Sunday, August 31, 2008

My Loves August

Asking me out on a date
Taking me on the date
Working on getting a sitter for the date
Wearing cologne on the date
That moment at dinner on Sunday when both girls were acting totally differently but equally aggravating, and I admitted to you that I had acted like both of them multiple times in my childhood, and apologizing for tripling myself.
Staying true to your are melting away honey.
Bringing me a single sweet.
Being the best camping put everything up and take it all down!
Complimenting me on my fire. It was good.
Taking me on a fabulous 10th Anniversary trip.

Lil Sis
Will you be joining us?
Asking about the MET
The new look you give me when you know you are making trouble. Eyebrows WAY WIDE.
Yelling U-S-A during Phelps' first race
Making cupcakes with you, it was messy but fun.
Whenever someone says in a prayer: "to nourish and strengthen our bodies" you reply:
Talking about Mr. Bean's Holiday and how you were scared of him at first but then thought he was funny.
Trying to make jokes that just don't quite work out.
Asking about Chicago incessantly.
Exploring the forest animals together (woodpecker, chipmunk)
Asking to go to bed while camping
Being so excited about visiting Grammy, and not even being sad that I just threw you in the car at the airport and said goodbye.
"That's not cock-orn, that's Pirates BOOTY!"

Big Sis
Thanks mom, you always know what to say to make me feel better
Being brave and holding the bird
Being excited about passing your swim evaluations
Mom, ever been to Walmart? Save money. Live better. Walmart
The song lyrics that stood out the other day, that you made up on the fly: "I know you don't want me to go, but I'm goin' for a reason 'yo"
Expressing a desire to be a gymnast and a swimmer and a diver in the Olympics someday.
Being my little messenger after church...exchanging keys with dad, delivering things to his office, etc.
Acting out the scene from Mr. Bean's Holiday: O mio Babbino Caro...
Refusing to speak to me for over an hour, signing every word letter by letter instead. AH!
Asking me if I ever feel I am a bad mom...well of course darling, I won't ask you if you ever feel you are a bad kid, because I'm a good bad mom.
My heart just broke in two when you told me an older girl was being a little mean to you.
Planning to chat at 4:30 every day during our trip.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Where we used to work...

Part of our walk down memory lane has been to visit where we used to work.

Here is Big J in front of the Amoco Building:

And here he is in front of Stone Container Building:

My first city job was at the Chicago Theatre:

And during the weekends while I was in college, I worked here at the first American Girl Place. I stopped in and saw 3 ladies there that I worked with 10 years ago! Astounding! I never expected to see anyone STILL working there.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Food, Glorious




My DH took me to a restaurant that we first heard of years ago, Charlie Trotters. It was the best night of food I have ever experienced. When we first got there, I read over the Grand Menu (which stated, Happy 10th Anniversary!) and the Vegetable Menu and I started feeling worried and nervous and I almost bailed on the whole evening. The reason is because I have so many allergies and I did not recognize at least half of the items on the menu. I feel so uncomfortable at restaurants when I have to ask a laundry list of questions before ordering.

At Trotters, they made it so easy for me. I merely had to tell them my allergies and they took care of everything. They just told the chef's my needs and I didn't have to think about it the rest of the night. I knew when a dish was placed in front of me, that I could eat it without worrying, and after 10 (yes 10) courses, my mouth did not itch one time!

The menu I ate:

Vegetable Menu

Marinated Summer Squash with Arugula

Michigan Heirloom Tomatoes with Fava Beans, Basil Seeds & Chervil

Globe Artichoke Soup with Spearmint & Spun Honey

Adirondack Blue Potato with Fingerling Potato Blini, Mustard Seed & Queen Anne's Lace

Oregon Morel Mushrooms with Miso, Toasted Koji & Shiso

Jasmine Granite with Apricots & Tahitian Vanilla

Honey Lavender Ice Cream with Mesquite & Grilled Peaches

Milk Chocolate Semifredo with Carrot, Star Anise & Red Wine

The menu DH ate:

Grand Menu

Dungeness Crab with Seawater & Sturgeon Roe

Chilled Snow Lake Trout with Smoked Salmon Roe, Sorrel & California Crayfish

Four Story Hill Farm Quail with Chorizo, Spring Onions & Clover

Grilled Nantucket Scallop with Boudin, Pig’s Tail & Pickled Fennel

Forty Eight Hour Braised Short Rib with Chive Blossoms & Fermented Black Garlic

Young Coconut Granite with Lychee & Cachaca Jelly

Michigan Raspberries with Angelica Ice Cream & Angel Food Tuile

Black Mission Figs with Shaved Fruit Cake, Marcona Almonds & Pedro Ximenez

The two desserts from each menu that I made red, we swapped with each other because I cannot eat Apricots and Peaches. We told our waitress at the beginning of the meal, and even though four other waiters served us these dishes, they were swapped for us, no mistakes, no awkwardness...the service was completely flawless.

I am so glad that I spent all those hours watching Top Chef this past year. I think I got it so much more because of that show. I understood the presentation and the art of the dining, and the layers of flavors. The dishes they served the food on were the most unique I have ever seen.

Some highlights of the meal were the thyme/lavender rolls, the tomato ice cream paired with fried okra---HEAVEN!, the artichoke soup with whipped honey, and our surprise 10th course, lime foam and mexican chocolate gelato....we are stuffed and soaring from this opera of a meal.

It was my first time eating a blini, and a young teenager eating nearby told the waiter that she loved the pancakes, he said he'd give her 20 bucks if she went down and told the chef that! I wouldn't have known it was a blini vs. a pancake either, if I hadn't watched Top Chef on Bravo.

On our way out, we got a quick tour of the kitchen. Whoa. I could have stayed there for hours. There is one table there and they serve 4 to 6 folks in the kitchen each night. The stations were beautiful, the chef's intensely working, the coals were hot, it was fascinating.

Of course I wanted to take a picture of everything before I ate it, but it was not exactly the right venue for such an act...although I did see the weirdest duck in the join snag a few pix, I refrained. Instead I made my DH participate in an impromptu cab-ride-home photoshoot. I think we look better here than in our wedding portraits! Here's to 10 more!

Buckingham Fountain

This is where DH asked me to marry him a long time ago. And now, we are off to dinner at Charlie Trotters. I hope it's scrumptious....


Dear Honey,

10 years! Seriously?! I remember thinking on our wedding day how I would still be in my twenties, and married 10 years and how crazy that sounded.

Well, I was right. It has been so crazy. The soaring ups and the devastating downs are nothing that we could have ever predicted, and I am so glad that through it all we have been side by side.

I love you more each day, especially when we support each other through all these trying times.

Thanks for making me a mom and being a fabulous Dad and being my rock, especially since HB08!

Happy Anniversary!


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thursday in Chicago

Lazy, lazy, rainy day.

We ate. MORE FOOD. This time at Clarkes and the Parthenon. We did walk all the way back to the hotel from Greektown, again, trying to burn off ALL THOSE CALORIES. I got to browse the entire lit. section of Borders today. Ah...bliss. I picked up a few novels for the fall, particularly looking forward to The Road.

Even though we currently live in the Greek part of town, I have yet to find Saganaki spectacles like those of Chicago's greektown....

The table next to ours had 4! Brava! ooooppppa!

Silent Auction for Nie Nie

I read a bunch of blogs. There seems to be a common theme among many that I read lately, and specifically today. The short story is that a fellow blogger and her husband were in a private plane crash this week and are struggling to survive in the hospital. I believe the flight instructor passed away. They have 4 children. There is tons more out there to read and learn, one source is here.

I know Nie-Nie as that lady with the awesome wall in her kitchen (seen here in this photo taken from the Cookie Mag. website). I want to cover this little tiny hallway arch I have, to look just like that. Even my DH's cousin knows Nie-Nie.

There are about a bajillion blog auctions happening today with proceeds going towards the Nie Nie Recovery Fund. I have humbly offered up a teeny tiny Christmas CD. The mormon mommy wars blog is handling the auction. I am just plugging it here...if you have been meaning to purchase it, go get it now, and maybe it will be really cheap (or really expensive....).

If Nie-Nie's story has struck a chord with you, there are a few more websites you should visit today:

My blog friend Rachel H from Ohio, who I have actually dined with in NYC (Rachel, should I have called that dining or diving?), is putting all proceeds from any of her etsy shop purchases toward the Nie-Nie fund.

My friend Marian, who designed all the graphics for my album has got some mad graphic design skeelz, and she is auctioning off her banner services on her blog.

My krazy Queens ko-hort kristie, is participating in the same auction I am, and donating her handmade cards.

My Spongy Chloe friend, who is closing down her business, is donating some of her last fine spongy pieces at this auction.

And my BFF is donating her this is me journal and a handmade dress as well.

Picture a Christmas Album Auction:

To listen to it, click here.

To bid on it, click here. The bidding has already started, at posting it was at $20-...I guess it won't be too cheap...sorry!


That's the Hancock building on the left. We are in a nice location, in a boutique hotel. I want to marry the bathroom.

It's chilly here, so I had to get this hoody. It's cozy and yellow.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Chicago, Day 3

This morning our workout was along the Lakefront. We watched the crazy Chicagoans swim laps in the Lake, and then headed over to Navy Pier. After so much walking over the past few days, we decided to take it a little easier today. By the time we got going, we had skipped the breakfast hour, so we ate our favorite sandwiches from Potbelly's. We then headed over to Wicker Park/Bucktown to shop at the Renegade Storefront. We picked up some adorable prints, and I fell in love with these recycled book journals.

We then tried to visit the Chicago Board of Trade, but we hadn't made an appointment, so we just checked out the outside of the building instead. I was glad, because when we watched The Dark Knight at the Imax theatre this afternoon, I recognized it in the film, along with several other Chicago architecture landmarks. That was our second time seeing DK, but it was way cool in the IMAX venue.

Tonight we went to Gino's East for Chicago Pizza. It was yummy, but so filling that we could not finish our pie.

Our waitress offered up her silver sharpie so that I could leave a graffiti mark. I think you can see pretty well what I wrote on the bench where we sat tonight.

K heart's J 10 years!

J really heart's K

See! Right under the angel!

On our way home we stopped by my favorite drugstore Walgreens, and I noticed one of the workers had a shiny new cast! I asked if I could please be the first to sign it...I guess I was in the mood after all the Gino's East graffiti....

Big Sis is starting to miss us, she called this morning. At the beginning of the week she set up a daily appointment to talk with us at 4:30 pm, but she needed a little more than that today. Lil Sis will not talk on the phone, I think she really doesn't miss us at all. To see what the rest of the Posse is up to, you can visit them here.

Gradually Going Green

Chicago goes green!

Back in 1999, Chicago started a public art exhibit, by commissioning artists to paint cows.

It came to be known as Cows on Parade, and several other towns and cities have followed suit with sea animals, fairies, fishes, etc. This year in Chicago, the theme is dress forms. They are not quite as impeding or magnificent as the cows, but they are a nice little something extra to look at while walking around. Here is one that I found to be green....reusing all that plastic picnic stuff we typically throw out.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Yes, it is THAT windy, and that Monarch is THAT strong. If some alien life form came here to Chicago this week, having no previous knowledge of Chicago and it's typical weather patterns, it would settle right down here. I keep wondering where all the people are, why aren't there hoards more people who live here and populate these wide streets? It is such a clean, beautiful city with great weather! But then I pass by the sign that says: NO PARKING WHEN THERE ARE 2 INCHES OF SNOW or NO SWIMMING, STAY AWAY FROM THE ICE, and I remember that feeling of my snot freezing when I left for school in the morning. Guess what? The weather we are having here is a rare and beautiful gift.

Day 2 of our Chicago adventure involved walking and eating. We started at Ann Sather on Belmont and Jason had some Rachael Ray-recommended french toast fantasy, and I of COURSE had cinnamon rolls. SO good.

We passed by the restaurant where we had our first date! The Red Tomato. It is long out of business, but the tomato mosaic is still safe and sound.

Randomness Alert, Hair Fairies! A service to get rid of your kid's lice. Do I want to move into a neighborhood where a store makes all it's profits on the head lice epidemic? hmmmm......

Then it was time to take a little tour of my alma mater. DePaul University. It was a brief 3 years, but I do feel I am a bit smarter by you, so thanks!

We stopped by Cortelyou Commons for a little pic. This is where we had our wedding reception.

After about 4 hours of walking around the North Side, we had an early dinner at another of our old favorite restaurants: Stanley's. I had a small mac n cheese and a side salad, because I was still pretty full from my breakfast, we didn't even have lunch today!

Once we got back to our hotel we were so tired that we just tucked into another night of the DNC and finished watching Dr. Horribles Sing-along blog, while we polished off some Potbelly's delicacies: Oreo Malt, Choclate Shake, Oatmeal Chocolate chip cookie.........oh, our arteries!

Out with the Old

We got married young, our styles have changed....and for the next decade at least, we would like a different look for our jewelry:

My new band is tiny, delicate and just what I wanted. It's white gold pave' diamonds in a channel set.

DH wanted a white gold band to go with our second set of anniversary gifts. He has wanted a new watch for so long, and I just happened upon this beautiful vintage piece, so we threw it in.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Baby Sis Studies...

My baby sister starts college today.

My parents are empty-nesters, and I am now REALLY old, since my littlest sibling has flown the coop.

Sister, study hard and have fun and don't stay up too late.

Love to you girl.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tick, Tick, Tick

I have gotten so accustomed to that little ticker on the sidebar. I chose a red tomato because my DH and I went on our first date at The Red Tomato. I still have the business card in my wallet. And our 10th Anniversary vacation has begun. Our original plans were altered by the HB08, but we are still thrilled about our trip. Can you guess where we are?

It's perfect weather, a boutique hotel that is perfectly US, and I conveniently forgot my old beat-up workout shoes, so I guess I am going to have to get some new ones. darn : )

My computer has a doctor's appointment at the Genius Bar here, so I may be offline for the rest of the week, but that's actually a good thing....I can always catch up later, for now I am going to try to savor this 1 week of one on one time with my DH. 1 week is ALL I get? after 10 YEARS!!! I guess it's going to have to be a month for the big 20!

New York Hearts Beijing

I don't get out much, especially after dark, but Saturday night I went for a walk and noticed the Empire State Building donning the colors of the Olympics.

I headed up to the roof to try to get a shot. Man, it's hard. I had no tripod, no steady hand, no brilliant lighting capabilities. I did the best I could.

I also did the worst I could too:

I didn't see a ton of the Olympics these past two weeks, but my fave highlights:

1. Phelps Medals. I think I saw at least 4 of them, including that ridiculous race that was a photo finish, though I couldn't even see it in the photo.

2. Synchronized Diving. How do they do that?

3. Dressage. Didn't even know what it was. I only lasted about 90 seconds watching it, though the horses were impressive.

4. Synchronized Swimming. Come on now, is that even physically possible? And of course I loved makeup and costumes in sports.

5. Opening Ceremonies. The highlight was the 9-year-old Chinese boy walking with Yao Ming. He saved a group of his classmates after the Earthquake because; "I am the class leader....I had to save them..." (the quote is in my own words)



We experienced a lot of nature while camping, fancy that.

The rocky beach was beautiful, even though it hurt our delicate feet.

Our first morning a little chipmunk greeted Lil Sis and me as we strolled to the bathrooms. It was so quiet, we could hear a woodpecker pecking. I got one chance to get my new lens focused, and this is the best I could do. That woodpecker was fast.

There were an array of mushrooms that we found while collecting firewood and hiking to the beach. Here are two of my faves, simply because of their shape, size and color.

Early in the day the girls had fun lightly touching a worm they found by the playground and watching it wiggle, but that was nothing compared to the 14 baby snakes that a fellow camper brought with him. His nanny's snake had babies, so she begged him to let them into the wild. He obliged, but didn't tell her that they would probably become bird food.

I'm glad the sisters were not afraid, and that actually they loved the snakes. But I say, EW.