Racine Zoo, Pizza, and Kenosha

October 27th, 2014 No comments

Saturday we decided to visit Racine Zoo since it had been four years since our first and only visit. I knew from checking their site that they were doing their own Boo at the Zoo, but I didn’t know that meant the zoo was opening an hour later than usual. The Boo at the Zoo hours are listed as 10-1 but they didn’t close at 1 pm so why would I expect the opening time be any later than 9 am like usual? No wonder we got parking directly in front of the zoo at almost 9:30 am. I’m just glad we were “running late” and didn’t have to stand around a full hour. I also don’t understand why when we first approached the ticket window the girl asked if we were there for Boo at the Zoo; when I said no we were still told they weren’t opening until 10 am. Sooo… why did it matter why we were there?

Since the zoo is right on Lake Michigan we walked down by the lake for a bit to kill some time. By the time we went back to the zoo to stand in line there were tons of kids in their cute little costumes impatiently waiting to get in.

Lake Michigan

Unfortunately the zoo is even crappier than I remember. Sure, it’s small, but what makes it crappy is how spread out everything is with not much to see. They raised their admission prices (although we got in free due to a reciprocal deal with our local zoo) yet haven’t done anything in the last four years to make the zoo more appealing. Maybe they can’t afford to add additional exhibits (though they definitely have the space), but they had even less animals on display than four years ago. The fennec fox exhibit was gone and there were like three kangaroos in the spot where I swear there were many more. Look, one of them was even dead and rigor mortis was already setting in!

Red Kangaroo

I kid, I kid! He was just enjoying a little nap.

The thing I loved most about this zoo last time we visited was how the meerkat and penguin exhibits were designed. The meerkats are just funny little guys and I got some pics of them peering up at us.

Meerkats

I was disappointed to see the penguins were off exhibit which was ironic considering the fact that the zoo’s idea of decorating for Halloween was to paint penguins on some pumpkins around the park.

Pumpkin

That was the extent of the decorating and it was super disappointing. We ended up visiting for only an hour and that’s only because we spent a good twenty minutes watching the lion cubs playing, which was the only redeeming part of our visit.

Lion Cub

The photos would have come out better had I not been shooting through dirty plexiglass with some crazy reflections, but what can you do? As soon as we walked away all the little cubs got right up against the glass too. Figures! We walked back over but I couldn’t get any photos because all the kids were crowding around where they were hanging out, but I did get a nice up-close pic of the lioness.

Lioness

We headed over to Wells Brothers pizza for lunch and really enjoyed their crispy thin-crust pizza, then to Harbor Park in Kenosha just to walk around a bit. I thought this sculpture was rather cool.

My Pi Sculpture

Categories: Animals, Excursions, Photos Tags:

Trying to Keep Warm

October 24th, 2014 1 comment

I was freezing my butt off at work this week even though it was in the fifties outside. I think it’s due to the cold concrete floors, plus the fact that I noticed the thermostat is set to 71 in the mornings when last year it was on 73-74. In the afternoon it’s not nearly as bad as it’s set to 74. You’d be surprised at what a difference those three degrees make, at least for me. I know it seems ridiculous that I’d be so cold in what most people consider a comfortable temperature, but I guess I’m special.

I even bought these socks at Walmart but they didn’t help. I’m going to have to stick to wool socks which work better (but cost more, which is why I tried these $4 socks).

Warm Socks

I was wearing a pair of nylons, regular socks, and the socks above, plus fuzzy winter boots and my feet were still ice cold! So were my legs with some thick fleece Cuddl Duds under my pants. Unfuckingbelieveable!

Thursday morning I pulled aside the VP and asked if he’d be willing to increase the thermostat and explained my dilemma and how it’s warmer in the afternoons. He reluctantly moved it up one degree (ugh, but better than nothing) and remarked I’d be better off getting a space heater. I almost lost it, because I asked about bringing in my space heater last year and HR told me no. Apparently they had trouble with them blowing fuses in the building or something. Mine is a fan heater, so I’m not sure if it would do that, but I calmly explained to the VP that I’d be happy to bring in my space heater but was told I couldn’t. He remarked that he thought some people in the office were using them and he’d look into it for me. At this point I plan on bringing mine in on Monday and asking if I can at least try it to see what happens. You don’t know how much easier this would make my life. When I get miserably cold I dread going into work and this week I was seriously contemplating quitting. After all, there’s only so many clothes I can wear. I know it’s not their fault I get so cold but if I could use a space heater I am pretty sure I’d be fine since I lasted 10 years at my last company. They kept their office temperature even colder but they let me use my heater so it was tolerable.

I am really sick of feeling so cold all the time, though, so much so that moving to Arizona doesn’t seem that bad anymore. Joe wold like to move there once his son is a bit older but I’ve been against it because I’m not that fond of the desert. It’s so brown there! But I’m also not loving being cold 6 months out of every year! I made an appointment to see my doctor on Monday to get a referral to see someone about it. I’m also planning on getting referrals to see someone about my depression/anxiety (since I can’t keep taking Xanax just to sleep and/or have a non-freaking-out day) and about my sleep issues (more often than not I don’t feel well rested in the mornings). So there you have it – I am an emotional and physical mess. What a shocker. ;)

Categories: Health, Work Tags:

MRI Results

October 24th, 2014 2 comments

I forgot to post that I got my MRI results last Friday and everything is normal. So no tumor. Darn! I was kinda hoping there was one so they could remove it (it wouldn’t have been cancerous, or I’d never actually wish for one). This means the damage to my ear is permanent and I will likely have to go for physical therapy to train my left ear to compensate. I’ll know more after I speak to my doctor this Monday.

Categories: Health Tags:

Anniversary

October 24th, 2014 No comments

Yesterday was our nine year wedding anniversary (we’ve been together fourteen years this January). We didn’t exchange gifts, but we did go out to dinner. Since Joe worked late we didn’t feel like going far to get a steak dinner or something, so we visited our favorite Vietnamese place that makes awesome Chinese food. I guess we should really try their Vietnamese dishes one day, but we are rather hooked on the Chinese cuisine.

Anyway, we got Kung Pao chicken, Sweet & Sour chicken, and instead of our usual, Mongolian Beef, we tried the Beef & Broccoli instead. It was amazing! They are the only place who makes edible beef dishes. I usually avoid beef at Asian restaurants because it tends to be fatty, dry, and chewy, but theirs just about melts in your mouth. They are always so nice too. My only complaint is they are a bit stingy with the rice. We got one plate of rice even though we ordered three full dishes, and we finished it all. They didn’t offer to bring us more, nor did they pack any to go along with our leftovers, so I’ll have to make my own.

Afterwards we went around the corner to a chocolate shop and bought some truffles, and stopped in a candy store too.

So I guess you could say it was a very low-key anniversary. I don’t mind because we tend to fluctuate – some years we exchange gifts and some we don’t. We only do it when we know the other person is wanting something in particular, not just for the sake of giving a gift which seems like a waste of money. The honeymoon is not over, though. If anything, I feel like I love Joe even more now than before. Some of that is due to the stuff we’ve been through together. Plus when I was stressed out at my former job I didn’t have the capacity to appreciate him the way I do now. It’s like my brain can only handle so much input at once before it shuts down certain areas. It’s really hard to explain, but I’m just glad I’m not feeling that way anymore because it sucked. I love my husband so much it freaks me out because I worry something is going to happen to him and I seriously would not be able to handle it. He’s my best friend and the one person in the world I trust completely and who I know loves me for who I am. That makes me incredibly lucky and trust me, I do not take it lightly.

Categories: Love & Marriage Tags:

Halloween Traditions

October 22nd, 2014 2 comments

This weekend included a few of our Halloween traditions, just the two of us, because E decided that he would rather stay home so that he could go on a date with his new girlfriend. I was rather bummed because this was the first year since we started our Halloween traditions with the kids that we had no kids with us. I contemplated canceling everything but decided that would only make me feel worse.

Saturday morning we decided to head over to DeKalb to attend Northwestern University’s STEMfest. It wasn’t quite what I was anticipating, because it was geared mostly towards children, but it was still something different to do, and best of all it was free.

We scoured Yelp looking for somewhere to eat lunch in Dekalb but nothing seemed appealing so we headed towards home. We ended up stopping in St. Charles at a place I had bookmarked called Beef Shack. I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive because the only beef sandwiches I’ve ever liked are at Portillo’s. Luckily this place alleviated my fears – their beef sandwich was, dare I say it, better than Portillo’s! Not only was the French bread less chewy, the beef wasn’t fatty at all, and the amount of melted mozzarella cheese was perfect. I couldn’t finish my sandwich and it was even better cold the next day.

After lunch we headed over to Sonny Acres to grab some apple cider donuts. The weather was overcast and cold so we made a quick walk around the grounds just to see what they were offering this season and then we got a dozen donuts and left. We ended up eating the donuts when we got home and let me tell you, they were the best apple cider donuts I’ve ever had – incredibly moist and very flavorful. It’s a good thing they don’t sell them year round or I’d gain a ton of weight. Between the two of us we polished off the entire dozen before Tuesday!

Saturday evening we decided to take the Gallery of Ghoulish Homes tour in St. Charles. There were 13 total houses participating in the contest, but based on previous years’ notes we skipped a handful of them because they are/were lame.

Our first stop was this house on a dead-end street. They turn their lawn into a graveyard and have live actors walking about. There’s this one young girl who creeps me out. This year they had fenced in the graveyard and turned their lawn into a mini haunted house. I was a chicken and didn’t go and now I wish I had. Oh well, maybe next year!

The second house we visited is one where they carve a shit ton of pumpkins and put them all around their lawn. They always come out so nice!

Carved Pumpkin

Carved Pumpkin

At this one house we visit every year they have live actors that follow you around the house, and beyond, to try and creep you out. This one guy always follows me! I even tried to get a selfie with him one year. This year he followed me when we first got there and when we went back to the car to leave. He loves me for some reason, LOL!

Where my “stalker” lives:

Vitale Family

I was disappointed to learn that one of our favorite homes didn’t participate this year. I hadn’t even thought about checking if they were on the list; I just automatically assumed they were and was shocked when we arrived at the house and it wasn’t decorated at all. I guess they got tired of all the effort.

On our way to the tour we decided to stop at Dunkin’ Donuts to grab some hot chocolate. I had scoured their menu online beforehand to see if they were still offering the dark hot chocolate that I had tried about two years ago that I really liked. Unfortunately they only offer regular hot chocolate, salted caramel and mint flavors. I decided to opt for the latter, but when we went through the drive-through the woman working it claimed they only had the regular flavor. Joe and I decided to get to regular small hot chocolates, but were bummed that they didn’t have the other flavors. And based on the way the woman answered us when we asked her what flavors were available, I’m still not sure if she was mistaken or if that particular location just doesn’t offer the same menu. Either way I will probably not stop at that one again.

Meadow Lake

Sunday morning we headed over to Morton Arboretum to take a look at their glass pumpkin patch. I love all the different colors of glass pumpkins that they offer, and if I had the money and space I’d probably buy a few, but the least expensive one I saw was $45. Plus I don’t know what I would really do with them when they weren’t on display since I’d be afraid to store them in the garage. But feel free to take a look at all the cool pictures I took!

Glass Pumpkin

After the Arboretum we headed to Walmart so that I could return two rugs and get different sizes. Then we went across the street to Target for groceries, but nothing on my list was on sale so all we ended up buying was unhealthy snacks (Doritos and Fritos).

We got home just in time for Joe to watch the Bears game and he made us both a plate of nachos since we were starving. The rest of the day was a lazy one and I had to bust butt on Monday to catch up on cleaning before my work week began.

Categories: Excursions, Food, Photos Tags: