First, because inquiring minds want to know what happened with my craftastrophe… Half of the resin pieces were bad. The resin didn’t harden all the way and is just gooey. Fortunately my contact from the Book Shack is great and understanding (Aussies are always friendly, laid back folks, in my estimation) and I am going to try a few things and see if they can still be saved. I was afraid I was going to be so upset, but I’ve handled it as a learning experience and realize it’s not the end of the world.
It’s exactly one week later so I thought I better get on with my birthday post I promised earlier in the week. It’s a long one!
Celebrations actually began on Friday. My sister, Matt and I took the day off from work to take a trip into the city. Not having to work on Friday (a thing I dearly miss) was an excellent birthday present on its own. We had plans to drive into Chicago to go to the Shedd Aquarium and finally see the Jellies exhibit, something we attempted last winter, but arrived to a 2 hour long wait. outside. in the winter. in the rain. without umbrellas. And so we turned around and went all the way back home. But not this time. This time we bought tickets online beforehand.
Friday was 9.21, which is Nikki’s birthday, my friend who passed away in February of 2011. As usual I see the numbers 921 every where I go (hello, our new street address), but especially on September 21st. Of course it pops up on the clock twice a day, but of all the minutes of the day I always just happen to look right at that minute. Also, I was taking pictures and looked to see how many pictures were left on the card and it told me I could take 921 more. All of this is just to say that her birthday was one day before mine and sometimes we’d celebrate together, and that she is still with me, and naturally that I miss her.
We went got the Shedd and I naturally forgot my camera in the car, so pictures were taken with either my sister’s camera or my camera phone. We made due. AND I was even able to make this video from the Jelly exhibit.
It was really awesome and I had a great time, although I do have to share with those interested in going: beforehand I thought the exhibit would be much bigger. I had hoped the tanks would be huge and the jellyfish would be huge and that there would be benches where I could sit back and just watch them in their magnificence. In reality, the tanks were mostly no larger than 2 feet across, and if you go during a high traffic time, forget about being able to watch them up close. Fortunately we realized if we hold out until the water show (just outside the exhibit) is going on, there were much fewer people in there.
I took tons of video of the rest of the aquarium as well, but here are a couple highlights.
What’s up with these guys? They looked like cartoons and I couldn’t believe they were real. I betcha there’s a guy who’s job it is to sit under that tank and stick those guys up and down at random intervals.
And here is the Caribbean Reef, a long time favorite. I could just sit there all day and watch as the fish go by.
I took the above picture while enjoying a tidepools exhibit that was open from the top. There was a sign that said “do not touch” which led me to say “but I wanna pet a starfish”. A few minutes later we went down a set of stairs and right there was an exhibit where you could pet starfish. Yes, I pet a huge giant starfish and it was slimy and rough at the same time.
A week before our trip my sister suggested we attempt going to Superdawg. Since we were going other places I thought I should check out locations for photobooths. I remember someone telling me about a photobooth just outside of the city. Looking down the locator list I found the first one outside of Chicago, in Lincolnwood at a golf and games place and just by chance it looked like it was nearby Superdawg. Perfect.
The photobooth was perfect. It was a cold and rainy last day of summer and it appeared that the place was closed, but as luck would have it the booth is just outside.
The pictures are black and white and last frame was over exposed at the bottom, but that’s the kind of thing I love. I was pretty excited about this booth and wish there was one just like it near me. I think this also crosses off another item on one of my yearly lists about visiting different photo booths.
Next on to Superdawg. I have been wanting to go to this place ever since seeing it on Hot Dog Paradise on the Travel Network. Robyn Fun Fact #29: I hate cooking/food shows in general, but I LOVE restaurant/food shows on the travel network or where they visit and eat extreme/novelty foods (hello, Man Vs. Food). I think it’s based on my love for roadtrips and stopping at quirky roadside attractions (see, giant ball of twine).
Like kismet, Superdawg was literally right off the same street as the photobooth! We weren’t sure what to expect. We arrived right around 5:30 which could have been a disaster, but again as luck would have it, it was a super rainy and cold day so there were only a couple of other cars when we arrived.
We pulled in, ordered our dawgs and enjoyed! My sister said the dawg was even better than Portillo’s. Even Matt who is vegetarian enjoyed his meal of grill cheese, delicious fries, and sides of fried onions and veggies. In true Matt style he put the fried onions on his sandwich.
From here we went home and I was utterly happy after crossing off several things I’ve been wanting to do for a long-long time.
Saturday, my actual birthday, I woke up and immediately went to get my hair chopped. Also, I made myself a crown, as you can see. Inspired by artist Alyn Carlson‘s beautiful paper hats, I have started making crowns for people on their birthdays, so why not one for myself?
My family usually goes out to dinner for birthdays and they asked me where I wanted to go. The place I wanted to go didn’t open until dinner time so we waited and a half an hour before they opened we called to make reservations. Turns out it was homecoming weekend in all the surrounding towns and they were fully booked for larger parties. I had no desire to go anywhere else, and figured I’d rather just have people over to our house. My mom picked up a party sized chop salad from portillo’s at my request and we ordered pizza and played games. Also between what Matt and my mom bought, I had something like 4 birthday cakes. My nephew helped me blow the candles out.
I was also showered with a generous amount of birthday presents. For time sakes I’ll just note a couple.
My sister made me this amazing bag. She helped me pick out the fabrics. The lining is more of the floral pattern. I’ve already had compliments on it. She made the bag using this pattern from Erin Erickson.
Also, I got a macro lens for my iphone.Which allowed me to take pictures like the flower above (which were also a birthday gift) and the close up of my paper spiral jewelry below.
Then, after almost everyone left, my sister and I walked over to a nearby park and let go of a paper sky lantern. I’d bought three of them from Think Geek, but we just did the one. It really is a 3 person job. 2 people to hold it, light it and balance it while it fills and another to photograph/film/document it, so my pictures and video were very lacking. It was just the last thing to finish off a perfect birthday.