November 4, 2014

Election Day.

It's Election Day!


I remember voting with my mom and dad from the time I was young. It was so exciting to walk into the poll booth with them and watching them fill out the ovals that signaled for whom they were voting. 


Since I turned 18, I've enjoyed doing the same...and since moving to Alaska, I've had the same polling place every year. Many of the same volunteers still greet me when I walk into the location, often asking "You're one of the twins, right?" I guess Leah and I made a positive impact on them the first few years we voted together. Hopefully they don't wait for her to come in and vote today!

I hope you get out and vote today if you haven't already. 

Cheers!


November 1, 2014

Chicago.

In August I attended the Midwest Academy training in Chicago. Midwest Academy is a five day residential training that focuses on honing skills around community organizing and strategizing for policy change. Although Midwest Academy uses a very progressive approach (and at times had me cringing due to their very liberal political view point), through a combination of presentations, exercises and discussion, the training provided me with skills that will be useful in my work. In addition, because the training took place in Chicago, I was able to spend time with two of my best friends from college and also spend some time in Iowa.

I flew in to Chicago the weekend before the training to spend time with Sarah, who lives in Chicago, and Kala, who flew up from Kansas City to spend the weekend with us. Since I arrived into Chicago around Noon, I had some time to walk around downtown until Sarah got off work.

It was fun seeing the river and some of the main Chicago attractions in 80 degree weather...



The bean!



Sarah picked me up after she was done with work and later, we headed out to dinner before picking up Kala at the airport. Sarah took me to Ben's Noodles and Rice, an excellent Thai and Asian fusion restaurant near her house. The fortune in my cookie was quite pleasing...


On Saturday, the three of us had a great time catching up and talking while walking around and visiting some of Sarah's favorite places in the city...

Brunch at Riverview Tavern...



Starbucks!


Manicures...


I thought the pedicure chairs were quite festive...


 Sarah had reservations at Cafe Ba Ba Reebah, a Spanish tapas restaurant (interesting bar decor)...


The food (and sangria) was delicious...




After dinner, Sarah took us to a rooftop party at her friend's house. The view of the city was amazing!


We then headed to Glascotts Saloon, a bar in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, to meet up with one of her friends before calling it a night...


We had brunch at John's Place on Sunday morning and then headed downtown to spend the rest of the afternoon...



Sarah and I dropped Kala off at the airport and then Sarah took me to my training location, which was just North of Sarah's house. Since my training was so close to Sarah's house, we planned to meet up later in the week for dinner.

The training took place at the Cenacle Retreat and Conference Center, a nunnery in North Chicago. The room reminded me of when I walked into my dorm room at UNI for the first time. No TV, a sink and a closet...and a shared bathroom down the hall.


Jesus and Mary kept a watchful eye on me during my stay...



 The location was really quite great for walking around. Each morning I ran outside, which was a fun way to navigate around the area. One morning it started pouring down rain, so I stopped for a coffee at Dunkin' Donuts. I definitely felt like a "big city" girl...



Lincoln Park was nearby and had some great trails for running...



Each day of the training lasted from about 8:00 AM until 9:00 PM. Breakfast, lunch and dinner was served at the Cenacle and all attendees ate together. What I thought would get old quickly, this time really provided a great opportunity to meet and get to know my classmates. However, Wednesday night was our free night, and this is when Sarah and I met up for dinner. We went to D.O.C. Wine Bar, which was just down the road from my training...


We enjoyed some wine and charcuterie...


...and a delicious baked cookie with ice cream!


It was great meeting up with Sarah again and the rest of the training went very well. After the training concluded on Friday, I headed to the airport to catch my flight to Cedar Rapids. Next stop...Iowa City!