27 July 2012

Helpful Smile in Every Aisle

You never know who you are going to run into your local Hy-Vee.
She caught me post workout and with a cart of healthy items, so hopefully she was impressed.

26 July 2012

Find Your Greatness

Greatness is wherever somebody is trying to find it.

Nike doin' it, like always.  Thanks for the motivation.

23 July 2012


On a sort of spur of the moment, 'summer is dwindling away, let's go do something', wild hair, I took a roadtrip to Chicago with homebase last weekend.  My obvious prejudices aside, Chicago is just the perfect roadtrip destination.  Just the right driving distance, far enough you don't get there too often, but close enough to drive it in under a half-day.  And such an easy drive.  Just get on I-80 and head east.  Don't even start the "I-88 is a better route" discussion with me.  We were talked into taking it on the way over this time.  I've never believed it is the better route and the tolls are ridiculous.  And there was SO MUCH construction this time.  I think they should lower the tolls if they are going to have you constantly in work zones.  We took I-80 on the way home and it was delightful.  Never again!
Operating on homebase's time table, we overnighted in Iowa City, which allowed for the obligatory stop at Oasis for the world's best falafel & hummus pita, and then had a 4:30am wake-up call.  That is a time of morning that I usually do not wake up at, but I don't really mind it if there is fun to be had.  And we were parking by 9am and enjoying breakfast at Xoco, which has quickly become one of my favorite places in the city.  I had the same thing as last time, the chilaquiles, but also tried the egg & poblano empanada (good, but the tomatillo sauce was the mouth-watering highlight).  After that we shopped the morning away before meeting my uncle for lunch at Quartino's (fabulous).   In the afternoon, we headed to the Pilsen neighborhood and explored the National Museum of Mexican Art, a spot that I'd always meant to check out but never got to, so was eager to see.
There were some great displays, good information on the history of Mexico, everything was printed in both English and Spanish and it was all free.  Tough to beat!  They only area I thought needed some improvement was the gift shop.  They need to take a page from the Art Institute or the Field Musuem, those places know how to rake in the dough.  I wanted a print or a few postcards, but they didn't really have any that I was hoping for.  My favorite artist was Carmen Lomas Garza.  She had several paintings that I liked, colorful and focused on families and traditions.  "Las Posadas", "Tamalada", "Quinceanera" and I think she may have done this black and white one also.  Although they weren't in the museum, I also love her cutouts.
We filled up the following day with some shopping, a visit to the Irish shops in Long Grove, an afternoon at the Chicago Botanic Gardens, and a quick trip to IKEA.
A great way to get some fun in before the school year cranks up again. (flickr set)

22 July 2012

Caprese Salad on Tostini

Tomato & Basil from my garden. Bread from La Mie. EVOO & Balsamic from Vom Fass.  I was too lazy to go out for fresh mozzarella so I just melted some shredded on there.

These were out of sight. Simple, but such great flavors. A little fresh ground pepper, kosher salt and a dribble of balsamic of half of them. Delicioso.

20 July 2012

Summer in the City

Saw this little fun factory as I was driving through a neighborhood last week and I stopped and snapped this from my driver seat. It was over 100 degrees out so no one playing on it but I still thought it was a great summer image.
I love to see kids being creative.

16 July 2012

Summer Mix 2012

This is really a collection of singles more than it is a mixtape, as anyone who has heard one of my mixes can tell you.  And, even more so than usual, there is a wide mix of stuff on here: a couple dubstep bangers, some electronic dancey stuff, a few foreign language cultural tidbits, the theme song to the Euro12 tournament ("Endless Summer"), a little bit of country, a dash of kid cuteness with Alexa Narvaez and the She & Him song from Winnie the Pooh, even a rock song (albeit an oldies cover) something that doesn't make it on my mixes very often.  Caboose should be happy; Johnny Mayer & the White Stripes both make an appearance. 
"Summer is Fleeting" definitely is ready to party right from the jump off, does a little wandering in the middle and then chills out at the end. If interested, I'll gladly send ya a copy...

1. Rocket Ship - Dragonette
2. Jumanji - Azealia Banks
3. Endless Summer - Oceana
4. C'est Pas Facile Pour las Aigles - Amadou & Miriam ft Ebony Banks
5. Fire Hive - Knife Party (Krewella F on Me remix)
6. Breathe - Skrillex ft Krewella
7. Dougou Badia - Amadou & Miriam ft Santigold
8. I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself - White Stripes
9. So Long - She & Him
10. Lo Mejor De Mi Vida Eres Tu - Jorge y Alexa Narvaez
11. Believe in Magic - Girl Talk
12. Mama's Broken Heart - Miranda Lambert
13. Summertime Sadness - Lana Del Rey (Reich & Bleich remix)
14. She's 22 - Norah Jones (David Andrew Sitek remix)
15. Am I the Only One - Dierks Bentley
16. No Hurry - Zac Brown Band
17. Walt Grace's Submarine Test, January 1967 - John Mayer
18. The Summer Wind - Frank Sinatra

15 July 2012

Nieces & Nephew Time!

A weekend getaway to a Knight of Columbus event for stoppable and KT turned into a weekend of a broken foot (for KT), surgery, recovery and crutches.  homebase had been planning on taking care of the kids while they were out of town and, despite the change in plans, it still worked out for them to enjoy a few days in the country while stoppable played nurse to KT in Omaha.
Three kids with their grandma in the country sounded like too much fun for me to miss out on so I zipped home Friday afternoon.  Although I was only there for about 24 hours, we had a lot of fun in that short time.  The main project was a tie quilt out of bandanas of all different colors. The piecing was already done when I arrived, we pinned it to the batting and backing on Friday, and Saturday we did the tieing.  They finished the border trim after I left and it looked pretty great!
There was lots of games of mancala with the Brig, NTW took over the high scores on most of the games on my iPad, and trading songs with Emily.  Everyone pitched in for a great meal in the evening as we dined out in the shade under the trees.  Grilled chicken sandwiches, beans, jell-O, chips and two salsas (a pineapple/red pepper one and a jicama/black bean/roasted corn one).  We closed out the night with fresh baked chocolate-chip cookies and everyone piled on the living room floor watching "Puss in Boots."
The Brig had said that she was interested in going on a nature walk Saturday morning, and we didn't have any more takers, so it was just the two of us.  She wanted to get an early start so we set our alarms for 6:15.  I made us some cinnamon toast, packed our binoculars and bug spray and we headed over to the Wabash Trace.  homebase had told of spotting a family of raccoons there earlier in the week, and Brig had her heart set of finding them.  Sadly, we struck out...big time.  We saw almost nothing.  Not even a rabbit or a squirrel.  And only a red-headed woodpecker for interesting birds.  Despite the lack of wildlife disappointment, it was a fun time to spend together, walking and talking.
Back at the house, I made migas for everyone for breakfast, we worked on the quilt, played Scrabble, and for lunch we had a feast of sweet corn and pasta with meatballs.
After that it was 'rest time' for everyone, and time for me to shove off.  A super fun time (even though I missed out on the water fight), getting out of the city and hanging out with my nieces and nephew and homebase. 

11 July 2012

All Grown Up

Even though none of my readers know this girl (I don't think), I'm sharing it anyways.  She is one of my most favorite former students ever and I've mentioned her before.  She got married while I was in San Diego, but watching this video made me feel like I was there.  Check it out, great music, great footage, heart-warming images.

"Share It Maybe"

This Seasame Street gem comes courtesy of caboose this morning.  Cookie Monster does his best Carly Rae Jepsen.

09 July 2012


The Wimbledon men's final was Sunday morning and it was a real treat to get to see Roger Federer playing some superb tennis as he battled Andy Murray.  Roger has always been the one I cheer for out of the trio of top stars (him, Nadal, and Djokovic) plus there was the added intrigue of a Brit playing in the final.  No Brit has won the Wimbledon title for 76 years, and although Andy is from Scotland, Britain would be OK with that if he would've won.  He took the first set from Roger before the rain caused a 40 minute delay.  After the re-start, Roger's game was at another level.  He took home his seventh Wimbledon title and his 17th major win, and regained the world #1 ranking.  Not bad for a 30 year old with a touchy back and twin toddler girls.
I'm sure it won't pack as much of a punch if you didn't watch him battle for 3+ hours, but Andy's speech after the match had me choked up in my living room. 

Breaking the Tape

Just getting caught back up after a nice few days spent back home.
The family get-together in Omaha on the 4th was a great time full of catching up with uncles, aunts, and cousins that I don't see often enough.  We had a scavenger hunt that sent six teams all over Omaha hunting down 62 items and it was a riot.  The next few days were full of birding, swimming at the pool, a little shopping, and hiding from the relentless triple digit heat with books and movies.
On Saturday, homebase and I went into Imogene for the 5k(ish) run/walk.  It is part of the Shamrock Days celebration and I was excited for the tshirt and to check out the route.  Amazingly, I got out in front early and ended up winning the race!  A few important details...there were probably only a couple dozen people...and a few of them were walkers...there was only 1 other male runner.  For being the big winner, I took home a couple of free car wash passes, a free month membership to a workout facility, and a coozie.  :) 

02 July 2012

Beckham Vents

The comment on Sportcenter was, "He is accurate with the football."
A few supporting points:  it is utter crap that he was not given one of the three spots for older players on the GB Olympic team.  Craig Bellamy? Micah Richards?! After all the work that Beckham has done to help London land the games and then to promote them...ridiculous and rude.  So, I'm sure he was a bit chaffed on this day.  Plus, this is in stoppage time and the dude is obviously just wasting time and faking being hurt.  David's well-placed ball bounces and then hits the guy on the knee, pretty sure it wasn't too painful and, amazingly, the injured guy is now fine and springs right up to go yell at the referee about something new and then join in the ruckus with Beckham.  The only thing missing was a punch for the mascot when he got in Beckham's kitchen.
That pirate goatee needs to go though.  

Cali Music

This is the hastily made playlist I made for my San Diego vacation.  Pretty much just searched my library for songs with "California", "surf", or "beach."  What good beach/California/surfing songs did I miss?