Friday, July 30, 2010

Kilimanjaro: What to Pack?

I'm knee deep in packing for Kilimanjaro and it's not a pretty sight.
I've been reading a lot of travel sites, climbers' blogs, and whatever other materials I can get my hands on regarding climbing Kilimanjaro. There's so much to think about because the climate is so variable, warm at the bottom of the mountain, below freezing at the top, and we're sure to hit every type of weather imaginable on the way up.

M and I went on a huge shopping spree because everything we wear must be dry-fit material that wicks moisture away. We also needed to buy sleeping bags, a big backpack, hiking boots, rain gear, camelbaks with insulated tubes, etc. etc. etc. Seriously, the list could go on forever and I think this is the most expensive trip we've ever taken. The good news is that I am now prepared for any future outdoor activity!

I found it really helpful to read other climbers' packing lists, so here's mine (so far.. I'm not quite done yet). Keep in mind that the climb we are taking is seven days.

- 1 pair of shorts, 2 pants, 3 t-shirts, 2 long sleeved shirts, 3 undies, 2 liner socks, 3 hiking socks, sports bra, hat, sunglasses, something to wear around camp and to bed (t-shirt, pj pants)
- raincoat, rain pants
- long johns, winter fleece, down coat, toque, balaclava, 2 pairs of thin gloves, winter gloves
- hiking boots, shoes, flip flops

- small daypack, large backpack, waterproof sac, sleeping bag, flashlights, head lamp with extra batteries
- mosquito repellent, sunscreen (SPF 70!), chapstick, glide stick, first aid stuff like bandaids
- all your normal personal toiletry items, toilet paper, kleenex, wet naps, ear plugs
- ziplock baggies, plastic bags, quick drying towel
- camelbak, water bottle, water purification tablets, flavoured drink mixes
- camera, iPod, books, playing cards

- anti-malaria pills, altitude sickness pills, immodium, tylenol

- fruit-to-go, fruit-nut bars, protein bars, electrolyte replacers - Goo, Shot Blocks

Things to Rent:
-hiking sticks, gaiters, toilet

That's all I can think of right now. I am getting quite nervous but trying to think positively and visualizing myself at the summit!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cottage Week 2010

I spent the past week at a cottage with the fam - relaxing, reading, playing, biking, hiking, and generally soaking up the sun! The week was also full of:

beautiful sunsets,
walking and ice cream eating,
baseball watching,
and for this one, baseball playing!
This little guy learned how to crawl,
smores were made and marshmallows roasted,
lots of late night chats by the campfire,
and early morning with Alvin and the Chipmunks.
I look forward to this week every year! Only about 350 days till the next one...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Grand Tour #1

We are pretty much settled into our new place in Chicago, so the grand tour is beginning......... NOW!

For today's tour we are venturing upstairs. When you walk into the master bedroom, here is what you see! One giant bed! The bedroom is a good size, it's just that our king sized bed, two big armoires, plus a chair and ottoman take up a lot of room!
Here's my side of the bed. I am officially in love with interior brick.
And here is M's side.
Next up is the guest bedroom slash office slash my clothing closet. The recliner is temporarily our desk chair until we either sell it or find another space for it.
And here is our one and only bathroom. So spacious and modern ;) Having one bathroom isn't as bad as I thought it would be, but having two is definitely ideal.
In our old condo, we had a storage room plus one more room than we currently have here. I thought storage would be a problem, but thank goodness this closet holds a lot of junk!
There you have it, that's our upstairs level. There will probably be no more decorating than what has been done (if you can call that decorating) because this is just a rental, and really, I am not the cutesy decorating type. In fact, all of the pictures are hanging only because there were already nails in the walls in those exact spots!

Stay tuned for the downstairs tour.. sometime soon!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Lazy Saturday Morning

I have officially lived in Chicago for 10 days and this morning I took advantage of sleeping in! Yay for lazy Saturday mornings. Not that 9:30am is soooo crazy or anything. Usually Bama the dog gets up with the birds every morning and wakes me up with his ferocious panting. This morning I ignored him till he went away... poor boy.
I remembered that there's a Saturday farmers market not too far from me and decided to get up and go. Everybody I saw walking down the street was carrying bags of fruits and vegetables so I knew I was headed in the right direction.
I love markets! Here's what I came away with: beets, peaches, cukes, onions, cherries, and tomatoes.
What were you up to on this beautiful Saturday?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

DMK Burger Bar Review

Sometimes a girl just needs a good burger in her life. And fries. And come to think of it, a milkshake too.
I was first introduced to DMK Burger Bar by M's friends, one of whom lives in California and has to eat at DMK every time he's in Chicago. While my parents were visiting, we took them here and it did not disappoint!

There are lots of burgers to choose from, many different types of meat available (grass fed beef, lamb, turkey, etc.) and omg delicious toppings. I ordered the beef burger with marinated portobellos, blue brie, griddled scallions, and dijonnaise. It was to die for. I have no pictures because come on here, if you knew what this burger tasted like, you wouldn't pause to take a picture either!

We ordered three small sides of fries to share, which I did take a picture of. The fries from left to right are parmesan with truffle cream, Wisconsin cheddar and scallion, and sweet potato with lemon tobasco aioli. Best fries I've ever tasted.
Next time I would order only one or two sides of fries to share between four people because I was stuffed with this amount of food. And as if that wasn't gluttonous enough, for dessert M and I shared a butterfinger milkshake to go. Seriously, it would be criminal not to order a milkshake here.

So there you have it. Come to Chicago, eat at DMK, then walk around for the rest of you trip to burn it all off!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Architectural Boat Tour

For the past week I've been playing tourist in my new city. I heard good things about the architectural boat tours that take you along the Chicago River and lake, so I went ahead and booked one through Chicago Line Cruises.

The tours are regularly $37/person, but then I noticed that the first tour of the day, 8am, on Fridays and Saturdays are half price. Mmm, yes please! I also noticed that by booking online, you saved $2 on each ticket. I like, I like.

We got up bright and early and headed out. On the boat they have juice, coffee, muffins, and cookies. Here are my parents filling their faces!
And me, about to fill mine!
We started out by going through the locks, so that we could enter the lake.
Extraordinary views of the city! I loved it! The guide who spoke was very knowledgeable and told us a lot about the building we were passing.
My favourite part was once we got into the Chicago River and went by buildings that you normally only walk past. It was fun seeing everything from a different perspective.
The tour went right past M's office, so that was pretty neat too. I'm convinced that Mr. Trump chose the best possible location in all of Chicago for his tower!
I'd definitely recommend going on this architectural boat tour if you're ever visiting Chicago! Afterwards we headed to Navy Pier, but it was way too hot out! I'd never been to the pier before and it can pretty much be summed up as overpriced places to drink or eat your face off.
Next up we caught the free trolley and took it to Pizzeria Uno for some deep dish! This wasn't my favourite pizza, but it was still pretty delicious and not as greasy or overwhelmingly cheesy as others I've tried.
And after all this we still made it home for an afternoon nap!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

More On Moving.

Here's the last pic of my condo, right before we walked out the door for the final time. Empty. My mom and I were talking, wondering what it might look like inside now. So weird to imagine.
Before we left, M and Dennis and I did two of our favourite Toronto things: street meat and bubble tea. Then I waited in the loaded up car while M was in the post office, sending away my iPhone to its new owner. I was bored, so I took some pictures of course. Here's my look of despair, thinking, oh my... we have to unpack all of this still....
And then I ate chocolate, because that always makes me feel better :)
Goodbye, T-dot.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Movin' On Up

The last few days have been very busy! We moved to a new country!
Moving internationally takes a lot of work. It's all in the hidden details. Cancelling this, making sure you have insurance for that, filling out all the forms, etc.
With the help of my parents, and our friends Dennis and Nari, it took us about 3.5 hours to load the truck. Slow, slow, slow, but thanks to my dad's extraordinary knot tying skills, everything stayed in place over the 525 mile ride to Chicago.
Everything fit, but just barely!
We drove a few hours to my brother's place to stay the night on Wednesday. Hot tubbing was so nice after a long day of lifting boxes.
Early on Thursday morning we took off across the border. The moving truck cleared customs in 5 minutes, but importing my car took a good hour. The customs guy said he hadn't done an import for 2 years and was having technical difficulties. Ugh.

We finally made it to Chicago by mid afternoon and emptied the truck in an hour and a half. Unloading was so much easier and faster! w00t
Please don't touch me, sweaty husband :)
And now we are about 90% unpacked in our new place. Only a few more boxes to go! Special thanks to my parents for all of their help!