Monday, March 31, 2008

Garfield minus Garfield

I have some huge deadlines coming up for work so I've been trying to find anything else to do but my work. One of them is reading this great tumblr that Eric pointed out to me called "Garfield minus Garfield." It's quite possibly my favorite thing on the internet at the moment. It's just as it says, Garfield comics without Garfield which results in a sad, delusional, schizophrenic and desperate Jon Arbuckle. It's not very nice to laugh at sad, delusional, schizophrenic and desperate people, but it's okay this time since he's a cartoon. Here are a few of my favorites but visit the blog for a daily dose of fun.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Shamrock Shuffle

Well kids, I did it. On this cold Chicago morning Eric, Chris, Stacy, Tom and I ran the Shamrock Shuffle, the world's largest 8K race. I beat my goal of 55 minutes (by 15 seconds). Eric left us all in a cloud of dust and finished at 42.30 minutes. Shoo-wee.

Eric would like you to think that after the race I was double fisting it and that I helped myself to more than my fair share of beer tickets. But as you can see I was only holding Chris's beer as he warmed his very cold hands. Yes, it may seem that we are lunatics to wake up at the crack of dawn on a weekend, take an hour long train ride, stand around in the cold and drizzle for over an hour, run five miles, stand some more in the freezing mist and drizzle, drink a beer at 10:30 am, and then take an hour long train ride back home. But this is what we call fun.

Of course, my favorite part was hugging this very happy Shriner's hat. We were wearing the same outfit.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Navy Pier

We had to stop by Navy Pier last night to pick up our race packets for the Shamrock Shuffle (tomorrow). The pier used to be called Municipal Pier until after World War I when they renamed it to honor Navy veterans. During World War II, the U.S. Navy used the pier as a training center and afterward, the pier became a campus for the University of Illinois (1946-1965). It wasn't until 1989 that the pier was polished up to become a place to keep the tourists at arms length from the city. (Seriously, there's a trolley that loads 'em up and moves them out there and then doesn't show back up for hours and hours). Besides being home to Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Chicago Public Radio (okay and maybe the architectural boat tours), Navy Pier is mostly for kids and suckers.

Friday, March 28, 2008


So I meant to have a post about these the other day when they came in a fun package in the mail, but I am easily distracted. Eric's sister, Miss Sarah Huls, made these candles with her own two hands and sent them to us, all the way from Idaho. She buys the wax (and from what I understand, she found a deal online so now has four truck loads of it in her living room) and then somehow, magically melts into it various scents. We got Cinnabon and Strawberries and Cream or if you're me and you burn them at the same time, you have strawberry cinnabons with cream. Sarah says that they even have scents you can order such as "monkey farts " and "butt naked." Sounds sick and wrong right? Whatever. I'm curious. I totally want to smell those. And you know you do too.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bikes that fly

This morning when I was out walking Max, I saw this man riding his bike. He kept skidding to a stop right about alongside where Max and I were walking. At first I wondered if he was trying to be silly. I mean, I'm real cute first thing in the morning with pillow creases across my face, pajama pants four inches too short, my hair falling out of the do I fell asleep with. He could very well have been flirting. But the third time he slid to a halt, he got off the bike, picked it up, and THREW it about forty feet. It took every last ounce of my self control to not take a picture of him pulling the bike out of someone's bushes. Instead, I turned the corner and turned my thoughts to biking this summer. I can hardly wait-but I have to until I have the chance to go buy a bike. My spiffy mountain bike that I bought in college got stolen, but that's okay, I was constantly worried about that happening, so I guess now I can stop. I'd been hoping to swap it out with an old used street bike that no one would want anyhow. So on to an old ten speed this summer! Though, I'll make sure it works better than my friend's from this morning.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Better Macaroni and Cheese than you have ever dreamt up in your wildest dreams.

Thanks Steph for giving me this book. Thanks Amy Sedaris for putting this recipe in your book. Thanks Jennifer McCullen for giving Amy this recipe.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Heighten Frighten

That wicked tooth actually gave me heebie jeebies before I started laughing and rolled down my window, camera in hand. Just so happened that I had a couple of my senior citizen friends with me in the car (we were (seriously) on the way to Denny's). They laughed and decided that kids these days will take a picture of anything. And then one of them told me that "hessberger" is German for "mountain climber." Not sure if that's true or not. Or if it matters. It's just what happened.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Gulls

To me, the high pitched cry of the seagulls sounds like summer. I can't deny that I kind of like the white, yellow-beaked birds. But to all things, a flip side. When Chicago closes down beaches during those hot months, there is usually a seagull to blame. They will dive bomb any good natured Dorito muncher, climb into the lap of someone sipping a frappuchino, and scream into the ear of anyone who looks willing to share that peanut butter sandwich. But don't give in kids, because those birds return the favor straight to earth and it hits the water causing the beach-closing avian e coli. Fun fact: Each spring the city sprays thousands of gull eggs with corn oil which deprives the egg of oxygen and renders it compost.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Let me introduce to you, Adam. We actually met his lovely fiance first (in DC) and I hope to introduce Cristin sometime too so I'll save that story, but now they are Rogers Park neighbors and are quite fun to kick around town with. Anyhow, in such a short time, there are already so many funny Adam stories. One that I particularly like is the one about the hot dog in the thermos. Turns out, Adam's mom would send young Adam to school with a thermos of very hot water which held a hot dog, threaded with string so that Adam could pull the hot dog out of the water without having to dip in. Personally, I think this is potentially brilliant. She would even send along hot dog accouterments. The things is, and you really need to hear him tell the story, but after all this, he always ended up being the kid at the lunch table with a thermos full of luke warm hot dog water. And a string.

Adam has a fun and informative blog, is the only other person I know who gets the magazine The Sun besides myself (and those I send it to), and he's a fabulous gourmet cook (enough of one that it gives me a complex when I try to feed he and Cristin at our place.) :)

And Adam's five favorite things are:
1) Naps with the dog on the couch every afternoon
2) Popcorn
3) Pacing outside on late night phone calls in the summer
4) Watching his Dad be a son with his parents

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter Vigil

This is cute. Unless you've seen "Donnie Darko."

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"When I Am Old"

by Ray Nargis

When I am old I shall wear a ball cap
From the St. Louis Browns
Because my grandfather once played in their farm system,
Or maybe a John B. Stetson hat, three-corner fold,
Four X and black chinos with both suspenders and a belt
And the knees ripped out, not as a fashion statement,
But from work.
And black biker boots and a T-shirt with the slogan
"I'm Working On My Issues."
I'll use a walking stick and not a cane
And have a key ring with about a hundred keys
And I won't know what any of them open and I won't care.

When I am old I'll drink whiskey in the morning
And coffee at night
And laugh and spit and swear wherever I want.
When I am old I'll help Girl Scouts across the street
Even if they don't want to go
And I won't have a car
And I won't have a bike
And I'll walk everywhere.

When I am old I'll have a dog named Sam Peckinpaw
And some summer's morning I'll lock up the house
And old Sam and I will walk over to see to see one of my sons
Even if he lives two states away.
When I am old I'll tell people exactly what I think of them
And surprisingly, most of the time it really will be good stuff.
When I am old I won't have a TV
And I won't have a radio
And I won't have a computer or a clock or a phone in the house.
I won't read books and I won't read magazines
And I won't read newspapers and maybe, finally
I'll learn something just watching the birds and the weather.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


There were about a billion firefighters on our block today. Not sure of what was going on except that they put a gigantic ladder up to the building next to ours, which caused me some concern. But then I figured they'd keep things under control and I snapped a few pics before heading inside where I decided to look up some fun facts about the Chicago Fire Department. On their website they have a list of major fires and disasters, and this, I couldn't resist.

I learned many things but my most amazing find was that in 1871 the Great Chicago Fire occurred and then in 1874 the SECOND Great Chicago Fire occurred (burning down 800 three-year-old buildings over 60 acres). Who knew?

Other things listed:
1893-Columbian Exposition (Just sitting there listed as a disaster.)
1903-December 30, Iroquois Theater Fire. Over 600 people lost their lives, the largest death toll of a fire in Chicago.
1919-July 21, Goodyear Blimp crashes through ceiling of the Illinois Trust and Savings Bank.
1958-December 1, Our Lady of Angels school fire resulted in the deaths of ninety-two children and three nuns. Following this tragic fire, sprinklers were installed in schools and school fire alarms were connected to the city alarm system.
1987-January 30, First group of women firefighters graduated from the Chicago Fire Academy. (Yep, still listed under disasters.)
1995- An extended heat wave contributes to the death of more than 700 people.
2000- February 2 Dust explosion at Blommers Chocolate Factory.
2003- June, porch collapse at 713 w Wrightwood, 13 dead, more than 50 injured.

Actually, it's amazing that there aren't more enormous disasters on the list, especially recently. I think we can give CFD a high five for that.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Solution for boredom

Formatting line after line of notes and references for scientific papers can start to gnaw away at an otherwise fairly healthy mind. Especially when you've sent the rocket scientists (literally) examples of how to do it correctly-and they just don't.  And then, when I'm about to wrap one up, the author will send me a new version of their paper (in which they have not incorporated any of my previous changes). Deep breath. They mean well. I guess they are busy trying to figure out where we are going to move once we over use our current planet to death. Still. It makes me want run outside (to the front yard that is not currently globally warmed) and play with a Swing Wing. Or at least watch the commercial over and over.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

My photo has nothing to do with St. Patrick's day but we saw this neon wonder in the window of dentist's office and I am now coveting it. I need it for the bathroom wall. 
But also, here is a treat for St. Paddy's day. I can't quite figure out why I think this video is so funny. Maybe it's just the idea that even the gift of crappy flavored coffee can become marvelous if only it has enough packaging (and a plethora of curling ribbon embellishment). 

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Eric found a great new coffee house where one can play cards and packman, curl up on old couches, eat cupcakes and, apparently, byo beer and whiskey shots. The coffee is yum and if you think that mug of tea looks bigger than Steve's head, you're right. 

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Salt Cave

Today, the ever-in-search-of-strange-and-unusual-Chicago girlfriends quartet hit the Galos Salt-Iodine Caves. It seems that salt from the Black Sea (Crimean Salt) is good for all sorts of things like good breathing, skin, digestion, nervous systems and sinuses. All I can vouch for is that today, even though I ate ten pounds of chicken curry beforehand, I came out hungry again. So I think I will personally add to the list that Crimean Salt is also good for weight gain. 

These caves happen naturally in parts of the world near the Black Sea and since people must have hung out in them from time to time and noticed the health benefits, it's become the business of the Everet Company to recreate these caves all over the world and charge $15 for 45 minutes.  

It was a lovely outing I must say. And even though the room was a little heavy on the Canon in D, the quiet moments of ocean sounds and birds accompanied by the salty air, was the perfect way to escape this cold, grey Chicago day. (The hostess said that 45 min in there is equivalent to three days by the sea.) (Wait, what does that mean? What are we counting here?) 

Anyway, in the words of Allison as we left the place, "What just happened in there?" 

Friday, March 14, 2008


Is that some little crocus I see?  Watch out, gardening zone 6. You're about to burst!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Loyola Park

These little flags wave their hearts out along the eating area of a beach cafe in Loyola Park. I really love walking through this park where the aforementioned eighty-plus languages come out to play. Today, people in the 22 acre lakeside park gave evidence that Chicago is beginning to let out that deep breath it took in November.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I know it's boring that I'm always at Charmers-but did I mention that they also have a steamed bagel sandwich shop in the back called Dagel and Beli? Their whole menu is pure silliness.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Frozen Dairy Product

I was sitting here trying organize blog topics in my head then Eric put ice cream in front of me. And now it is all over. All my focus is on the mint and the chip. 

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Short History of Nearly Everything

Even though I actually understand very little of any of it, I get really geeked out when it comes to astronomy. And I'm always way behind on popular and current reading lists but I'm finally picking up this awesome book. (In the case you didn't notice, it's written by Bill Bryson.) In just 500 pages the book explores "how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us." I've only made it through 1. How to Build a Universe, 2. Welcome to the Solar System, 3. The Reverend Evan's Universe and 4. The Measure of Things, but man, my mind is blown.  The Universe is wild but even our own little Earth is a statistical miracle- a perfect balance of a lot of wacky forces. And on top of that thought is the thought that just the Milky Way is so unimaginably enormous that there is probability of it having maybe another million advanced civilizations (Frank Drake's equation.) And even if that could be true, distances are so whopping that we will never ever know. (Dear Rocket Scientists, THE MOON'S NOT THAT FAR!) Yep, so far, in just 50 odd pages, I've learned that 1 percent of the static on your tv set is residue radiation from the big bang, that a comet has begun a long fall to Manson, Iowa  (set to hit in four million years) and that Issac Newton, albeit out-of-control brilliant, was a freaking lunatic (there is pretty good evidence that he, like, flavored his oatmeal with mercury or something). Yep, I find this stuff fun. Stars are cool. Dark matter is weird. Space rules. It makes me feel, all at the same time, like nothing more than something stuck between the toes of a termite and a little bit of an anomaly. 

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Back seat

This is the back seat of Erin's car. She has a nice apartment just across the street but I think that secretly, she mostly lives in her car. There are books and photo albums, sheet music and snacks, boxes of things and bags of things. There may have also been a kitchen table, paint thinner, a plunger and a turkey dinner. Now that I think of it, the car also has satellite tv, a massage chair and track lighting. All the same, it was nice of her to drive to the ethiopian restaurant tonight. 

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Haven't we done our time?

I think we've gotten our hopes too high. We think that when it turns to March the sun should come out, melt all the ice, and give us some beach weather. But last night when Eric and I stepped outside, snow flakes and a wintry gust met us smack in the face.
 "Mother Nature is a cold-hearted b--ch." Eric exclaimed. "And if she were here, I'd say it to her face." After I got done laughing so hard that I almost burst my healthy appendix, we walked to the park and played ball with Max until our faces froze. 

Friday, March 7, 2008

Pinball, Country, and Poetry

I'm sitting here listening to Old Crow Medicine Show and reading poems while Eric works out downstairs. I love poems because I could probably never pull one off. I've also been into the sound of old-time country these days. Yep, even spinning Hank Williams.  AND I took a blurry picture of a pinball machine today. So, for all of the above reasons, I loved this poem when I ran into it.

Writing On Napkins At The Sunshine Club; Macon, Georgia 1970

by David Bottoms

The Rock-O-La plays Country and Western

three for a quarter and nothing recorded since 1950.

A man with a heart

tattoo had a five dollar thing for Hank and Roy,

over and over the same tunes

till someone at the bar asked to hear a woman's voice.

All night long I've been sitting in this booth

watching beehives and tight skirts,

gold earrings glowing and fading in the turning light

of a Pabst Blue Ribbon sign,

beer guts going purple and yellow and orange

around the Big Red Man pinball machine.

All night a platinum blonde has brought beer to the table,

asked if I'm writing love letters on the folded napkins,

and I've been unable to answer her

or find any true words to set down on the wrinkled paper.

What needs to be written is caught already

in Hank's lonesome wail,

the tattooed arm of the man who's all quarters,

the hollow ring and click of the tilted Red Man,

even the low belch of the brunette behind the flippers.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


This morning I saw these carnations and geraniums strung together hanging from a bare tree in the park. I thought it was kind of nice, like someone was sort of forcing it to look like spring out there. I just went outside again (without my camera) and saw that there were five more of the garlands flung into and hanging from the next tree over. I went from finding it cute to finding it unsettling.  It affirms that winter is making us all bonkers.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Too much work

Can't find it in me to rock the blog today.  Sorry kids.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Okay, my friend Stephanie passed this along to me and it gave me such a good laugh that I had no choice but to post this. It was pretty much out of my control.

Quote from the mom: This is my kindergartner's artistic rendition of a pair of scissors. I wonder what his teacher thought. I allowed myself a small smirk when I saw it. I waited until he was out of the room until I started crying from laughing so hard. Well, of course they're scissors. If you know someone with a small child or if you are a teacher you will love this! As you know I will be required to proudly display this on my refrigerator for a length of time.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Home Again

I am back from here.  So nice. So fun. So warm. 
Many thanks to Eric for being a super blogger for me while I was gone. 

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Year of Potholes

I hit this beauty switching lanes on Sheridan this week, and nearly didn't make it back out.  I don't really understand the science of potholes, but we must have had a perfect storm of conditions this year because the roads are absolutely brutal.  In fact, the Mayor (spelled with the capital letter in Chicago, like you'd spell "God" most other places) has even declared it the "Year of Potholes," giving us something to be proud of even if we don't get the Olympics.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Shan Turns 30!

Nothing beats old friends, and "old" takes on new meeting this week for Shan, who has just turned 30.  Here's a picture of him, and us, looking much younger.

Its always a good time whenever we get together, perhaps because the stories all get a little bit better with time.   Driving to Canada in a car with no heat...  Staying in a townhouse with no exterior walls during Mardi Gras...  The 2 dozen hard boiled eggs...  The fruitflies...  The Church's Chicken buffet call...  The spiked juice....  Each and every one a classic...