Sunday, November 30, 2008

I can see for miles and miles

Sincere apologies for the delay in posting about the end of our trip--I couldn't find a wi fi signal last night and opted to sleep this morning rather than blogging the minute we got home! Also, my laptop screen, which has been ill for months, decided to choose this afternoon to die, so blogging may be infrequent for a bit (though J just figured out how to feed my laptop through the amazing Tv--too cool!).

Anyhow, on to Day Three of our great Chicago adventure!

J and I started Day Three with our leftovers from Geno’s East Pizza (the best deep dish in Chicago, we hear) and a walk to Millennium Park, the most recent addition to Chicago’s Park District, and a visit to the kidney bean sculpture, which J promptly renamed ‘the Vain Exhibit’ as it serves little purpose but to look at yourself. We, of course, did just that and took pictures, too! We continued on our walk through the park and the city, enjoying the amazing architecture Chicago has to offer, before hopping on a Gray Line trolley to see more new places, including the Chicago Water Tower and Pump Station, two of the only buildings that remained in that part of Chicago after the Fire of 1871; the John Hancock Building; the Magnificent Mile high end shopping district; and Chicago’s financial district. In the heart of the financial district, we hopped off the trolley and headed up 103 floors to the Sears Tower observation deck, where we delighted in finding bird’s eye views of our hotel and the Dunkin Donuts we visited Thursday morning! After our visit to the Sears Tower, we finally took a ride on the El, took another visit to the Christkindl Market, and stopped for a late lunch in a Greek Pub near our hotel. We then collected our luggage and headed for Union Station, where we are now waiting on our train. Unfortunately, Union Station does not appear to have wi-fi, so I’ll have to save and post this message from somewhere along the way home! Be sure and check back tomorrow for a witty wrap-up of our trip!

Title: "I can see for miles", by The Who

Friday, November 28, 2008

Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana

Day Two in Chicago: More walking than I can imagine, trips to Macy's (formerly Marshall Fields flagship on State Street), the Field Museum (Sue the T. Rex got our attention), Shedd Aquarium (underwhelming until we were almost eaten by a sawtooth shark), an architectural cruise of the Chicago River (one word--Wow!), Cheeseborgers at the World Famous Billy Goat Tavern (think Chicago Cubs curse and SNL skit), a trip to the largest Stained Glass museum in North America (well, the only one, but it was awfully big!) and a trip around the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel. In all, a long day, and we've still got some deep dish Chicago pizza to finish off the night.

Enjoy some pictures!
Bronze markers in the floor at the foot of the escalators in Macy's, letting you know your floor and which street you're facing!

J and JE have some fun with the dinosaurs at the Field Museum.

J and JE contemplate taking a shortcut to Navy Pier.
A quick explanation about the title of this post. While on a tour bus today, we learned that is you look south from the Chicago lakefront, you can see the skyline of Gary, Indiana. Now, JE immediately thought of "The Music Man" and promptly started singing Gary, Indiana, Gary... J, on the other hand, thought of the Jackson family, as in Michael. His tribute to the King of Pop is at left. Gary is the skyline in the background.

J at Billy Goat and the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel where JE faced her fear of heights/fear of not being in control again.
Check back tomorrow for Day three!
Title: "Gary, Indiana" in The Music Man

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Still Counting...

If you're just now sitting down to read about our Thanksgiving adventure, you'll want to scroll down to the post titled "Counting our blessings" and start there. We'll wait...

Our morning aboard Amtrack continued with a "Gobble, Gobble" wake up call from the conducter at 7:30, and shortly after, we were priviliged to view a beautiful sunrise as we traveled through the bread basket of our great country. (Actually, after some debate, I've decided to rename this part of Indiana the Corn Flakes Box of our country--we passed miles of corn fields today!)

We arrived in Chicago shortly after the end of the 75th McDonald's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which made the drive from the train station to the hotel interesting (the parade route was between the two and was blocked all morning). We did get checked into our room in time for me to watch the last hour of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC, a tradition in our house when I was growing up. I am committed to respecting the turkey, but when Santa enters Herald Square in the goose/sleigh, I'm ready to start celebrating the Christmas season!

J and I were famished, so set out to grab lunch. Turns out, there isn't much open in Chicago on Thanksgiving, so we settled for Dunkin Donuts. I don't believe I'll ever forget my Thanksgiving pizza and donut! We also walked around the city a bit, taking pictures and visiting the ChristKindl Market, which is a great array of (mostly) German craftsman and food booths.

In a bit, we're heading out to a restaurant the concierge downstairs found for us, then it is an early night, as I've got quite the itinerary for us tomorrow!

Counting our blessings

Happy Thanksgiving! We hope that you are all well and have many blessings to count this Thanksgiving; we are so very grateful for the many blessings in our lives.

J and I are off on our next Great Adventure--a belated anniversary trip to Chicago (by train!) to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. As of this writing, it is just before six in the morning, and I have been awake most of the night, so please forgive any typos or unclear references to time and place!

Before we left home Wednesday, we were thrilled to find that our copy of the brick I purchased at the Indianapolis Colts new stadium had arrived. As you recall, I purchased a brick in the new Indianapolis Colts Lucas Oil Stadium to commemorate our wedding. I gave Jonathon a certificate announcing this purchase on our first anniversary back in September. I was very surprised to learn that we would receive a copy of the brick, as well! This is the brick that arrived yesterday, and we were very excited to open it! J was even more excited to take the brick to his office for display. He was less excited when I shared that I already have the ‘picture in my head’ of where the brick will be placed in our family room!

Our trip got off to a bit of a rough start (J closed the trunk on my head, we arrived at the train station in Maysville two hours early, then discovered that the train was delayed by an additional hour), and I’ve discovered that my inability to sleep in the car translates to an inability to sleep on a train (thus defeating the purpose of an overnight rail trip). But, we’re now in Indianapolis for a brief stop, and J got to see Lucas Oil Stadium (Where our brick may already be resting in the Colts Walk of Fame!) and the old RCA Dome. My apologies for the poor picture quality; pictures taken from inside the train don’t seem to come out well, even with the flash turned off…
On a side note, I am watching two Amtrak conductors outside my window, and they actually wear the boxy little conductor hats like on Shining Time Station/Thomas the Train. Huh!

Well, I’m going to try to catch a quick nap before the train starts to move again, but please check back regularly this weekend as we plan to take and post many pictures! Have a wonderful day and eat lots of turkey for us!

Title: "Counting My Blessings", by Irving Berlin

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I never meant to be so cold. . . .

So how does your gentle hero find himself at Papa Johns Stadium in Louisville at around 12:00 p.m. on a Saturday, when it is, as they say, colder than a Wiccan's secondary sexual characteristics?  Contrary to your likely first assumption, it did not involve me losing a bet.   But other than that, I really can't explain how I got there other than to say, I guess I'll try anything for a friend (in this case, Dan Hitchcock, a fellow attorney and a Louisville alum who happened to have an extra ticket and needed some back up).

So, in the spirit of friendship, your humble narrator left the warmth of his home to trek to Louisville to sit outside in one of the coldest days of the new winter season to watch two teams contest a football game in which he had no rooting interest . . . and I've got to say, it was okay.  For Dan's sake, I wish Louisville would have won (While I could have needled Dan about Louisville losing on the drive home, having recently felt the sting of the UK men's basketball team's losses myself, I figured my own knife might be turned back on me).  Nonetheless, it was fun to hang out, to observe drunk West Virginia fans (our seats were in the West Virginia section) and to watch two teams play some football.

Add that to my going undefeated in my FNM draft last night, and I've got to say, I've had a pretty good day . . . well, you know, except for the hypothermia.

Title: Cold, by Crossfade

Thursday, November 20, 2008

In the lane, snow is glistening

We had snow last weekend, but it was brief, light and didn't really last. Tonight, the snow started around 5:00 and is still peppering down. Thought I'd share a picture from our first real snow of the winter! This is actually the house across the street. It's a little cold for me to actually go all the way outside to take a picture looking back at our house... :)

Title: Winter Wonderland, by Dick Smith and Felix Bernard

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Working in the craft room, cleaning up, up, up...

For those of you appalled by the picture I posted of my office/ craft room yesterday (Mom, I know you are!), I wanted to give a quick update with more pictures. Six hours and another bag of trash later, the room is now usable. There is obviously still work to do, and it isn't close to being a 'finished' room, but once I started, I just couldn't stop. Hope you like these pictures better!!

Title: My own twisted version of "Working in the Coal Mine" by Allen Toussaint

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Baby, it's cold outside!

And what do we do on a cold, wet Saturday in November? We stay in the warm, dry house and do a little updating. And by 'we', I mean me--J had to work today, so I enjoyed the quiet and tackled some things I've been thinking about.

First, I want to tell you all about the awesome table we bought yesterday. Last month, J and I visited the Athens Schoolhouse Antique Show, a once a month antique show just outside of town (I blogged about it here). Now, it helps to understand that J, like many men of his generation (and probably women, too, but I was entirely too girly for this) is enthralled with transformers. As an adult, that interest extends to housewares and furniture (I swear, the only items he got excited about when we were registering were those multi-purpose items!). Well, since we were only at the show to look around last month, we weren't prepared to purchase the coolest item we saw: a living room cabinet that transforms into a dining table for as few or as many as you'd like to serve. I thought it was beautiful and was pretty excited at the prospect of turning our living room into a part-time dining room. J was pretty excited, as well. I think he called it being "cautiously optimistic."

After a month of debate, we crossed our fingers, withdrew the amount of money we were willing to spend on the table, and I headed over before work yesterday to see if the seller was there with 'our' table. Lucky for me, he was and he barely hesitated at our offer--$200 below his asking price! So we loaded up the cabinet in my car (picture the TV in the back of my car, except that the top just barely covered the cabinet--good thing, too; I had to take the interstate to make it to the office and was afraid to go over 45 with the top down!) and I proceeded to drive all over creation with it for the next 12 hours, as I needed J's help to get it out and didn't see him at home until after dinner at about 9:30.

As you can see in the pictures, the table is now at home in our living room awaiting seven of our closest friends and family to come dine with us. We're now taking reservations!

In addition to rearranging a little furniture in the living room, I also put up hooks in the laundry room to hold wreaths and hangers. Then I tackled my office/craft room. When we packed up my apartment, many of my boxes ended up in the office and I've been slow to unpack them. After a few hours and a big bag of trash later, I barely made a dent, but I'm starting to get a mental picture of how it is going to look.
Title: Baby, It's Cold Outside, by Frank Loesser

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I just realized that you might wonder why I made a "Give Thanks" banner for the mantel when I made that cool "Happy Thanksgiving" garland back in October. "Happy Thanksgiving" went to live with J's sister, who, you might remember, was to be rewarded for being our first commenter. Now, aren't you jealous?

O'er the fields we go, laughing all the way

No, I've not gotten completely wrapped up in Christmas like the rest of the known world (I passed a Salvation Army bell ringer at Kroger yesterday--already? Really?). I read somewhere this week that Jingle Bells was originally written as a Thanksgiving song, and since there aren't nearly enough of those to pick from, I'm taking Jingle Bells back.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, and to get to the point of this post, I've written before that this is J's and my favorite holiday (so favorite, that we celebrate twice--both Canada and the U.S. versions). This weekend, I finally got around to taking down the Halloween-specific decorations and replaced them with Thanksgiving-specific decor instead.
Lucky me, I put shopping for the Thanksgiving items off until yesterday, so I got some great deals at Michael's and TJ Maxx, including some great scrapbook paper that I used to whip up a couple of banners.

For the more observant of you, you'll notice the mirror above the mantel is gone and replaced by a Paul Sawyier print (okay, only the really observant will know it's a Paul Sawyier--I'll forgive you for just noticing the mirror was replaced by a painting). It turns out my mirror was just too small for the scale of the mantel, so we moved it to another wall. I'm awfully sad about losing the mirror, as it was a big part of the picture in my head, but I'm thrilled to have a place for the print in this room, too.

Hope you all have a great week, and don't forget to fly your flags and thank a veteran on Tuesday!!

Title: Jingle Bells, by James Lord Pierpont

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I'm a big kid now!

J and I are planners; those of you who know us at all know that. Being planners, we have decided to put a great deal of thought into the decision to have children. Now, we're both the youngest child in our families, so we don't exactly have lots of experience with small children. In an effort to supplement our thought process with practical experience, we've taken to 'borrowing' the children of our friends on occasion (J prefers these children to be sick, tired and/or hungry when we borrow them--I can't imagine why!).

Today, our friend Kourtney called and asked if we would keep her daughter for a couple of hours while she played a tennis match in the park next to our house. We jumped at the chance, and, of course, I was even more thrilled when Kourt dropped off L with a clean diaper and relatively empty belly. J and I entertained L with our Halloween pumpkins, the Rock Band drum kit and, finally, sticks out of the backyard (L's choice, not mine). While L played with her sticks and I worked on a stick art project to send home with her, I started to notice an interesting odor coming from my little charge. Turns out L's stomach wasn't quite empty enough.

Unfortunately for us, Kourtney hadn't dropped off a diaper bag with L, so J offered to run to Kroger for back-up. I checked the back of L's pull-ups and determined that they were a size 6 (or that they were decorated with a random squiggle on the back...still not sure which) and sent J off in search of Dora pull-ups. He quickly returned with pull-ups in a size 5, but assured me "They have Dora on the front". I grabbed the package and, as I tore it open, noticed that they actually had Diego, Dora's male counterpart, on the front. Those of you with kids will know that means J bought pull-ups for little boys, not little girls (convenient of Pampers to gender code their products that way...I later noticed that the package was blue with a little boy on the front...these may also have been clues for the clueless shopper).

Needless to say, L was cleaned up, dropped into her new pull-ups, and put back together just in time for Kourtney to show up. And now Kourtney has little boy pull-ups should she try for a little brother for L--we didn't feel the need to hang on to them!

Title: Pull-Ups Jingle