Archive for Being Green

#35: Drive Through DownTown Chicago Without Gettin’ Lost

A year ago, a few girlfriends and I met in Chicago from scattered places around the globe for a weekend to relax, veg and just be girly. I was so thrilled for the trip and made excellent time from Michigan to Chicago. Once I got off the highway, I entered what could only be described as another circle of hell – getting myself completely lost and spending far longer than I care to admit (think HOURS, not MINUTES) driving around downtown Chicago. Possibly, tears were involved. Upper, Middle, Lower Wacker – I hated them ALL.

Eventually, I pulled over and the lovely valet dude at a hotel on Wacker printed directions explaining them to me because apparently the road I needed to be on wasn’t on my map. And the street I needed to turn on didn’t have a sign – and OHMYGODWHYDOYOUHATEMESOMUCHCHICAGO?

The thing is, I love the city. I love the feel of Chicago. I love the energy and the vibe of it. I didn’t want to NEVER go back because I was petrified of the hell of driving Lake Shore Drive for hours around and about. Putting #35 on my list was a no brainer for me.

This weekend, the fam headed to Chicago for an event (a very AWESOME arty, creative, “make every moment count” kinda thing. Awesome awesome awesome). On our way, I stopped at Starbucks with my refillable mug (#39 on my list, aw yeah…) to fuel up with some coffee and then we were on the road.

There was so much rain and cloud cover until we reached Indiana – I thought we were in for a pretty miserable day in the city. Nuh uh. Clouds lifted, the sky was amazingly blue and when we got off the highway, we zipped right to our first destination (The aquarium). After that, we wandered the city a bit.

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It was perfect. Got into the car and ventured to the hotel and y’know what happened? I didn’t need the printed directions. I didn’t need my Google Maps (though, nothin’ but love for you Google Maps. Love knowing you’re there. Mwah). I knew exactly where to go. We zipped right to the hotel. AND, I didn’t pass out lookin’ at this 32nd floor view.

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They Make It Hard To Do the Right Thing

Sunday morning. February first. The second month of my project. Starting fresh. Several “monthly” things listed that I mean to accomplish, and I figured I’d get one out of the way early.

I was jonesing for coffee in a BIG BIG way.

I make hideous coffee, I’m sure I’ve mentioned that before. In fact, one of my 101 Things should have been “Learn to make coffee that won’t peel the paint off the walls” – but, whatever, I am doing my share to help keep Starbucks in business. (All those stores they just closed? Yeah, well, without me, it’d have been MORE). I got my handy little reusable travel mug out of the cupboard and off we went to Starbucks.

Of course, as soon as we rolled in the parking lot, Three decided she wanted chocolate milk and Six just had to have a hot cocoa, and since we were out and about for awhile (and because I’m pretty much a softy), I said sure. The kids hung out in the car with my husband (he needs a good bloggy name, dontcha think!?) while I went to go get our drinks.

As they were making our drinks, a huge line started forming behind me and as I was leaving, I was struggling to juggle all the beverages (three drinks, two hands – a little tricky. I was always a really crappy waitress). It wasn’t until I got into the car that I realized that the barrista had screwed up my coffee order and it was NOT right. It was pretty nasty, actually.

Sigh.

At that point, I was too lazy to go back in and deal with the line or the people or any of it. I’m sure it was partly due to the fact that she couldn’t do the little “write on the paper cup with the Sharpie” deal to help her remember. But ugh. That’s what I get for trying to be nicer to the planet – craptastic coffee.

(As a side note, I figured I’d go for the extra credit today and try AGAIN with the mug for coffee- two for February, whoo! – and today’s coffee was excellent – must have had a barrista with better short-term memory).

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#39: Take a Reusable Mug With Me For Coffee

(Or, how it was made clear to me why the chick behind the counter is making the coffee not buying the coffee).

I vowed to take a reusable mug with me at least once a month when I stopped for coffee. Seeing as how I go for coffee at least once a week and (oh who am I kidding) usually significantly more than that, remembering to take my mug is the least I can do to try to offset the paper cups getting wasted on my behalf the other bazillion times a month I hit the Starbucks drive thru.

This morning, I woke up to the smells of bacon and pancakes and big breakfast going on downstairs. Food I don’t have to make is a good thing, and it’s nice to have a big breakfast occasionally. After a big breakfast (by the way, the jury is still out on turkey bacon), all I could think of was getting a big cup of coffee.

Fortunately, I was able to twist an errand running journey to include a stop at Starbucks. I can twist any outing to include a stop for coffee, so it’s really not that impressive of a thing – but it’s my thing. It’s what I do. I also had a coupon for a free Tazo Chai Tea Latte thingy, so I brought that along with my REUSABLE mug and figured since my husband is a tea drinker, he could have the frou frou tea and I could chug down some coffee.

I ventured to the counter, placed my order, handed the coffee chicky my REUSABLE mug and said to her, “I’d like to use my travel mug for my coffee.”  Then we launched into a discussion about flavors of those funky Tazo dealies and then before I knew it, I realized that the barristas had completely forgotten to use my mug. When I pointed it out, the cashier seemed vaguely pissed – and at that point, I don’t know why I even bothered saying anything because the net result was already gonna include a cup hitting the landfills. Because of me. Ugh.

But, out of principle (or because I relish being somewhat of a PITA) I made them use my freakin’ mug. But I still made mother nature cry today. Which sucks.

P.S. Those Chai Tea Latte things? Nasty.

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