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Archive for the ‘Excursions’ Category

Touch-Up Paint & Praying Mantis

September 10th, 2021 Comments off

Saturday (9/4) – Took Wookie to see K & T and she was dog-sitting two other dogs that Wookie did not like (surprise surprise). They eventually managed to co-exist, but it’s pretty clear Wookie is not a dog lover. She’s not really a people lover either, other than Joe and me. She merely tolerates everyone else. I wish she got along with other dogs and people more; it would be less stressful.

Wednesday (9/8) – Finally got around to painting the passenger side mirror on the Crosstrek because way back in January 2018, I scraped the side of my car going into the garage. Ugh!

Crosstrek Mirror – Before

I bought touch-up paint from Subaru years ago, so it was about time we did something with it.

Crosstrek Mirror – After

It does not look great, but better than before so whatever. Luckily I don’t have to look at it much.

Thursday 9/9 – We decided to visit Willowbrook Wildlife Center to walk around and enjoy the weather. Joe spotted this cool praying mantis!

He actually spotted two total. He is always finding the best insects on our walks!

The visitor center is still closed which was a bummer because they keep a lot of cool birds in there.

Categories: Car, Excursions Tags: ,

All The Other Things

August 19th, 2021 Comments off

Figured I’d post a mish mash of things that have happened recently. I really only keep up this blog for my own memories at this point so if you find this boring that’s why.

Sat 8/7 – We tried Wendy’s breakfast for the first time in years because T-Mobile Tuesday had a deal where you get a free breakfast sandwich with any purchase. I got the Maple Bacon Chicken Croissant and a small order of Seasoned Potatoes. I thought the sandwich was pretty good. Reminded me of a chicken version of McDonald’s McGriddles. So good, but not great. But those potatoes were amazing! They remind me so much of the potato wedges KFC used to have. It’s too bad you can only get them during breakfast. I might have to plan ahead so I can get some in the morning, grab some KFC in the afternoon, and reheat the wedges in the air fryer.

Fresh Picked Tomatoes

Sun 8/8 – Our neighbor came by asking if we’d like to pick some tomatoes from his garden since he had too many. Joe picked four and we used most of them to make the most delicious bruschetta.

Bruschetta

Wed 8/11 – The Woodman’s finally opened by us on Tuesday, August 10th, so we headed over there the next day around 8 am to check it out. Observations: there’s no deli (weird), they only take Discover (in addition to debit and cash), the liquor store has a separate entrance but can also be accessed via the store, but you have to pay for everything there separately, their selection is off the charts. Needless to say, we spent an hour going up and down the majority of the aisles. It will definitely be a place we shop at often, particularly because they’re open 24 hours.

Subaru Outback Outback Screen

Thu 8/12 – Took my Crosstrek to the dealer to address two recalls and was given an Outback loaner. Observations: I like the dual climate control but found the radio annoying to operate, and the fact that all the controls had to be done on the screen other than adjusting the temperature. The Auto Start-Stop feature to conserve gas is hella annoying because the car would jerk when starting back up. If my car had that I’d be disabling it real quick. I did like that the doors automatically locked once the car reached 15 MPH, though, and you could open the door from the inside without having to unlock the door first. That’s the single most annoying thing about my car and I still don’t understand how me having to manually lock and unlock the doors is supposedly a safety feature. It’s stupid!

Herrick Lake

Sun 8/15 – We got up early to visit Herrick Lake & Danada Equestrian Center in Wheaton. It’s been years since visiting either one.

At Herrick we saw a Tussock Moth caterpillar, a Cedar Waxwing, and heard woodpeckers and blue jays, which I was able to identify with the Merlin Bird ID app. They recently added a feature where you can have it listen to birds in the area and give you a possible match. It’s remarkably accurate.

Most of the horses at Danada were eating in a pasture not really accessible to the public (and had their eyes covered which I thought was interesting; I read it has to do with flies). There were two in the barn that we saw, and we were visited by two curious barn cats too, and saw some barn swallows, although I wasn’t able to get a good photo of them.

Vito & Nick's Frozen Pizza

Later in the day we decided to make one of the Vito & Nick’s pizza we picked up at Woodman’s and when I tell you that we were blown away by how good it was I am not exaggerating. We’ve never had a better frozen pizza. The amount of toppings they add is insane!

Pizza Slice

Each slice is very filling even though the crust is thin. We intend to keep one on hand at all times for lazy dinner days.

Tue 8/17 – I met my friend, C, for lunch at Culver’s to catch up. We initially sat outside, at my request, because that Delta variant of COVID has got me worried and I’m not really comfortable being indoors without a mask, and that’s kinda hard to do when you’re eating. Unfortunately, a few bees found our food very interesting, so we were forced to retreat inside to get away from their relentless buzzing around us.

Rueben

We were planning on visiting my friend, K, today, and we usually get Culver’s, so I decided to have something different than a burger during this visit, and got the Rueben. It looked better than it was, although it wasn’t actually bad. It was average, I’d say. I would eat it again, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to do so.

After we had been at the restaurant 45 minutes I asked my friend if we could go back to my place since I wasn’t comfortable being there any longer (it was getting busier) so we hung out at the house until she left around 3:15. Right before she left we were standing by the patio door hoping to see a hummingbird but none came by. I told her they’ll probably come right after she leaves, and that’s exactly what happened. Not only that, but I pointed out that they don’t seem to like the new red Pentas we recently got, and of course now they do! Are they trying to make me look bad?

Famer's Market VeggiesCinnamon Roll

Wed 8/18 – We decided to check out Warrenville’s farmer’s market and spent nearly $40 between blackberries ($4), veggies ($5.50), sweet cheese pierogi ($12/dozen), a gigantic cinnamon roll ($4.25), and two rolls ($12 total) from a food truck called Roll With It.

Rolls

The Oreo roll is on the left and a caprese roll is on the right. We really liked the Oreo one and the other one was ok, but not good enough we’d get again.

I made some icing for the cinnamon roll by mixing powdered sugar, milk, and a little almond extract. It came out delicious, particularly because Joe heated the roll in the air fryer before we added the icing.

We used the poblano and yellow peppers to make southwestern stuffed peppers for dinner. They came out amazing, particularly the poblanos.

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

We are looking forward to making them again soon.

Today we were supposed to head to K’s house for a puppy play date but Wookie isn’t feeling well so we’re taking it easy and keeping an eye on her. I fed her some canned pumpkin mixed in wither her wet food, which she loved, so hopefully that will help her belly. She’s currently lying on the floor right next to my chair.

General Stuff

My left shoulder is still slowly getting better. I can almost raise my arm all the way up, reach behind my back again, and sleep on it with minimal pain. Crazy how long it’s been since these issues started – a year now, I believe.

We haven’t been using our master tub/shower in the last month because the drain hole is messed up and Joe is having a tough time removing it to replace it. We are planning on using this opportunity to redo the master bathroom. It’s sorely needed – the tub is old, the grout in the wall tile is falling apart and I fear water has gotten behind it and might be harboring mold, and the grout in the floor tile is coming apart even though Joe redid that a few years ago. Might as well do a full gut and install all new stuff. We’ve been dragging our feet on it though because picking out materials is stressful! I can’t decide if I want to do a shower surround or do tile again. Tile would definitely look better, but the wall surround would be easier to keep clean.

Chicago Botanic Garden

August 7th, 2021 Comments off

On Wednesday (8/4/21) we went to the Chicago Botanic Garden where the most beautiful sunflowers greeted us outside the entrance.

Sunflower

Apparently it’s been 6 years since we lasted visited. Color me surprised – I could have sworn we visited at least once since then, but based on my blog and Flickr photos I guess that’s not the case. And that explains why there was a whole new section there that we didn’t remember – the Plant Science Center which has an outdoor roof garden.

Inside the Plant Science Center

We snagged a pass from the library so we’d get in for half price, which would be $12.50, but the woman at the gate said it was going to be $10, but had a hard time getting her computer to access the right screen and ended up letting us in for free. Joe joked it was because he’s so cute.

We arrived not too long after they opened at 8 am so the weather was very pleasant and it wasn’t at crowded at all. The same can’t be said for when we left at 10:30 am – it was very hot and crowded.

As always, the hummingbirds were hanging out in the purple flowers near the entrance, but I couldn’t get a photo quickly enough, not just because they never stay in the same spot for more than a few seconds, but also because I opted not to bring a camera and only had my phone with me. It takes pretty decent photos but doesn’t handle mixed lighting well.

 Japanese Gardens

It was really nice walking around all the gardens and stopping to pick up Thai food on the way home.

Categories: Excursions, Photos Tags:

May Wrap-Up

May 31st, 2021 Comments off

Happy Memorial Day? I dunno, does that sound weird considering what it represents?

Abandoned Golf Course

In any case, we started our day with a bike ride at an abandoned golf course and I once again was reminded that I’m not in that great of shape even though I walk on my treadmill multiple times a week (more days than not lately). I always think biking is going to be fun until I hit that first incline and then I’m guessing whose bright idea that was. Needless to say, we made it around one lap (approximately 15 minutes) and came back home. Definitely need to stick to flatter terrain like the park we sometimes take Wookie to for walks.

Memorial Day Lunch

I wish it was just a little warmer out today. It’s overcast (but not rainy) and in the 60’s which would be fine if we had some sunshine. But it wasn’t meant to be. We made some hot dogs for lunch and watched Sofi Tukker on their last scheduled live DJ set. They won’t be able to commit to a schedule now that they’re vaccinated and doing shows in real life. I’m sad that I won’t be able to count on seeing them weekly, or in person since they play either clubs (too loud indoors for my ears) or festivals (very expensive and unappealing). Oh well. I am looking forward to their new album which I suspect is being released very soon. Plus I’ve discovered a lot of other DJs on Twitch to listen to, some of which seem to have similar tastes to SF.

Oh, speaking of DJs, Moby did a live set right after Sofi Tukker the other night and I was so excited, but then let down. It was rather boring. Plus I’ve read some not so nice things about Moby so while I like some of his music he isn’t as appealing as he used to be.

In other music news, I don’t think I wrote about the Cure t-shirt I bought (online) back in March!

New Cure T-Shirt

A fan made it to commemorate the weekly Cure watch parties we’ve gathered to watch on Twitch. It’s my official 2020 concert t-shirt and not only is the design awesome (anything Wish-inspired always is), but it’s very soft and fits nicely, unlike pretty much all of my Cure shirts. Most of them were made with thick stiff cotton shirts that do not fit well (either too small or too large). I’m wearing the shirt today, in fact, since the colors seem fitting. I painted my nails red, white, blue (with a glitter overlay) too. I’m so fashionable!

Excursions & Food Stuff

Earlier this month we went to Lilacia Park in Lombard to check out the lilacs and tulips. I’m not going to bother posting any photos from that little trip because we missed peak bloom thanks to the rainy weather the week before so nothing was looking it’s best. It was nice walking around outside, however. Plus afterwards we stopped at the new The Original Rainbow Cone location for a treat.

Rainbow Cone

(This is what was left of my cone by the time I realized I should get a picture)

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about five flavors (orange sherbet, pistachio, palmer house, strawberry, and chocolate) of ice cream in one cone but I was pleasantly surprised – it was delicious! One thing I would change, though, is the size of the cone I got. I tried the baby one but for just $1.12 more you get a lot more ice cream in the small size. I’d definitely skip the baby size and go straight to the small. Or even better, I’d be tempted to buy a quart (currently priced at $12.49) and get some cones from the grocery store.

After earning TWO free drink coupons from Dunkin, I decided to try their new peach lemonade refresher yesterday and I won’t be getting that again.

DD Peach Lemonade

It smelled weird, like a tomato plant. I later realized that was the green tea which I forgot was in it. I’m bummed; I wanted to find a more affordable replacement for Starbucks’ shaken tea lemonade but unfortunately that was not it. So far other than the regular iced coffee, I do not like Dunkin’s drinks. Probably for the best since there is 320 calories in the large lemonade (32 oz). Interestingly enough, Starbuck’s trenta (large) is only 170 calories. I might have to treat myself to one at least once this summer. I have yet to try the peach.

Since Culver’s was across the street from Dunkin I snagged an order of their pretzel bites (a now permanent addition to their menu) and then we headed to the food truck near Walmart to snag a couple of corn dogs. We brought everything home and ate out on the patio. Those pretzel bites are sooo good! I’m glad they are $4.19 because otherwise I’d be ordering them far more often than I should.

I’m back up to 138 lbs btw. Shocking with all the eating I’ve been doing, right? I think I tend to top off at 140 lbs, or at least I hope so! I’ve actually been cutting back a bit. For instance, after all that food at lunch I had a very light dinner several hours later.

Retail Therapy & Shopping

We recently went to At Home to look for new folding patio chairs but didn’t have any luck. We also stopped at Bath & Body Works since I have a $5 gift card to spend but I didn’t see anything I wanted. Then a few days ago we went to Target for a few groceries and I had zero desire to even look at their Bullseye Playground section. I think this pandemic has soured me on shopping for the fun of it. It’s completely lost it’s appeal. I’ve moved into get what you need and get out territory.

That being said, we did go to Savers last Monday so I could look for a plain black t-shirt. I didn’t find one, but I did find two tank tops that cost under $4 total. Luckily they fit perfectly since the dressing rooms are still closed and they don’t offer refunds, only exchanges. The next day at Walmart I found a pair of capri leggings that would go perfectly with a grey tank top I had gotten at Savers a year or two ago. I love when that happens! I also snagged a vibrant pair of bike shorts that will be perfect for when I walk on the treadmill.

New Clothes

As I was photographing my new finds I realized the bike shorts have a pocket in them that is actually large enough for my iPhone. Not that I need it, but I’m sure it would come in handy for a lot of people. Oh, and when I was trying on my Savers tank tops at home Joe pointed out the black one still had the original Old Navy tag on it. Sweet! I got a brand new tank for $2.25.

So I guess you could say while I’m not about shopping much, I am not going to pass up getting a few new clothing pieces occasionally.

Misc Stuff

The other day my computer started installing updates and then stopped because I had ran out of space. You see, my computer has a solid state drive with a small capacity (250 GB). I have all my actual files on a regular hard drive, but unfortunately Apple is a bitch about installing iTunes anywhere but the main drive. While the actual MP3s are on that secondary drive, when iTunes backs up my phone it puts the backup on the main drive. My phone has a 256 GB capacity, and while it’s not full, it’s just a little under half full. You see where this is going, right? If I could just easily direct the backup elsewhere I would be ok, but it doesn’t seem to be that easy. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it requires messing with settings I’m not comfortable with. Plus these days my brain just doesn’t seem to be at the level it was pre-2019 sickness. Seriously, I have trouble with words sometimes and in general I feel like my processor is slow. Oh well. So Joe installed a new SSD today with twice the amount of space. All is right again with the world.

Weekend Wrap-up

December 17th, 2018 Comments off

Saturday (12/15) we decided to head to Naperville to check out the Christkindlmarket. I’ve heard about it over the years but have never gone.

Unfortunately, it was super crowded so we didn’t stick around too long. We did buy some overpriced ($8) cinnamon sugar cashews. So far the best roasted nuts I’ve had was in the Miller Park in Milwaukee.

When we initially came out of the parking garage, we saw Empire (a burger bar) in the distance and it looked so cool we decided not to get any more food at the market and instead went there for lunch. We got to sit upstairs with the interesting view, but didn’t find the food itself as impressive as we would have preferred considering the price. We ordered their Empire Tots, Burger Cigars, and split the Empire Burger. First off, we were expecting a bunch of tater tots but got four very big potato patties covered in cheese, bacon, and a ranch drizzle with a fried egg and green onions on top. While that sounds good, I wasn’t a fan of the flavor combination.

Same goes for the burger. Something about the cream cheese mixing with the maple bourbon syrup produced a plastic-like flavor, like I was eating a beach ball, so Joe ate most of it. The Burger Cigars were by far the best part, save for the fact they were cold inside.

So while we really enjoyed the atmosphere, the food was lackluster enough that we don’t plan on returning.

After lunch we headed home and ended up watching Equalizer 2 that evening which we both enjoyed.

Sunday (12/16) we went to a morning matinee of Ralph Breaks The Internet which I thought was good. Was it better than the original? So hard to say. I liked that Disney was able to poke fun of themselves with all the Disney Princesses. I’m looking forward to seeing it again when it comes to DVD.

Once we got back we decided to take Wookie to the dog park since it was relatively warm compared to how it’s been lately. Unfortunately it was super muddy on the path leading to the park so I had to carry her into the park. She got a little dirty in the park but not too bad.

Once we got home Joe washed my car which was really nice.

Categories: Excursions, Food, Movies, Pets Tags: