29 June 2005

Role Model

We were having our afternoon snack today and I was enjoying my Clif Bar when a fun thing happened. My wrapper had been sitting on the table but someone moved their bag or something and it pushed the wrapper onto the floor. Two of my campers came by and as they walked up, they glanced down at the wrapper, then back up at me. I was looking at them, and they are so used to me asking, "Whose trash is this? Pick it up." that I didn't even say anything thing and one girl said, "It's not mine!" I smiled and offered, "I know. It's mine. I decided I'm just going to leave my trash on the floor like my campers do from now on." She explained, "No, you can't. You're supposed to be our role model." (In our mission statment poster on the wall that us counselors made before camp, it states that we will be role models.) It made me smile and brightened up my day (which was already pretty bright). It's a fun thing to hear.

Blood Everywhere

What a great title for a post.
We've dealt with three bloody noses in our most recent two trips to the pool. The two today were fairly normal and easily taken care of, but, whoa nelly, the one yesterday was a doooozie. Luckily it didn't happen in my group. The kids were doing bobs and one kid came up as another camper was going down and his forehead met her nose. By the time she got out of the pool and walked to sit down on the bench, there was blood flowing out of her hands as they were cupped over her nose, with rivers of red coming down both forearms and falling to run down both legs. It was a shocking sight and my group couldn't pull their eyes from it. It took quite a while to get the bleeding to stop and the cleanup wasn't easy either. But she handled it like a trooper, and it didn't slow down her playing later in the afternoon.
Other than that, camp has improved. The second week is always easier. The kids get accustomed to the routine and have felt out their boundaries. We watched "Shark Tale" today, which I thought was really only average at best. And we have the Field Museaum tomorrow, so that should be fun.

27 June 2005

Roscommon to Imogene

Roscommon to Imogene
FAITH AND FAMILY FOREVER WEEKEND

I have to tell you what a great weekend we had in Imogene with the Quasquicentennial celebration. We worked Thursday night setting stuff up and people delivering picnic tables, tents, carnival things , etc. stopped for mass then finished upl This night we found out we were to serve 375 people in the basement of the church!!!!--:O A frantic call to the caterers to add the new 50 people and found out that people did not do their jobs, which is why I was calling frantically around Omaha for a St. Patrick's rose the next day. Thanks Kate for the help. Friday night I had 3 hours sleep as I was fighting an infection that I wasn't planning on. Up at 5 am and off to the church where we prepared a breakfast for 70 people. Here one of our food committee ladies brought 3 roses in a vase and said," Now ladies, let's not forget to smell the roses today." wasn't that lovely? and really set the tone for the day. Another lady who was the chairmen of it all had St.Patrick prayer cards for all the workers. She gave those out and many people starting smiling realizing it would be a long day but we were going to do our best. Those few hard feelings among committe people that always come with an event this big seemed to drift away at that point. I heard a few, "you know I'm sorry if you thought I was short with you,,,etc' I found that all hearwarming. Then off to Mt. Calvary cemetery for dedication of a new plat sign. About 100 showed up for that. Father blessed the sign and we walked around the 4 priests graves that are buried there. Then after some prayers and songs we released 125 balloons. As they floated away one "pioneer"(over 75 and in our parish) said, "Those stand for all the souls we've sent to heaven." A cropsprayer plane buzzed the cemetery around 10 times, --he liked his job. Then a glider got into the act and they raced around the cemetery sky for awhile scaring the heck out of us as they got closer and closer to the top of the corn in the field. James Doyle , husband of a food committee lady had an old convertible cadilliac there taking it to the antique car show so 2 other ladies on the food committee and I sat up on the back like homecoming queens and he drove us back to town and through the church parking lot a few times. :) Everyone waved to us as I yelled, " Top of the morning to you"-- It got a little crazy here-then back to work preparing food and cleaning up. They had a rock climbing wall,quilt show, kiddie tractor pull, irish religious store, bingo, food, and then a fashion show of days gone by. A lot of the models were wearing their grandmothers or mothers wedding dresses, prom dresses, little kids wore communion dresses etc. Then a full attack of people when this finished at 4:30 to put out tables and chairs and decorations for 375--- men and women grabbed whatever they could and helped without even being asked, they knew we were pressed for time as mass was at 5. they tore down the catwalk and screens and put up tables, chairs, swept the floor and put on paper tablecloths, flowers,placements, napkins, etc. I was impressed with all the help. the mass was nice. they had the 11 founding families names printed all across the communion rail-yes ours was there--MIKE AND JOHANNA SWEENEY SANER-my great grandparents. :) 6 priests concelebrated. One was Fr. Leahy who is now the president of Boston College, from Imogene mind you! One was Fr. Printy, who is around 90 and his grandparents were one of the founding fathers too! The bishop said mass and After mass the whole church came down and in about one and a half hours-everyone had gotten through. Next came the Talent show and we were represented by Luke-who played an Irish rock song with his group. Very nice, Got some more compliments today Luke on your music. Even our current priest played 2 songs on his guitar- after his second one I yelled to him a little encouragement"Rock on Father!!" but I don't think he heard me, which I'm sure was best. Little kids were dressed as fllags and sang in family groups and lots of skits, some better that others, if you know what I mean. As a finale the church council had a surprise. Since this talent show was at the ball field we were all treated to a fantastic fireworks show for 20 minutes-they were great. At 11:00 pm we all went home and fell in bed, I had a blast and made some new friends too! So I will finish with the song they sing at some funerals or anytime it seems appropriate.
"ALL PRAISE TO ST. PATRICK WHO BROUGHT TO OUR MOUNTAIN THE GIFT OF GOD'S FAITH, THE SWEET LIGHT OF HIS LOVE,, ALL HAIL TO THE SHEPHERD WHO SHOWED US THE FOUNTAIN THAT RISE IN THE HEARTOF OUR SAVIOR ABOVE."

26 June 2005

Apartment hunting

Our trip to Des Moines to look for an apartment was rough. We drove from Iowa City on Saturday morning and were on the hunt in Des Moines by 9. With only a break for lunch, we looked until about 5. It was a LONG, LONG, frustrating, stressful day. We did see a couple units that were acceptable and had a lot of positives, but each also had a couple negatives. So at least we have those to go with if we can't come up with anything else. So we left for our drive back to Chicago this morning without having secured our next place of residence, which was a downer but we did get a good, well-delivered, and timely homily this morning at St. John's Basilica about accepting God's will and understanding that more often than not things are not going to play out as you have them planned in your head. So we'll get this figured out soon and go from there. The sun will come up tomorrow. :)

The Eyes of Texas..

National Champs!!! Yahooo!!!
The Longhorns were so good while in Omaha. They were even saying on the TV that they weren't the team everyone was talking about coming into the CWS, but they without question were the best team here. I loved watching their defensive plays. That third-baseman was incredible at the plate and in the field, but behing the microphone isn't his best spot. And their fans are just fun!
Here's a link that explains the tower lighting procedures I was telling you all about. Pretty cool. The Texas sports page has TONS of info and some of the stuff about traditions is interesting. Oh, and don't forget to go here and get a wallpaper of our man, J. Brent Cox.

24 June 2005

Omega

Omega

Just have to say I can't believe I actually was hoping Neb would win the other night at the Blatt. But there were so many people cheering for them and it looked so promising. Your blog looks great Kate. :)

22 June 2005

OMAHA

From the 4 day trip to Omaha and the CWS...
--my Mom waiting for me at the airport
--"Dear Iowa"
--munching Famous Dave's wings in the park
--the joy of a little brother and his sister on the big slides
--getting a free ticket 'cuz I "had the right shirt on"
--"the eyes of Texas are upon you..."
--an uncomfortably large Omaha Steaks cheeseburger
--our special parking place by the park
--9th inning ministry free water (although spotty this year)
--having the kids for a day...and Noah for most of the night
--Vietnamese/Asian Restaurant, good curry, bad beef
--a double-header in 97 degree, full sun, no breeze heat
--eight hours at the ballpark with my older brother to relax and catch up
--rowdy, loud, obnoxious, funny Baylor students
--another Longhorn victory
--"Man of La Mancha" loud with the windows down for the 4th time
--cold beers, easy music, a warm night, planes flying overhead, a fire crackling, and good conversation with good people
--Spaghetti Works, finally finding the Scholastic Book warehouse.

Turning the pages of Miss Spider's New Car @ Barnes & Noble.  Posted by Hello

Story time in the kids section. Posted by Hello

This is the serving plate that Dara and I painted toghether, each of us doing a half. Posted by Hello

"That was fun, Brig, Let's go again!" - repeated by Noah after every time down the slide. Posted by Hello

Noah, with Gators @ 7 AM, after some games of Paper, Rock, Scissors Posted by Hello

Greatest Show on Dirt!!! Posted by Hello

CTA!!!

Man, I love the train. I had forgotten just how fun it is to take the train places. I strapped my backpack on my back and walked to the California stop of the Blue line on Saturday to start my trip home. It was PERFECT weather, warm, blue skies, no clouds, golden! So my train comes and I get on and there are open seats, so I can unload my pack and don't have to worry about anyone sitting next to me. I love watching all the store fronts and apartments go by and getting a little glimpse into people's lives. The point after the Damen stop where the train decends from its 'el' height and slips into the tunnel is a highlight for sure. Also, in between Grand and Chicago and between Chicago and Clark/Lake when the conductor really opens it up and we really get moving and the noise level becomes conversation-stoppingly loud and great too. So, I got off at Clark/Lake and go up the 3 levels to make my transfer to the Orange line. Along the way I encounter a middle-aged woman looking very confused and she asked me in halting English with a heavy Russian/Eastern European accent, "Where do I..Where is...Orange Line?" So, I tell her to follow me and I escort her to the correct platform. She double checked with me a couple times that I had brought her to the right train, and I contined to assure her that I did. And I sat 1 row away from her and when her stop came up I made sure she knew that this was her time to deboard. Once she vacated, I busted out my headphones and my new Shakira CD and she sang me the rest of the way to Midway. At Midway, the girl checking the ID's as you enter security looked at my driver's license, then up at me, then back down, then looked at me and asked, "Aw, why'd you cut your hair?" I replied, 'I thought I'd cut it for summer.' She said, "But it looked so nice long!" Like she had known me all my life. I just shrugged, smiled and walked on.
As I walked up to my gate, a lady in a Texas shirt pointed at me and I gave her the 'Hook 'em Horns' and she returned in kind (I had my Texas shirt on). I took my headphones out and talked with her for a bit. Her son is on the Longhorns team and they had packed for 10 days, hoping for a long stay in Omaha. There were half a dozen other people on the plane with Texas gear on, ready to descend on Omaha....Oh, and one guy in a Baylor shirt.

Movie Quotes

Great fun checking this link out. Thanks to Eron for providing it. Being a big fan of lists, I love the AFI's top 100's! The top 100 songs was not as impressive, though.

17 June 2005

CS Fullerton

HA! Watching the Nebraska-Arizona St. game and they just showed a guy in the stands in a Cal State Fullerton jersey wearing a sign around his neck that said "What Happenned?" The TV announcers were getting a good chuckle out of it. Fullerton had 14 players selected in the MLB draft and are defending champions.
I admired that fan's humor and ability to swallow his pride. The humor reminded me of a fan that wore a Sammy Sosa Baltimore Oriole's jersey to the Cubs - Sox game I went to. (sidenote, the Cubs traded Sammy to Baltimore in the off-season) You could tell that this White Sox fan had bought that jersey and had been waiting for this chance to unleash it on Cubs fans for a long time. He was revelling in his wittiness all 9 innings. Fair play to you, funny White Sox fan.

Food Force

I read about this website in Time magazine and I thought it sounded like a good idea so I checked it out. I had to go to the library to download the game, (a high-speed connection is a must) and I've just started playing it a little. I think that it is a great educational tool for video game obsessed kids. It is from the United Nations' World Food Programme and it teaches about food shortages and efforts that can be taken to prevent wide-spread starvation. I like that there are kids from around the world getting on the website and sharing thier thoughts and their high scores. Teachers can get lesson plans to use with it too! Unfortunately, I don't have access to a CD burner at the moment, so I can't burn the game for you all, but I will when I get my computer back. Until then, check out the website.

TGIF

Whew, a long week of training for summer camp finally crawled to an end this afternoon. Lots of team building, songs, icebreakers, games, introductions, planning, sitting around, CPR, First Aid, swim lesson training, child abuse prevention, etc. After meeting my team and listening to my (new) unit leader, it will definitely be a different style of camp this summer. But I am excited, we've got lots of good people and it should be fun. Myself and four other co-workers went out for dinner & a drink after we wrapped up at 5 and held some team-building of our own. We checked out Waterhouse, which is too classy & expensive for my tastes. The food was above average, though, for sure. I had a nice cheesy tuna melt with some good crunch and sweet potato fries, which I LOVE. And two delicious pints of Guinness. A splendidly fun way to finish a long week.
And....I'm counting the hours til I can hop a train to catch my plane to take me out to the ballgame!

More celeb crazy proposing...

Man, Tom and Katie didn't waste any time either! So much for everyone's 'publicity stunt' theory about their relationship.

14 June 2005

Bacon tastes good, Pork Chops taste good.

"What are you Jewish or something?" "I ain't Jewish, I just don't dig on swine, that's all."
Pulp Fiction was on cable tonight and I was able to watch most of it. I haven't seen it for several years, but I used to watch it A LOT in college. I think it was one of the first tapes I bought. They probably is not any five minute stretch in that movie that doesn't have a great line hat I have quoted at some point. John Travolta, Samuel Jackson, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman, Vihng Rhyames, Christopher Walken. And, to top it off, the soundtrack is top shelf.
....I started to list some of my favorite lines here, but I realized I could easily come up with 3 or 4 dozens so I stopped.

13 June 2005

Omaha, Here we come...

The field is set, ladies and gents. Six of the top eight seeds have made it through to Omaha, with Tennesse upsetting #2 Georgia Tech and Texas upsetting #5 Ole Miss. The game pairings are set, get out there and check them out. We'll have to pick some possible games to try and hit. Like Eron said, the rabid Nebraska fans are driving up the prices for any tickets to games the Huskers are taking part in, so I'll probably try to steer clear of those. Other than that.....GO HORNS!!!

Ironic or Just not right

Last night in my dreams, I was working a TEC weekend and Paris Hilton was working the same TEC. Yeah, pretty odd.

My version of the weekends events...

Got off work on Friday at 5:00 and came home for a shower to cool off (it was like 94 degrees out) and then Dara & I went to a little Employee Appreciation party at Glazed Expressions, a pottery painting place. There was free pizza and the Y paid for our projects so we couldn't pass it up. We painted a claddagh x-mas tree ornament and then our main project was a medium-sized serving platter. We adapted 'American Gothic' by Grant Wood and each sketched and painted our respective half, and I am excited to see how it will turn out. After sweating our way through that (their A/C inconveniently had failed that afternoon) we came back to the apartment, met up with the other roommates, and headed to Park West to see a Hammers show. (the Lovehammers are Chicago rock band that the girls are BIG fans of) I was excited to see the Park West venue, as it is highly regarded here as acoustically one of the best in town. And, it did turn it out to be a cool place. Very different than any place I'd been before. It was set up more like what I would imagine a Vegas-showroom or lounge would be like, with three levels leather booths and tables descending to a floor area in front of the stage. Very hip and classy. And the show was fun. Post-show activities including checking out a reggae bar called Wild Hare and finishing it all off with $1 Chicago-style hot dogs at The Blarney Stone.
Saturday I went to the library while Dara worked at the studio, after which we came home, rested for a bit, then walked across the street to St. John Berchman's (our old parish) Block Party. Our ten dollars in tickets got us 1 Polish dinner, including stuffed cabbage, 2 perogi, 1 cookie, keilbasa, sauerkraut, and a slice of rye bread to go along with our four tamales. After that we drove downtown, heading to the Blues Fest. We walked through Millenium Park, checking out the crowds, the kids playing in the fountains, the people lounging on the grass and worked our way across the Blues Fest. I thought of Luke because there were two Gibson Guitar RV's and they had about 15 guitars set up for anyone to try out. He would've loved it. We found a spot on the grass at one of the stages, listening to the Chicago Blues Harmonica Project. Our spot happened to be only a yard or two away from a large trash recepticle. We'd been sitting for maybe 4 or 5 minutes when a very large, very sweaty, very intoxicated man stumbled up to the trash bin and began to deposit a good portion of what he had spent the afternoon consuming. We didn't waste any time in scooping up our blanket and high-tailing it out of there. We went to Subway for a bite, to escape the robbery of the food vendors, then came back and staked out a small piece of grass at the main stage music shell. We just relaxed, people watched, listened to some blues and watched the sun slip behind the skyscrapers. Buddy Guy, a recent inductee to the Blues Hall of Fame, came on and started jammin'. We listened for a while, then headed out. I was reaffirmed in my opinion that blues is not one of my favorite music genres. We took a scenic drive along the lake shore, just enjoying the cool evening breeze and the feeling of nothing to do and nowhere to be. We stopped at The Alley so Dara could get a patch of the Chicago flag for her backpack, then mozied on through a couple other stores, and finally returned to our neighborhood. Our stomachs said to keep the night going so we hit my favorite local taqueria, Arturo's and we split an order of fajitas. THEN we called it a night and hit the sack.
Sunday was great too. Started it off with the Printer's Row Book Fair down in the south Loop. We both loved the antique maps at one booth. There were a couple cool ones of Chicago, circa 1850, showing the wards and neighborhoods. Sadly for us, they were priced between $275 and $300. I also found an antique postcard for Shenandoah. It was of Henry Fields! If it had been of Earl May's I would've got it for ya mom. We went back to Gourmand, which is the breakfast/sandwich shop that we ate at when I came out with Eron and Katie, and Eron and I first tasted Naked juice drinks. I purchased a couple used kids books, Katie No-Pocket (hardback for $3) and Caps for Sale ($1). We jetted from there around noon, took our recycling to the drop-off center, went to Walgreens, and then stopped at Sultan's Market for a small meal. I had an awesome Kefta Kabob sandwich, full of ground lamb, onion, Jerusalem salad (tomatos, cucumbers, onions in a tahini sauce) and hummus all in a big pita. VERY good. Dara got the babaganoush but wasn't too impressed. A quick stop at Borders to look for a map of Des Moines (no luck), and we arrived at the Wells Street Art Fest. We met up with the girls to listen to Down The Line, a rockabilly band they like, then checked out some of the booths before we ran into Marty Casey. He's the lead singer for the Lovehammers and is getting ready to be one of 15 participants in the huge new upcoming reality TV show, Rock Star so we were very excited to chat with him for a while. We wished him all the best and then went back to the stage just in time to catch the last song of the Nadas, a Des Moines area band. Oh, and Whole Foods had a booth there and they were giving away free Naked juice bottle of the new Lemonade (VERY tart & sour) and Strawberry Lemonade (VERY good and strawberry-y) flavors. We came home and finished our packed weekend by flipping through magazines and reading articles out loud on the roof of the building while sipping some Pilsner Urquell.
Well, we had a great weekend here. Luke and Gretchen arrived Friday evening and we had a supper of stuffed pasta shells. After that we had the trying experience of realizing my stereo was broken. A CD got stuck in there and Mechanical Error signal was flashed which when we looked in the book meant take it to the factory. Luke and Gretchen went on to their CD release party at the Depot, after all the show must go on. I went with Karon and it was fun. George played, Audrey sang and then the" young bucks" as George always calls them played. I am not so sure the young bucks like their name but hey, it's a gig. They all did well. Quite a crowd. I purchased the CD and "Beautiful Land " is on it --I love those songs from Dear Iowa. Eron and the kids arrived next (Kate had a family wedding) , then Connie and Steve. Connie brought food, ideas, and spices from the Coop. We had chicken tomatillo, and shredded beef tacos for lunch, courtsey of Rick Bayless, my new cookbook from Chicago. Dessert was Chocolate Fudge Cake, another Rick Bayless recipe. We talked, played and Luke strummed along. We played in the park and then the mechanical trio went to work. One hour and a lot of loose screws later(the stereo's) we had it spitting out the stuck CD!!!!!!!! Wow was I happy. We even got it all back together and it plays!! We will be putting out our shingle soon. Thanks to Gretchen for playing with the kids while we worked. Gretchen did well with meeting all of us at once on a crazy noisy fun weekend. Emily filled us in on Bibical History and Noah on the events of the week at Bible School. Brighid drew away at the kitchen table. Connie and Steve told us about world events via their two traveling daughters. For supper Connie fixed us chicken wings with various rubs They were fantastic!! Just ask Emily who went after hers with gusto, Steve and Gretchen weren't far behind. I couldn't believe we ate 40 wings. Not one was left. We also had a mango, black bean cilantro salad that rocked. Falk's lemon custard with raspberries was Noah's undoing as the poor guy said his stomach hurt soon after and crawled across the floor on his belly to Eron.! We all felt that way Noah. Sunday after mass,( Luke and Gretchen accompanied me) we had a great bruch Connie fixed us of mango lasse and quesadillas of leftover food from the day before. We headed off to the auction and the College kids headed back to Ames. Luke starts his class today, American Indian Studies. I had a blast at the auction just watching Connie and Steve. It is another story. I came home and Connie called me 3 times on the way home to tell me a) she had purchased me a few kitchen items that she thought I couldn't live without after cooking in my kitchen, b) "could you believe that ----- that gave me a hard time at the auction? "c) they found a new eatery in west des moines, Jason's Deli, a 0 trans fat place that tasted good and d) when are we seeing each other again? Couldn't I come to Des Moines in 2 weeks?.... I had a great time this weekend and thanks to everyone for coming and Jake and Dara we missed you a lot and can't wait to go to your place when you move, when will you be ready for visitors? Next get together Iowa City July 15 and 16 to see Anne and Abba, till then---- Our Family Rocks!

10 June 2005

Double Door Lives!

Nine more years of open doors at the Double Door. It is a quite-famous smaller music venue in nearby Bucktown/Wicker Park. It has been in a couple movies, "High Fidelity" and "Wicker Park" are two that come to mind. Anyways, It one of my favorite places to see a band play. I've seen Pomeroy, Grasshopper Takeover, and Lucky Boys Confusion play there. Good times. I actually biked there for a show in the first month I lived here. Plus it is right by some great late-night eateries.
Quadruple rent would be tough to pass up by the owners. Too bad they don't just sell it to Double Door, but that would be giving away a money-making gem, I'm sure.

09 June 2005

Ginger's

OK, so the Champions League final wasn't my last appearance at Ginger's. I headed over there after I got off work on Wednesday to catch some of the World Cup Qualifier action. And I wasn't disappointed, I had my favorite Shepherd's Pie and I tried a new beer, Hoegaarden. It is a Belgian brew, light but cloudy, fresh with a citrus presence. As for footie, I was able to see the second half of the Netherlands vs Finland match. Since I am a fan of the Oranje (the Dutch team), the last 15 minutes were very fun and exciting. Three very nice goals from three different players, including one beautiful, unselfish, counter-attacking, 3 v 1 goal. Also of note, Ireland beat Faroe Islands 2-0 to move to the top of their qualifying group with three games left. Although, they have the inside track to make it to Germany in '06, their group is very tight and will be tough. So far Iran, Japan, and Argentina have guaranteed their spot in Germany.

"Hot n Heavy"

That is how the Sun-Times website described the weather here today. I appreciate a fresh comment to break up the monotonous string of "Hot, Upper Eighties, 40% chance of thunderstorms." I'll be checking that upper-left corner more often now to see what else they come up with.

07 June 2005

Road to Omaha (cont'd)

Texas & Cal State Fullerton each won their last three games to rise up from the losers bracket to make it through to the superregional. They each had to beat the team that gave them their loss twice in succession. All of the top 8 seeds made it through also. Sadly, Creighton and Notre Dame didn't make it. And Quinnipiac gave up 55 runs in its two games, losing 20-2 and 35-8. Ouch!
Here are the Super-regional matchups with the winner (best of 3 games) heading to Omaha: The games are June 10-13
#1 Tulane vs. Rice
Southern Cal vs. #8 Oregon St
#5 Mississippi vs. Texas
Clemson vs. #4 Baylor
#2 Georgia Tech vs. Tennessee
Florida St vs. #7 Florida
#6 Cal St Fullerton vs. Arizona St
Miami vs. #3 Nebraska

05 June 2005


Stretching my ribbon. Don't pull too hard! Posted by Hello

The finished basket. It's all sugar Posted by Hello

Butterflies eating. They were EVERYWHERE Posted by Hello

Trying to fold my ribbon over. Posted by Hello

Pulling Sugar

We went to a demonstration at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum today that focused on pulling sugar into decorative shapes. It was put on my Marked for Dessert and the presenter was Mark Seaman, the owner. We actually stayed for the full two hours and I found it pretty interesting. It did get a bit slow in parts, mainly because he would have to wait for the sugar to heat up or to cool down. But there were only a couple dozen people watching & he invited volunteers to try their hands at pulling some, so I got to give it a whirl. He made a basket with a couple flowers and a bow on it. The color and brightness of it was very cool. Most of the flowers on his website show the gum paste flowers, which we did not get to see him create, but he said you can't tell a difference between the fake and the real flowers. He also said they make creations out of chocolate paste, combining chocolate and corn syrup. Very fun. I'll be posting some pix to add to my story.
Also, the rest of the museum was really good, great for kids, a nice butterfly room with tons of butterflies and tons of live chrysalis's, a good exhibit on 'green' homes and recycling, and a fun interactive water room showing irrigation, run-off, lock systems, water wheels, and dams. Plus the whole day was free thanks to the Kraft pass from the Chicago Public Library! Yippee!

03 June 2005

Iowa manners & Robert Gallery

I know I emailed this around when it was printed in Sports Illustrated, but after thinking about nice sports figures, it popped it my head again, so here it is.

"Last week, while interviewing Gallery at an Iowa City restaurant, I noticed something that I wanted to point out to give his parents some credit. Every time the waitress came by to fill his water glass -- he'd just finished working out, so he was a thirsty dude -- Gallery looked up at her and said, "Thank you, ma'am."

That may not seem like much. Maybe it isn't. But he probably thanked this woman six times in the course of the 60 minutes we spent at the table. I've seen American restaurant manners quite a bit in my 46 years, and that doesn't happen very often."

-Peter King, SI 4/2004

Shaq will pay

It makes me happy when I hear about millionaire celebrity/sports stars doing good things for people. I'm sure a lot of what they do goes unknown, which is great, but there are a lot of ignorant people that get to that place in life and forget about being kind and sharing. Good job, Mr. O'Neal.

...And here's the follow-up story...the family accepts, Shaq makes good.

Cover for the upcoming 311 CD



Here is the link. I couldn't figure out how to get the picture to show here. I'll have to work on that later. My favorite part of the picture is the images of fields next to the bear. I am guessing that they stand for Nebraska and California. Pretty cool.

02 June 2005

Farragut Community Days

What the hell is a 'Corn-Hole Tourney'?

Cougar in Des Moines

These two state champion cross-country runners probably set a new personal record after sighting the mountain lion. Waveland golf course in only a couple blocks from where I used to live in Des Moines.

Fall '08

I remember when Jeff Horner AND Dean Oliver commited to Iowa. Deciding on your college decision when you are a freshman in high school just seems like making a decision without having all the info. I don't see the draw to do it. Yes, they are all EXCELLENT 9th-graders and the Hawks are eager to sign them up, but why not reassure the Hawkeye coaches that they are #1 on your list but holding off to see some other campuses, take some free trips? Maybe they are just wanting to not have to deal with the hundreds of calls from recruiters and just make the decision they feel comfortable with and be able to focus on enjoying their next three years of high school and basketball. That being said, "Go Hawks!"

Hawks vs. Clones

courtesy of the Des Moines Register:

ABC has announced it will televise this year’s Iowa-Iowa State football game to a regional audience, University of Iowa officials announced today.The game, scheduled for Sept. 10 in Ames, will begin at 2:30 p.m.
Both schools hope to have top-25 caliber teams this fall. The Sporting News ranks Iowa No. 10 nationally in its preseason picks, while picking Iowa State for the No. 22 spot.
Forty straight Iowa games have been televised.

(Luke, mark it down, and make sure you have the day off. I will be coming up for some good tailgating. Can't wait.)

Sun-Times leading the way

The Sun-Times has become the first major American newspaper to drop the daily stock listings. They are beefing up their online stock pages. I think it is a great move. Save a few pages, and like this guy says, how many investors that want to know their stock prices daily are there that lack internet access?

01 June 2005

Memorial Weekend

What a fun little vacation! Usually I dread when I have to drive instead of fly, but since I was able to take a little extra time off on both ends of the weekend, it really wasn't bad at all this time. I was able to leave at 6 on Thursday after soccer and got in to Iowa City around 10. Plus, Dara accompanied me and it is always better to have a travelling partner. Connie & Steve welcomed us with fresh guacamole and a soft bed. (not at the same time) And the next morning, we were treated to a ride in Connie's new wheels, very sporty, very fun, great sky-blue color! Scones straight from the oven at New Pioneer kicked off our morning drive nicely. We stopped only for gas in Stuart and were in Council Bluffs by 11:30, were I deposited Dara and zoomed home for a lunch appointment with Luke at China Gate. The rest of Friday was spent relaxing, listening to Luke play guitar (nice amp & pedals!) making toasted hoagies & cole slaw and catching up. Oh, and Luke and I helped a neighbor lady move her new sofa into her house. Saturday morning was fun. I got to spend lots of time in the kitchen with Mom doing food prep work. Eron & Kate arrived with their kids and Dara and we all headed into Shen for a Star Wars matinee. It was very fun, the nine of us, getting our picture by the movie poster, taking up our whole row of seats, and passing the treats, popcorn and drinks. After all our recalling our own 'firsts' of Star Wars, I like thinking that I was there when Noah and Brighid went to their first Star Wars. It was good to see their faces in the movielight. Luke had to head back to Ames then. After that we trekked to the city park for our grill out. I look forward to our trips to the park so much. I love being outside, playing around with all my family and this trip didn't fail to satisfy. I little headache later on kinda sucked, but was only a minor blip in the weekend. Church, ping-pong, crafts and CMT made Sunday very fun. The Omaha crew headed home and Mom & I went up to the cemetary and spent some time walking around a talking about family history and also recent parish news. We stopped through Shen on the way home to say Hi to Rita, get a Peanut-Buster Parfait, and look at the Chrysler 300C's. Our evening entertainment, Victor/Victoria turned out to be a big bust. Who knew? It has Julie Andrews and the guy from Music Man. It will be a 1 star on my Netflix rating. CMT in the morning followed by lawn mowing and then going up to Omaha for bookstore-lounging and then a fun bratwurst grill out at E & K's. I ended the night meeting up with Dara at her sister's and checking out the Star Wars collection of her brother-in-law. It was in quite a bit better condition then Eron & mine's. No missing hands or scarred faces. Everyone still had their cloaks, guns AND original packaging. We started our return journey at 7 on Tuesday, and after short stops in Des Moines to transfer a TV to Luke and in Iowa City for a quick lunch at Oasis, "The Falafel Joint", we got back around 3:30.
Thanks to everyone I saw this weekend. I really had a great time. Hmmm, now how many days til College World Series?!?!?

Gas Prices

Every time I drive home from Chicago, I always get excited to watch the price of gas fall as I make my way across Illinois and Iowa. When I gassed up before leaving on Thursday I paid $2.23, and that is the cheapest gas on the northside. There are places still around $2.40. I only put $6 worth in, enough to get me out past the 'burbs and into the land of cheaper gas. I think I filled up for $2.11 or something. Every hour or so west would knock a nickel or so off the price. I think the lowest I saw was $1.81 in Des Moines, but there may have been a $1.79 in Shenandoah, I can't remember. In any event, it was nice to see gas prices that started with a 1 instead of a 2. It just felt right. I can remember when I was in high school and the price hovered just under the one dollar mark. If it was more than $0.99 a gallon, you felt you were getting taken to the cleaners. Ah, the days of yore.