Since Independence Day fell on a Wednesday, I gave myself permission to take the whole week off. As a self-employed person, work is always on the brain. However, since most regular job people would be taking some time off, I figured I should cut myself some slack after two intense months.

The vacation kicked off Sunday evening with the closing party of EvanstonMade at Five & Dime. I visited with friends and noshed on the delicious Asian-themed buffet the Five & Dime put out for us.

The sky was glorious.

I strolled home and admired the lovely Evanston scenery. Bennison’s still smelled of powdered sugar late at night.

Amanda Freund was ready for the holiday.

And Stumble & Relish looked like it had fireworks in its window.

Monday was lovely and I strolled to the park to decompress. The lake is so soothing and once I sit on the rocks for a few minutes the lapping of waves puts life in perspective.

On Tuesday I picked up fluffy reads from the library to supplement the brain food I have checked out for a research project. There is a garden by the Senior Center on Davis Street and Judson that is open to the public until 4 pm, so I sat there for a bit until I got hungry.

On the way home it was lovely to see all the block party tables and chairs lined up in many streets. Evanston gets neighborly on the fourth.

I was able to go offline a few days, which was very restorative. The fourth was very hot, and with my A/C working sporadically, I vegged on the sofa and allowed the heat-related sluggishness to take over. After all the socializing in June I was happy to just chill by myself and get engrossed in books and Netflix Series (Cable Girls is my current guilty pleasure).

On Thursday I beaded for a bit, and got back in the swing of my daily walk routine. My home exercise is still slacking a bit due to the heat, but the least I can do is take 30-minute walks each day.

With Lilies in bloom, the gardens are so pretty.

On Friday I explored North Park Village Nature Center, which is a post of another day. I was carefully monitored as I sipped coffee that morning.

I spotted many Monarch butterflies at the nature preserve, and am pleased to see that the formal and informal waystations in Evanston are also showing effectiveness in helping this endangered population.

On Friday I ran errands and made my way up to the Shakespeare Garden at Northwestern. I had visited there once a long time ago. It was lovely to pause at the Chapel’s reflection stations.

With that centering complete, I discovered lovely seating areas in the Shakespeare Garden, which was created by the Evanston Garden Club.

I have a hunch the plants are all referenced in Shakespeare’s works.

Soon I will have to return with a book and just relax there for a spell.

I bet the chapel has a story too.

Saturday was lovely too and I was wishing for a garden or balcony of my own. But then I decided to bring my writing nook to the park instead, leaving the picnic tables for larger groups that would be grilling later in the day.

I did more centering Sunday evening by the lake, and felt fully restored after taking a break from my research and my work-related chores.

There are many new discoveries in your own neighborhood if you take a turn down a different block and just keep your eyes open as you wander around familiar places.

While I reflected on my Greece vacation, I decided my hometown is pretty spectacular as well.

My next meet an greet event will be the Evanston Sidewalk Sale. I won’t have a pop-up, but will be in the Evanston Pup Up Gallery Saturday July 28. It should be easy to get to now that Fountain Square is paved again.

Meanwhile, I will continue to stop and smell the roses along the way.

Vibrant days are ahead!

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