Thursday, July 17, 2008

a knight to remember

Last night my husband and I attended the Chicago premiere of The Dark Knight. It was held at Chicago's Navy Pier - the Imax Theatre - and about 400 people were in attendance. We saw a few famous faces, including Gary Oldman and Sir Michael Caine:

It was a great night for a couple of reasons. First, the premiere itself was so much fun. Being on the red carpet, meeting who's who amongst the Batman crowd, seeing the Chicago skyline on a beautiful - albeit hot - night. It was thrilling.

But it was special for us for another reason. Navy Pier is where we became engaged many moons ago. And today is our 9th wedding anniversary. Last night was the kickoff to our celebration. :)

Before the screening, the Chicago Film Festival presented an achievement award to director Christopher Nolan. He took a moment to speak about his appreciation for Chicago's beautiful architecture. According to him, it was the perfect backdrop in which to create Gotham City. After he spoke, we watched the movie - and if you are a fan, you will LOVE it. We both agreed - it is very dark, very sinister - and oh so good. Go see it!

After the film there was an elegant dinner at the Crystal Gardens. As luck would have it, we had a chance opportunity to meet and briefly speak with the director (before he became surrounded by Warner Brothers' suits.) He couldn't have been more gracious. Today I said to my husband, "we should have asked him for a picture." But maybe it was better that we didn't...we can simply remember the conversation in our minds.

Later, as we were enjoying our food we stopped by to visit the Batmobile (pictures are a little dark...but what do you expect, it's the batmobile!)

We also saw the Bat - hmm - I'm not sure what the right name for this is. The batbike? The batcycle? The batmotorcycle? Whatever it is, it is very cool. Both the bike and the batmobile were surrounded by guys with cameras. All night!

At the end of the night there were fireworks to watch out on the patio. It was a beautiful night, and that seemed like a fitting end. The special night - the fabulous knight - and us.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

bunny letter opener

Your kids might get a kick out of this one - mine did.
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Monday, July 14, 2008

service call

We have a service call today with the air conditioner repair man. Long time readers of my blog may recall that we bought a new AC (and furnace...and hot water heater) in December of '06. This past winter, the furnace broke down on what felt like the coldest day of the year (fortunately, it was fixed easily - and the service and parts were both covered under warranty.)

Today is supposed to be 84 degrees, but it looks like tomorrow is the kickoff to a string of days 90 degrees+. Too bad the AC is not working. But, like the furnace last year, it's going to be a relatively easy fix, and again, the repair/replacement part & service are covered under warranty. As far as I'm concerned, these repairs just go to show that life is indeed uncertain, and the only thing you can expect is the unexpected. Even if you go high-end with the appliances you buy. They still break when they shouldn't.

Our repair man is Jerry. He didn't know that when he showed up here today that he'd have an apprentice, waiting patiently to be told what to do:
An apprentice who, in this photo, is trying to casually add his own tools to the stash of tools and equipment Jerry keeps in the truck.

An apprentice who is 3, and so he loses interest in things easily, and moves on to the next thing that catches his attention. The tools? Toss 'em aside. It's time to focus on something else, which in this case happens to be a soccer ball outside.

Jerry will be here another couple of hours, then we'll head out the door - maybe to the pool - to cool off while our house is doing the same.
Hope you're staying cool, too, and enjoying this beautiful day.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Fill-Ins

Thanks to Tommie for the inspiration for this...and to Janet for creating it.

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1. Oh, I can't wait until I have made significant progress in growing my hair (never gonna happen).

2. A big bowl of fresh cut strawberries is the first thing I see when I open my refrigerator.

3. I never leave home without my ???. Sometimes I leave the house with nothing and just start walking. I suppose then that I should say, 'comfortable shoes'.

4. If I were a condiment, I would be mustard because I like its color (the bright kind, not the honey mustard kind.)

5. Bad driving is really high up on my list of pet peeves.

6. The last thing I thought of before I went to bed was an upcoming family vacation.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to cooking out in the backyard with my family, tomorrow my plans include a day at the salon (highlights, no cut) and Sunday, I want to go to the pool with my husband and kids.
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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

the rest of the weekend

My mini report the other day was pretty lame. So here's the rest of the weekend, but keep in mind my earlier disclaimer...I didn't take many photos in spite of good intentions. Never seem to!

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Saturday night was Ribfest. No pictures from that night, but you don't want to see a picture of me eating ribs anyway. Our entertainment that night was Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. They were great! The crowd loved her, especially when she played this one:

We couldn't help but sing along. It was contagious.

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Sunday morning we got up early and had a quick breakfast, then got the kids in the shower and headed out the door to meet up with our friends for lunch. The boys rode their bikes to the train station, which isn't far away to us but is to them. It took them about 20 minutes to make it there, but they did so well. They were highly motivated - so excited to ride the train.

The train was packed, but we found a car with extra room for the bikes and even found a seat. There were a lot of extra riders on Sunday heading down to the Taste of Chicago.

The littlest guy brought his own silver train on board to recreate the scene of us riding. Both boys were on the lookout for train crossing signs and crossing gates. They loved seeing the cars waiting at the intersections as our train sped by.

Our stop lead us straight to our friends' house, but on the way we stopped at the park down the block from them to let the kids play a bit.

And, unfortunately, this is where the time sped up so much that I neglected to take any more photos and totally missed Brig and Dan's house. We got there, had a lovely lunch and visited a bit before having to head off again on our bikes to make it back to their train station to wait for our ride home. I did take this picture of our group walking back to the station, just so you can see the gorgeous neighborhood where we were.

By the time we got to the station, waited for the train, rode it home, and rode the bikes back to our house we had been gone a total of 5 hours. Crazy! It was still hot and sunny, so we did a quick change and got the kids into their suits before heading off to the pool for an hour to cool down. When they climbed into bed that night they were little zombies.

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Remember how I wrote the other day that "it's not all peaches and cream around here"? Here's an example that illustrates my point. Yesterday morning I woke up, stripped the beds, and took all the sheets and towels from the bathrooms down to the laundry room in our basement to wash them. When I started up the washer, I forgot to take a rag out of our stationary tub that I had tossed in there the other day. Our washer empties into this tub as it drains, and as you would expect, if there's anything in the tub that blocks the drain, the tub fills up and overflows. When the tub overflows, the water runs down the sides of the tub, covers the laundry room, and seeps into the carpet in the adjoining playroom (this has happened more than once in the 5 years that we have lived here.) So yesterday when I went down to change the laundry, I realized that there was a small flood in our basement - and that it was my fault.

Quick as can be I raced upstairs, dialed a place in town that rents equipment by the day, hustled my son into the car, drove to the place in the rain, rented a vacuum cleaner that picks up water from carpet, somehow managed to get the thing home, get it out of my car, drag it down the basement, and vacuum the carpet for the next hour.

Here's a picture of the vacuum cleaner. Big (and heavy) enough to pick up even the worst of what your stationary tub can throw at 'cha.

So, I don't really want to talk any more about the basement water experience, because chances are, you have had water in your basement, too, or some other unexpected problem in your house. And you know that, for as awful as it is to have to deal with it, it's a little more awful listening to/reading about someone else dealing with it. So let's get back to happier themes.

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MONDAY P.M. (a shower does wonders)

My husband had a birthday yesterday, 07/07. What a lucky birthday! He is a wonderful guy who is living a wonderful life. I was happy to help him celebrate it. Our sitter arrived at 7 p.m. and we headed out on the town for dinner together, but not before pausing to pose for a picture together (we continue to work on our New Year's resolution):

This is where we went to dinner...and treated ourselves to the best of the best. No regrets...

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Before I go, here's something else to show you. Later this summer there is an auction in town to benefit the United Way. The auction is for painted sculptures, which they have been auctioning off for the past several year. This year's sculpture theme is a "garden party" - benches, birdbaths, little garden creatures are the art. Well, I've been eyeing one of the sculptures and last night I couldn't help but take a picture so you can see why I like it so much.

Here's the front:

And the back:

The auction is September 12th. I am wondering just what this will go for...

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

tiny report

We've been having a great weekend and I thought I'd pop in with just a couple of pictures of it (so far.) My picture taking has been sporadic, but I don't have any regrets. You know how it is...sometimes even with the best intentions you can't capture the moment with anything but your own eyes and your own mind.

Here are a couple of photos from the cookout on the 4th at my in-laws' home. They recently had a new patio put in, complete with a little waterfall and fresh train track. Remember my father in-law's love of trains...well, this is a beautiful extension. Needless to say, the boys loved it!
It is very relaxing being back there, listening to the water and hearing the train go by. We stayed until dusk before heading off to see the fireworks. The kids were excited for the show, but it was still hard for them to leave the trains.

At one point the inside trains were running as well as the outside trains. The boys were in heaven. It was about that time that I heard my sister in-law Maureen say, everyone should have a grandfather like this. And I thought, you know what? She is right.

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There is more to report from our weekend, but I am out of creative juice tonight. I hope your weekend was a great one.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

weekend 'o plans

Hello there!

We are very much looking forward to the 4th of July over here in the Little Cottage. Mother Nature is cooperating by giving us what looks to be a *perfect* forecast for the holiday and the remainder of the weekend. Let me tell you, I am so appreciative, because I know not everyone is having that kind of luck. Boo hoo to rain clouds that threaten to cancel fireworks and parades! Hopefully you will be spared where you live, too.

We really do have some great plans this weekend, and because it's so rare that we have plans - plural - I thought I'd share them with you.

Tomorrow we are meeting my husband's family for a breakfast & swim party at his parents' pool. Tomorrow during the afternoon I might pop in to work at the store where I am still employed, as they are short staffed and looking for help...and willing to pay time-and-a-half (woo hoo!) Tomorrow afternoon is a cookout over at my in-laws', with fireworks afterwards in the park down the street from my house.

Saturday we have a swim birthday party for the boys in the morning, then a cookout/gathering at a friend's house in the afternoon. Saturday night we've been invited to join some friends here, and they have sponsor tent tickets for us, which means free ribs, free beer, and PRIVATE BATHROOMS. Never been to this event, and we have a babysitter, so I'm excited. Our friends who invited us get the sponsor tent tickets every year and tell me, this is the way to go. Sounds good to me!

Sunday our little family will board the train and head to see our friends in their new suburban home (it's a cottage...get ready because I'm hoping to take pictures and get the ok to share them with you.) They have invited us for lunch, and we're excited to see them and catch up a bit.

And Monday, although technically the weekend is over, we have our own little celebration planned: my husband is having a birthday, and our sitter arrives at 7:00 so we can trot off to dinner by ourselves.

It's a nice mix of plans - plans with the kids, plans sans kids...terrific weather, too.

Now don't go thinking that it's all peaches and cream around here, but today it feels that way and I can't help but want to write about it. I'll be back after the weekend to post some pictures from our excursions.

I hope you have a wonderful and relaxing holiday!

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