Tuesday, June 30, 2009

From Friends...

I have written about my friend, Deb's, talent before and once again she has impressed me!
My friends' JB and Tee, were looking to thank me for my work on the housewalk and asked Deb to make a necklace from the South Oak Park Style map and a Scrabble piece.
It is just perfect.
You can find Deb's pieces at Flybird in Oak Park.
As if my lovely ladies were not spot on with the necklace alone, they also gave me a limited edition model of the Birney Trolley that ran in Chicago from 1921 to 1937. The original Birney cars' destination was Division and Austin in Oak Park. It is no secret that I had several trolley nightmares during the planning of this special event! I was simply delighted JB and Tee thought it would commemorate the challenges and joy the planning process brought with it!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lake Geneva Reunion


Today we headed to my parents' house for a rare family reunion. My side of the family is pretty small and any chance we have to get together with my dad's brother and his family is cause for celebration! The majority of the guys went golfing and Finn was very excited to ride along and drive the cart. My brother and his family came down as well. We all enjoyed the ADORABLE Charlie and the tiny (but huge) Henry. Emma tapped into her mothering instincts in the most beautiful way.
At one point in the afternoon Henry was a bit fussy and my
Uncle Bill tried out his "flying baby" maneuver...
...even though he was slightly out of practice (his baby is 14), Bill's trick worked!Proud Papa took advantage of quiet moment to bond with his newest grand baby...
...and the afternoon finished with a little barefoot golf in the backyard.
The simple fact is, I like these people.
My mom put together a delicious dinner and afforded us all a great and much needed opportunity to reconnect.
I wish we could all be together more often!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cardboard Boats

After popping in on a friend CGW to check out her amazing garden this morning, we headed to Crystal Lake for the 25th annual Cardboard Cup Regatta this afternoon. After a tiara clad Miss Crystal Lake stamped our hands we were in!
I had never heard of such a thing before, but these crazy boats were a sight to behold!

Each creative entry was made almost entirely out of cardboard and raced in groups on a 200 yard course. Each crew of 2-10 racers had to navigate through several obstacles including a band of saboteurs on the water armed with water cannons and water balloons!

Check out some on the entries...

This boat inspired by the film UP was my favorite. Of course it's name was "down" and I think it may have been a self fulfilling prophecy...


Hungry?

We were hungry for some corn on the cob...imagine my surprise when I pulled back the husks to reveal a very hungry caterpillar!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Reality

So my state of mind during my last post was precarious at best. I left off with my eyelids sweating, praying it didn't rain because of my broken gutter, fantasizing about handy men.
To combat the heat Finn and I attempted to take in a movie while Emma was at dance. Our plans were thwarted, however, when we learned the air conditioning was out in the the theater. What is up with that?
And while we were out we had a microburst in our neighborhood that dumped 3.5 inches of rain in 25 minutes. Sarcasm from heaven? Trees were down all over town including the one pictured above.
Just when I thought things couldn't get anymore hilarious my duo of handymen showed up!

Handyman #1: Roy, boyfriend of neighbor's niece, fixed the gutter in under 10 minutes. He completed the task perched atop the same ladder that was so rickety I called my husband stupid. He is brave and handy. He completed the task in exchange for 1 brat, 1 Italian sausage, 2 buns, and some chips.

Handyman #2: Eric, husband of neighbor's niece's daughter, connected all kinds of zany gizmos to my limping along air conditioner. He had it back up and running in under and hour. He completed his task in exchange for some ice water with a wedge of lime, an Italian sausage, and a package of Trader Joe's Harvest Grains he hopes to cook for dinner.

I owe a debt of gratitude to my handymen and I love the fact it can be as hot as hell and rain buckets and I won't have a care in the world.

That pretty much ensures uncharacteristically cool temperatures and a draught are on the horizon!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fantasy

My husband is extraordinarily handsome in a suit.
He is one of the best conversationalists I have ever met and he is also completely hilarious.
He always takes the garbage and recycling out and does more than his fair share of laundry without being asked. I would not trade him for the world, but my attractive business minded man is not handy.
No man can be all things...

Our air conditioner is out and it is 91 degrees in the house. Yesterday my son and his friend accidentally ripped a down spout off our house with the garden hose.

We tried to get someone in here to fix the air, but the words, "$189 per hour excluding parts if you want someone there before next Thursday," didn't sit too well. Not to be outdone, Leif and I dragged out an 80 year old rickety ladder that came with our 1921 bungalow and tried to repair the twisted down spout last night. While perched atop a swaying ladder I only ended up spewing attractive phrases like, "Leif don't be stupid. You are just being stupid." Anyone who knows Leif and me will find that to be uncharacteristic to say the least.

My downspout is still a mangled mess and my neighbor's niece's daughter's husband (Bueller? Bueller?) is coming to look at our angry air conditioner tonight. And I am left sitting here, sweating buckets, praying it doesn't rain, fantasizing about handy men.

This is not a new fantasy...I always get a thrill when I find flyers from local handymen on my front door. Some people may find a doctor's ability to stitch a wound or a runner's ability to complete a marathon in just over two hours attractive, but for me it is the man with a tool belt who does the trick. His powerful ability to lay a brick patio, build a fence, hang a new lamp, mount shelves in a shed, refinish a floor...and all at cost if I just knew him well enough...just makes me a little bit googly eyed.

This moment of weakness will pass just as soon as the broken things around here are fixed, but not before a couple of handy men darken my door....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Keeping our Cool

Looks like Finn and his friend have the right idea!
It went from cold and rainy to absolutely sweltering over night
and our air conditioner is on the fritz.
The heat index is heading over 100 degrees tomorrow and we can't get a repairman out here until Tuesday...we are just trying to chill. Literally.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Broken

Emma signed over her first pair of broken point shoes today.
Professional dancers sign their shoes and why should Emma be any different?
She has agreed to let me keep one.
Before the signature was even dry
she was sewing the ribbons and elastics into her new pair...


Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Best Dad...

A 1 in 3,000 chance

A friend of Emma's invited her to watch the Chicago Red Stars play the Boston Breakers this afternoon. As if watching a team of pretty bad ass women play a soccer match and eating copious amounts of blue food wasn't treat enough...it turns out Emma won the big raffle at the game! She is now the proud owner of a new IPod Shuffle.

South Oak Park Style Images

It was a sunshine filled day and everyone involved with the South Oak Park Style housewalk executed their tasks brilliantly! Each and every home was loving staged and a joy to view!




The after party was a great success! The wine was flowing and appetizers were pretty darn good...the setting was perfect and a real sense of community filled the air!

Of course the after after party went until 3:30am...and I have never been so tired in my entire life!

Ups

A friend captured this great shot of Finn playing goalie at the Highland Games on Saturday!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Anticipation

Whenever big containers of loose flowers are hanging around my house you can bet big things are going to happen tomorrow...
Buy a ticket.
Seriously.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wearing a Skillet

On Saturday Finn is playing soccer at the Scottish Festival and Highland Games.
Finn's soccer coach is Scottish and is sure to linger with Leif in the whiskey tent for a while.
When Finn scampered out of practice tonight he was speaking excitedly about the Highland Games...he even has an interest in trying some Haggis. Most of all, however, Finn can't wait "to see Coach Murray wearing his skillet!"

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Student Teachers

Last night I hosted the staff cooking class I auction off at the home of the lovely LShad!
Save for one small fainting episode the class was uneventful and full of fun!
(I swear I don't work people too hard in class)
After slicing and dicing, wrapping and rolling...the student teachers enjoyed the fruits of their labor....

Shrimp Toast and Cucumber Relish
Pork Dumpling Soup
Vietnamese Salad Roll with Hoisin Peanut Sauce

Lime Seared Salmon with Asian Slaw and Pineapple

Monday, June 15, 2009

Nuts and Butter...never better.

"I made a cake, but I'm not feeling very good about it," she said upon her arrival.
Last night our dear friends came in from Milwaukee for a little birthday celebration involving a now infamous cake.Billy and Lora are simply incredible people and we love them to no end. One of the things we like best about them is their all around human kindness. They are the best sports.
We now have a sincere love Lora's willingness to bake! She made a carrot cake for Leif and during the process suffered a slight recipe reading mishap.
Lora was mixing the batter and everything seemed fine. The time came to mix the frosting and it called for two sticks of butter, but where was it? Oops...she accidentally mixed it into the cake...along with oil and applesauce. Ironically the applesauce was there to lighten the cake and cut the fat, but when you accidentally add half a pound of butter to a batter I am afraid there isn't a chance in hell a little applesauce will serve it's purpose...other than adding more weight to a cake. What to do? Add two more sticks of butter to the frosting and make an aggressive garnishing plan involving massive quantities of almonds and pineapple...

Birthday wishes and candle blowing ensued and it was time to cut the cake. I have never laughed so hard; the cake weighed about 20 pounds and it was dense...I mean really dense. Actually it was nearly impossible to cut and even harder to eat (though Finn totally cleaned his plate), but it was hands down the BEST BIRTHDAY CAKE EVER! Laughter should be an ingredient in every birthday cake because it just makes life delicious.
Everyone should have friends like ours!
Sleestack.
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