The weather lately has left much to be desired. It's starting to feel like my low-high mania cycle :) It's spectacularly, picture-perfect wam and sunny one day, and gloomy, humid, and moonsoon-y the next. It's no surprise that I'm therefore feeling like I'm not making enough progress lately. It's one step forward and two back.

I've begun to work out on the treadmill because my walks with Benny have been somewhat shorter, now tampered by the wet surroundings, as well as some concern over more active gang presence under the bridge I usually walk under to my "long" walks. Hopefully, the weather and the gangs will get sorted out soon and I can go gallavanting in the afternoons to my heart's desire.

In early June I'm heading to Washington DC to manage the usual annual press conference in the lovely National Press Club. Being there at the NPC brings a big smile to my face. It's such an esteemed and historical place. The walls are plastered floor-to-ceiling with photos of famous politicians, actors, and others and you never know who scheduled next door...last time it was Rahm Emmanuel and the Democratic Leadership Council (YouTube video showing his visit).

I'm still reeling from the five classes I took during the winter term. I have a few tasks ahead of me before I can complete my thesis by, hopefully, July. I had my last in-person meeting with the advisor this Tuesday. She's been really great to work with and has been an invaluable mentor during my stay at NLU's MS in Written Communications program. I'm trying to sort out my mid-June schedule to see if I can attend at least one or two of the Writing Workshops (open to anyone for a very small fee), since each workshop's usually chock-full of learning opportunities from experienced, renowned, and award-winning writers. However, it's also one of the busiest times at work, around father's day, and my mom's birthday (which are only two days apart this year!). With I-290 the way it is with construction...I'll have to see whether I can make it.

I'm also looking forward to attending the release party for NLU's literary magazine, Mosaic, in mid to late July. One of my stories was selected for publication and I've been invited to attend with the other authors and Mosaic collaborators for a celebratory get-together. I'm excited! It'll be great fun. I don't think I know any of the other participants, hopefully I can make a new acquaintance or two. I'll see if I can bring the significant-other unit, because I think it's the right thing to do in these sort of situations (can you tell this has never happend to me before? lol). Yes I'm anxious about going to a social event w/o knowing anyone there. Will there be snobs? Will there be tons of people who know each other? Makes me want to plan to do a quick circle of the room and  then head right back out the door! hehe Nah, we'll see, I'm sure it'll be a great event.

We're also planning our next vacation in late June. We haven't picked a place. We were originally hoping (me especially) for New Mexico (Georgia O'Keeffe museum!) but Tampa, Florida (mom wants to retire there) popped up recently--though with the oil spill effects on the Florida Gulf coastline...we're unsure now. We even talked about Michigan, since it would be a driving holiday and might be fun, though I'm uncertain about my interest level in Michigan. Hopefully we'll get this sorted soon enough, I'd love to look forward to a vacation and begin planning what to do when we get there. What's definitely beyond a shadow of a doubt is that we need a vacation. ASAP.

A gorgeous May sunset in Aurora, IL
This weekend is what officially kick-starts summer for many Americans: Memorial Day weekend. Initially meant as a holiday set aside to remember those who fell protecting America's rights and freedoms, it's now become a signal for pools and water parks to open, for grilling season to begin, and for more relaxed, sprinkler-running childhood activities to begin during summer break. I'm hoping to get two fillets of fish grilled on the BBQ, myself, as well as some veggies. We began our grill season a couple of weeks ago and again grilled some seafood earlier this week. I say we, but it's actually me who does all the work ^_^ our guy neighbors take their grilling duties seriously and look down their nose (probably) at how much aluminum foil I use, but I hate scrubbing ^_^ so effort saved is always a good thing in my lil ole book. All the food I grill tastes awesome by the way, you're invited to come on over and try my fish n veggies anytime :)

How is your summer planning panning out? Going anywhere nice? Or just making nice at home?