Monday, October 31, 2011

Hauntings around our house

Boo and Eek from the EFour!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday on the Pitch...

 This morning the Rapids boys faced off against some fairly enormous boys from Glen Ellyn.  Not to worry...the boys in red had them well in hand and won the game handily. The Red Wedge really seems to have hit his stride these days!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Man Up...

Emma has to wear a men's tie for one of her upcoming MOMENTA performances.  I was tickled to discover Leif giving her a lesson on how to tie it this afternoon.  Thanks to her dad she's got it down!

Saturday Night Lights

Tonight the Rapids played a chilly game under the lights in River Forest!  Finn was looking dangerous and meshed the only goal for his team early in the first half.  Needless to say he was thrilled!  Although the Rapids dominated the game, it  ended in a 1-1 draw when  the automatic timers on the lights went off leaving the teams in the dark with about 20 minutes left to play.   They took it in stride though and will be back on the pitch early tomorrow.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Link...

To learn how to make the Pumpkin Chili above and the Scarehead below, check out the Oak Leaves this week!  The layout in the food section is really very lovely, but you can also find written instructions on their website here.  Happy Haunting!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday on the Pitch.

Don Quixote

 "His imagination was as full of all that he had read-of enchantments, contests, battles, challenges, wounds, courtships, amours, tortures, and impossible absurdities; and so firmly was he persuaded of the truth of the whole tissue of visionary fiction, that, in his mind, no history in the world was more authentic."
Don Quixote, Book One, Chapter 1, Miguel de Cervantes
 Don Quixote
Saturday October 23rd, 2011

Choreography: Yuri Possokhov
Music: Ludwig Minkus
World Premier: October 12th, 2011, The Joffrey Ballet

Don Quixote: Fabrice Calmels
Sancho Panza, squire to Don Quixote: Derrick Agnoletti
Lorenzo, an Innkeeper: Willy Shives
Kitri, his daughter: Victoria Jaiani
Basilio, a barber in love with Kitri: Carlos Quenedit
Kitri's Friends: Anastacia Holden & Amber Neumann
Gamache, betrothed to marry Kitri: Matthew Adamczyk
Mercedes, a street dancer: Alexis Polito
Espada, a famous toreador: Temur Suluashvili
To begin I will start at the end.  
Emma and I (along with a couple thousand others) eagerly leaped from our seats to reward the dancers of the Joffrey Ballet with a well deserved and heartfelt standing ovation following Saturday evening's performance of Yuri Possokhov's, Don Quixote.  As the audience cheered, artistic director, Ashley Wheater, presented Victoria Jaiani with a bouquet of white roses for completing her flawless performance and the beaming ballerina passed a rose along to her leading man, Carlos Quenedit, for his memorably powerful portrayal of Basilio.  It was a beautifully quintessential night at the ballet.

Death defying lifts, welcomed humor, enticing video projections, classically elegant costumes, complex choreography and a large puppet all dovetailed to create what I will long consider to be one of the best nights at the ballet I've ever experienced. Not since we digested the their tragic version of Othello in 2009,  have the Joffrey dancers captivated us in the same manner as they did in this world class production.  
The Joffrey Ballet has long been known as an "all stars" or "no stars" company meaning each dancer is viewed equally and given their chance to shine.  Leading dancers emerge, but not at the expense of celebrating a more athletic dancer in a different piece and Don Quixote celebrated their company of all-stars better than I could have imagined.  From character driven funny men to a sultry street dancer and her matador each and every person had their moment to shine last night.  Emma was on the edge of her seat as the company handled Possokhov's risky and athletic choreography with a confident ease.  The evening was an impressive display of athletic resolve and strong artistic sensibility.  What more can you ask for?
The Joffrey reached new heights with their powerful production and danced with unity, grace, and power; the city of Chicago is lucky to have them. 
On the Threshold is up in February.  Don't be left out.  Buy a ticket.
photo credit: Herbert Migdoll/Joffrey Ballet.


Last night Leif and Finn hit Toyota Park with a bunch of the Rapids to cheer on the Chicago Fire. I guess it worked because the Fire beat the Columbus Crew 3-2.   It sounds to me like they had a fantastic boys night out!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Glimpse into Childhood.

To say that I feel like a kid in a candy shop when I think about enjoying this menu in December may be cliche, but it is o so true!  I am counting down the days until I get to go, but in the meantime will have to enjoy this welcome flashback to childhood!

Insert People Here...

 I am working on a super fun project with a friend and we had to go location scouting for a photo shoot we are planning. I loved our autumn hike and cannot wait to get our subjects into the interesting nooks and crannies we discovered yesterday!  Stay tuned...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Winter Color.

Retiring my vibrant red hair for a while is the perfect way to welcome winter weather, but it sure does make me feel more like a middle aged mom. When I snapped this picture, however, I was pleasantly surprised by how I looked.   I often photograph myself right after getting my hair done because I know I probably won't look this good until I hit the salon again in six weeks!  I've also discovered that I look pretty good under my white dining room curtains in the afternoon.  Honestly, I cannot remember exactly how I figured this out, but being a SAHM does funny things to a person.  Clean the tops of the kitchen cabinets OR photograph yourself under the dining room curtains?  These are the choices I'm faced with on a daily basis and sometimes the curtains win! I just sincerely hope nothing ever happens to my Leifer; the likelihood of me meeting a new man on salon day under my dining room curtains are are slim to none at best!

The little guy...

...went and got big cheeks and a personality in the last couple of weeks.
He remains my biggest crush!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Feeling Childish!

Yesterday both kids were up late working on homework and getting ready for the following day.  By the time everyone settled in for the night, Leif and I snuggled in on the couch to watch a couple of shows before heading to bed.  We were up later than normal, but that didn't change my bedtime routine. Out of habit, I always check my email and glance at Facebook before shutting down my computer for the night.  Well last night I saw this on my home page...
Huh? A midnight release of tickets to Next's coveted childhood menu?  I tip-toed over to the Next Restaurant page and lo and behold, there were tables wide open all over the place.  I snapped up an in demand two top in December with such ease that I almost wondered if I was dreaming.  Getting tickets to Paris 1906 and Tour of Thailand were far more dramatic, but after reading my confirmation email at least a half a dozen times I finally believed that we were going to have the chance to enjoy Next Childhood.  Sneaking around Next's website in the middle of the night made me feel like a like child who had snuck out of the house and didn't get caught!  These people sure  know how to work a theme!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dances Past & Present.

MOMENTA will present Dances Past&Present in the evening on Saturdays November 5th and 12th and Sundays November 6th and 13th. I am anxious to see several of the historical works and Emma is delighted to be performing in Doris Humphrey's, Water Study. She'll hang up her dancing shoes for a bit following these performances to make time to recover from her upcoming shoulder surgery.  If you decide to attend a show you can bet we'll be there; we don't plan to miss a single one!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Punkins at the Patch.

This afternoon we met up with my brother and his family for our annual outing to the pumpkin patch in Lake Geneva. It is always fun to see my parents with all of their grandchildren and the four cousins always have a grand time hightailing it through the corn maze and jumping on the hay bales!  After working up an appetite and selecting our pumpkins, we all headed back to my parent's house to enjoy a lovely pulled pork lunch my mom prepared for all of us. 

It never quite feels like autumn is really upon us until we share this day as a family.
Happy Fall!
Thanks for a lovely day mom and dad!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Inspired to share the things I love.

Emma was up until nearly 4am doing homework again last night and it occurred to me that lately there are only about 2-3 hours per day that everyone in our house is sleeping.  When we are awake we're all flying in a million different directions and I've been thinking that we all need to slow down.  I wasn't really looking on the bright side of life this morning, but instead, feeling harried and pressed for time.

As I was reading the daily posts on my favorite blogs this morning, I discovered a little trail of inspiration at Virtual Farmgirl.  Taking the lead from Molly and her blogger friend at Are You the Babysitter?, I decided to share some of the things I love.  I agree with both of them regarding the importance of focusing on the positive things in life especially when a good chunk of it feels like an avalanche of laundry, carpools, homework, and sleepless nights.  Making my list proved to be a lovely exercise and one I've committed to repeat whenever my life starts to feel more like a grind than a celebration of all the things I love!  Go on...give it a try!
Mel's Love List
  • My friend, Leif.  Seriously, I dig the man.  Considering we met and fell in love when I was just a few days over twenty we've done a lot of growing up together.  Our evolving relationship brings me total joy and I cannot wait to see where we end up in the future.
  • Watching Emma dance.  She started wearing a tutu by choice at age two and earned the middle name Grace before we even knew her.  She is pretty gifted, but more than that her commitment to this art has transformed her as a student and helped her become a confident and admirable young woman.
  • Finn's Red Hair.  He has always been a sprite of a boy and his hair suits him perfectly. When he was born I fell in love with the color of his hair instantly and even though he is a mischievous Red Wedge on the soccer field and undaunted by most challenges, I catch a glimpse of my baby when I look at his shock of crimson hair.
  • Our little house It is a tiny, comfortable reflection of our lives and everything in it has a story.  It may not be the hippest place in town, but our bungalow it isn't called the Elsmo-Vortex for nothing.
  • A cooking challenge. I have always loved to push the limits of my abilities in the kitchen and I should acknowledge how much I've enjoyed the fun challenges I've faced in the last year.
  • Friends who cook for me.  Love.  Wish it happened more often.
  • Talking on the phone.  I am terrible at  texting, but a good mindless phone banter always makes my day and offers a welcome distraction from  tasks like emptying the dishwasher and folding laundry.
  • Serendipity.  My entire life is one huge and gorgeous happy accident!
  • Fine dining.  Call me a snob if you want, but few things in life make me happier than eating in the finest restaurants in the world.
  • Camping.  From the tents to the campfires I love it all. 
  • Thanksgiving.  It is my favorite holiday of the year and I love it best when I get to host it.
  • Good Penmanship.  Hand written words are beautiful.
  • Legacy.  Create, cherish, and pass it on.
  • Babies.  A lot. A whole lot.
  • Public Speaking.  Put me in front of a room full of people any day.
  • Sweaters, Slippers and Blankets.  I love anything that makes me feel cozy.
  • Hiding behind a camera.  I love collecting memories for myself and other people.
  • Blogging.  It is the perfect way to account for all the wonderful happenings in our lives.
  • Going to the Ballet.  Emma and I have been long time season ticket holders at the Joffrey and my Mom used to take me to the ballet when I was little.  Everything is beautiful at the ballet.
  • The EPL.  It is insane how much knowing Leif and Finn has helped me to love international soccer.  I even watch games by myself these days!
  • Planes.  I still crane my neck to see out the window when I am on one and I am probably the only parent of a teenager who still points out low flying planes near O'Hare.
  • Volunteering.  Donating time is a way of life for me.  I don't have a pay check to prove it.
  • Tattoos.  I love mine, but most especially love them on other people.
  • People who inspire me.  From friends to strangers...the list is long.
  • The fact that this list could be longer...says a lot.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


This one took me a minute.
Have fun!


Considering the odd little creature my friend Ang found in her back yard yesterday my praying mantis doesn't seem all that remarkable anymore.  I still think this gangly insect made for a nice back yard addition though; he was perched right on my fence all afternoon.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Two events/3000 appetizers

 Yep.  Exhausted and delighted are the only two words that could describe me over the past several days! On Thursday night I tackled a fund raising event for the Oak Park Regional Housing Center and my team and I put out nearly 2000 hors d'oeuvres in a little over two hours at Unity Temple.  On Saturday I turned around and along with my team of extraordinary volunteers produced over 1000 appetizers for folks attending a benefit for the Pablove Foundation at a private River Forest Residence.  Gorgeous food for a couple of great causes.  What could be better?

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