28 December 2005

Auf Wiedersehen Berghoff

On February 28, 2006, the Berghoff will be closing its doors. After over 100 years of feeding the appetites and quenching the thirsts of Loop-goers, the third generation of Berghoff owners have decided to issue the last call. The restaraunt owns Chicago liquor license #1! My only memory of there is when Eron, Emily and I stopped there to recharge after our museums and Sears Tower adventures. Emily took down a whole weiner schnitzel! I loved the old tuxedo-clad waiter we had. He'd been there a while.
You can go to their website and get a glass, stein or tray. Oh, and the beer and the O'Hare location will still be around.

27 December 2005

One Year

Christmas eve marked one year since my I created this blog and posted the first message. So I thought I'd skim through the archives and pull out some of my favorites. I spent a couple hours re-read my chronicle of the past year. It was very fun to see what all I did, the places I went, and the fun I had. I posted over 330 posts and 37 pictures over the course of the year. My first mention of my iPod came on February 24. :)
There were lots of fun events that I was reminded of..camping, the Guinness tasting event, Notre Dame spring game, Chicago Auto Show, Chinatown, St. Patrick's Day, National Board Certified Teacher event, a new Pope, the Virgin Mary under the Expressway, going to plays, having visitors, and all sorts of festivals. Here are some of the ones that I enjoyed re-reading (you'll have to scroll up, the links will jump to the comments section), some for the post, some for the memory, some for the good comments.
ENJOY.
Joy Of Chess, Read This Today,
Stop and Smell (or Listen to) the Roses, Bad Weather Brings Good Times, Mom's Weekend Visit, I got a lot done this afternoon, The Jungle, Day After, Greenleafs in Town, Gearing Up for Episode III, Iowa Has Smart Drivers, Champions League Final Recap, Revenge of the Sith, CTA, Omaha, Role Model, What's in Your Bag, Egg Drop, Lunch, Space Funding, Down with Blimpie, Lunch, Cookies, Newcity & Jake's Best of Chicago, Feliz Cumpleanos, Philantropy, Theft!, Art of War,

Ginger's Ale House

Voted Best soccer bar in the U.S. for the third year in a row ("on the trot" as they as in the UK), according to ussoccer.com
Congrats! Many a fun morning have I spent there enjoying a coke or a pint, listening to the different accents & stories, watching a little footie, devouring their scalding-hot and delicious Shepard's pie and appreciating the diversity of culture there.
Oh Ginger how I miss thee.

2005 Book Lists

I couldn't really trim down my list too much. With only 1 or 2 exceptions, I enjoyed everything I read this year, maybe that means I'm not qualified to be a critic or I am just easily entertained. Whatever it is, here is what I liked this year...

1. To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
2. Bobby Fischer Goes to War - Edmunds & Eidinow
3. Smashed - Koren Zailckas
4. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
5. The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck
6. Night - Elie Wiesel
7. Educating Esmé - Emsé Raji Codell
8. Candyfreak - Almond
9. Emperors of Chocolate - Joel Glen Brenner
10. Domers - Kevin Coyne
11. The Last of the Donkey Pilgrims - Kevin O'Hara
12. How Soccer Explains the World- Foer
13. Making the Corps - Ricks
14. There are No Shortcuts - Rafe Esquith

Please post your favorites in Comments.

24 December 2005

NORAD tracks Santa!

NORAD has been tracking Santa's whereabouts on Christmas Eve for fifty years and this is the first I've ever heard about it. They use their missle tracking systems to hone in on Rudolph's nose (it emits an infrared signal) and offer video tracking on their website. You can also call a toll-free number for updates.
Here's hoping he navigates safely to each of your homes.

23 December 2005

Chicago rapist gets sentenced

Congratulations, praise and prayers for my friend in Chicago. Here's wishing her happiness and peace as she moves on.

20 December 2005

Sound Bites

I love these end of the year lists! Here's Sports Illustrated's sound bites of the year. It's only average, but there are a few laughs hidden in there. There are two pages, so don't forget to click "Continue".
My hands-down favorite...
Antoine Walker, Boston Celtics, former Kentucky star...after asked why he shoots so many three's..."Because there are no four's."

17 December 2005

Grillin'!


18 degrees and snow? Sounds like time to grill some brats!

16 December 2005

Al-Zarqawi

What a blunder! At least it was the Iraqi security forces that goofed, not the Americans.
And who in the hell in the military says, "treasure trove"? Talk about someone that needs a Code Red!

Diamond Ring

Wow. What a blue story, especially around the holidays. Well, sad for one, VERY happy for another.

Maggie

15 December 2005

KEANE

There's been a few weeks of uncertainty, but the man has arrived. Expect him in Hoops by the mid-January. I'm very excited to see what kind of impact he will have. I think his leadership and presence will be great for the younger players on the squad. I liked his little joke when asked how he will get along with everyone in the clubhouse. I also thought his quote about training hard, playing hard and pushing those he plays with hard, but never expecting anything from other that he would not be willing to give himself was a very good statement. Big things from Celtic in the Champions League next year!!! I may have to splurge and get myself a jersey!

14 December 2005

Crocodile or Elephant, take your pick

Some good information for anyone considering a visit to Zimbabwe. Crocs have taken the bloody lead over elephants in the most lethal beast title, with hippos, lions, and buffaloes lagging behind. Some major efforts will need to be put forth by those species if they are to entertain any hopes of overtaking the two leaders.

(my favorite part "Crocodiles dragged away 13 people -- including children -- and ate them in the first 10 months of 2005" just in case you thought, they just drug them away and then let them return to their homes. Nope, they ate them.)

Excommunications in Puerto Rico

A couple sect leaders got the boot from a Puerto Rican bishop. One said he was the manifestation of the late Pope John Paul II and the other said she was the Virgin Mary. They are quite a pair! And people laying in the aisle during communion to protest and cause problems?! Sounds pretty bizarre.

13 December 2005

REAL Hot 100

This is a cool idea. To contrast Maxim magazine's annual Hot 100 girl list, this group is doing their own Hot 100. Girls who are working, doing, changing, thinking, acting. Check it out. (Link again courtesy of GB) Chicago's Cinnamon Cooper is a nominee. She is the force behind the DIY Trunk Show that Dara's been a part of the last two years.

Rachel Ray in Chicago

Another time I miss Chicago (and that Sur La Table store). Although, to be realistic, I might not have even gone down to see her, since I don't have, nor plan on buying any of her books. But it would've been fun to just see her! Check out this guy's account of it all. (Link courtesy of my beloved, Gapers Block).
The story would be so much better if she had eaten the cheesecake.

Actually, I was thinking about that Sur La Table store a little and thought I'd share this story. December 2003, before I had moved out there, but Dara & I were downtown shopping and Connie had told me how great this store was so I was trying to find it. We end up asking a lady on the sidewalk beside us. We are in the Gold Coast neighborhood and this lady is in a ankle length black fur coat. We are in hooded sweatshirts and stocking hats. She was a little startled (ok, maybe scared) when I approached her, but she was very nice and got us on our way. It really is a great store.

PostSecret

I was listening to NPR this morning as I was packing my lunch, and they were interviewing the creator of this PostSecret website. He has taken 300 or so of the "best" secrets and compiled them into a book (that I will be looking at next time I'm at Barnes & Nobles). I had not heard of the site or project before, but the ones they were reading on the air were so incredible, I couldn't wait to get to work and check it out. The ones on there today are OK, but not in the same class as those that were read.
I love stuff like this. That feeling of seeing a little piece of someone's life is exciting. Some of the secrets are funny (there was a coffeshop worker who wrote on a flattened coffe cup that rude customers requesting decaf get regular coffee) and some were shockingly blunt (one person wrote in and said that they still had not told their dad that she had the same diesese that killed her mother). And the homemade postcards that the secrets are sent in on are very cool. I thought that was cool that the All-American Rejects (a punk/pop band) donated $2000 a hotline the project is associated with and then used a bunch of the postcards in their video. I would like to see that video!

Lunch

After a string of days where there has been a lack of anything in the frig or on the pantry shelves with which to pack a lunch, this morning I was able to make my lunch again. And, I have to say, I am quite excited to eat it. A little container of mashed sweet potatoes and a wrap. I almost took a picture of this wrap as I was making it this morning. Lettuce, leftover thanksgiving turkey (white and dark meat), heavy on the roasted red pepper, smoked gouda (my favorite cheese), a bit of mustard, pepper and oregano all wrapped in a nice garlic & herb wrap. I'm counting down to lunch. I don't want to jinx myself, but I do have to say I was a little hesitant to put it in the cooler here at work. If it is goes missing.....

Garages are Nice

I have a garage for the first time in my life. So that means no scraping, no cleaning off snow, no bitterly cold car in the morning. When renting, I usually view a garage as a luxury, but since I could do a three month lease (December, January, February) and it is only $25, I thought it would be worth it.
And today, I definitely was thankful as I saw all the cars parked outside sporting a heavy coat of white, courtesy of Jack Frost and I was just able to get in my car and go. Ahhhh, the good life.

09 December 2005

World Cup Draw

The Draw to find out which team will be pooled together in the 2006 World Cup in Germany took place today. 350 million people were expected to watch it. Europe, Africa and South America came to a halt. Here are the results in a nice wall chart format showing that the top two teams from each group of four will advance to a knockout bracket. As I looked it over, I see Groups C and E as the "Groups of Death". Unfortunately, the US is in Group E. But, on a positive note, it is their presence in it that makes it a group of death. US soccer is improving and currently ranked 8th.
Here is a basic synopsis on each of the 32 teams. And one on the coaches. Oh, and Adidas has release info on the '06 World Cup ball ("Teamgeist").
Start the count down. 181 days til the first match. (England vs Paraguay)

08 December 2005

Chicago Smoking Ban

Finally! It passed, but the main comprimise was that bars/taverns have until '08 to phase it in. That part sucks, but restraunts, CTA platforms, etc have to comply by January. I'll stay off my soapbox and just say I'm happy to see it pass.

07 December 2005

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

The Victoria's Secret fashion show was on ABC last night and I have to say I found it pretty entertaining. It was pretty cool because they gave pretty much equal time to what was going on behind curtain as they did to the runway in front of it. The set construction and decoration was pretty cool too. They had gigantic oversized toys on each side of the start of the runway. Stuffed bears, wooden soldiers, and two wooden letter blocks,"V" and "S" naturally, that were at least 15-20 feet tall. Plus, it was the last show for Tyra Banks as she is retiring from the runway to pursue other interests. Oh, and Seal (Heidi Klum's husband) and Ricky Martion performed. Ugh, Ricky was not good.
Of course I don't mean to tell you that the subject matter of the show was not interesting on its own. The models, which included Giselle Bundchen, Heidi Klum, Tyra and dozen or so spectacular others, were captivating and their 'outfits' were very cool and almost theatrical. We saw one girl lose her shoe when its heel punctured the runway and it wouldn't come back out. This girl didn't even break her stride. She continued struting down the glitter-covered walk, keeping her foot arched to match the 5" heel that was still on her other foot. Then they cut to the guy in the back on the radio freaking out, "Get her shoe, Get her shoe off the runway!" Great drama.
I think I'd love to go to the fashion shows in NYC sometime. They look like a lot of fun.

05 December 2005

Bowl Schedule

All the bowl berths are filled. Check 'em out. Start prognosticating.
Here's some info on Iowa and their game.

02 December 2005

Incredible Spam

Got this email in my Junkmail box today. Usually I just skim them to make sure no good mail got in there and then delete everything, but this one looked a bit different, so I opened it. It is so preposterous. Seriously, what is their rate of getting replies on this kind of crap, complete with spelling and typing errors? I definitely wouldn't want them to "consificate" the money! I'm pasting it below for your enjoyment....


CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE:
This mail transmission is been sent by a lawyer. It contains
information that is confidential, privileged, praoprietary, or otherwise legally exempt from disclosure. There is no intent on the part of the sender to waive any privilege,including the attorney-client privilege, that may attach to this communication.
Dear Welch,
I am Mr.Paul Bentlin, an attorney at law. A deceased client of mine, by name Mr. Johnson Welch, who hereinafter shall be referred to as my client, died as the result of a heart-related condition in April 1999. I have contacted you to assist in repatriating the money left behind by my client before it is confiscated or declared serviceable by the bank where this deposit valued at 45million dollars is lodged.
This bank has issued me a notice to contact the next of kin, or the account will be confiscated because there is a government gazzette/mandate/authorising all banks to freeze or consificate any account that has not been servicable in a long period of time,this is geared toWelchs capital flight for the economy.
My proposition to you is to seek your consent to present you as the next-of-kin and beneficiary of my named client, since you have the same last name with my deseased client, so that the proceeds of this account can be paid to you.
Then we can share the amount on a mutually agreed-upon percentage. All legal documents to back up your claim as my client's next-of-kin will be provided.
All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us see this transaction through. This will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.
If this business proposition offends your moral values,do accept my apology but if not, then contact me at once to indicate your interest,By giving me your telephone/fax number so that i too can contact you.
Best regards,
Barrister Paul Bentlin

30 November 2005

"They have ways..." - Rats of NIMH

The Art of War

Monday night when I came home from work, I opened the door to my apartment and out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw a dark grey blur flash along the corner of the kitchen and out of sight. I thought, 'hmm.' but didn't really worry about it until later that evening when I went to eat the last scotcheroo that I had brought back from Thanksgiving. It was on the counter in a ziplock baggie. As I picked it up, I saw that there was a human size bite off of one corner. "Sheesh, Dara!" I thought, but then I saw that the baggie had a ragged, chewed hole in it that matched up with the chunk missing from the scotheroo. MOUSE! And one that likes scotcheroos. The cloverleaf dinner rolls right next to it were untouched.
So Tuesday on my way home from work, I stopped at the local hardware store and picked up two packs of mousetraps. $1.29 for two wooden traps. I loaded them up with a dab of peanut butter and then a piece of scotcheroo on each. One I placed on the counter behind the fruit basket and the other on the ground beneath the radiator by the sink.
This morning, both traps were sprung, but there was no mouse in either. And the scotcheroo was gone from one of them. The traps have no been reset and I will be putting out the other two also. Let the games begin!

29 November 2005

Hingis Comeback!

Two words that I am happy to hear. I've been a long-time fan. Can't wait to watch her play in '06. As the women's game has evolved with the success of the bigger, stronger girls with rocket serves, Hingis and her skillfull style and wide selection of shots are a nice change. Plus, she's the "Swiss Miss", how can you not like her with a nickname like that?
Now, if only we could get Anna Kournikova to rejoin her for doubles like in the old days.

28 November 2005

Walk the Line

Just wanted to share how much I loved this movie! I don't think you could call me a Johnny Cash fan before the movie. I did have three of his songs on my iPod and "Ring of Fire" was a song that got played alot while preparing for games in college, but I didn't know much about him beyond that. And the movie really doesn't tell the whole life story of Johnny Cash, it really focuses on his love affair and subsequent marriage with June Carter. Joaquin Phoenix puts in a great performance. He has always seems sort of dark and intense and a bit weird, in Gladiator in particular so he was perfect for the role. Johnny and June actually picked Joaquin and Reese to play them and both thespians signed on to do the film for much less than their usual wages. Both did all their own singing and playing. And they sound good! I went out and bought The Essential Johnny Cash the next morning at Wal-Mart and have enjoyed that double disc a lot. (Some favorites so far...5 feet high and rising, The Rebel-Johnny Yuma, Get Rhythm, The One on the Left is on the Right, and of course, Jackson). But I think I'm going to go out and get the movie soundtrack too. It has Joaquin and Reese and they are just magic. But it does not have my favorite song from the movie!!! "Time's a Wastin'" - a duet that June Carter originally recorded with one of her previous husbands, Carl Smith. It isn't on iTunes and I am trying to find it at the library. It won't be as great as Joaquin and Reese's version, though! It was in my head on Sunday morning when I woke up.
I'm looking forward to reading Cash's autobiography soon.

"I shot a man in Reno....Just to watch him die."

22 November 2005

Julian Beever's Pavement Drawings

These pictures might be slow to load if you do not have broadband. This guy creates these pavement drawings that a distorted in a particular way so that, if viewed from one correct angle, the 3-D effect is pretty amazing. Check it out.

Indo Jew Bowl

Man, I miss Chicago! You gotta love this kind of celebration of diversity. I would love to go check this out if I were there. It's gotta be hilarious, a bunch of high school friends getting together on Thanksgiving break for some football and bragging rights. The website is great with a lot of info. Check out some of the news story links on the right side. And you can check out the tshirts they make each year. I've already emailed them about getting one.

Big Hawkeye Win

#18 Iowa upset #7 Kentucky last night and are rewarded with a matchup with #2 Texas tonight.

21 November 2005

Roy Keane

I try to refrain from boring you all with what I consider exciting soccer news, but I thought I'd go ahead and share this story. If you don't recall, Roy Keane is the world-class midfielder that got into a world-class row with his manager, Mick McCarthy at the last World Cup, in 2002. He was booted from the squad before a match was even played. His club career at Manchester United has been full of trophies and yellow cards, and he's never hesitated from giving teammates and opponents alike a dose of his fiery temper. Now he's parted ways with Man U, the speculation of possible destinations has begun. One of the front-runners is Celtic (my favorite squad).
I feel that he is such a talent & leader, he would show (when he wasn't injured) a team what it takes to play at a higher level. He is a free agent, so there is no large transfer fee to pay and he has been a life long fan of Celtic, so you know he has respect for the club. I say go for it. He's only got a couple years left in his legs and then perhaps he would take over as manager.

16 November 2005

Julie in Chicago

OH!!! I wish I was back in Chicago for this! I would've loved to go and see her. I can hear her saying "from your lips to God's ears." sigh.
(sidenote: I had no idea that a women that is knighted is titled Dame. It took me a second or two to figure that one out! I thought Mayor Daley was just being a hip cat and seein' if she could dig, daddy-o.)

15 November 2005

La Bamba, anyone???

I look out the window and see the snow blowing and coming down and then think about the short flight I have to take this evening in a small, non-commercial airplane and Lou Diamond Phillips as Richie Valens keeps popping into my head. Surf Ballroom, Clear Lake, IA. :(

Jones Soda introduces Salmon soda

Just in time for the holidays...Salmon soda! I love the candor of the owner at the end, "I cannot finish a bottle, I just can't." Yet they still produced it! I love it. Jones Soda is big at the Drake Diner, if I can find the holiday pack you can all look forward to me bringing it home for the holidays.

Princess sheds title, Adds husband...

This story could be a Disney movie or something. Of course, to be a Disney movie, the commoner husband would have to fight off mongol hords or do magic or save the princesses life or something first. Regardless, I say good for her! I also say, bring on the reform so she can take the throne!

What the World Eats

I heard about this book, Hungary Planet: What the World Eats, on my daily NPR: Story of the Day podcast and thought sounded interesting. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words and when I viewed the pictures on their website it really added to the story. I am going to try and find this book at the bookstore and flip through it. I would like to see more families and larger photographs. They talked about the drastic differences between East and West, rural and urban. It would be an eye-opener to see how much we buy in groceries all laid out at once.

14 November 2005

Spell check

How funny is it that the spellcheck tool on blogger.com does not recognize the word 'blog'? Well, maybe not really 'funny', but at least it is ironic.

When Will It Snow?

Driving home from the Y tonight I was thinking about how chilly it was and looking around at the scenery. The trees for the most part have discarded their leafy appendages and now, brittle and brown, they scatter and scoot along with the wind. The evening rush hour drive has changed from sunset-filled golden and orange skies to post-dusk, deep indigo skies outlining the black trees on the horizon. Pedestrians have traded their carefree, easy stroll in shirt-sleeves for a zipped-jacket, purposeful quick stride.
Which all led me to come up with this blog.....Everyone will comment with their prediction as to when our first snowfall will arrive.

*Any help with outlining the details would be appreciated. I was thinking 'snowfall' would mean enough snow to cover the ground. And, we will use Imogene as our measuring location (since it is the name of the blog.) Mom, you will have to be responsible for reporting on this for us.

11 November 2005

THEFT!

I've had a good run of lunch sandwich-making lately. I broiled several split breasts with a little honey mustard brushed on them and I've just been slicing up one each day and putting it on a wheat bun with some slices of edam cheese. Then when lunch time comes around I zap the whole thing in the microwave for a minute and a half. YUM. But the breasts are finished so I made a sandwich yesterday that I was excited to try. (Several days in a row of the exact same fare will cause that). Deli-style thinly sliced turkey, lettuce, cucumber, Dijon mustard and a sprinkling of Italian seasoning all on a robust whole wheat bread that had nuts and seeds in it. So I made that and paired it with a yogurt and a baggie of celery pieces. I worked out over lunch and then was going to eat lunch at my desk, so I go to the cooler to get my lunch out, and the yogurt and celery are there where I left them, but the champion sandwich was nowhere to be found. I checked all the shelves, both sides of the cooler, I even came back to my desk and checked in my backpack, thinking maybe I had forgotten to take it out in the morning and put it in the cooler. But, no, it was MIA. I went back to the cooler and doublechecked. As I grabbed the celery and yogurt, I began to fully process what had just transpired and I was not happy. Who takes a hand-made sandwich wrapped in saranwrap? A bag of chips..OK. A candy bar...OK. A cup of yogurt...OK. But a sandwich that you have no idea what is in or who made it or if they ever wash their hands??? As I trekked down to the cafeteria and had to BUY an inferior replacement sandwich, the shock and anger led me to shake my head at humanity. Usually I would just say, 'well, that person needed the food more than I did.' But in this case, I think anyone working where I work is making enough money to be able to afford a turkey sandwich.
As I discussed this whole ordeal with Luke last night, I said I should make another dream sandwich today, but hide a 'special ingredient' in the middle. I said poop, Luke said laxative. Then just watch who runs to the bathroom in the afternoon, he said. Sadly, my heart wasn't in it this morning as I prepared for work. Thinking about what had happened, I couldn't even bring myself to pack a lunch. I will be dining elsewhere at noon.

Holiday Beers Blog

A fun blog with a new holiday beer sampled and reviewed each day. Even though I probaby won't try most of the selected beers, I still enjoy reading about them...and counting down to Christmas.

10 November 2005

Catholic schools test scores

Chicago's Catholic schools make up the largest non-public school system in the nation. That was interesting to read, and surprising. What's up with the Catholic school systems of NYC and LA? Maybe Catholicism isn't as strong there or maybe the public schools are better.
Also, the gap between city and suburb school was pretty significant.

Teenage Mayor?

I bet his HS Government teacher was proud.

09 November 2005

Sudoku

Have you guys heard of this or checked it out? It is like all the rage right now. I first heard of it when I saw a ton of people doing these puzzles in the airport on the trip to Canton. Then I saw a book of them in the airport bookstore so I read what they were. Then when I was in Chicago last weekend a couple of my friends at the Y were doing the puzzles that were in the Sun-Times. So I got a couple of the puzzles on the Sun-Times website yesterday and tried them out. I've done a couple 'Very Easy' ones and one 'Easy'(which was not easy). I like 'em! Not as fun as the crosswords, but definitely a fun way to exercise your grey matter.
Go to the sudoku website for the rule (there's only one!), tips, etc.

Zbikowski

Just thought I'd share a couple links to stories on my favorite ND player, Tom Zbikowski. He's been in scintillating form lately.
Article from Sun-Times
Article from South Bend Tribune
His bio on the ND site.
He's cool, he's tough, he's from Chicago.

08 November 2005

Snack food report

Now, I think we all know that I have a deep affection for OREO's, so it will come as no surprise that I was pleased to read that they are the most popular cookie sold in Chicago. What did surprise me, though, was how little we spend on gum compared to the other snack food categories. And with Wrigley's right there in Chicago...it is almost blasphemous! I realize that gum is quite inexpensive when compared with a bag of cookies, but I know that I buy gum more often than I buy cookies. And come on, it was behind nuts, granola bars AND 'other salted snacks'.
I was also surprised that crackers were just as big a seller as potato or tortilla chips.
For those not interested in reading the article, I've pasted the chart below...
THE WAY WE SNACK
Top-selling cookie: Oreo
Top-selling chips: Lay's

What Chicagoans have spent on snacks in 2005 (in millions):
Cookies: $102.6
Crackers: $75.9
Chocolate candy: $75
Potato chips: $71.3
Tortilla chips: $52.7
Non-chocolate candy: $39.2
Granola/breakfast/snack bars: $33.7
Nuts: $33.3
Other salted snacks: $26.4
Gum: $20.8

Source: Information Resources Inc., supermarket sales through Oct. 2

Dentist

I made my return to the dentist this afternoon, ending a two-year hiatus. Even though I have to pay the first $100, it is great to have dental insurance again! Fresh x-rays were taken for my file and there was quite a bit of scraping with the wicked hooked tool. The cleaning with the sand-paste is my least favorite part of the visit. I hate the feeling of the spaces around my teeth getting packed with that gritty cement. >:( But after 50 minutes, I was sent on my way with a clean bill of no cavaties and a visegrip handshake from the dentist. Out to enjoy a strangely gorgeous and sunny 71 degree November afternoon with my squeaky clean mouth.

03 November 2005

Chicago Antisocial

Anti-Social from the Reader

I always try to read this girl's column in the Chicago Reader. Sometimes its good, sometimes its not, but is always something new & unlike other articles I read.

This week's column was so bizarre, I was cracking up and had to suppress my laughter due to the office environment. :) There are definitely some odd odd people in this world. But as Mom says, "it takes all kinds". (sidenote - I love that saying and the simple message of tolerance it embodies. One of my roommates in college picked it up and would say, "Like Rose says, it takes all kinds") :)

World Cup Tickets

The ticket prices really aren't too expensive. Especially when you consider it would be a once-in-a-lifetime adventure!
But, then I thought, we just need to get Eron's company to splurge for the 20 person luxury box. COME ON! It's $400,000 (better hold out for a good exchange rate!) We would get tickets to six matches in Berlin, including the final. Food, drink, parking and special stadium access (ooooh, what's that!?) are all included for us and 10 of our friends, (or business clients.)

I CAN'T WAIT!

31 October 2005

Teacher Compensation changes?

Denver is voting on whether or not to overhaul the compensation program for its public school teachers. I think it would be a good thing to have pay tied to performance & evaluations. It would be a convincing way to reward strong teachers who are making a difference and a way to weed out poor teachers. One big difference I saw is that where the normal pay scale stops after the 13th year, the new program would continue with increases. That could lead to a big difference is salaries in those very important final years of educators' careers. Clear standards and goals would need to be laid-out in advance so that all parties are fully aware of what they will be evaluated on.
Check out these FAQ for more info.
Or test out the salary calculator.

25 October 2005

McDonald's (lack of) Nutrition Info

While I am happy that they are going to make this information more available and directly visible to the customer and specific to the food item ordered, I do not feel that this will lead to any changes or have any positive impact on America's obesity problem. Since the info is on the wrapper, the customer will be holding it when they read it. Therefore, they have already paid for the food and they are obviosly hungry, so I don't think it's going to deter their consumption. It may, though, impact their next trip to the golden arches.
What a unrealistic request, to put the nutritional info on the menu board. That cracked me up. There's not enough room for all the names of the food items, let alone a dozen lines of nutrional info for each!
What would be great, is when you pull up in the drive-thru and make your order, on that red LED screen that shows you what you've ordered, there could be a running total of fat grams and calories!

Smoking Bans

I wish all this legislation for a smoking ban would hurry up! You have to click on the link under the picture to see the places their visited. I've only been to a couple of the places on the list (Harry Carey's and Fireside Bowl).
It is SO nice to go to a restaurant/bar and have a meal, have a pint and be able to leave and not carry that stink with you on your clothes, your hair and your skin. But I guess that should be the least of our worries. Carrying it in our lungs is the worst part of it. Business owners always fight it and say they will lose all their business, which simply is not true. Not all their customers smoke. And I think their clientelle would increase with some people who now don't mind to stop in if they don't have to deal with second-hand smoke. And those that have to smoke would still be able to step out onto the curb or outback to a patio.
I was sitting at Ginger's and the guy next to me and the barkeep were talking about cigarettes (since they were from Cork and Galway, respectively, they referred to them as fags). They were talking about quitting smoking and the barmaid said she hopes they pass this ban. She thought it would help a lot of people who want to quit or who are 'social smokers' from having that option.

Teacher Awards

This story is great! I love seening people who work hard, love what they do and do it because they are making a difference, get a reward. It goes without saying that there are thousands of teachers and other professionals who deserve this type of reward and recognition, but a few is better than none in my book.
The funniest part what the benefactor said the administrators told him when asked about what a good monetary amount would be for the award. $500 or $1000. LOL!

No smooch for Harry Potter

I haven't even read the books, but I thought I'd share this for those of you who have. The smooch that is in the book was left on the edit room floor.

24 October 2005

Lucky Every Day

Roscommon to Imogene
You all ought to read this quick little book I read tonight in 45 minutes. It is about a women's lacrosse coach at Loyola College of Maryland, Diane Geppi-Aikesn. She was a single mother of 4 kids who died young of brain cancer and how her passion, spirit and enthusiam for living encouraged all those around her. Her former players and coaches all wrote a chapter about knowing her. Quite wonderful. Her are a few of the chapters. Make life a challenge, and Make it fun. Always make the time. Everyone is included, Playing for Respect, No Stone Unturned, Honor Thy Parents, Never Grow up, etc. I found it very refeshing and uplifting.

Smuggling beer to Chicago

Pretty cool story about a family that used to smuggle beer into the Midwest during the Prohibition and is now going to start importing their stuff legally. I'm gonna keep my eyes open for it when I go out in a couple weeks and see if I can pick up a sample! That would be pretty cool to be that guy and get to hear stories from strangers about how they used to run beer for his grandfather to Capone.

Professional Sports

I enjoyed this column about the meaning or importance of professional sports in our society. I liked it because I agree and love to see groups of people gathered together to cheer on a team of players. It can be a group of five buddies to pull for the alma mater or tens of thousands of fans with one common amongst them as they cheer for athletes making more that day then they will all year. You get caught up in the game. You can forget about the laundry, the mortgage, the job, the hurts.
The behavior of some pro athletes often leaves a lot to be desired and when that is coupled with the thought of their astronomical salaries, it can be a bit tough to swallow, but for each time the media trumpets a negative headline, there are a lot of good things being done that go unheralded.

23 October 2005

Goalpost Fatality

This story is so sad and at such a small school too! Only 1000 people at the game. I always wondered about the people who were beneath the goalposts when they come down. I think it is good that most schools have the collapsible goalposts that they quickly lay down as soon as the game it over. Luke has that picture that was in Sports Illustrated after Iowa State beat Nebraska a few years ago and there are dozens of kids on the goalposts and a sea of fans on the field. Crazy. (And scary!)

21 October 2005

Gone All Day Stew

I worked from home yesterday and since I had the time, I thought it would be nice to make a stew or something, so I flipped open the St. Patrick's Parish cookbook and one of the first recipes I came across was Gone All Day Stew, as submitted by my mom! Even though I was not 'gone' at all, it still was great. It made the apartment smell great and worked out perfectly since Luke & Lauren came down and were able to enjoy with Dara & I.
Good recipe, Mom! I even got the french bread to go with it, like the recipe said. :)

20 October 2005

Philanthropy

In my conversation with my friend D last night, he informed me that the powerball was at a record high, something like $350 Million. Since I don't ever play the lotto it doesn't really make a difference to me, but I always like to think about how I would use the money if I were to score a windfall of some kind. And after listening to pledge week on NPR and reading about Hershey's incredible philanthropy, I decided to blog this.
So here is the assingment: In the event you hit it big, and after the government takes its half you have ~$150 million. Plenty to get everything you want and set your family up nicely too. List who the charities, non-profits, alma maters, organizations, etc are that would benefit from your generosity.
So this is pure donations, do not list gifting money to family. That is already anticipated (and expected!). And do not list your purchases.
I will deliberate on mine and then post them in the comments...

18 October 2005

¡Feliz Cumpleaños!

Today I celebrate the date of my birth, for the 29th time. I have been richly blessed in those years. I love you all.

17 October 2005

Irish Heartbreak

I thought this article was a nice summary of the game. After how well the Irish had played and fought, to have it end like it did was stomach-turning.
I was happy to see that the Irish did not fall at all in the rankings. I think that is justified.
Watch out BYU!

13 October 2005

Jim Bob gets his 16th

Holy cow! The guy is 40, the lady is 39. And they've been married 18 years with 16 kids to show for it. He is a former state representative and they are moving into a 7000 sq ft home that has dorm-style rooms and (my favorite) 4 washers and 4 dryers. I looked over their list of J names and Joy-Anna and Johannah are awfully similar in my opinion. Come on, show some originality!
Since he is planning on running again for U.S. Senate maybe he is having all these kids to produce more voters.

Irish Bike Tour

I would LOVE to do this Irish Bike tour of Chicago's Irish landmarks and neighborhoods! I wish I was there! Fun, Fun, Fun.

iPod evolution

So, my photo iPod, just like the mini was replaced by the nano, is now obsolete and being replaced. For the same price I paid ($299, although I got mine discounted for $279) you can get a 30 Gig (mine's 20) VIDEO iPod. And it is thinner now! Amazon is clearing out the remaining photos for $250. Oh well, I'm very happy with the one I have and I don't think I would do much with the video capabilities. It would be fun if you had kids or home video, but I'm not going to pay to watch TV episodes on my iPod. The partnership between Apple and Disney and the trail-blazing ability to buy TV programs got the headlines and the news of a new iPod was second-page news. Interesting.

12 October 2005

Sunny Canton, OH

Spending the week here in Canton and as of yet, have been unable to get online at night from the hotel so my plans of lots of blogging have been foiled. Bear with me on the delays. I am in the middle of a stretch of 10 days away from home. (Chicago-Canton-Iowa City)

08 October 2005

this is an audio post - click to play

07 October 2005

Scientology...

I'm not condoning these opinions, but I enjoy this girl's blog and this post (after I read it twice) made me laugh. Maybe we laugh at that which is different or what we don't understand, but nevertheless...

"You're Glib"

So ...anyone happen to know the Church of Scientology's published view on unwed pregnancy?
Or perhaps bearded homosexuality?
Just curious.
Anyone else out there have a secret desire that Katie Holmes suffers from post-partum depression? Anyone else out there have a secret wish that Tom Jr. desperately needs Ritalin?
I know, I'm evil, but hey ... he made his bed.

Nobel Peace Winners

Announced today, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN's nuclear regulators and its head, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei are sharing the Nobel Peace Award. Read the Nobel site's press release here. Or CNN's version here. On NPR this morning they mentioned how the U.S. was upset when ElBaradei would not state that Saddam had nuclear weapons that needed to be dismanteled. After that, the U.S. did its best to get ElBaradei out of office.
I guess it looks like the Dr. came out nicely on both matters.

05 October 2005

Laundrymat Reading

I went to the laundrymat tonight and as I did my three loads I was able to read a good chunk in my book. And it got me thinking, reading at the laundrymat is some of the best reading for me. I tried to determine why exactly and it is not totally relaxing, unlike laying in bed and reading just before turning off the light. And it isn't the quietest of locations, but I think it's because I do not have to feel like I could be doing other things in the back of my head. I can feel completely justified to just read, because, I am getting my laundry done at the same time. There's nothing else I can do for the next 40 minutes til those washers kick off, so I might as well enjoy my book. So, I did.

04 October 2005

Check out the link

I just read about this "Out of 5" site and I think it is pretty cool for lots of reasons. I love getting a mix of music to listen to. I love lists and each week on this website they will compile a "themed" list of 10 songs (2 from each contributor). You can download the songs from the site. You can print the custom-made cover art and put it in a CD case with the CD you burn.
I have put this link in my Links area. I will probably be commenting on it each week. So far, on this list of "covers that outshine the original" I love the Miles Davis one. It is so dusky and relaxing. The rest were only average. I didn't mind the Al Green one.

Let the corporate takeover begin...

I mentioned earlier the possibility of corporate sponsorship of the different "L" lines or of different stops. While not that drastic, this picture shows the growing presence of advertisements on the train stops. (I think they need to use that gecko more. He's cool.) I don't know if anything can compete with apple and thier iPod ads. They were EVERYWHERE on every line and every stop it seemed like. But, hey, I guess they work since I bought one!

03 October 2005

Candy!



Candy Update


Bing is KING. This is my new favorite candy. I had never had it before and now I am a big fan. Crushed nuts in chocolate and a cherry nougat/fonda center. Very Nice.
Not nice is the Cherry Mash. It should be called Cherry Trash, because that is where mine ended up. (and you know me, I do NOT throw food away, especially if I paid for it.) It is a totally sickening fake cherry mixture that is so chemically and smelly that it was unpalettable.
Valomilk. I mainly tried it only for the novelty of it, because I am not a big fan of marshmallow filling. But it wasn't too bad, the chocolate was of good quality and the marshmallow's flavor was smooth and not overpowering. But I do have to say I was disappointed because it didn't live up to the advertising 'flowing center'. And the book talked about how you can't eat one without making a mess, so I was all ready for some fun but my center was not runny. It was soft and would've eventually oozed out, but not the waterfall of insides I was expecting. Maybe too long on the shelf.
Pecan Roll. Hadn't heard of this one and it wasn't in the book, just tried it for fun. It was actually good, but so sweet you couldn't eat more that two bites per hour.
Nut Goodie. Pretty average. A turtle-like candy with peanuts, carmel and marshmallow. Not memorable.
Charleston Chew (strawberry flavor). Definitely a kid's candy. After my first bite, my thought was..."astronaut ice cream crossed with taffy". The book said you had to freeze it and then hit it on the counter to break it up, and I agree, the colder it is, the better. As mine got room temperature, it became disgustingly sweet. Maker is a subsidiary of Tootsie Roll.
Caramellow. Made by Cadbury, so not really an 'independant' candybar, but outside of the 'big two' so I gave it a try. YUM YUM. Very smooth, buttery caramel filling inside of good chocolate, although not quite melty enough for my liking. Good stuff.

02 October 2005

Fire It Up!!!


On Sale at Home Depot. It is SOOOO good to have a grill again! I made steaks on it tonight. I haven't had a steak in a LONG time. It was a wonderful way to end the summer (or start October).

30 September 2005

Newcity's (and Jake's) Best of Chicago

The annual list (you know how I love 'em) of the random category winners is out. The website is pretty clunky, and I don't think this year's list is as good as last years (which I had in the paper version and I kept the entire time I lived in Chicago and didn't throw it out to when I packed to move.) I did think this one for the best speed bump was a good piece of hilarious writing. I like the opening piece about a city not being physical places & things, but more, the memories & experiences we associate with those places and things. I think it is very true. I love the lakefront but I love it because I remember playing volleyball at Montrose Ave beach, refereeing volleyball and going to the Air & Water Show and the AVP tour at North Ave beach and biking the Lake Shore bikepath. The Lincoln Park Zoo is really only a fair zoo, but the memories I have of taking my Y campers there on a field trip is priceless, kids on my shoulders, kids trying to give directions while reading maps, the hippo pooping and stinking up the whole area and us all running away screaming. The Field museum is incredible and has tons to see, but what I remember of it is the excitement of Noah, Brighid and Emily has they ran from exhibit to exhibit. Christkindlmarkt is fun but the real fun was defying the biting cold and enjoying a brat and potato latkes with my older brother. Ginger's Ale House is just one of thousands of bars in Chicago but it was special to me because of the fun I had there on Saturday mornings watching soccer, eating Shephard's Pie, and sipping a Coke. Logan Square is just a neighborhood. Houses, (more and more) condos, streets and pavement. But it is the walks on the boulevard, the route from my apartment to Dara's, the horriblely inconvenient hours of the Bucktown Liquor convenience store, meals at El Nandu with my family, the noise of the Kennedy coming through the windows of my apartment that I will always treasure. US Cellular Field is a beautiful new home for the Chicago White Sox, but it doesn't mean anything to me. What I love about it is remembering having to corral all our campers into the concourse area when a summer squall unleashing torrential rains on our field trip. The Sears Tower and the Hancock Building are both architectural feats but when one of them is mentioned I will think first of my time on my breaks when I worked at an insurance agency across the street from the Sears Tower, gazing up at it, stunned by how tall it really is. Or of Eron with Emily at the look-out, putting money in the viewfinder, thinking of when Steve did the same with Eron & I. Or of a flourless chocolate cake and drinks that Dara & I shared as we gazed out across the undark of Chicago at night from the Hancock Observatory as we celebrated her National Board certification.
Great memories from a great city.

Will & Grace

Yes, it is a crass show with an over-reliance on its endless supply of gay & sex jokes, but I did watch its season premier last night. Dara turned it on while I was reading and I ended up watching it. The subject material was pretty unremarkable and Alec Baldwin (guest starring) was a complete dork, but what made it totally enjoyable was that they filmed this premier LIVE! No cuts (only commercial breaks) and no editing! It was great. It was like watching Saturday Night Live or a play or something. The cameras started out wide, showing the entire studio so you could see how the set was built. Pretty cool. Since there wasn't any editing, there were times where the actors had to wait for the audience to stop laughing or cheering, there were actors who couldn't keep a straight face. Grace & Jack were HILARIOUS. They kept cracking each other up. There were lines that were messed up and lines that were repeated. Then at the end, the cast all ran out and took a bow, just like a live performance. I thought it was a fun, fresh idea and quite entertaining.

29 September 2005

DeLay gets DeRailed

So this story is everywhere, as it should be. Just thought I'd put it on here so everyone has a chance to vent on it. I liked the guy who points out that our Republican leadership is spending more time answering questions in investigations & special committees than it spends doing the people's business.

O'Hare Expansion Plans OK'd

This article on Daley's O'Hare expansion is interesting. Fewer delays sounds great to me. I found it good that they mentioned the pro's and the con's of it. There is a give & take to it all. The plan that won out is the best plan for decreasing delayed flights and has few negative environmental impacts, BUT it also displaces the most homes and businesses. Abe Lincoln said it best, "You can please some of the people all of the time, or all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all the people all the time."

28 September 2005

Strange bedfellows

This story about a snake in a nursing home bed was more than just a little sick and gave me the willies. While I was underwriting, I saw some pretty nasty claims on some nursing homes. There are definitely some bad establishments out there. Glad to see they are going to close this one down.

27 September 2005

Peguins & Landmines Coexist in the Falklands

Penguins rule. And literally run the roost in these areas of the Falklands. And, at least their environment is safe from further tampering by humans.

Are land mines banned from further use in warfare?

26 September 2005

Historic Decommissioning news...

The IRA has followed through on its historic July announcement and the independant decommisioning committee has been satisfied that their arms are fully beyond use. And, as would be expected, Rev. Ian Paisley and the DUP are not convinced, nor are they happy with the IRA's efforts. Everytime I read his comments, I want to punch him in the nose.
I thought it was a necessary & often-missing item in the first article that the committe mentioned that the matter of loyalist arms remains.
Reactions of the Prime Minister and others can be read here.

10-year old play caller

GREAT story. I like Charlie Weis.

For Lack of a Name

What a whirlwind of a weekend!! Lots of miles but lot of fun too. I took a different route home on Friday. I took I-35 south to Highway 2 and then took that west. It was interesting to check out a different part of the state. I have only gone that route once in all my travels home over the years. The deep south-central part of Iowa has the lowest income per capita in the state and it's crazy but you can really see it as you drive through. I saw two Hy-Vee's that looked like they haven't changed since 1960. New Market?!?! The town (and school) that time forgot. Do you guys remeber that gym? TWO rows of bleachers on each side! Cracker box.
When I got home, Mom had some yummy chorizo & potato tacos waiting. I LOVE that Rick & Laynie Bayless cookbook! After some food and chatting we took a walk down to the field and watched the first half of the game as the Admirals battled Malvern.
Saturday we headed up to Omaha and went to Elkhorn to watch Emily's soccer match. It was fun to watch the U-10's, they really are able to play the game and understand passing, scoring, and defense. The Magic were victorious and we then we home to watch the Hawkeyes on TV (who were not even close to being victorious) and enjoyed Asian takeout before going to explore the new Whole Foods grocery. It was packed but it was still fun to check out everything with my family there. I was able to get some of their soda that I love and a few CLIF bars. By that time, Mom & I had to zoom home so I could pack my car with Luke's stuff and get my laundry (half done, part still wet) and head to Des Moines. Once I got here, I had just enough time to unpacked my stuff, but the wet laundry into the dryer, watch the last 4 minutes of Wisconsin's upset of Michigan (HA!) and run out and jump into my still warm car to go up to Ames to listen to Luke play. There were four different groups playing and Luke's group was second. They played five or six songs, changing up the instruments on each. Luke played shaker, then guitar, then sat out, then guitar & sang, then guitar. All but one of their songs were instrumental but the crowd really loved 'em. They had a good following of their friends to lead the cheers. Their one song with vocals was also their only cover, all the others were originals. Luke sang The General and did a great job. It was very fun to hear him sing and play. They really did well and the crowd was into it. They played a song with a fun, lively Irish rhythem and everyone was clapping along. Well done, Luke. Oh, and the name they used for their group was "For Lack of a Name."

22 September 2005

Smashed

I finished this book this evening (while cooking my dinner) and I wanted to recommend it. I know I had said to Eron & Mom that it was a very dark, painful book, and it is. But there is a lot more to it than that. It is a well-written (chosen for Barnes & Nobles Great New Writers Award) biography of a girl who battles with an addiction to alcohol. While she is not an alcoholic (and she makes that clarification several times) she was emotionally dependant on it. Her college experiences typify the binge drinking epidemic growing across America's campuses. Her constant struggles with self-worth, confidence and happiness can wear on you after a bit, but on a smaller level it is something most (at least I) can understand, if not correlate with. Check out her website, she's been doing a college campus tour and working with several organizations for alcohol education and safety. I even bought the stick pin to support her and the org.

Labor Day Favorites Mix

I've assembled the Labor Day Favorites Mix on my iPod and have been enjoying it for a week or so now. I love the diversity of it. And thinking of the faces on Noah, Brighid and Emily when I tried to guess their favorites never fails to place a smile on my face. Next time we are all together, I'll be ready to play all our favorites for everyone to enjoy. It was such a fun great idea, thanks for doing it. I'm pasting the list below.
Purpose - 311 = Luke
Danny Boy - (i have 3 different versions of this...who's your favorite, Mom?)
Somebody Told Me - The Killers = Noah
He Went to Paris - Jimmy Buffet = Eron
City of Blinding Lights - U2 = Kate
So Yesterday - Hilary Duff = (these are the 2 i couldn't guess, and now I can't remember which was which!) umm, Emily?
I Always Get What I Want - Avril Lavinge = ?Brighid?

Old Maids

There was a group of people in last week from Ohio and I'm not sure how it came up, but someone had popcorn or something and someone said something about Old Maids. The Ohio contingent had no clue what was being talked about. Nor did a lot of folks that were not originally from Iowa. So now I'm wondering if Old Maids is a universal term for the unpopped kernels in a batch of popcorn or a Midwest colloquialism. I did a quick search on the internet and there's plenty of popcorn sites out there mentioning Old Maids, but since I was at work I couldn't delve into it fully.

Cookies!

Last night I baked my Orange Carrot Cookies for the first time in probably a decade. I used to make those cookies all the time, but in recent years, I only bake cookies 5 or 6 times a year and when I do, I usually tend to make chocolate chip, or sugar for frosting, or Rolo cookies. Last night I was flipping through my recipe cards to get some ideas of stuff to make before I headed to the grocery store and I ran across the Orange Carrot Cookies and I knew their time had arrived. And all I needed was a can of cooked carrots! I took a lot of enjoyment from making them. As I mashed the carrots with a fork, I thought of all the times I had done the same in the kitchen with Mom out in our old house by Riverton. The Golden Glow Topping tripped me up a bit and was way too runny the first time through, but I added powdered sugar and was able to rectify the situation. The finished product was really pretty tasty. The cookie still has that nice spongyness and the topping was citrusy sweet. They wouldn't be able to compare to the 2nd Place winners at the Fremont County Fair of my youth, but they were just right for my first attempt. Anybody want some?

19 September 2005

I - O - W - A


Great seats, Row 3, Goal Line.

Touchdown, Iowa!

OPI does Chicago

Check out the hues in their Chicago collection. Not revolutionary, but there are some good ones. I like Miss O'Leary's BBQ, My Kind of Brown and Lincoln Park after Dark. I also checked out the Mustang line, but it was kind a weak effort althought the Gone Platinum in 60 seconds is good.

Zeros and Ones getting mixed up

Grrr. Blogger's application for uploading photos hasn't been working for a day now and I have 2 fun pix to share! Come on techies!

16 September 2005

No surprise here...

OK, Who had 'four months' in the pool?

Have some Kool-Aid

Man, the Catholic church is right in clearly denouncing this group and putting as much distance between themselves and this cult. Another media nightmare is not what it needs right now. As for the cult, it is scary and I feel sad for the family. You really have to be on your toes, I guess. This was a girl with a 4.0, active in groups, successful in sports, holding a scholarship for college who had been going to meetings at the church. Who would've guessed? Scary.

15 September 2005

Lunch

I brought my lunch today, as I do probably 4 of the 5 workdays each week. But there wasn't much in my sack today, just a nice sandwich and an apple. So, when I went down to the cafeteria to eat, I went and checked out the soups, thinking that I might compliment my fare with a bowl of soup. They had a cheese vegetable concoction that looked decent so I grabbed a bowl and commandeered the ladle. Before I started filling though, I decided that I really only needed a cup, not a bowl. So I put the bowl back and downgrade to the cup. So I begin filling it and as I do, I am also reading the nutritional info for the soup since it is conveniently placed right beside it. I see that it has 15 grams of fat, and I thought, "Yeesh, kindof alot, but what do you expect from cheese soup." THEN, I see that the 15 grams is for EACH SIX OUNCE LADLEFUL. My small cup fit a little over two ladles so now I've topped 30 grams. I've already begun to depress myself because I'm going to eat this cup of fat when something happens. In one of those wierd, subconscience, connections of brain synapses, I instantly remember that I think I left my money clip at home today. So I set my tray down and pat my pockets....Yep, empty. So, I place my full to the brim (gotta get my money's worth!) cup of soupfat back on the counter, place my tray back on the stack and nonchalantly go and sit down and enjoy my sandwich. People had to think I was a freakin' loon.

I thought about the absent money clip again on my way home from volleyball tonight. I was thinking how much simpler it is if you just don't have any money. If I had had my money, I would've been thinking, should I stop and get a Subway? should I call dara and see if she's eaten? maybe I should just stop and grab a Gatorade? Instead, I just drove home.

Candyfreak

I finished my book this evening as I waited for my volleyball game to start. In the back were some fun links. This Name that Candybar is the best. I missed 5 on the first page and only got 4 right on the second page. Pretty tough. I'm definitely very a mainstream bar shopper, but after this book, I am going to seek out some of the independant candybars. Check these out. Valomilk. Idaho Spud. Twin Bing.

Katrina forces Red Moon rewrite

Interesting article about a very avant guarde, edgy, unique theater group in Chicago and the changes that were forced onto Loves Me, Loves Me Not, their newest offering by Katrina. This is the same theater group that put out "The Cabinent".

Power couples

These pictures are kind of fun to check out. A look at these couples away from the playing field/red carpet. Who is your favorite couple?

14 September 2005

Huston Street....Burnt orange in his blood

My blogging has been pretty lame lately. I guess that is what cube life does to your creative writing, or at least to your blog-worthy experiences.
Anyways, I was reading ESPN the magazine at the Y yesterday while on the eliptical machine and I read an article on Huston Street. If you don't remember, he is the pitcher who was the ace for the Longhorns two years ago when they won the National Championship. The article focused on how, in just his second year of professional baseball and his first year in the majors (with the Oakland A's), he is one of the best closers there is. Now, I remember reading a while back that Huston's dad had been Longhorn too, but as I read the article I learned some incredible stuff.
First off, Huston has twin younger brothers who both are pitchers on the current Longhorn baseball squad and a youngest brother who is probably destined to do the same. His dad was James Street who not only pitched on a National Champion Texas baseball team, but quarterbacked the Longhorn football team to a National Championship. He was a pro prospect in both sports but both careers were ended before they began do to an injury (I think in bullriding). So we toured as his friend, Wille Nelson's opening act. He also was good friends with Elvis Presley and hung out with him whenever he came to Texas. So then Huston comes along and he wasn't too shabby at football either. He played in the 5A (biggest class) title game against a Midland Lee team that had Cedric Benson as its running back and led his team with 17 tackles. Oh, and team Huston was playing for?...Westlake. There's probably more stuff but I can't remember it all. Oh, and for Luke...Huston bought himself a $100 acoustic guitar this year for something to do and has been teaching himself to play with the help of a couple of his teammates. After three or four months, Huston came into the clubhouse to find a high-end Gibson guitar in front of his locker. His teammate was impressed with his dedication to learning and had bought it for him. Cool.

13 September 2005

Yummy Healthy Breakfast Treat

Plain fat-free Yogurt - around a cup
Skim milk - around a cup
OJ - around a cup
Handful of ice cubes
whatever frozen fruit (or fresh) you have
splash of vanilla
two big spoonfuls of flax meal

blend and enjoy your well-started day. should make enough for two people. probably a lot of calories but low in fat and high in good things. just add enough milk & oj so its smooth & pourable.
whoever thought that milk and OJ together would be good? but it is. Thanks to Jake Shull for getting me started on these.

12 September 2005

NYC charter school makes lunch program from scratch

This article is from Mom, but I loved it so much I wanted to share it. I think it is such a great idea, in so many different ways! The manners, the training of the childrens' palette's, the portion size control, buying local foods, the farmers market at the school so parents can reinforce at home (or learn along with their kids). I was also glad that they touched on how they can afford it. The chef is an alum of Johnson & Wales, same place as Alton Brown! This is my favorite quote, "Children learn to respect where it comes from and who serves it, as well as whom they eat with. They must use tongs to pick up their morning bagels. They may not bang their trays down on the cloth-covered cafeteria tables. No one is allowed to toss out whole peaches or to cut in line."

11 September 2005

Work In Progress

I'm trying to update my Sidebar area on my blog as you can tell. Bear with me as I struggle with the html. And feel free to offer any comments or ideas. I'd love to find a way to be able to be a small picture there.

09 September 2005

FEMA chief booted back to DC

I think most people expected something like this to happen. And I don't think it is the last head to roll over the disasterous handling of this natural disaster. They are already voting on motions to have investigations in both the House and the Senate.
I don't know if any of you watched the TV show "The Office" but there is a funny joke in that show where there is a conversation between a manager and one of his workers...
Worker: "..well, I after all, I am the Assistant Manager,"
Mngr: "No you're not. You're the assistant to the manager."
Worker: "Same thing."
Mngr: "No it isn't. It's lower actually."
Not too funny to read, but if you can imagine it delivered with the dead pan comedy of Steve Carrell, it's pretty good. And strikingly similar to this quote from the article...

"A former mayor of Edmond, Randel Shadid, confirmed that Friday. Shadid told The Associated Press that Brown had been an assistant to the city manager, and never assistant city manager.

“I think there’s a difference between the two positions,” said Shadid. “I would think that is a discrepancy.” A former mayor of Edmond, Randel Shadid, confirmed that Friday. Shadid told The Associated Press that Brown had been an assistant to the city manager, and never assistant city manager."

New to the iPod family

A sharp new member of the family. Probably will be replacing the Mini at some point. They are already running Mini specials at Amazon. And the nano is available in black! I'm guessing it has flash memory (like the Shuffle) instead of a hard disk (like the larger iPods) since it boasts it is entirely skip-free. Apple is smart to offer better functionality, smaller size, new perks, etc for the same price instead of decreasing their prices. Steve Jobs also unveiled the new Motorola ROCKR this week that everyone's been talking about. It uses iTunes and the service is through Cingular and the phone holds 100 songs.

Former Husker leaves ESPN in a huff

I wasn't ever a very big fan of Trev or his commentary anyways. I'm excited to see who they bring in. So much for that 2 weeks notice thing.

06 September 2005

"Hey Porkchop, How ya doin' Porkchop?"

I wish we had recorded Noah singing that on the computer. I would kill to have that on my computer to greet me each day. It still cracks me up just thinking about it!
The labor day weekend was very enjoyable. I had a fun time out at Old Chicago with Eron, Katie, Dara and friends on Friday. And sunrise soccer was so fun! It was great to get out there, shake off the sleep, stretch my legs and watch the kids have fun with a soccer kickabout. And I enjoyed kicking the ball a bit myself too. I got to drive Eron's car! Very smooth and tight. I loved it. Grilling out and watching an Iowa win is always a great way to spend a Saturday. Picking out yarn with Mom and then making short work of Wild Oats was fun. The pizzas on the grill were a exciting new cooking challenge. Sitting around and talking and watching the Auburn game was a nice relaxing way to finish the day. The new picnic spot was great fun, boombat and frisbee were sweaty fun. I loved the favorite songs guessing and watching the kids reactions! They were LOVING it. Thanks again for that, I will definitely enjoy listening to that playlist. Mom & I watched a super Irish movie to relax after all the Indian cooking. "The Boys and Girl from County Clare". Good music, good story. Monday was a lot of small fun projects around Mom's house, plus a trip to Orshelin's. That is always a fun time. I love the owl, Mom. Thanks for such a fun weekend everyone!

iSock

01 September 2005

30 August 2005

Counting the days.

So I finally gave in and ordered my iPod. To say I am excited would be an understatement. And making it even more fun is that I can track its journey through FedEx. FedEx took possesion of it in Singapore on Friday where it stayed for a day or so then it flew to Anchorage, Alaska for an overnight before heading to Indianapolis. And now it is en route to Iowa, with an estimated arrival of Wednesday at 10:30am. Of course, I will not be home then, so I'm guessing FedEx will have to come back on Thursday. I was hoping to have it up and running for the trip home this weekend, but I'm also waiting on some software to get my computer ready for the iPod, so it might now happen this weekend. But soon. very soon.

29 August 2005

Allied opening up their checkbook

This story was in Sunday's paper. The size of the sums of money that insurance companies deal with and earn are staggering and actually almost incomprehensible. All the suspect activity happened before I came on board with Allied, but it is still an interesting topic!

Chefs galore!

Man, this would've been cool to go to!!! Charlie Trotter, Rick Bayless, and Rick Tramonto are the three biggest names in the Chicago restaurant business. And all for $5! (It's about time there was something under-priced from Whole Foods.)

28 August 2005

Freshman reading group

Interesting. Like a little freshman book club. I think it is a great way for kids to get to know each other, in a more relaxed environment and a great alternative for socializing instead of parties. I've read 3 of the books they mention. I thought "the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime" was a fun fast read. You don't want to weigh them down with too much since they are going through their first semester of studies also.

25 August 2005

Mint pinches double eagle

What a fun combination of words for a title. It's just fun to say. mint pinches double eagle. :)

Here's the story. This guy asked the Mint if his coins are legit, they ask to see them and then they stuff 'em in their pockets and ran! Or something close to that. An interesting movie-like story nonetheless.

24 August 2005

Fishy, Fishy, Fishy

This is the wierdest story I have read in a while. Why did he leave the wife in the grocery store bathroom? Why'd he dumped his papers? Why did he have the interestingly-timed heart attack? Why hadn't he contacted his brother after driving 280 miles to his town? Why'd he take his daughter with him? How did he topple into the cargo area of the SUV? It is tragic. I just think that a 53 pound 9 year old might be able to wiggle their way to at least gasp some air from under a 212 pound person. I guess not in this case. Sad.

Lunch

So after waiting til 1:15 to take my lunch break, I grab my sack lunch that I had carefully packed this morning and headed down to the cafeteria. I usually don't eat that late, more around 12:45, but the good thing about eating later is the cafeteria is cleared out somewhat. Since I forgot to bring my book, I splurged and picked up a copy of the DSM Register for 50 cents. As a turned to walk to a table, I crossed paths with a small mid-50ish lady whom I had been in orientation with on Monday. She & I had conversed a few times that day but nothing remarkable, but she piped a bright, "Well hello there!" and asked if I was sitting with anyone and after my answer in the negative, she asked if I minded if she joined me. Now, I am guessing that we have all had those times where you really are just looking forward to some peace and free time away from work, mindless conversation, etc, only to have someone crash your party. (If you don't know what I'm talking about then I am a total self-centered, heartless jerk) So that was the feeling that flashed across my brain, but I of course answered sure, because you can't turn someone down after they are brave enough to ask. So we sit and proceed to have a entertaining conversation, complete with friendly inquiry into each other's history and even several laughs. After relating my story, she commented, "Well, when I go home tonight, I'll be able to say, 'I met the most remarkable person at work today.'" I could relate some of her story, but really the details of Wisconsin, power lines, and cow milking were not what made it so fun. It was the surprising reminder of the pleasantness of sitting down and making a new friend. As I got up and headed back to work, I left my unopened paper on my table. Perhaps someone else could get some enjoyment from it. I had no need for it today.

50 yd Line

Checked out the ol' Farragut High website tonight and came across this article. I say well done! I always thought we had an excellent field and loved to play on it.

23 August 2005

Disc golf

Dara & I went to Play It Again Sports last weekend and we each picked out two used discs for disc golf. Luke had mentioned it quite a while back and I told him we'd have to play when I moved back, so now that I'm here, it's time to step up, I guess! The guy at the store told me a good website to check out for course information in the Des Moines area and I went out and played at Water Works Park early Sunday afternoon and I enjoyed it so much I came back and had Dara go out with me and we golfed 18 holes that evening. It takes a little bit to get the hang of throwing it (who am I kidding, I still suck!) but once you can throw it a bit, it is pretty fun. Much less hunting for (or losing) your ball/disc than in real golf, plus the best thing about it.....its FREE! It is really nice just to get out and enjoy the outdoors and soak up some sun and have some laughs.

20 August 2005

State Fair '05

Since the media seems to be unable to find anything else worth covering, Dara & I decided to check out the State Fair last night. We were smart and had pre-bought our tickets at the grocery store and saved $3 on each one! As soon as we entered I was tempted and gave in, purchasing Deep-fried Oreo's. I am a SUCKER for Oreo's. These were pretty good, the only bad thing is that they had lost their crunch in the fryer, still pretty tasty though. We then made our way through the maze of the Varied Industries building, with all of its booths. I scored a chip clip from the Goodwill booth. I decided I want to spend $1300 on a basketball hoop when I get a house. Dara decided she wanted a $4500 hot tub. We sampled salsas, beef sticks and fudge, with the beef stick being the most enjoyable in my opinion. We got our body fat percentage measured at the Univ of Iowa Sports Medicine booth. I was sad to find no 'Jakers' toys at the IPTV booth. After that we headed to the livestock barns. We saw the big horses getting ready for showing, sows that we about to farrow and a couple that had the day before and were feeding their piglets. We gawked at the Big Boar (1080 lbs) and the Big Bull (2999 lbs). We checked out the sheep that were being displayed for prospective buyers and then we sat down at one of the smaller showrings and watched a swine auction for a while. It reminded me of sitting in the showring at the Fremont County fair. Quite fun. I then got a GREAT corndog. We met my friend and were hanging out for a bit and Gov. Vilsack was hanging out right next to us! Before we left we had a pork chop on a stick (Yummy) and admired the butter cow and the butter Tigers (Woods & Bengal).
As we sat in a traffic jammed parking lot to leave for 20 minutes we were treated to a great fireworks show. A perfect ending to a fun night!

19 August 2005

Most beautiful train stations

WOW. There are some INCREDIBLE facilities pictured on this list. Some are amazing for their architecture, some for their palace-like opulence, some for their art. My favorites are 1-Munich, 2-Stockholm, 3 (tie)Moscow & Tashkent. Honorable Mention goes to New York for the bronze sculpture of the croc coming out of the manhole and eating that person and to Toronto for the cool optical illusion.

17 August 2005

Summer Reminising

As I drove home today from Des Moines I thought about all the fun times I had this summer with all of you. Here are some of the highlights that came to mind. Cooking with Connie and Eron when they were here for the Greenleaf auction. Luke and his friend were here to enjoy the food too. The church's 125th anniversay party with fireworks!! Watching Luke perform that night. Attending my first CD release party - for a singing farmer from Imogene. The College World Series with everyone-hanging with Eron and Kate and the kids inbetween games-:) 2 weeks of summer school-(mostly enjoyed the money.) Blowing up the grandkids swimming pool with Eron by mouth in 100 degree heat --in the sun of course, what, you think we are wimps? Eron way up in the tree trimming my massive tree with a saw the size of bread knife, had to make it interesting. :0 Traveling with Abba and Connie to Dubuque, Galena, and Madison for a great road trip! Going to the waterslides at the Shenandoah pool with Kate and the kids on a perfect summer day-how relaxing and special that was. Moving Jake and Dara to Des Moines to a charming apartment that is now decorated so nicely. Luke and I and Kate enjoying Madagascar with the grandkids-see it -it's great!!! Brighid's birthday party at the pool at the Y-is was so much fun for the adults too. Moving Luke to Ames where he is very happy to start his final year at ISU. Spending a day with Jake and Dara and seeing Dara's school, talking --art, kids, teaching, clothes, food, books, and family. Family--that's what it is all about. I had a great summer thanks to all of you taking me places, visiting here, me visiting you and cooking!! I feel very happpy and blessed to have all of you-Lots of love, Mom

Mattress Malibu!

Mom's visit/Luke's moving day

Mom & I helped Luke get moved into his new apartment and get set up for his senior year of college. It was a fun time. His apartment is pretty nice, one bedroom, very spacious, clean carpet, stove, frig AND a small dishwasher! He and Mom got a nice dining table that looks nice from J & R. We went to the bed store and picked out a bed and transported it across town (see above photo) and set it up. He picked out some cool, funky sheets and blanket from Target & Mom got him set up with groceries. It was a fun time hanging out and seeing Luke excited and very appreciative. And we capped it off with some food at Hickory Park.
Mom stayed here that night and we had a couple opportunities to relax in our favorite Barnes & Nobles and graze the fields of books. I started today off with a drug test (for my new job!) and then we hunted out Graziano's Italian grocery. I'd been there once before, like 5 years ago and it hasn't changed much. In fact, I don't think it's changed too much since 1912 when 2 Italian immigrant brothers opened it. We picked out a great focaccia loaf and I also selected some giardinera, roasted red peppers (for sandwiches) and olive oil. Then we went and checked out Dara's new school and admired her progress in her classroom. It looks great. Her watercolor presentation will knock their socks off. After that, Jordan Creek Mall called so we headed out there and both found some good pants at the Gap (and earned some free songs from iTunes!) More malling and Dara came out to join us. We had a great time. It was very fun to spend the day with Luke and for Mom to be able to hang out and relax before everyone starts back to school! Thanks guys for everything.

11 August 2005

Pop for sure

I'd ran across this map before, but saw it again and now that I have a blog I get the opportunity to bore you all with it. I still find it strange that Southerners say "Coke" to mean a carbonated drink. They do they immeditely follow that up with "Sprite". It'd suck to be a waiter down there! Glad to see that Fremont & Polk are both in the dark blue.

Semi full of explosives blows

Thanks to my cable internet, I was able to watch the video on the CNN.com site of this. Incredible. It is a miracle that no one was killed. The size of the crater, both depth and width. The trees on the side of the mountain along the highway are all blown over, glass in nearby cars was shattered or blown out by the shockwaves of the blast. Why wouldn't the company that produced the explosives release any info on the type or use of them?

10 August 2005

Yanks fan jumps from upper deck

Crazy kids! Saw this headline this morning and just had to share. I also thought it was humorous that when the last guy tried it, he was unconscious and the game kept going!

09 August 2005

Space Funding

I read Eron's comment about NASA perhaps doing a little marketing stunt to liven up the space walk. That got me thinking, the space program costs billions, they are grounding the shuttle until further notice...Why not sell advertising space on the shuttle? Companies would pay to get their name or logos slapped on the side of the spacecraft, or maybe on the space suits. The astronauts could look like NASCAR drivers! OR, they could sell the naming rights to it. That is all the rage right now, bowl games (the Tostita's Fiesta Bowl, the USF&G Sugar Bowl, the Home Depot whatever Bowl), sports stadiums (the United Center in Chicago, US Cellular Field, Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium, Ford Field in Detroit, RCA Dome in Indy, Qualcomm Stadium). Those are roughly $60 million deals, al beit over 15-20 years. Heck, there has been talk that that may be the way for the City of Chicago to bail the CTA out of its financial woes. It could be the American Express Shuttle. Come on, that is good marketing! Or UPS could have it painted up like one of its trucks, that'd be grand! It could be sold to a different corporation for each launch, so maybe a studio would buy it to plug their new movie. (Toy Story III, "To Infinity and Beyond") Sound off folks, let's hear your ideas!

08 August 2005

Down with Blimpie

I was coming home last week from getting some exercise on a nearby soccer field. It was like 95 degrees out so I was hot and sweaty. I was also hungry and thought I'd grab a Subway sandwich to take home and eat in the AC. I don't know where the close-by Subway shops are but I did see a Blimpie shop right on the way so I wheeled in. Now, I've eated Blimpie before and it wasn't too bad. Usually a tuna melt, but I've always thought it was second-place to Subway. I went in and there weren't any customers and one kid behind the counter. He looked to be 16. So I order my sandwich (roast beef) and my bread (marble rye, which I was excited about). As soon as I saw the bread the excitement left me. It came from a cooler, unlike Subway's which comes fresh from the oven. It's color was an ashy grey and was blotchy, not marbled. The kid proceeds to make the WORST sandwich I've ever seen. The ingrediants are put on all uneven, some areas heaped and others almost bare. They didn't have any no-fat options for sauce, unlike Subway which offer a fat free honey mustard. So then I go to use my debit card to pay and they don't take them! Only checks and cash. I had bought a sub for Dara so my total was $10.87 or something. At this point I was very close to saying, "You know what, just keep the freakin' sandwiches then!" But, unfortunately, I kept my cool, counted my cash and found I had ten dollars....no more. So, I put it on the counter and said, "Well, I've got $10" and looked at the kid. He squirmed a little and shifted back and forth and them reached for the pennies jar and emptied it, gaining about twenty cents and said, "This'll be OK." So I leave and come home to eat the sandwich I'm not too thrilled with. Amazingly, the sandwich is even worse than I was preparing myself for. The bread was a damp and cold pasty mash, void of any flavor. The roast beef was the worst slice of lunch meat I've ever seen. I would've rather had bologna! The had been shaved in the wrong direction and the slice was more grizzle than beef. I was almost sick when I finished eating it. (Oh yes, I ate it. My sickness of not being able to through food away saw to that!) I now look at that Blimpie shop on Beaver Ave with a hateful eye every time I drive by. Viva la Subway!

07 August 2005

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

I can't tell you how happy I am to have cable internet again. (You probably thought this was going to be a lovey-dovey mushy ode to a girl. Nope.) It so great! It turns the internet into something entirely different than it is if you have dial-up. Listening to music online, downloading free tunes, quickly flipping through photo galleries, watching video!, multiple windows going at once, it's great. I looked at probably 300 pictures on the Y's summer camp website tonight. (man, I miss my kids!)
Very fun.