Entries from March 2009
This is a followup to the question that was posed during a game of “Would you Rather” during the 10-hour stay in the lovely Austin Airport. This great example of an inside joke that has gone public and out of control. I am on a photoshop role tonight…and have no plans on stopping here.
Would you rather have a Chinchilla Porpus....
...or a Dungeness Schween Crab?
A lot of things like these are swimming around in my head. They are seeping out and landing on the internet. My apologies.
Tagged: cats, chinchilla cat, crab cat, dungeness schween crab, photoshop, photoshop disasters, porpus, schween, sweeny todd
Texans are never confused as to what state they are in. There are more Texan flags flying than the Union’s. And if you can’t see a flag, there is a five-pointed star within your sight lines.
I spy something red, white, and Texan.
Texans are loyal to the state first and the union second. Makes me wonder how it might be if more states were like this. And I pictured the Indiana flag flying everywhere you could fit a flag pole. Can you imagine if Indiana seceded from the Union? I’m sorry, but it is just a hilarious thought. The Texas secession doesn’t require any imagination.
My trip was not really to see Texas, but to see Justin’s high school friend, Jer, married outside of Austin. So we didn’t do a lot of exploring, but what I did see of Austin was great. It is kind of the “cool kid’s” city in Texas I suppose. I wouldn’t mind going back sometime because the food and music situation still needs to be investigated. I will be there again in June for a conference, so I might just get my wish. And it was WARM…during the day at least. And there were trees with leaves, green grass, and flowers blooming. I heard it snowed in Chicago…so Austin was a perfect escape for the weekend.
I don't know what he is reacting to here, but I love it
The wedding we attended was held on the bride’s family property in the middle of nowhere outside of Austin. It was absolutely the most beautiful wedding I have been to…besides mine of course. I was the unofficial photographer for the candid shots. They had a professional photographer there for all the “real” shots that you get at a wedding, so mine just supplemented. I will not post them all, but if you are curious, click on the flower girl photo below to see the whole album.
On our way home we spent 10 hours at the airport. We missed a nice brunch on the lawn of the Four Seasons to “make our plane.” Little did we know that the plane was BROKEN. Duuurrrrrrrrrrrr.
Things to do for 10 hours at the airport:
- Play “would you rather”: “Would you rather that Schween’s body looked like a dungeness crab with a cat head or that Porpus’s head was attached to a chinchilla body?” The answer is clear in this case.
- Go check out the nest making abilities of the bird outside the window opposite from gate 14. Provide voice-over for said bird. Repeat.
- Browse the gift shops. Make fun of the rattlesnake snow globes and tiny Texas vanity license plates printed with common names. Remark that you wish they had a Bort license plate. Then move to a gift shop in another part of the terminal to see if it is different. It’s not.
- Spend nearly 100 dollars on 20 dollars worth of crappy food. Forget napkins. Wear the stains like a good bedraggled traveller.
- Nap on the hard floor in the sun. Use magazines and husband as pillow. Get nap face from dirty airport carpet.
- Go to the bathroom about 10 million times. Try using different stalls for variety. Wash hands until they bleed from dryness because you put your stupid lotion in the stupid checked luggage.
- In the ninth hour, begin photographing the frightening buffet at “Wok n Roll” and the herd of armadillos at the gift shop. Argue about armadillos. Are they rodents? You’re sure? I don’t think they are. Why don’t we have an iPhone? (Update: Armadillos are not rodents. They are “the only surviving family in the order Cingulata, part of the superorder Xenarthra along with the anteaters and sloths.” How lonely for them.)
Delightful candles shaped into boot form.
Wok n Roll buffet. High in price. Low in fun.
Orientation of the photo is wrong. But that is how I felt by this hour anyway.
Categories: Daily Picture · travel
Tagged: airport delay, armadillo, austin, flags, flower girl, photography, texas, travel, wedding
I am going there for a few days.
No computers are coming with me. But the camera is!
If you google “white shoes before Memorial Day” you will find thousands of articles arguing about the old rule. Here is another opinion on the subject: it is a dated rule and I have no plans to adhere to it. However, there is also some agreement that southern girls tend to pay more attention to these rules than their Yankee friends to the north. That being said, this Yankee is traveling south of the Mason-Dixon line tomorrow and is wearing cream-colored patent leather heels. BE AFRAID fashion Nazis. My outfit will offend.
Yesterday, my friend (who is starting a styling business on the side of her full-time job) took me shopping. She was my fashion coach and my stylist for the evening. The marathon shopping session–this is happening a lot lately–was fantastically successful. Budget win. Style win. Happy win. My own fashion “rules” were challenged. She photographed each outfit for review and honest critique. When she gets everything up and running, I will give you her link. You should hire her as soon as possible. Your wardrobe will thank you.
Another sneak peek. Don't be afraid.
In other news, I am afraid for my life. We ran out of cat food this morning. They are bitching, moaning, baring their teeth, and stalking me. I have to protect my ankles until Justin returns from the store with proper kitty breakfast.
Categories: Daily Picture
Tagged: cats, Daily Picture, fashion, rules, shopping, white before memorial day
Yesterday was a turd of a day. Could have done without it.
Fortunately, because I sometimes have trouble “living in the moment,” a bad day can seem less so. Because I am looking forward to some upcoming events or goodness, the climb from the bottom of my mood cave is less steep. Stuff is gross and bad sometimes, but quickly moving on is vital to my mental health. And never once has Justin put me down when I am already in the bottom of a bucket. He hangs a little rope over the edge and encourages me to grab it. Even if I don’t want to, cause I feel like wallowing my bad mood bucket, it is nice to see my escape routes.
A couple things gave me a better perspective on my day after arriving home last night.
This is my home computer. NEVER has it opened a PPT slide. It doesn't even have that capability. It is the happiest machine I have ever worked on.
I am looking forward to a four-day Texas wedding weekend. My friend is starting a styling business and is putting together a fabulous fashion plan for me and said weekend. Here is a sneak peak of one of the star items.
I haven't uploaded a lily in a week or so. This one is making the kitchen smell good. Kind of reminds me of church somehow. Since I am a Preacher's kid, sometimes bible verses pop into my head at interesting times. There is one about birds not needing to wear clothes that made a lot of sense yesterday.
HA. I DIED LAUGHING when I saw this. This is from my office. Click image for the full story.
That last image links you to a co-worker’s blog that I just discovered last night. I am happy to see that there are cupcake recipes. I plan on cornering her at the water cooler and forcing my friendship upon her. Sounds like an HR violation waiting to happen.
Categories: Daily Picture
Tagged: justin, happiness, bad mood, bad day, lily, outfit, perspective, ppt, looking forward
I actually said that at dinner. I meant “spring,” but for all I know, it really is May in California, and Chicago is stuck in a sick joke of a time warp. How else do I have “fresh” arugula, basil, and strawberries for my dinner? While I tap my foot impatiently until the farmer’s market opens downtown–7 am, May 14th, 2009–I thank California and the time machines that the produce presumably arrives in. They run on solar, right?
Tonight, the meal was spring themed. I got the idea from the Cooking Light magazine that my MIL keeps me subscribed to every year. There was a whole section about seasonal and local foods. It was somewhat of a tease, but I was inspired. I made linguine with Arugula Pesto and Strawberries in Meyer Lemon Syrup with whipped cream.
Cast of Characters for Arugula Pesto Linguine. Garlic always secures a supporting role.
"Bah! Did you put that Basil leaf on there for the photo?" Nope. I love basil. It cleanses the palate. Kind of minty if you eat a big leaf of it after dinner. Garlic doesn't know how to handle it.
Linguine With Arugula Pesto
- 12 ounces uncooked linguine
- 1 tablespoon of toasted pine nuts
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 cups of basil leaves
- 2 cups of arugula
- 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 6 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan
- Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Place pasta in a serving bowl.
- Place 1 tablespoon pine nuts and garlic in a food processor; process until minced. Add arugula and basil and all over ingredient except the cheese and pasta.
- Add pesto mixture and reserved cooking liquid to serving bowl; toss well to coat. Serve with cheese.
Source: Cooking Light, April 2009, Page 107
The only things I changed were the addition of a sauteed chicken breast, more basil was added, and only 8 ounces of pasta were used. The result was like eating fresh spring grass with a side of robin and babbling brook. But delicious.
I can’t put into words how happy this dessert made me:
I don't want to type this.
I almost uploaded the plated dessert twice. It was that good. But here is a zoom for emphasis on the goodness.
It is such a simple dessert with whole ingredients. Clearly, I added some blackberries into the recipe. Sometimes the simple combinations have surprisingly complex flavor. Your kitchen will smell like a strawberry stand at the farm. Grind the lemon rinds and berry tops in the garbage disposal for increased smell-good action. Then please comment after you eat it, because I still want to talk about how good it is. Bonus points if you eat it outside on a deck.
Categories: Cooking/Baking · Daily Picture
Tagged: arugula, berries, blackberries, cooking light, dessert, dinner, food, pasta, pesto, recipe, spring, strawberry, whipped cream
Throwing stuff out, cleaning out closets, and donating old clothes are one of my favorite household activities. It is also a very Spring thing to do. I am quite the opposite of a pack-rat, and do not like becoming crowded with stuff. One of my top anxieties about having kids some day is all the STUFF that goes with it. This is most apparent to me in airports. I see families trying to keep track of about 17 pieces of luggage and a car seat and trying to remove tiny shoes for the metal detectors…it makes my heart pound…Anyway, if you are attached to old “stuff,” I will gladly come over and tell you 10 reasons to move on. I will even help you get over things you are keeping because you have major guilt every time you even think about getting rid of it. It is JUST STUFF. Other people actually need it. You likely don’t. I promise you won’t miss it and you will have more room to breathe.
That being said, I got rid of some things from our closet this weekend, and I couldn’t be happier about. If you want them, they are available to you at Brown Elephant on Clark at a very low price. Let it be known that I have NEVER missed anything that was donated. Ever. Especially when they are my husband’s old clothes.
*Insert giddy crazy-lady laugh.*
*Insert image of crazy-bag-lady running along Ashland with a bag of faded relaxed fit jeans from the late 90’s.*
Justin has a new wardrobe–thanks to a successful–but exhausting trip to State Street. He was thrilled to discover that Nordstrom Rack, H&M, Macy’s, and TJ Maxx are located on the same block. We have never shopped like that, and probably won’t again for awhile. He will be looking good until he has to wear suits to work…which I don’t envy. He is actually OK with that idea, which is reason #459385725 that he has found his perfect career. If I had to wear suits to work, I might just wither up and die. I like to dress nicely for work, but could wear–and have worn–cat slippers and a blanket to the office and no one bats an eyelash. I think there are some companies where PANTYHOSE is required?!? Ugh.
After the wardrobe overhaul on Friday, we decided that on Saturday we would head up to Evanston via the 10 minute ride on the Metra. Evanston has a pretty nice downtown area, and I much prefer going up there to see a movie than traveling into the Loop to fight the tourists. Don’t think this means we are in love with the suburbs and will be packing up our apt to head north anytime soon. I’m just saying that Evanston is a nice surprise as far as suburbs go. Yeah, I like a suburb. There, I said it. The day was sunny and consisted of wonderful things like bread-bowl soup, travel books about Italy, 3-d movie going, pet stores, wood oven fired pizza, and perfect train timing.
Here are the weekend photo updates:
These really are Justin's legs. Yeah those are dark-wash jeans that aren't dragging on the ground. And Cole Haans! I <3 Nordstrom Rack.
The suburbs can have a nice texture to them. Chicago can't hog it all.
Well hello there. This little man was in the pet shop window across from Union Pizzeria. We call him chicken turtle. Watch the video below with the sound to learn why.
Turtle Wants Tomato.
Awww. They look like they might be good pets, don't they? Um, I had a couple as a kid and they don't do a whole lot. My Flopsy bunny died on Easter morning. There you have it.
Union Pizzeria has high ceilings, large windows and interesting lighting. But the PIZZA...
..the pizza is to die for.
One of the best parts of the weekend. Justin pointed these out to me. Which means he has been paying a lot of attention to what makes me happy. <3
Categories: Daily Picture
Tagged: cleaning, Daily Picture, evanston, justin, photography, pizza, plants, shoes, shopping, texture, union pizzeria
On occasion, I will have a moment of clarity or realization that sends a satisfying—and sometimes manic—surge of energy through my veins. Chicago can do this to me at unexpected times. And I feel the need to thank it.
I have written about Commuter Tourism before. This was during my pre-Canon days, but luckily not pre-appreciation for my surroundings. Sometimes it takes a trip outside of the city to realize what I have here, and sometimes out of nowhere I am suddenly in-love with everything around me, even without the distance to make my heart grow fonder.
I am not a fan of strip malls and big parking lots surrounded by the same stores that you can shop at in nearly every town and city in the US. We have many of these lots in Chicago, but they aren’t immediately apparent and can easily be avoided, if you so choose. I think the “choose” part is key. Sometimes when I visit places outside of the city, I realize just how lucky I am to live and work around beautiful architecture and neighborhoods. My commute is really amazing when I think about it. I am lucky that it doesn’t involve a car, highway, or road that is flanked by miles and miles of strip malls. I grew up less than a block from said strip mall land back in Michigan. I didn’t really mind back then, but now I am spoiled rotten by my current city, and would have a hard time moving back.
A lot of the Midwestern towns, included Kalamazoo, MI and Bloomington, IN, have a downtown so cute that you could pinch them. Some of them look like a Rockwell painting. They have nice restaurants, wonderful storefronts, a central park, or a courthouse lawn filled with cherry trees. Drive 3 minutes from these downtown areas, and welcome to the same strip mall crap and big box stores that you see in any other city. It gets me down. There aren’t even sidewalks along many of these roads. Bill Bryson writes about this in his book I’m A Stranger Here Myself. By the way, he is a brilliantly funny writer. I laugh out-loud the whole time I read his books.
So to get back to my point, I love living in Chicago. And since I wasn’t worried about falling and dying on icy sidewalks as I walked to my train, I took a look around. Rubbernecking is not something you will see most hurried commuters doing, but I highly recommend it. Just along my normal route I captured the following textures from the buildings I pass on a daily basis:
Categories: Chicago · Daily Picture
Tagged: architecture, Chicago, commute, commuter tourism, Daily Picture, photography, textures
Well done, everyone. If you are reading this, it means you lived through one of the worst winters we have had in years. Spring is—OH WAIT…my husband just informed me that this is a silly post to be writing in mid-March. He says that I will get hate mail. Yeah it was 76 today…but please refer to Thursday’s forecast to see why he is making a good case:
- Tuesday!!!…Wednesday…meh…meh….is there a 26 on there?! MEH.
Yeah, that “low of 26″ is lame. BUT…I am going to continue to write this against Justin’s wishes. He can get his own sad-blog. Maybe not sad as much as “cautiously optimistic.” Instead of Megagood, it would be titled “PossiblyGood”or “KindaGood.”
Since I am an all-or-nothing person I don’t cautiously optimize anything. It is spring dammit. And when I decide something like that, I will convince myself—and sometimes others—into thinking it is the unquestionable truth. I’m a pretty good salesperson if I really believe in something. (Could a copywriter/editor let me know how to use en dashes vs. em dashes vs. commas??)
Several things happened today that convinced me winter is really over (for the most part):
- Lunchtime sunburn. Another park lunch with friends and Pastoral sandwiches.
- Sidewalks are a piece-of-cake to walk down, without wearing boots…No slush, ice, snow, salt, blinding wind, etc…
- I arrived home after work, in the sun.
- There are buds on trees. Brave things are growing out of the ground.
- The storm windows were put up and the screens came down. Curtains billowed.
- Dinner was eaten on the porch. In the sun.
- I kind of want to dye Easter Eggs for the first time in 12 years.
- I considered eating gelato outside. Which means it may be time to change the masthead.
Trying to capture a sequence of breeze in the curtains. I guess this was better in real-life...
The plants are out! We eat dinner where Porpus is standing.
Spring things are guarding our toilet paper.
I didn't wear green on St. Patricks Day, but I appreciated all the green things trying to grow. These live inside a flower shop, but they are very mossy and green and happy. You can almost smell the green freshy-freshness in this picture.
Categories: Chicago · Daily Picture
Tagged: Chicago, Daily Picture, green, open windows, park lunch, photography, porch, signs of spring, warmer weather