Friday, February 29, 2008


If Ben Franklin is to be believed, then nothing is certain but death and taxes.  I've spent the last few hours on the latter with the help of TurboTax, which I snagged off a friend of mine.  The fact that he got the "Premier" version complete with Investments & Rental Property tells me 2007 was a good year for him.  Cheers to that!

Unfortunately, the government must have thought it was a good year for us too, because they want us to send in more money.  

As a voting issue, taxes are #1 for me, which is a large part of the reason I'm unlikely to vote with the rest of the household this November.  Or with the rest of most of the people I know for that matter.   

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Guest Blogger

As Jessie lives it up this week, some 23 degrees latitude and 59 degrees fahrenheit away in Puerto Rico, I'll be filling in as guest blogger.  Initially, I had some really good ideas on how to goose traffic on these pages and start generating some ad revenue.  Unfortunately, Jessie reminded me that this is a family blog.... 
...which pretty much cleaned me out.

Good chips though.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I'll be as happy as this snowman tomorrow when I get out of the airplane and step into the Caribbean.
I'm signing off for the night and handing the baton to my lovely husband who will be guest blogging for me while I'm in Puerto Rico. I often find him amusing. I hope you do too.

Later yous.

Monday, February 25, 2008

In the air

The girl-who-grew-up-in-the-farmlands in me is constantly compelled to talk about the weather. I know, I know. But this morning there was that thing in the air. Do you know what I'm talking about? I think it's partly a storm front pressure thing, but it's also, as my dad put it, "a different kind of humidity with maybe a bird chirping in the background." There's a spring thing in the air. The ground is a little warmer, a little soggier. Granted, there is currently snow piling up on my windowsill. Our six-hundredth snow storm is rolling through. But that thing, if even for a fleeting, heart breaking moment, was in the air this morning.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Nick Movie Awards

So much fun. We got to vote AND walk down the red carpet. Though I didn't win any of the bets, there were even trophies and chocolates handed out to those who guessed right the Hollywood wins Nick would pick. Now I'm off to watch the OTHER movie awards at the Buck/Lee annual Oscars party. I've picked Javier Bardem, Daniel Day-Lewis and the Coen Brothers as sure wins tonight.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


We saw Jesus Christ Superstar last night. It rocked like a rock opera should. Not to mention that the Cadillac Palace Theater is breathtaking. It takes you right back to a time and a place when people didn't wear jeans (like I did) to see theater. Bygone days. Bye. Gone.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Hi-Top Sneakers

I got my Uncle Dan's new CD "High-Top Sneakers" in the mail today. I'm tapping my toes to it as I type. So far (I'm only a few songs in), my favorite track is "Brand New Fiddle." I'm a sucker for fiddle songs. In his liner notes, Dan writes about this song: "One year a regular contestant at the Brownville Old-Time Fiddlers Convention showed up with a new, younger wife. I overheard a rival fiddler say, 'Looks like he got a brand new fiddle for his bow!' I knew there had to be a song there."

Here is a video of Dan and band playing the song at the CD release party. Enjoy! (And beware of bouncing in your seat!)

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Ah, Charmers. There is always a warm table waiting for me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Dude. That's the freaking moon! Flashless photography is cool in a night-looks-like-day way!
So, there's a total lunar eclipse tonight, kids. And the word is that Saturn might be showy as well. With a telescope or binoculars you should see the rings tonight. I found a $15 telescope at Walgreen's today and I'm bouncing around the apartment waiting for the whole thing to start. (I am also having a photo shoot with the moon.) Hope you can all slip on those parkas and head out to gaze at the sky tonight.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"Winter Song" by Aaron Kramer

Under a willow
close by a brook
her lap for a pillow
her eyes for a book

she like a drummer
practiced her art
all spring and all summer—
the drum was my heart.

Hear how the willow sighs to the sun:
It is over and done with, over and done!
Hear the cold brook, that can hardly run:
It is over and done with, over and done!

Under what maple
close by what lake
will she lie next April?
Whose heart will she break?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Fixing a hole

It's cute how the city jumps in and protects the citizens. I think this cone has been here for about nine months. At least we can see the hole that we shouldn't step in. High five, Chicago.

Oh and hey to the baseball fans that make up most of my family. I thought that you might get a kick out of this one. (Since some of you are pranksters yourselves.)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

My Mojo is on! (And I can't stop licking my arms.)

It was a rainy drippy day in our part of the world today. Eric took this photo for me this afternoon. I waited in the car while he slid across an ice covered park to get this shot of the clouds rolling over lake michigan.

It was a good day to visit with girlfriends and get my nails painted. Annie found this sweet place called Mojo Spa where their beauty products are edible and they feed you french toast and (strong, hot) coffee while they rub your feet and legs with something resembling coconut custard. Honestly kids, I think I could get into this.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Cozy home, warm hearts

Three roomfuls of people sang as candles blew out. For Allison's birthday we sat feasting on cupcakes and LK's mean gingerbread, drinking bourbon slush and belgian beers.

Friday, February 15, 2008


I met LK for coffee today at Cafe Neo. It's a smart little spot in Lincoln Square that serves up a strong cup of coffee. That's all I need, really, to give any place two thumbs up. Strong, hot coffee. Cafe Neo, two thumbs up.

I mentioned to LK, who introduced me to M. Ward a couple years ago, that I have his last album, Post War, in the cd player in my car and that I, for the life of me, can't take it out. Nope, it's not stuck. It's just that as far as excellent music to turn way up on your car stereo goes, it's irreplaceable. It may even be why I have a car. Trust me, I've tried to stick in other favorite cd's but my heart just breaks and my shoulders droop down. Back in M. Ward goes.

He is good and wise and Post War is good and wise at its best.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Song Against Street Numbers

by Gladys McKee

We live in a house
On the top of a hill,
With sun for a carpet
And flowers for the sill,
Our teakettle sings,
Our forks and our spoons
Are made of the silver
Of tender young moons;
And I turn my head,
Pretend not to hear,
When neighbors insist,
"She lives in the rear."

They staunchly deny
Three stair-flights can be
The same as the top
Of a green hill to me,
And only when stars
Dip low in the night
Can I keep on saying
"They're wrong and I'm right."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

You can't touch this

Thank you for blessing me
With a mind to rhyme and two hyped feet.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Platillos Voladores

As I'm doing the countdown to Puerto Rico (aka sunshine therapy) I am gathering some fun literature and info. Yesterday in the mail, I got this book of Puerto Rican legends, you know, animals, conquistadors, spiritual beings, extra terrestrials. It's awesome. And the picture posted above just about made me split my sides open laughing. Now, I love all things ufo. So many fun movies, books, conspiracy theories. And if aliens are out there, why wouldn't they want to check us out? We have snowplows, Michael Jackson, and the electric eel. It's totally understandable. But this illustration makes it look like the aliens just want to know a few things 1. Where the girl got that dress 2. Where the nearest resort with a pool-side bar can found, and 3. Why those people aren't running.

And speaking of not-of-this-world. I've mentioned Allison's brother (who looks like Jesus) on the blog before. Look at this picture that she took of him last week. Uncanny folks. (If you have a moment, check out more of her photography. It's fantastic.)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Attention Residents

Sometimes living in a building with other adults is hard.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


This was the frost on our windshield this morning. It's too cold to move. It's too cold to type.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

With My Own Eyes

Today I saw Elvis (he hasn't change a bit) and my very favorite movie of the year. Hands down. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a good one to watch if you ever feel sorry for yourself (like I do when my favorite diner is closed).

Friday, February 8, 2008

Prairie Joe's

This is my favorite place to eat in all the world. But I have not eaten here in two years. Each time we drive up to Evanston to have dinner here, it is dark and closed with a new sign with the new dwindling hours posted on the door and I am forced to stare through the window like I did tonight and to try with all my might to conjure up the taste of that gooey egg and cheese sandwich. True diner style. They must be moving to more of a breakfast/lunch place. I know, I know, at least they are still open. At least I can still savor their chocolate malts even if it's during breakfast. At least they are still with us. But every hour without the potential for a chorizo y queso omlet is a damn shame.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Awe. Eric made breakfast for dinner tonight.
The second best part of the day was hearing the song "It's my fault for being famous" a White Stripes and Beck collaboration. Click here to play the song. On the radio, they said that Beck produced, sang back up and played piano while Jack and Meg recorded in his living room.

Dear God,
Please let them tour together.
Hunger may stop and world peace might start.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Some Days

Some days I wish I didn't have a blog to post something on. So I take a picture of my wall sconce and post it and get back to reading my book.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Snow Day

Current weather report: Sloshy, cold, flakes on the way, and a zero percent chance of swimming.

Eric and I are acting like two kids who might get school cancelled tomorrow. We are supposed to get up to a foot of snow by tomorrow and though there is nothing yet, we keep peeking out the window wondering if we should just go ahead and stay up all night eating frozen pizza and watching tv. There should at least be a late start tomorrow. Even to two grownups, there's a little magic in getting to sleep in on a Wednesday.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Yes we can

Between Barack, the girl from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and finding yet another new way to put a speech to music, there's something here for everybody while they drink their evening tea. This moved me.
(Of course, I still cry when I hear We Are the World, and come to think of it, Give Peace a Chance lumps my throat on up as well.)
Sleep tight, kids.


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Bowl

On our way to watch the Super Bowl at Adam and Cristin's and alongside their fabulous homemade food. Let me say that I went from not even knowing who was playing in the game to being brainwashed by Eric into caring so much about the Giants winning that I couldn't even watch the end of the game.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Adventure Girl's Guide to Puerto Rico

LK and I sat down and mapped out our trip to Puerto Rico today.
Day 1: A ranch in Arecibo
Day 2: Inland driving tour ending in Fajardo
Day 3: Mountain biking on the island of Vieques
Days 4-6: San Juan

I can already smell the sunscreen! Can't say I'll miss the piles of snow.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Lakeside Cafe

Because it has snowed half a foot, it's the closest eating establishment within walking distance to our home and because they have terrific chocolate cake, we walked to Lakeside Cafe for dessert tonight.

Today I was also going through some old writing on the computer and came across this tidbit I wrote two years ago. (I'm sure things/hours/people have changed since.) This was for an assignment in grad school. Find a food joint an make it seem interesting. Luckily, I found an intersting food joint.

Ah how I love reading these old assignments. I am trying so desperately hard to sound like a reporter.

The smell of basil and garlic saturate the air outside the new vegetarian Lakeside Café on Howard Avenue in Rogers Park. Flanking a mechanic’s garage and alley, the café seems outright misplaced, especially considering that the avenue’s most popular eateries are Popeye’s Chicken and Dunkin Donuts. But to owner Jeffery Tippman, the café is exactly where it should be.

Inside, locals enjoy zucchini bisque, grilled cheese with pesto, gourmet coffee and cinnamon banana milk while soothing acoustic music plays in the background. Though there are still several empty tables, the place is far from vacant. Friends catch up; others sit quietly with a book, unwinding after a long day.

Café managers Amy Mareing and Patrick O’Neil, who are at the café everyday during the open hours of 3pm-10pm, joke with each other in the large open kitchen where customers can watch their food be made. Underneath shelves stacked high with soup bowls and spices, whole grain noodles boil on the stove. And just steps away, through a closed door that could easily be overlooked, guided mediations take place.
Jeffery, who prefers to go by his first name, and his partner Amona opened Lake Side Café/ I.M.U. (Inner Metamorphosis University) a month ago in order to offer people a place to shake off the grittiness of everyday life. “The Café is a place where people can relax, be themselves and eat affordable and delicious healthy food.” Jeffery believes that good health and nutrition make a person more balanced and ready to explore their true emotions and to ultimately find joy.

A book titled The Source of Joy Within by I.M.U. initiator, Bhaskar Perinchery, which is sold in the café, states that “With a true sensitivity every moment is sacred, every act is sacred, and every place is sacred. Once you attain that vision for yourself, once you become aware of what sacredness is, and once you learn to approach the sacred in the correct manner, you will start seeing that sacredness is present in every single moment.”

“Joy is natural,” Jeffery explains “It is a part of every human experience. Finding joy is just a matter of getting beyond the fog.”
But you won’t be bombarded with meditation instructors putting on pressure to join the classes. Only a subtle bookshelf leans against the back wall with inspirational books, I.M.U. newsletters and Jeffery’s business card which simply reads, “Inner Metamorphosis University –Jeffrey—Silence & Celebration.” The café is first and foremost a place to relax, whether that means for you, the newspaper and some freshly squeezed grapefruit juice or Guided Inner Letting Go. In fact, you are lucky to catch Jeffery as he works quietly behind the scenes.

You are almost guaranteed, however, a cheerful hello from managers O’Neil and Mareing. Together they cover everything from food orders to cooking to keeping the place tidy, with only a break on Tuesdays when they are closed. But they still find time to ask opinions on the recipes and to sit for a moment with visitors they know.
Already, Lake Side Café is a place where people of the neighborhood know that they are welcome. A man comes inside needing a quarter for his two dimes and nickel. O’Neil gladly obliges with a “Have a good rest of your day.” Mareing sings with the background music as she wipes down a table. And a customer sighs as he throws a magazine in the recycling bin. “That was the best grilled cheese I’ve had all day,” he proclaims with a giant smile. Those within earshot are tempted to giggle until they realize that he means it with all his heart.