Thursday, March 31, 2005

My kind of town

The Wife and I drove up to Chicago last Friday (Good Friday, that is). We had a very enjoyable time, as we usually do there. Even though we spent only one night (at the Hyatt), we did everything we wanted to - see the Jackie Kennedy exhibit at the Field Museum and eat at a great place for dinner. The best thing about being there was no children. Now, we love our children dearly, of course, but it's always nice to get a break and do some adult things (no, not dirrty things - get yo' mind out the gutta) once in a while. Grammy and Grampy (The Wife's mom and step-dad) were watching the girls, so we knew we'd have fun - and a chance to sleep in.

We got there around 3:00 PM on Friday. We had planned to visit the Field Museum when we arrived but it was only going to be open for another two hours, so we decided to check into the hotel and relax for a bit. I had made dinner reservations for 9:15 at Frontera Grill, so we had plenty of time. However, we were hungry so we thought we'd try to get dinner earlier. We took a taxi to the Mag Mile and shopped around for a bit - The Wife bought some stuff for The Sweet at the American Girl store, and we looked around (but bought nothing) at Crate and Barrel. At 7:30, we were starving so we went to the restaurant and sat at a table in the bar area. We had an incredible meal there - the best Mexican food I've ever had! The guacamole was incredibly fresh. I had my first taste of seviche and loved it - The Wife loved it not so much. We had flan and a dark chocolate cake with blood-orange ice cream for dessert.

We slept in on Saturday - don't remember when we got up but it wasn't early, that's for sure. We checked out of the Hyatt at noon and took a cab to Bloomingdale's Home. We walked around Marshall Field's for a bit while we munched on Garrett's popcorn (the best caramel corn in the world - Oprah thinks so, so you know it's true). I nearly got mugged by this homeless guy when I used the ATM. We bought some Frango mints and looked up at the ceiling done by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

We arrived at the Field Museum just after 2:30 pm. We made it into the exhibit but it was quite crowded. The exhibit is basically Jackie's dresses. What's nice about it is that the dresses are displayed with pictures of Jackie in the dress and a text with info about the dress. Looking at the dresses, you realize how slender Jackie was. Do I really need to say that The Wife enjoyed the exhibit much more than I did? There were a lot more women than men going through the exhibit. I can't say that I became bored exactly, but a straight man can only look at so many dresses before getting tired of it all. We spent two hours (yep, two) in the exhibit, so the museum was only open for 30 more minutes when we came out. I have to be honest and say that the Field Museum is my least favorite of the major museums there - the exhibit on Sue the dinosaur is the only thing worth seeing.

We bought some Giordano's pizza on the way out of town. If you're wanting deep-dish pizza in Chicago, look no further than Giordanno's. We bought one of those partially baked pizzas which you can bake at home. Just as delicious, I must say ....

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Five pastors ... and me

When I was in college in some small town in Ohio (which seems like an eternity ago), I was able to sing in a quartet during my junior and senior years. We traveled to different churches and camps during the academic year and in the summer. The "quartet" consisted of four singers (I sang bass), a "soundman" (he ran the soundboard and also preached), and a piano player. My junior year I traveled with five guys who are now all pastors: Brian Bales, Chad Coe, Jay LeBlanc, Mark Vroegop, and Erin Weaver. Perhaps I missed my calling somewhere.... Anyway, just by looking at the pictures of these guys, it seems Mark is the most "pastor-like."

My first post

Hello, Good People! Everyone seems to be blogging nowadays, so I thought I'd get in on the action. I will use my first entry as an introduction, to let people know who I am and what I do. I'm a mental health therapist for a hospital in Indianapolis. Although I've had a masters degree in counseling for ten years now, I'm not yet a licensed counselor, but I am working to that end. What I basically do at my job are crisis evaluations - meeting with people who may be depressed and/or suicidal to see if they need to be hospitalized on the psychiatric unit. I sometimes see people who are quite psychotic - they may be hearing voices telling them various things, or they believe that the CIA/FBI is after them, or they believe they're some famous/historical person.

I graduated from Cedarville University (it was Cedarville College at the time) in 1993 with a double major in psychology and behavioral science. I went straight to graduate school because it's very difficult to find work with a bachelors degree in psychology. I graduated from Wright State University in 1995 with a masters degree in mental health counseling. I learned a great deal from my professors at both universities, and I am indebted to them.

I married The Wife (sorry, she won't let me use her real name) in July 1996. She is from Danville, IL. I met her when we were both at Cedarville U. but we didn't start to officially "date" until Fall 1994. She graduated the year after me, and her degree was in business communications (I think - I'm sure she'll correct me on this). We moved into a little apartment in Dayton, OH (my hometown) and lived there for over a year before we got the itch to move to a bigger city. Well, we couldn't get much bigger than Chicago - we moved there in October 1997. However, we soon tired of the busy life in Chi-town and moved to Indianapolis (not quite as big a city as Chicago, but certainly large in and of itself) in August 1998. Except for a nearly two-year stint in Springfield, OH, when I worked for Wittenberg University, we have been in Indy since then.

I have been employed at several places since obtaining my degrees. I worked at a community mental health center in Dayton, a for-profit mental health company in Chicago that specialized in group programs for the severely mentally ill (the company apparently didn't make enough profit, since it has gone defunct since I've left Chicago), Wittenberg University (as a director over several residence halls), and the hospital where I work now.

The Wife is manager of the corporate services department for a corporate realty company here in Indy. She has worked there for over two years now. She has worked at several places since graduating from Cedarville University, including a national accounting firm, a hospital (in their public relations department), and a publishing company.

I have two children - The Sweet (5 yrs) and The Cute (5 mos.) - again, no real names, these are their nicknames we have given them. The Sweet will be starting kindergarten in the fall and she is very excited about it. The Cute will soon be cutting teeth (not so sure she's excited about that) and learning to sit up. I can't describe what it's been like for me to be a father - amazing, wondrous, frustrating, exhausting, exciting, illuminating.... It doesn't get much better than to have your child smile at you and hear her say, "Daddy, I love you."

I think I have revealed enough for now. I can't reveal too much or I wouldn't have anything to write about in the future, now would I?