Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Holiday Hustling

Starting my new job and having the holidays all at once had me so busy I couldn't see straight. My new job is great and keeps me very busy leaving the house at 7am and returning around 7pm makes for long work weeks and not a lot of expendable energy. It is very challenging and rewarding work though. Currently I'm caring for 2 infants. One little girl born in mid Sept and one little boy born in early August. They are fun and engaging but also a big handful. More on the trails of nannying later I should play catch up on the holidays.

Peter and I spent some time in Texas right before Christmas and had the usual goings on there. Merriment and good cheer was in abundance as well as silly string and deviled eggs. For the first time in nearly 10 years I got to spend Christmas Eve with my dad's mom, my Grandma Bessie. It was an excellent evening until we got home and I was sick. The holidays this year have been a little rough for me. I was sick on Thanksgiving too.

Peter and I did homemade Christmas this year which is what was filling my evenings and weekends the past few weeks. Everyone received baskets filled with our homespun treats. We made cranberry vinegar, apple cider mustard, spiced nuts, peppermint bark, and spicy pickled green beans. Whilst concocting this menagerie of goodies we failed to hatch a plan for how to transport all the jars to Texas. Thank goodness we flew Southwest with two free bags each we were able to package everything and get it safely there.

We also spent some time in Naperville with Peter's family on Christmas day. Again happy goings on there as well.

Tonight we are off to a 20's themed New Year's Eve party and our costumes are something to behold. I'm sure I'll have much to share come the new year.

Happy Early New Year to all!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving Madness

Our Thanksgiving was a HOOT! Unfortunately shortly after dinner was served I got a severe fever and had to spend most of the evening laid up in bed but everyone had a fantastic time without me. This year we deep fried a turkey.

I had my wonderful husband (of two years TODAY) do all the heavy lifting. We also had a lovely fire going in the fire pit and many friends and family to help us enjoy it. 

I hope you and yours all had as lovely a time on Thanksgiving as we did. It was nice to have some of our friends and family together but I also want to extend warm holiday wishes to everyone! 

Also I did force everyone to go around and say what they were thankful for. With 11 people it's kind of hard when you get to the end of that line as a good host of course I went first. I'll be back later in the week to share our anniversary exploits!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Starting My New Job

Today I start my new nanny share job. I will be caring for two infants from two separate families. I'm so excited! I'll be back on later this week to share all the photos and frivolity of Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Alien Invasion

On a lovely fall walk through the park I stumbled upon hundreds of  these:

In all my life on this planet I'd never seen any foliage of this nature. Peter and I both commented on the fact that having come from different parts of the country, and visited so much of it, how unlikely it is we have never seen this type of greenery before.

Peter dubbed them brain apples and I concurred. Oddly enough, that is how I found out what they really are. The internet is a glorious tool that way. I googled brain apple and came up with a photo of one of these exotic produces and fortunately there was an article attached to the image.

These odd looking Plantae are known by many names Osage orange, hedge apple, horse apple, bois d'arc, bodark, or bodock. It is neither an orange nor an apple but related to the mulberry. They are a multiple fruit filled with sticky latex and many seeds. Oddly enough their natural range is East Texas where I grew up but I don't remember seeing any of these as a child. You can eat it but it has a chemically taste that most people are not fond of. Although exposure to frost improves the flavor which can then be likened to cucumber. I have yet to taste them either before or after frost because they really look like alien pods to me.

Currently the only animals that use them as a food source are manly squirrels that eat the many seeds. Horses and cattle are also known to partake in this unusual weed (note the name horse apple) but they tend to choke on the fruits. Due to the many bovine and equine deaths farmers tend to remove these plants from their land.

There are many hypotheses about how seed dispersal occurred throughout North America. Some say a large ground sloth that became extinct shortly after the first human settlement ate the fruit and deposited the seeds through it's feces. Similar theories exist for the mastadon, mammoth, and gomphothere (elephant-like animal). The Osage orange is commonly used as a windbreak in many prairie states, hence the name hedge apple, and even FDR used it in a plan to modify weather and prevent soil erosion called "Great Plains Shelterbelt" WPA project.

The wood of the tree is very dense and was coveted by many Native American tribes to make their bows. They would often travel hundreds of miles to amass the trees for the assembly of their primitive tools. Bois d'arc literally translated means "bow wood" and was given to the tree from early French settlers who witnessed the Natives using it for their weapons. Likely the names bodark, and bodock are bastardizations of that very same label.

No matter how much knowledge and data I compile I still see them as some sort of foreign entity. They just seem so unnatural. It's probably all in my head!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Winter Wonderland

Last night we got our first legit snow of the season. It wasn't the first snow just the first to stick around. I love snow! People keep telling me it'll pass but I've been here in Chicago for going on 4 winters now and I'm still not over it. I spoke to my mother yesterday as the snow was coming down and her description of it was "Gross!" She thinks anything below 60 is horrendous. My response "Not me, I'm in love!"

Monday, November 11, 2013

Weekend Adventures Abound

Peter and I were at two amazing events this weekend. Friday night was a charity fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House called "Rock the House". Thanks to John Tulloch for his donation of our tickets to go. Peter's sister Claire and her boyfriend Craig were in attendance as well and the whole evening was buckets of fun. They had a live band, food, and of course booze but I would have to say the most fun for me was the people watching. Our crew was quite young, comparatively speaking. Watching a bunch of older people get drunk and kind of crazy in the crowded arena of a bar is always enjoyable. I would say the purpose of the event was a major success as they stated they had raised over $150,000. If you would like to learn more about the charity please check out this link: http://rmhccni.org/pageslurie-ph/

Saturday we attended the Big Buck Hunter World Championship. If you have never played this game you should! We made it to the Big Buck Hunter facebook page, so basically we are famous. If you send $10 and a self addressed stamped envelope we will send you autographed photos. Unfortunately Peter and I neither have the time or money to qualify to participate in this event. We did make friends with some of the competitors, which totaled 64, and one guy told us that during the qualifying time (1 month) he was playing 5 hours a day, 5 days a week. We had hoped to qualify next year but after hearing that I think I'll pass. I love Big Buck Hunter but after playing a few rounds my shoulders start to hurt and my neck gets really stiff. I'm sure it's nothing compared to the pain real hunters push through to assassinate their prey. There were a number of people there from the U.P. (upper peninsula of MI) that had real coyote skins and were wearing them as hats. Also spoke to one of them in line for the bathroom and he said plain and simple "Well when a coyote gets in the chickens you gotta kill it. We made a nice stew with this one and you wouldn't want to waste a beautiful coat. Gotta use everything ya know?" Yep! I know.

Friday, November 8, 2013

My Grandma

My Grandma Bessie is in the hospital. She went to the doctor yesterday because she was feeling weak and fainty and he admitted her the hospital for a blood transfusion because she was very anemic. It seems like pretty standard stuff and hopefully she will come out better than she went in. She's an amazing woman. She's 89 years young and still smart as a whip and does not have any trouble getting around either. A few years back she had a hip replaced and I was worried that was going to slow her down. The recovery took a long time but she was better than new after all was said and done. Let's just hope this time is the same! Send your thoughts, prayers, well wishes, whatever it is you do in cases like this out to Lufkin in hopes that she gets better soon.

Friday, November 1, 2013

My First Halloween

Last night Peter and I gave out candy on our front porch. This is the first time in my entire life that I have been able to give out candy from my own home. For those readers that don't know I grew up in a very rural area and trick or treaters were not common. It was very exhilarating. Giving out fistfuls of sugar to vampires and batmen. Speaking of batmen, they were plentiful but the best batman costume of the evening was an old school dark greyish blue batman worn by a 2 year old boy. It had the fake foamy muscles built into the suit and looked as if it may have been the father's costume 25 years ago.  Peter and I dressed in our tried and true pirate costumes. When you have fancy pirate hats pretty much anything can be a pirate costume.

Now it's on to planning for my favorite holiday! THANKSGIVING! Look forward to photos of a deep fried turkey and a Thanksgiving sized pit fire in the backyard.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wishing I was in Austin TX

It's true. Not often do I wish I was back in Austin but today I do something fierce. Tonight my friends Jenny Parrot and Vaughn Walters better known as the amazing duo LOVES IT! will be playing their album release party. The live music massacre will be held at The White Horse and if I were in Austin tonight I'd have to call into work tomorrow because I would have danced my butt off at this show. If you are anywhere within driving distance and able to make it tonight you should definitely be there. Also Carper Family and Leo Rondeau will be there kicking ass as well. I'll say it again just in case anyone out there is a genie I wish I was in Austin TX tonight!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Helluva Show

Last night Peter and I trekked up to Evanston to see Brad Mehldau at Space. I really wish that venue weren't an hour and a half away because they have some amazing acts and incredible acoustics. The start of the show was a little rough as we think it was off the cuff. When jazz pianist go improv things can get a tad screwy but as the show went forward he got into a nice rhythm. This is Peter's third time seeing Mr. Mehldau and my first. I was not expecting so much free form synth sound but it was enjoyable. Like jazz music for robots. Here is a photo made with my phone and no flash as is the requirement of the Space.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Another Year Another Marathon

This year Peter's mother, brother, and cousin all ran the marathon. Bernice placed 34th in her age group which I find highly impressive. James (Peter's cousin) was running his first marathon and seemed to enjoy it. Here are some photos of everyone through the race and after the finish.

Peter, John, Claire, Marcy (James' g/f) and I were all diligent spectators. I give major kudos to anyone that can complete such an arduous task. I do not enjoy running and find people who do amazing!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bear Down Chicago Bears

Peter and I had the amazing pleasure of getting to see the Bears game this past Sunday. It was my first professional football game, although they lost and I had to leave before the 4th quarter, it was still a prodigious occasion. They played the New Orleans Saints and having been to New Orleans so much growing up I consider it kind of a second home from my childhood so it was not a total loss in my book. 

Professional football is so much faster than college and faster still than high school. I must say most of my football watching has been high school and I was very proud to discover recently how much I really do understand the game. I have no idea what plays are what but I get the jist of mostly everything else. Now I just need to bone up on my player knowledge and I can become a full-fledged fan! Please do send your professional football notes to bigtimefan@justkidding.com

Now next on my list is a Blackhawks game but they are so darn expensive I don't know that we will ever be able to afford it. Thank you to Claire for your tickets by the way we had a splendid time! 

Friday, October 4, 2013


Our backyard now has three decks! Peter and I have spent the last couple of weeks completing this lovely new addition!

This photo was taken from out upper deck that can be accessed through the office on the second floor of our home.  Peter's parents were redoing their patio out in Naperville and didn't want to waste perfectly good wood so asked if we would like to use it and I thought our fire pit looked a little lonely. Being the first deck Peter and I have ever built I'd say we did a pretty good job. Let me know dear readers if you would like to come over for s'mores!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Riot Fest 2013

First day I dressed as a lady ringmaster. It was called Riot Fest and Carnival but I'm not sure many people got the carnival theme. As you will notice in the back right hand corner of this photo is a Bad Religion flag. They are old but still put on a hell of a show!

Two bands with tubas! Above is Environmental Encroachment. Also please take note of the amazing juggler in front of the tubas. That was his third costume change of the show. He started out in a suit, tie, and Mexican wrestling mask. Below is DeVotchKa! 

And last but not least Peter and I getting very wet on the last day of the festival. Rain at an out door festival usually weeds out the weak but this seemed to bring the punks more alive. We were standing in front of Chuck Ragan when this was taken. But moments later we crossed the lawn to another unknown to us band where an older man was dancing "Rob-style". (wildly failing the arms and legs about while barely keeping your footing on the ground) It's quite hard to do. You have to be willing to have your body always in some state of flux. Nearly falling down every 30 seconds is part of the dance. We tried to capture him but alas he was moving too quickly. Rob if you're reading this that man was you in 20 years.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Hedgehog On The Mantle

My parents recently sent us this little one. Her name is Miley Cyrus in honor of all the twerking Miley has been doing lately! Peter and I attended the Riot Festival this past weekend and it was a blast. I took many photos but with a film camera so I have to get them developed first. It will be a few days until I get them up on the old blog here.

Highlights of the weekend were Environmental Encroachment, Violent Femmes, Kitten, and DeVotchKa just to name a few. Also yesterday we discovered a new band called Chuck Ragan. They were country punk rock equipped with a lap steel and a violin. It was extremely enjoyable and I look forward to purchasing one of their albums soon. More to follow later in the week with photos...Happy Monday YA'LL!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Pedal Fest

My second visit to San Francisco was near the end of July where Peter and I visited Oakland for a bike festival. It was held at Jack London Square. Jack was a native San Franciscan and a mighty outdoors man. In case you're not familiar he wrote The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and numerous other rugged type books. I'm sure he would approve of a bohemian/punk rock contingent gathering in his namesake square to celebrate exercise and being one with the wilds of Oakland traffic.

Oakland was a quite hippie college city. Reminding me a lot of small towns in Texas that have large colleges that make up half the town population. It gives way to a lot of free thinking and experimentation when half your community is barely legal age to vote and just started doing their own laundry. New ideas and ways of life emerge so suddenly like tulips in spring time.

There were a number of dare devil riders. Mounting large wooden boxes and jumping on one bike wheel from one to the next. Then of course the usual BMX bikers. These are past times you will never see me indulge in. They are far too dangerous and scary to be fun for me.  But you could catch me driving one of these just about any day of the week.

This behemoth was pedal powered and would most definitely take two people to operate but Peter had to take the photo. I should also mention I had to wait in line behind 5 children to get into this seat. Why do I so often find myself in the same line as other's offspring?

I would also ride one of these but unfortunately they were just for show at the festival. These date back to somewhere around 1870 and if you can't really tell by the photos they are high wheel tricycles. They were mostly ridden by women and dignified gentlemen such as doctors or clergyman. Due to the standard bicycle design of the time, the familiar "High-Wheel", having a large front wheel and small back one causing a lot of forward falls which ladies and gentlemen would like to avoid. This action actually coined the phrase "taking a header". The other piece of interesting information about high wheel tricycles is that a lot of their mechanics were used when designing cars later on. Rack and pinion steering, the differential, and band brakes are just a few things that were originally used for tricycles. It's a wild world we live in people, that this rickety bit of metal machinery used to be someone's main mode of transportation and how far people moving technology has come.  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Me oh my Magic

Peter and I attended The Magic Cabaret last night at Greenhouse Theater. It was a very impressive close-up magic show. Close-up magic, also known as micromagic and table magic, is magic performed on a table or tray not more than 10 feet away from the audience. We were given a brief history of how this form of magic became know as Chicago-style magic within the magicians community here in the city throughout the 30's and 40's. If you weren't a magician in Chicago during that time you would probably not refer to it as such. The show mostly consisted of slight of hand, and flourishes.

Although there were a few tricks that made me actually believe in magic. At one point one of the magicians brought two people from the audience and had them write down a time and a name on a card, without looking at the cards, he then studied the women and or touched their hands and guessed both the time and name. It was clear from the women's reactions that they did not know this man and one woman was visibly disturbed by his ESP. I have no idea how he did it. The other trick was at the end everyone in the audience was given 4 cards. We were asked to bend the cards in half and tear them down the middle. We then were instructed to do a series of things with the cards that included trading with neighbors in the audience, throw them at the magicians, place one piece beneath a shoe. After about 20 commands we were all left with two pieces of card and when turned over they were the two halves of the same card. It worked for every single audience member and was spectacular! Next time you are in Chicago you should definitely make an effort to catch this act.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

BU-BYE Summer

Obviously I've been very busy the past two months. I spent almost all of August in San Francisco working at Steve and Kate's Camp with Peter. July I was visiting him for two long weekends and spent a weekend in Texas with my bestie Ashley getting her ready to move up here. Once she got here I was busy helping her get settled in and showing her the city so not much time for checking in on the old blog here. Also a lot of my free time was spent on Facetime with Peter over this summer but the stories will come out slowly over time.

The past weekend (the final weekend of summer) we had our good friend Jason in town from Michigan and we, as always, had a blast. Peter and I had to pack a lot of summer into one weekend. So Friday we went swimming at the Humboldt Park Beach. Saturday we worked on the backyard and had friends over for a bar-b-que and bonfire. The fire pit is working beautifully. Sunday we had Peter's parents over for dinner to see out new chandelier and hear about summer. And finally Monday was a trip to North Ave beach for a big picnic.

Below are the very few pictures I took this summer in San Francisco.

Peter and I biked across the Golden Gate Bridge. It was quite the experience. So windy we almost got knocked off our bikes!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Rewind time!

Three weekends ago now (whew! I've been busy) my parents, Aunt Margaret, Uncle Kevin, and their two girls came to visit. Peter made it in that weekend for about 30 hours and we all had a rip roarin' good time. 

Unfortunately per the usual I forgot the digital camera so excuse the poor quality of photos made with my phone. But we visited the Green Festival in Wicker Park where Peter and I found these very stylish masks made from old bike tires. 

I tried to ask how they get the tires so clean but no one would give me a straight answer. 

We also took in a Cubs game. They lost to the ASTROS! For those of you readers who don't know I grew up as a huge Astros fan and it's stuck with me. No one would wear my "Screw You We're From Texas" hat including myself. 

The rest of the weekend was spent partaking in good eats and nice visiting time. It was lovely to have all of them here to spend a weekend together. 

This past weekend I was in San Francisco! I spent the fourth of July there although Peter and I didn't do anything very patriotic. We did head to Pier 19 where it is said the sea lions hang out but we only found one lone sea lion as the rest of them head south in the summer months to mate. 

I did visit the San Francisco Zoo. 

My first experience with a black swan. On Sunday Peter and I went to the Asian Art Museum and saw this beauty. 

Those are the left over umbrellas from a thousand Mia Tais! 

Most of our time in SF was just spent wandering around the city. The architecture there is so different than anything I've seen previous. Lots of Spanish tile roofs and brightly colored stucco houses built on slanted winding roads. A friend told me that I would fall madly in love with the city and want to move there but that did not happen. Being an avid biker I don't like hills. Although it is a fun city to visit and as hard as it is to bear I'm glad Peter is there for the summer. I'll be heading back there next Weds for another long weekend and in August we plan to camp through the wine country. Well that catches us up and hopefully I'll have more time to post in over the next couple of weeks. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

As my husband has now been in San Francisco for 6 days I know all too well how much faster time progresses when he's here. Our Sundays would jettison by like yearling fawns in the new fallen snow of love and happiness. Now the days ache by like a cancer. Each minute turned into an abnormal cell of pain and loneliness compiling to make hours of malignant melanomas in my life. Sorry for the dramatic metaphors dear readers but being apart from Peter has proved to be a great deal more difficult than originally anticipated. It's not that I don't have enough to do, believe you me, there are projects and writing galore to do around here with no distractions. It is just that all of those things are more fun when he's around. That's probably the reason I married him! Cooking for one has proved to be disastrous as I have throw out more food in the last week than I have in the last three years. Trying to sleep is futile and as of this evening I will be on a strict regimen of herbal teas and warm milk two hours prior to bedtime. Although this approach may result in bed wetting I'm willing to do extra laundry for some respite. If any of you out there in the web-o-sphere have suggestions on how to deal with distance I'm all ears!

Monday, June 10, 2013

30th Birthday Extravaganza!

This weekend was a whirlwind of excitement starting with Peter surprising me by having our friend Jason arrive on my actual birthday Thursday June 6th. Unfortunately all these plans were made before we knew that this would be Peter's last weekend in town, but it was better this way because otherwise I just would have sat around sulking and crying all weekend, while staring wistfully at Peter's glorious beard.

Thursday we just hung around the house with our friends Jason and Kabir, been seeing a lot of them lately ;-)
Friday Peter came with me to work and we had a magnificent day with the little one. That evening Peter took me to dinner at Store Front Company in Wicker Park. We had a delicious tasting menu with wine pairings to go with. I highly recommend it. The sommelier has an excellent sense of flavor and the chef a great love for edible flowers. As we were leaving the restaurant we heard a marching band playing on the corner and they were drawing a crowd to come up to a loft for their show. We went and it was a wild party with the band dancing and singing very New Orleans style. Lots of good loud cheer type singing where you repeat back what the MC is yelling. I got put in the middle of the stage and played to because it was my "birthday".

Saturday Peter had planned out a full day of surprises. First we road our bikes to Campbell Forrest Preserve which is only about 10 miles from our front door. We biked a little on the trails through the woods and then went swimming at an amazing pool with water slides. Later in the afternoon a few of our friends met up with us and we ate at Glenn's Diner which one of my favorite food show hosts Guy Fieri recommends. It also like Friday's meal did not disappoint. We rounded out the evening by going to a bar with a ping pong table and a pool table two of my favorite games and then a second bar with BIG BUCK HUNTER! That's right people the greatest video game ever invented. My husband knows me very well and did a wonderful job of making my 30th birthday the best ever.

Yesterday we went to Rib Fest in Irving Park and ending up seeing a band from Peter's home town play. We had no idea they were from Regina until half way through the set and then through further investigation we found out that Ian's older brother was teaching at the school where they lead singer was a student. Small world.

Today he left on a plane and I will be quite lonely for the next few weeks.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Getting the Kid out

Today is the last day ever of my twenties. It's a little scary as I recall being 15 and thinking 30 was SO old! It doesn't feel so old although I am still recovering from a long weekend in Detroit with my friends Kabir and Jason. Whew, do they know how to have a good time or what?

Kabir, Peter and I left after work Friday evening and drove to The D arriving a little after midnight. As we haven't seen our friend Jason in nearly three months we stayed up until 3 in the morning catching up.  Saturday we went to the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle. Car races are LOUD and I have had trouble all week hearing my darling little Adlyn over the buzzing in my ears.

After the time at the track we went out to dinner and then bowling. I did not lose but also did not win. I believe Kabir was the big winner with 97 points. We certainly are not good bowlers by any means but we had nice time.

Below is a photo of us Saturday morning at a dive bar/restaurant in downtown Detroit called Grand Trunk. I should never had left that place without a shirt. They had cool ass shirts.

I will have to ask Kabir to forward the best photos which were taken at the track. They had a "Family Fun Center" there with at least 12 different adult sized bouncing castle type structures. My eyes lit up when I saw the three story tall inflatable great white shark slide. Jason and I ran to the end of the line being the tallest and oldest ones within a twelve foot radius we asked if adults were allowed.  The teenage carnie told us yes with a not so subtle roll of his eyes. We shrieked with excitement! There are a few photos of us coming out of the mouth of the beast at the bottom of the slide.

We also partook in an inflatable obstacle course wherein a child cut in line in front of me and his parents let him. When I protested his mother stared hard at me and said "You're not a parent?"

"Nope!" I beamed with pride and I pointed to Jason and said "Me and this guy are gonna race!"

She couldn't get her son out of my way fast enough.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Yay! Wedding!

My baby sister's wedding was a huge success. I couldn't be happier for her and Miguel as they start their new life together. Here are a few photos.

Me and the Bride before the ceremony.

A lovely one of the couple in their first dance as husband and wife.

Peter and Mary cuttin' a rug!

In other big news my fantastically talented and brilliant husband landed a summer job in San Francisco. It will be challenging to spend nearly 8 weeks without him but also I will get to visit him and since I've never been to SF it should be loads of fun. It's a great opportunity and I'm super excited that he was able to take advantage of it.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Leavin' on a jet plane

This weekend my baby sister Mary, marries her high school sweetheart Miguel. YAY! Peter and I will be taking off this evening to fly to Tejas and attend their nuptials. I can't believe my little sister is getting married. Expect to see lots of photos upon our return as I have already packed the digital camera. Oh and this happened yesterday...

"Normal" once again. It's funny when you change your hair color drastically how long it takes you to get used to seeing yourself in the mirror. It's been nearly 24 hours and I keep thinking someone is after me every time I pass a mirror. Maybe they are?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Time to play catchup

My apologies readers but owning a home has proved to be a busier task than I expected. Also summer finally set in around here so we have been feverishly trying to soak up as much sun and time outside as possible. Let's replay the last three weeks for you shall we...

May 4th- Prom

This was the second annual prom at Tallgrass Sudbury and it was another success. May 4th also happened to be Kentucky Derby Day and a friend of ours across town had a derby party. It worked out perfectly that Peter and I got to wear our prom attire to the derby party. We only looked slightly over dressed. From what I've read there is no over doing it on Derby Day.

Skip ahead to the 12th as we usually don't do anything all that interesting during the week. We had a favorable open house party welcoming everyone to visit our home. Of course because I never think about it I took absolutely no photos but I can assure there was merriment and laughter galore. My little one (Adlyn the girl I nanny) came with her mother too which was a special treat. She wouldn't let me sit down the whole time she was here.

The following evening Monday the 13th I was the MC and read stage directions for my friend Dan's play, Kid Yesterday, at the Den Theatre. It went very well and hopefully the powers that be will want to produce it for him. The rest of this past week was also pretty standard.

Although I did get to see an old friend from Austin on Friday night. Colin Gilmore played The Space in Evaston and Peter and I trekked out there for his show. I love that venue and wish it was not an hour and half outside the city but it was nice to see a familiar face and enjoy some excellent tunes.

Saturday Peter and I made a fire pit in the backyard and had some friends over to use our new grill.

Ain't she a beaut!? Hopefully we don't get shut down by the city. We both did a ton of research trying to find the fire code laws for Chicago. Even called 311 to discuss it with someone but never received a call back. 

For anyone who doesn't already know in 1871 a little over 3 miles of the city was destroyed by a great fire. Supposedly the fire started when Mrs. O'leary's cow kicked over a lantern in a barn. Needless to say Chicago now has one of the largest fire departments in the country and also once a week has a city wide fire siren test on Tuesdays at 10am. 

Naturally Peter and I would have thought they had some pretty strict fire codes about open flames in backyards and what not but we did not find much information regarding this practice. There were a lot of forums with people saying they "think" this is the code or have had their pit shut down for various reasons...i.e. neighbors complaining about smoke, not having a spark guard over the flame, being within 14 feet of a structure but none of these "reasons" could be found in any state or city code. We are good friends with our neighbors and I'm guessing they would just come over and hang out with us around the flames, a spark guard is in the works and we don't plan on having a fire until it's done, and we are 12 feet from a structure which hopefully no one will notice ;-)! All in all if we do end up getting shut down it was fun to build and looks pretty darn good if I do say so myself. 

Friday, May 3, 2013


After many fruitless attempts at making a virtual tour I have given up! I will however post many photos of different parts of the house over time.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Rain, Rain, go away

Chicago has been experiencing some pretty torrential downpours as of late. Last week some areas received as much as 16 inches in a 48 hour period. As a result a lot of families, schools, churches, and the like have experienced flooding in their basements. My heart goes out to all those people, as Peter and I thought we had a water problem in our basement but through further investigation found it was just that our back door in our basement is not sealed correctly. Once our contractor is done with all his flooded clients he'll be by to take care of our place.

This basement thing is all new to me. Growing up in Texas we don't have basements. Mostly because of things like clay soil, high water tables, and solid rock. Although I think the number one reason there are basements in the North is because you have to dig below the frost line to install water and electrical pipes and those things need to be some what insulated during the winter. If you are digging down that far why not make it usable space. It doesn't get that cold in Texas in case you didn't know.

Oh and this happened on the South Side.

Yes that is THREE cars in a sink hole caused by a 98 year old water main breaking. If you search the internet there is actual video footage of one of the cars falling into the hole. I'm unsure as to why the owner of said vehicle did not try to save their car as I imagine falling into a sink hole can do significant damage. Perhaps they were hoping to become famous.

Once the clouds clear I promise to put up a virtual tour of our home.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A new decade, a new house.

I am finally settled in enough and have the time to let you know how busy we have been. Expect to see a virtual tour on these pages soon. I'm waiting for a really beautiful day where the light is just right. It's the Terrence Malick in me :)! 

Peter had a fantastic 30th birthday. His brother Ian was in town from Toronto but unfortunately his wife Lana didn't make it in. But we had a nice dinner at Table, Donkey and Stick, named after a grim fairy tale, and then a lovely Easter weekend. 

Forgive the poor photo quality as it was taken with my phone. From left to right we have Claire, Wyatt, Elliott, Drea, Me, Peter and Ian. Good looking crowd and the food was great. 

Our move was successful and we now feel pretty settled in. The basement is still a wreck but that might just be the permanent state of the basement. It is strange moving from a space where I could always hear or tell what room Peter was in to a space where I can yell from downstairs and it's possible (if I'm not really yelling) that he won't be able to hear me. It's a lot of house but we have managed to fill it sufficiently. It also amazes me that we were able to fit everything in this home into our little two bedroom apartment. 

This weekend we went out to a crawfish boil at a neighborhood bar in Uptown called Toons. Usually they have a few of these events every season and you pay $25-$30 for all you can eat crawfish. Basically all day or until they run out. I believe I put away at least 7 lbs Peter made it through about 3. 

The scene of the massacre! They also had a great New Orleans musician Davis Rogan, you may know him as portrayed by Steve Zahn in the HBO show Treme. He was amazing! Unfortunately I did not get his photo. We headed up the evening at Second City for a stand up show performed by Nick Thune. All in all it was a fun day out and it was even more fun to come home to our brand new house! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Our moving date is two weeks from today! We have been packing little by little and the place looks wrecked but we should have it all done in time. Peter's birthday is also a week from Today and he will be 30! I have big birthday plans for him but for now we need to stay focused on the tasks at hand.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Very Merry Un-Birthday

My husband Peter received an instrument in the mail this week. It was hand made by my dad and is serial number #5 in his arsenal. You should read my Dad's blog theolderyouwillget.blogspot.com to find out what the other ones look and sound like. I also added a link to the right in case you want to keep up with my dad as well. Peter is still working on the sound aspect of things but for now it looks really awesome.

The resonator is made from an old Cafe Du Monde coffee can I assume because Peter speaks French. The head stock design is one of his newer ones and can double as a weapon if you are jammin' with a rowdy bunch. I'll post some tunes once Peter figures out how to make it sound good but it did stay mostly in tune traveling half way across the country in a cardboard box so I think my dad's construction is quite sound.

Monday, March 11, 2013

No snowpocalypse here

True we did not get the snowmageddon of two years previous but it was a hefty amount. Peter got a snow day last Tuesday and we both got to sleep in. On Weds we took the school kids sledding and it was a blast. Not having grown up with sledding I feel like I have to make up for a LOT of lost time.

The most exciting news is over the weekend Tallgrass Sudbury (the school Peter is a teacher at) hosted a conference titled "Freedom in Education". The event was well attended with 114 total participants and counting myself and Peter nearly 30 volunteers. I only was able to attend one presentation but it was about video gaming and how it is not as evil as parents tend to think. I'm of the nintendo generation and have never really thought that video games were a major problem but I did learn a lot of useful information about how children can and do actually learn from them. Mostly I was impressed by the feelings of self reliance, advanced problem solving, and that through failure we learn best how to solve problems. Gamers are not afraid of failure but they see it as a way to try again and do it differently this time. That's a very hard life lesson to learn and one that usually takes a long time. A very informative and eye opening presentation indeed but there were many different panel discussions, speeches, and open forums that I missed because I was a volunteer. Fortunately someone was filming a lot of them so I will be able to receive the information none the less.

I spent most of my day caring for the 2-5 year old kids. They are (with Adlyn's help) quickly becoming my favorite age group. Their lack of verbal filters and immediate ability to trust someone are completely joyous things to experience. Each kid I cared for that day didn't leave with out giving me a hug goodbye. It feels so nice to be needed and loved so unconditionally by so many in one day. Especially when that day is extremely exhausting. Hopefully the conference will result in more awareness about alternative education and Peter's school will come away with a few more enrollments.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

look out hedgehogs

Today Chicago is in the middle of a winter storm warning. Supposedly we are going to get 12 inches of snow before midnight tonight. I'm of the opinion that I will believe it when I see it. Winter did not show up with his pants on this year and only the last few weeks has decided we are going to get snow. The snow is usually starting to melt by this time of year. So far this is the scene outside the window in our stairwell. 

Pretty standard snow fall so far. Nothing out of the ordinary. Two years ago we had the whopper snow storm where some parts of the city had 20 inches. That's nearly two feet ya'll! And the build up in some areas was as much as three or four feet.

This was Lakeshore Drive after that whopper. I hear some people were stranded in their cars for nearly 6 hours. Peter and I had snow days and went urban sledding around the city.  Stay tuned for more updates.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Going to the chapel

My baby sister is getting married in May and I finally have something that I am doing for the wedding.

Sweetly enough she didn't ask me to be a bridesmaid as that is something I have never done and feel I would be terrible at it. Me thinks I'm not girly enough. But Peter will be an usher and I got to make these...

They are kneeling pillows. In Catholic weddings there is a lot of stand up, sit down, kneel, sit, stand, kneel and so the bride and groom don't sully their attire they usually have kneeling pillows. The center horizontal strip of green is the color of the bridesmaid's dresses, the burlap that the ribbon is laid over just goes with their color scheme and everything else is just a general wedding scheme. Who knew that lace and linen where such expensive items. I can see now why they were used as currency throughout some periods of history.

They are nearly complete at this point in time all I need to do is secure the lace in a few different places with some small hand stitches. Peter supervised me at the sewing machine as that is not really my area of expertise. I'm much better at hand sewing. Take me out in the wilderness with you and maybe I'll stitch you up! Also pictured underneath the pillows is an afghan that Peter's godmother made him some years ago. As you can see it matches the pillows perfectly.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

We FonDO!

The other night Peter and I had made fondue. It was mighty tasty and thanks to the cousins Katherine and Matt that gave us the fondue set for a wedding gift. We don't get many opportunities to use it as the process takes quite a long time. That is unless you just want to eat one cheese course.  I did not know until recently that fondue is foreign. Evidently the Swiss Cheese Union (we need one of these America) declared fondue a national dish sometime in the 1930's. With the earliest recipe for fondue coming from Zurich in 1699, "Käss mit Wein zu kochen" roughly translated means to cook cheese with wine.

It was very delicious and next time you come visit perhaps we will make some for you.

A similar idea with a communal pot and dipping items in it to cook comes from Japan and it's called Shabu Shabu. We have partaken of this practice as well in China Town. I love dipping food as do most people I feel. Otherwise why would McDonald's chicken nuggets be so popular?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

It's officious!

So all negotiations are complete and Peter and I will move into our new home on April 3rd! Whew it was a long ride but I learned quite a bit.

 Also got so fed up with not having any control over a lot of situations that I dyed my hair. It's purple. Over the years I've used dying my hair crazy colors as a therapeutic way to manage myself. In this case I had no control over how long it was taking these negotiations with the seller's of the home. Needless to say I'm glad I'm not buying them.

So more to come soon that is not house related. And then when we move more to come that IS!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

House update

Well after many long hours of negotiation and over 100 email threads we are nearing the end of this arduous journey. Right now Peter and I are waiting to hear back from the sellers about whether they are going to make all the improvements to the home we have requested.

After we receive that it will break down to sorting things out the bank and the move. Hopefully in the next few days I'll be able to get my mind back and resume my life chronicles.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The New Adventures of Peter and Katherine

Big news, and the reason I haven't been posting lately, is because all of my free time has been devoted to house hunting and now house business. YES Peter and I are in process of buying a house. Tomorrow is the inspection and the attorney review should be done by the end of the week. The closing date is not till the end of March so it will be a long two months for us. I do have some photos but unfortunately it is illegal for me to post them on the internet without direct permission from the owners so I will just ad a link to the property listing online. That might disappear some time soon though.


The one thing we have done recently that isn't house related was this weekend at Navy Pier an event called Snow Days Chicago was held. It was a snow sculpting competition with 15 adult teams and around 12 student teams participating.

The above photo is the winning sculpture. It is impressive but there were some that were even more amazing.  There was a Batman Vs. Jaws that was pretty stellar and my personal favorite was titled Feast or Famine and was a bear and eagle hunting salmon along a river. Crazily enough there were sculpture teams from all over the world. The furthest team came from Czech Republic and oddly enough Mexico City has a snow sculpting team. I imagine it's pretty hard to find snow there.

This city just keeps on getting better the longer that I live here and soon I'll be putting down permanent roots. From that girl who has moved 20 times in 10 years that seems crazy scary but also riveting.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Silly String Massacre

As promised some photos of the Annual Wallace Family Silly String Massacre!!! I'm not sure when this tradition started (perhaps one of my regular readers *DAD* will fill me in) but we have been doing it for a number of years now. It's quite fun as you can see.

Above is my future sister in law Ali. Below is obviously Me and Peter.

Peter doing some clean up mid-battle which is really bad form :)

HA HA! The Camera guy was attacked by moi!