Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Shine a little light

Black light that is! Sunday Peter and I went to an indoor glow in the dark mini golf range with Nicole and Dan. It was a blast.

It was quite the adventure to get there as well. We biked 45 minutes to Norridge IL. It is one of those weird communities that considers itself a separate city but it is kind of surrounded by Chicago. It was a nice hot summer day and yet again Peter and I discovered parts of the city we had never seen before. In case you don't know Chicago is really really really big. Next time I'll try to remember to capture some of it via snapshot.

Saturday evening prior to exploits in mini medal play I took a culinary trip to Italy. I attempted to make homemade pasta with a rabbit stew. I've never made pasta or rabbit before and only one of them turned out well. I will definitely take another stab at pasta again soon (especially since we procured a pasta machine just for the occasion) and the rabbit was most excellent. Rabbit is a nice lean low cholesterol meat and it has a lovely subtle gamey flavor. It does taste (like so many others) like chicken. Once I have the recipes perfected maybe I'll shoot some photos into hyperspace here on the old blog.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Oh Canada

Peter and I spent last week in Canada on Lake of the Woods in the province of Ontario. It was a lovely trip. We got to be with his parents and brother on Canada Day (Canadian Independence July 1st) and also on July 4th! Because Canadian Independence Day and US Independence Day fall so close to each other Peter's brilliant parents decided to start hosting an annual spit roast on or around those holidays every year. This was the second annual. Unfortunately Peter and I missed the first. The massive event was held Saturday July 5th and almost all of Peter's Canadian family was in attendance.

Here is all of us together for the group family shot. In total 30 adults, 3 children, and 2 pregnant ladies! Peter grew up spending most of his summer in this part of the world and so it was nice to spend a good amount of time there and see what his lake life was like. I grew up spending a lot of my summers on Lake Sam Rayburn but the fishing on Lake of the Woods is very different. 

This was Peter's biggest haul. Mine wasn't worth photographing but because I helped him net this monster and get it in the boat he let me hold it. He totaled nearly 4 lbs. What I learned about walleye is they have very weak mouths and so you can't just jerk them out of the water the way we do with catfish. They have to be caressed slowly to the boat lest you rip the hook from their thin lips.

We also partook in some non motorized boating.

About 5 minutes after that picture was taken Peter and I flipped that tiny sailboat. It was a terrifying experience for me, as I have never flipped a water craft larger than a inner tube before in my life. It was fairly easy to get flipped back over which I was not expecting and we had a nice 40 minute cruise. The water levels were quite high in the lake due to a lot of rain and the water was coming in twice as fast as it could get out. We spent some time early in the week securing the boat dock with weights to keep it from floating away. 

From left Peter, myself, and his best friend Will Hall. Peter and I have been trying to get Will to move to Chicago for quite some time now. The agreement is if we can get Rahm Emanuel quoted to say that Will Hall is Chicago's favorite person he has to move here. I'm still working on it but if any one of my readers can make that happen I'll buy you a cookie!

THE MEAT! These two giant bone-in ribeyes were the main course of our Saturday meal. As you can see, like a good Texan, my favorite Canadian beer is something the locals think is swill. Hopefully it won't be another two years before we make it to the Great White North again.

Photo credit goes to John Tulloch. Thank you!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Active Month

So let's see I had a birthday about a half dozen bbq's and so much stuff I don't even know how I fit it all in. In a few days Peter and I are going up to Canada to spend some time with his family and hopefully I'll have time to recharge, unwind, kick back, relax and just all around laze about. The last few weeks we have just been enjoying the summer. I love summer in Chicago. There is music and movies in the park. Lots of sunny days to bike through different neighborhoods and experience all there is to love about this city. It's one of the things that keeps me in love with Chicago; is the fact that every time I go somewhere, I bike a different way home and it always seems like a completely new place. Recently Peter and I spent some time in a northern neighborhood we have not frequented and we biked home along the Chicago River that area is so gorgeous. Hopefully when I get back after next week I'll have tons of photos and stories of canoeing galore to share.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Summering in Chi

Friday night we attended a White Sox game. Sorry for all you Astros fans but I have to root root root for the home team as the song goes. Although when the Astros play the White Sox I still hope they win. I bought tickets to this particular game because of the post game fireworks show. It was quite the spectacular. I was not expecting it to be such an affair but it was a good 20-25 minutes worth of really kick ass fireworks.

These days it seems like baseball is the only professional sport that it is affordable to attend. We were able to get our tickets for $10. They weren't down front and center but most stadiums are designed so that every seat in the house has a decent view.

The Sox unfortunately lost but we still had a wonderful time.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


This past weekend my bestie came up from Houston and we painted the town red. Red with the blood of crawfish that is.

Sunday was an all day eat-a-thon at Toons bar. We did some major damage on their 1000 lb stock. Pictured above is Ashley on the left me on the right and all the crawfish in between. We also spent some nice time at the beach and took in a wonderful play at the Oracle Theater called The President. It was hilarious and I would highly recommend anyone to see it. Time spent with Ashley always rushes by so quickly but hopefully we will be down in Tejas soon! Peter was too busy eating and snapping photos to be captured. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Karaoke Komedy & Kocktails

This past weekend our beloved comrade from Michigan Mr. Jason Rodnick was in the house!

Friday night we went bowling with Jason and Lacey tying it up for the win with big old 117. I love bowling but it is definitely a past time to partake in with a group of friends. Peter and I have been a number of times, just to two of us, and while we do have a good time it is much more enjoyable as a crowd function. There is this lovely divey place on Fullerton called Fireside Bowl. They used to have bands play on Friday and Saturday nights but I guess that is a thing of the past.

Saturday we spent the day working the yard and going to Costco. Contrary to popular belief, I do not spend ALL my free time getting my party on. Soon we will have some stunning herbs and veggies to munch on and I'll be sure and show the "fruits" of my labors here on these pages. After gardening and gathering things from the giant box store we partook in an engaging play called Death Defying Acts. It was actually three short plays written by Woody Allen, David Mamet, and Elaine May. They were all darkly comedic involving somewhat disturbing subject matter. My favorite of the three was definitely Woody Allen's Central Park West that was just dripping with New York high brow intellectual zeal as most of his work generally is. After the play we went out to a Karaoke bar and this happened!

So I did get my party on a little this weekend. Tune in next week for another recap of my upcoming weekend with Ms. Ashley Shaw.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler

This past Saturday Peter and I hosted our 1st Annual Crawfish Boil. Only a few eaters in attendance which is fine by me as that means more mudbugs for me. Next year my parents said they may join us.

The first batch! We ordered 20 lbs from Louisiana Crawfish Company and they were delivered via Fedex over night! It was quite incredible that we didn't have more than about 20 die on us. I cooked them in 2 batches of 10 lbs each.

The weight of that bucket is almost too much for me to bear but I'm grinning through it.

Many thanks to Candace (pictured above) who helped me sift through and pick out all the dead ones. She doesn't eat crawfish but she was mighty helpful during the boil.

Our package also came with this lovely t-shrit and I can't advertise for this company enough. Customer service was exceptional and the cost was very affordable.

Renee giving one crawdad a very warm welcome to Chicago.

When you party with the PK we do it up right! My father was very impressed that for the first time in his life he got to hear the words chandelier and crawfish in the same sentence. Hopefully next year some of my readers will join us.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Happy Birthday Mom!

Cathy Week has officially begun. Usually National Nurse's Day, my mother's birthday, and Mother's Day all fall within a week of each other. It's great for my mom to get all the gratitude she deserves! Love you MOM!

I didn't have a photo of just her so here's one of both her and my dad. I hope you have a lovely birthday mama!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Spring Birthdays!

Yesterday was my sister in law's birthday and her boyfriend Craig had a nice BBQ in her honor in the park. Delicious ribs and brisket were enjoyed by all as well as a lovely red velvet cake.

Unfortunately the weather did not really participate. It was cold and a bit overcast most of the day but we didn't let that stop us from celebrating. My mother also celebrates a birthday this week but more to come on that later. Happy Birthday CLAIRE! 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Nice Nuptials

This past weekend my big little brother got married! Ali his new wife has been a part of our family for going on 5 years but now they are officially bound in matrimony. Per the usual I forgot to take photos so I'm borrowing one from my Dad.

The weather was amazing, the bride was beautiful as you can see and we had a jolly good time! Morning after we were having breakfast with the newlyweds and my brother says "Not to be biased or anything but that was the best wedding I've ever been to." It's good to think that about your own wedding I know I do!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Blown Away

Tuesday evening Peter and I went to Schubas for one of the best live performances I have ever witnessed. We saw Colin Stetson. He has toured with Bon Iver, Arcade Fire, Tom Waits, and countless others but he was flying solo on Tuesday. If you count a man and three saxophones as solo. He had in tow a bass, alto, and tenor saxophone and I was super giddy having never seen a bass saxophone in real life. It was almost as big as me as you can see from the photos below.

I like to think that I have a very eclectic taste in music but usually experimental music makes me want to leave the room. For instance the man that opened up the show was so terrible and at one point I had to go to the bathroom and just let myself laugh. I had a very hard time keeping a straight face throughout his entire set. Peter said it was good music to fall asleep to with ear plugs in. Thank goodness Colin Stetson came and saved the experience for me. 

Through multiple bizarre techniques like overblowing, circular breathing, and having a microphone strapped around his neck to pick up the sound of his vocal chords, he produces a multiphonic wall of sound that is by all definitions of the word UNBELIEVABLE! There were moments during his performance where I literally forgot to breath. 

Most of the things he is doing I have heard of but never seen executed successfully. He somehow has found a way to create a symphony of music with just him and one instrument. At one point I realized that there were 8 distinct different sounds coming out of the saxophone not to mention he was singing and the vocal chord mic was picking up this eerie lion like roar. I could write a whole book on all the different techniques he uses but I think instead I will just suggest that given the opportunity you HAVE to see him live. No words can truly describe what that experience was like. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter!

Peter and I spent a lovely weekend out in the suburbs having dinner and hiking with his family. Below are some photos of our adventures. 

Peter and I at the Giant's Bathtub in Matthiessen State Park

All who were in attendance from left to right Craig, Claire, John, Bernice, Me, Peter and Rob. 

It was a wonderful family visit with beautiful weather and very enjoyable company. While out hiking on Saturday I did work up a sweat which I haven't done in nearly 6 months. It felt good to be outside and outside of the city. Hopefully now that Spring is officially here I will have more lovely photos to share. These photos brought to you courtesy of John Tulloch. Thank you John!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spring has Sprung

I do believe I can officially say that spring is here. Although I fear once this post goes out to the internet we will get a foot of snow dumped on us. I am contented to know I made it through one of the harsher winters in Chicago's history. Peter told me that it was kind of like Canadian winter a few days this season so I feel I could probably take on the great white north and survive through at least one cold season. Yesterday we broke 60 degrees and finally all the built up ice on the sidewalks melted. Today is a bit chiller but at least it's going to get above 50. It's interesting after such a wintry few months 50 degrees almost feels warm. I'm also very proud to announce that I only missed 10 days biking this winter. That I feel is a much bigger accomplishment. The coldest temperature I biked in this frosty climate was -5 degrees F. That's -20 in C which makes me seem more like a badass! Expect to see a lot more outdoor and backyard exploits as the weather warms.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Missing Link

This past Friday my husband turned 31. Recently I found out his birthday, March 28th, falls on national food on a stick day. So of course Saturday night we threw a party in his honor with all food being served on sticks. The most plentiful bounty was the homemade corn dogs. Friday night we were up until midnight making homemade sausage.

Unfortunately I was too busy enjoying the merriment that I forgot to take any pictures of the finished corn dogs. It was a fantastic party and I look forward to growing another year older with Peter. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Strange fruit

During a recent expedition to procure all of the necessary ingredients for Peter's birthday bash this coming weekend. I came across this treasure.

That's right folks. Evidently children can't be made to eat real apples just as is now they must be seasoned to taste nothing like apples. Me being me I couldn't NOT buy it. The even more unfortunate realization was that the apple didn't taste like a tropical blast it just tasted like a really bad apple. Much like it had been sitting on the ground underneath the tree for 3 days before it was picked up. After visiting the crazy apples website I learned more. They will not tell you how or what they put in their apples only that it is completely natural and that C.A.'s are not genetically modified. Good to know that there is nothing "unnatural" about my bubble gum flavored apple, right!

Thursday, March 6, 2014


This past weekend Peter, me, and a few friends competed in a mobile food drive and shopping cart race. This event has been going on for nearly a decade here in Chicago and since it is held on the same day as the Iditarod (a dog sled race held in Alaska) it has been deemed the Chiditarod. Basically a bunch of teams raise money and collect canned goods to donate to the Greater Chicago Food Depository and then at the end of our fundraising time we have a shopping cart race down the neighborhood streets of Chicago's west town area. This year over $30,000 and 26,000 lbs of food were collected making it the most food and money raised since the inception of the race. I was so glad and proud to participate in such an event and I want to say thank you to all those who donated their time and/or money!

This is our team. Yes we are dressed as ourselves. The team name was The Dead Ringers. It is a little self involved but honestly we wanted to be able to dress warmly and still be "in costume" plus it's pretty freaking hilarious. Some of the best costumes I saw were the PacMan team. Their cart was decorated like a giant PacMan head and inside the mouth was a TV screen where you could actually play PacMan with a controller and everything! I few more stand outs were The Chubby Stewardesses, all men dressed in skimpy flight attendant uniforms with a giant plane shopping cart that they were serving booze from. I'm not sure of the name of the team but one team was dressed as tourists and had decorated their cart like the city of Chicago. Next year we will hopefully have more time to be more creative with our costumes of course we did get a personal award from a volunteer for being the most surreal team.

Monday, March 3, 2014


I'm sure the statute of limitations for talking about your valentine's day clearly runs out at the end of Feb. But I'm going for it anyway. Peter and I spent the most EPIC v day ever in NOLA. We woke up and had brunch at the best place to get bloody marys in the city. Funny after three bloody marys (the waiter refused to serve us any less forcing us to take  one to go which we did not finish) with brunch I don't remember what it was called. Then I had to make a stop off and call cupid and wish him a happy V DAY and extend my thanks of course. You may notice in the photo I'm using a pay phone as ethereal calling rates are outrageous with my plan. Fortunately you can call any realm with a pay phone as they are quite simple machines.

Next Peter and I sauntered over to the Insectarium. Yep folks you heard me right, a museum for insects. I love bugs; they are fascinating. This particular museum is where I first discovered my favorite bug the mole cricket a few years ago. After museum exploits we headed to Bourbon St. to see if any valentine crazies were about. For those of you who have never been to the big easy this is the street where all the action happens. And by all the action I mean the lewd conduct and vomiting. Unfortunately or fortunately, however you wish to see things, we were not witness to any expelature of bodily fluids but we did see two young ladies walking around topless with hearts painted over their boobies. A very happy valentine's day was being had by the older gentleman(?) that was having his picture taken with them. We wandered down to Jackson Square to see if anything fun was happening down that way and met a nice magician from Winnipeg Canada. Holler back all you Pegians! Peter lived in Winnipeg for a time, right after college and before coming to Chicago, so we had a nice chat with that cavalier from the great white north. Then it was onward to our dinner reservations. As we were a bit delinquent in making our appointment for our day of love the reso was for 4 p.m. Yes we were the youngest people in the restaurant by a significant margin but it was still a fantastic meal. We spent the remainder of the evening wandering through the quarter listening to really great music. I was allowed to sit in on the washboard with one group. 

It was an amazing time and I look forward to many more memorable Valentine's Days with my fantastic husband!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Post New Orleans Blues

The week before last Peter and I went down to New Orleans to celebrate my parent's 25th wedding anniversary! Way to go parental units!

Here is the happy couple. Their anniversary is actually the end of July but that time of year in the south is pretty unbearable. I appreciate them thinking of us Northern dwellers and realizing extreme heat is not our ideal environment.

We saw some really incredible bands and I cut a rug a time or two.

The woman I'm dancing with in this video is 78 years young and still gots it!

We also played mini golf in City Park which is the 6th largest and 7th most visited park in all of the United States. See those short sleeves? Yeah that happened!

Needless to say it was hard to come home to single digit temperatures and 11 hour work days but what's been more difficult is I have for the first time in my life contracted seasonal depression. I'm an outdoorsy kind of woman and I need my natural time in the elements to maintain proper sanity and happiness. Let's hope this weather breaks soon. Perhaps I'll head back to NOLA for one of these bad boys!

A few more shots of our wonderful adventures and then I'm off to the races. 

What races? You may ask. Why the Chiditarod is Saturday and Peter, I, and some friends are participating. Please come cheer us on and help me chase off these deep winter doldrums.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Pre Vacation, Vacation

This past weekend Peter and I, along with some friends went to visit Jason in Detroit. As always, the old boy did not disappoint. We attended a winter festival with a two story snow slide, which of course I forgot to take pictures of, and enjoyed some delicious eats at a few local hang outs in the downtown area.

Peter, I believe, said it best. Downtown Detroit has a lot of holes. If I had infinite amounts of money and time I would create a building fund for D-town. It has the potential to be built back up into basically anything. I was thinking it could be a technological hub considering their really isn't one in the center of the country. Aside from the mountains of pension obligations the city is responsible for and the $15 billion in debt that Detroit owes from borrowing too much I think the biggest problem is that everyone moved away. Detroit used to be the 4th largest city in the country and now it has over 100,000 empty lots and buildings. The location of the city is ideal for import and export to Canada and also very close to lake Erie. Basically I'm saying that hopefully someone will come along that can help Detroit become the promising city it once was.

Monday, January 27, 2014


Tomorrow is supposed to be -15...ick. Send all your warm thoughts to Chicago. Unfortunately I'm not manly enough to brave riding my bike in weather that cold. Mostly because I don't have the correct gear for it. I've been enjoying the chilly weather but I do feel for people who may be experiencing their first Chicago winter this season. Namely the two little ones I care for. They will be far to young to remember but this winter is definitely one of the coldest Chicago has ever seen.

Peter and I went sledding this past weekend and we walked on the frozen pond in Humboldt Park. I wanted to ice skate on it but it freezes all weird and craggy (I'm told by my Canadian husband that's not fun for ice skating) and therefore we were only able to walk across. Perhaps this weekend will be nice enough temps to get down town for some Millennium Park Adventures. I've only been ice skating once this season and that is NOT enough.

For those of you in warmer climates enjoy the out of doors with me in mind and I'll try to channel those fuzzy feelings.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Everyone's a winner here!

So we did not place in the mac and cheese competition this weekend. Mostly I think it's because I went too traditional. Everyone else had foie gras and pork belly and truffle oil in their mac and cheese. Many were not even mac and cheese. They contained noodles and cheese but so many other ingredients I believe they were more casserole like than anything else. It was a fun event though and getting to try to many different things in one day was very exciting. Here is our recipe below in case you want to make it at home.

Sexy Mac

You velveeta lovers don’t know how to mac.

A sensual medley of rugged, bold, and provocative flavors will tantalize your taste buds. Unlike the dairy deviant from Philadelphia, our brand of pasteurized pleasure will leave you melting for more.

This is a spicy, saucy, classic. None of your foie gras or truffle oil shenanigans. Sometimes it’s best to just keep things simple and direct. Like naked jumping jacks.

We used a blend of two high quality sharp cheddar cheeses and a goat gouda from Holland. If you don’t have access to high caliber goat gouda or a nice sturdy cheddar, whatever is leftover from your latest Boggle party will have to suffice.

The sexy supplies you will need are as follows:

1.5 pounds macaroni
1 medium sized onion (grated)
2 cloves garlic (grated)
½ pint of whipping cream
1 lb sharp cheddar cheese
½ lb goat gouda
½ cup milk
½ cup chicken stock
1 tsp grey poupon
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 stick of butter
about one cup of flour
salt n pepa to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Salty like the briny sea. Once it’s boiling add your wee little noodles to the pot. Cook to al dente. If you don’t know what al dente is please see the sexy couple making out in the corner. Drain and place in your baking vessel.

While the noodles are cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Add the flour until you get a nice paste consistency. Once you have cooked the flour to a nice golden brown you may add the garlic, onion, chicken stock, milk, whipping cream, and crushed red pepper. (You may need to add more later depending on how much your wooer enjoys the spice ;-)

Apply gentle heat to bring said ingredients to a dainty simmer; much like you would caress your lover’s nipples upon a Sunday afternoon.

Once rolling gently in anticipation, start to gradually add your heaving mounds of cheese while whisking at a lavish pace. The rugged and mature cheddar, like a seasoned lumberjack, will melt slowly within your vivacious heat. High atop a Dutch mountain, the goat that produced your lustrous gouda, will yodel with delight when the aromatic, intoxicating flavors cross her nostrils.

At this appetizing point you may want to taste your sauce, as you should, because honestly you and your sweet derriere have earned it. Add the salt and pepper you feel that your honey and you would enjoy.

Pour your lush liquid over your pasta, mix, and bake for 15 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered to brown the top.

You have concluded your experiment in cooking cuteness now sit back and enjoy the culinary comeuppance.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

After the thaw

As I'm sure most of the country now knows we were experiencing what is referred to as the polar vortex. Peter and I made it through and here are some photos of our backyard.

After all was said and done we had about 4 feet of snow piled high back there. I did at one point try to shovel it but I gave up after about a foot more dropped. Prior to this freak of climate change we celebrated the new year. A friend of ours had a lovely 20s themed New Year's party and Peter and I easily had the best costumes there. You can view those beauties on Facebook. Life is pretty sweet in the chilly midwest if I do say so myself. 

Now that my fingers are thawed I have entered a Mac and Cheese cooking contest this weekend. Held at 1pm at Emporium Arcade Bar in Chicago. If you are in the area please stop by and cheer me on. Peter and my team name is "We're bringing Sexy Mac."