Friday, July 31, 2009

Summer Road Trip Part 1 - Cleveland

When we were invited to my friend Shailer's wedding in Skaneateles, NY, Nate the Great and I decided to plan an extended road trip out to Central New York state. Stops on the way would include Cleveland, OH, an overnight at his parents' house in Buffalo, then Skaneateles, Cooperstown (the baseball Hall of Fame and Ommegang Brewery) and we would end up at Nate's family cabin at Schroon Lake, in the Adirondacks. Whew!
The reason I've been MIA for so long was because this trip took us 10 days, plus a few afterwards to recover.
At the first stop, in Cleveland, we spent many hours at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where we saw some great things, including the jacket Michael Jackson wore in the Thriller video, and his sequined glove. I can't say if I would have cared as much if not for his recent passing, but no matter, it was still cool. They also had a large exhibit of Bruce Springsteen's stuff - I almost found out the true words to "blinded by the light" but alas, his handwriting was not very clear so the original lyrics he wrote out didn't shed the much-needed light on the subject. We also got to go inside Johnny Cash's tour bus.
I will say this about the R&R HoF, if you do go, try not to go during a period of time when you would want to eat a meal. The dining options are nowhere near as good as what I'm used to at a museum cafeteria; the food was closer to airplane food.
In the evening, we saw the Cleveland Indians play the Seattle Mariners at Progressive Field. Since we got to the field early, we had plenty of time to look around and we found a small Indians' Hall of Fame right there on the premises. The Cubs definitely need one of these! The game went pretty quickly - just under 3 hours - so we were able to stay for the whole thing before our 3 hour drive on to Buffalo. As we drove away, our way was lit by the Friday night fireworks at the baseball field. What a way to go! Oh yes, and my Seattle area readers will be happy to hear that the Mariners trounced the Indians, with a little help from 2 ex-Cubs (Ronny Cedeno and David Aardsma). A good start to a great vacation!
To be continued . . .

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Bikes, beer and brunch.

Saturday was a beautiful day and in spite of the perfect weather our team's softball game was cancelled. Nate the Great and I used the afternoon instead to go back up to the Forest Preserve and go biking. After a 9 (or so) mile ride, we took a little lunch break, sitting on the banks of the north branch of the Chicago River.
Saturday evening continued to be beautiful for a party at Katie and Kristen's apartment, and back yard. There were brats and burgers and a full keg which was definitely empty by the end of the night. The party was supposed to be celebrating our final regular-season softball game, but it also coincided with Anna's birthday (Anna is the center lady in the photo) so we sang happy birthday and she had cake and lots of strange men hitting on her all night.
Sunday morning we were up bright and not so early for Anna's birthday brunch at DeLeece. Having done my online research beforehand, Nate and I were looking forward to ordering Lobster Benedict all week and so we did. It was pretty good, but needed more hollandaise! (what doesn't?)
We "walked off" brunch (yeah right) by taking a long route home and ended up at Scooters (oops) for some frozen custard. Now it's an exhausted Sunday night and not looking forward to work tomorrow. The better the weekend, the more I don't want to work! But vacation is just 4 days away . . .

Friday, July 10, 2009

I just felt like it!

Lots of people know I am a bit of a sweater diva. Some of those people might even say that is an understatement.
But sweater divas sometimes have a change of heart, when it comes to some sweaters. In lieu of throwing out some old ones, I decided to be crafty and felt them!
This is my first of hopefully more than one felting projects - with a green cable-knit sweater. This is just a simple, little catch-all for putting on your bureau, or wherever you need to collect some stuff. I made this for my friend Anna, whose birthday is coming up this weekend. I hope she likes it, but when it comes to homemade gifts, you don't really have a choice!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th of July weekend

I was surprised, at first, that so many people had Friday off from work, but we Americans love our 3-day weekends, so what better way to celebrate Independence Day than take a non-holiday off from work. Of course, I had the day off anyway, so I went downtown to have lunch with Jess (after finishing her 82 hour work-week) and to pick up a Cubs jacket at the American Girl Doll store. Nate got me 1 jacket off of Ebay for my birthday (at Wrigley Field, they have 1 night each year when they give out these jackets to all the girls 13 and under and I've always wanted one for my dolls) and it came with a coupon for a 2nd on at the store downtown. My dolls are back in CT right now, but next time I see them they will be looking sporty and sassy!
Friday evening we were treated to the 4th(?) annual 3rd of July party at our friend Dan's apartment. His roof-deck looks right out onto the Wrigley Field bleachers sign. It was a perfect night for a party and we even got to see a few fireworks.
Saturday was dreary and drizzly so we stayed home during the day. I made crab dip and Nate the Great made a cherry pie (crust from scratch - he puts me to shame). The weather cleared up by the evening, luckily, so we went up to Edgewater for a party at Bob and Magda's.
In addition to the foods we brought for the party, we enjoyed some pigs in a blanket, deviled eggs, and a magnificent chocolate roulade which is Magda's specialty. After eating plenty of food, we all made our way down to the beach (25 yards from their apartment) where we were able to see south down the lake-shore, all the way to downtown. We could see probably 4 different fireworks shows simultaneously. Though rather cold and wet, it ended up being a wonderful 4th of July.
Sunday, however, was sunny and warm, so Nate and I packed our
bikes in the car and drove up to the Northern branch of the Chicago Forest Preserve trails. We rode up to the Chicago Botanic Garden (I stupidly didn't bring my camera) and soaked up the scenery with plenty of other cyclists and picnickers.

Friday, July 3, 2009

birthday gift from days of yore

With the recent surge of, ahem, older people signing on to facebook, I was pleasantly surprised a while ago when one of my very best high school friend's mother requested to be my friend. I was part of a very exclusive, 10 member friend group. Go me!
Upon telling this to Nate, I had one of those random memories - and it coincides with my recent 27th birthday. I was thinking about how 10 years ago I was about to start my senior year of high school (10 year reunion is coming up next spring!) and where I was/who I was with for that 17th birthday. After a week of sailing on a rented Hinckley yacht out of Southwest Harbor, Maine with my dad, step-mom and step-bro, Ly (pronounced Lee, now Dr. Ly) and her mom picked me up and brought me back to their "farm" in Monroe, ME to spend a week with them. Ly and I spent that week sailing her laser (maybe it was a sunfish) on their pond, watching the PBS civil war series on video and making a whole years worth of Martha Stewart projects (I remember a gingerbread house, some meringues that wouldn't bake due to the humidity, and my favorite: a jack-o-lantern carved from a watermelon).
At the end of the week it was my birthday - a very small, understated affair. The one present I remember getting was this dear little beanie baby, Slippery the Seal, from Ly's mom. I'm sure Ly gave me some great gifts too, but as our tradition was to give each other a shoe-box full of small gifts, mostly things we didn't want anymore, and usually some reject gift I had given her on her last birthday, they were not as memorable. Sorry, Ly!
Anyway, here he is: Slippery, celebrating his 10th birthday (plus a few days).

Thursday, July 2, 2009

not-so-lazy daisies

After our marathon planting almost 2 months ago, most of our plants have thrived. The exception was the pot of gerber daisies which quickly withered away. I had given up on them but hadn't had the time to dig them up and throw them out yet.
Well, apparently good things come to people who are too lazy to throw out their dead plants. In the past few weeks I noticed some life in the rarely-watered pot and finally some flowers have popped. Of the 3 daisy flowers planted in this pot, only one has come to a full bloom, but the other two have buds that are making progress.
Welcome back, guys!