangs did not have a good night last night. Basically, the Fab Five could have done the Funky Chicken for their floor routines and still won gold. 

But don't think I always root for the U.S. -- in many cases, I'd rather see another country win because, let's face it, the U.S. is going to get a ton of medals. That South African guy who beat out Phelps for the gold? For the rest of his life, he can say he beat Michael Phelps, most decorated and celebrated Olympian ever of all time*. Yay for that guy and for all the underdog countries who consider it a victory just to make it past the qualifying rounds.

*until some other freakishly gifted athlete tops that

So here I am, in Chicago, getting acclimated. Gearing up to teach some freshman comp at Roosevelt University and hopefully do some freelance writing as well. Hoping to join a choir and maybe even audition for a play or two. It's a whole new world.

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