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Parks & Memorial Day Weekend

May 27th, 2020 Comments off

Saturday (05/23) morning we headed to Northside Park in Wheaton. We arrived early enough (7 am) that there were hardly any people there at all (it can get really crowded on nice days). I brought an actual camera (my Canon P&S) but I have to say, I think my iPhone 11 took better photos.

We spent about an hour walking around the park and made two full loops around. I would have liked to stay a little longer but one section of the loop had a crazy Red-winged Blackbird who kept trying to attack me. When I first spotted the bird, it was just hanging out on some tall grass a few feet away from the trail, but once it spotted us it started hovering above us, much like seagulls do when they’re looking to be fed. In fact, that’s what Joe assumed the bird was doing until it stated squawking and dive-bombing us. It only did it once to Joe but came at me multiple times. I could literally feel its wings on the top of my head which made me scream. I can only assume it was trying to protect a nearby nest.

We didn’t see it at first on our second loop around, and even though we made a point to veer to the far side of the trail away from where it was hanging out, it still tried to attack me. Not Joe, just me! I took that as a sign we should leave. Other than that, however, it was a really nice visit. The air was still cool out, there were plenty of beautiful birds, including barn swallows, out and about, and it was refreshing to get out of the house for something other than grocery pickup.

Saturday evening I was chatting online with my friend K and was showing her how pathetic my town’s parks page is. It doesn’t even render properly on a mobile device, and the only information it provides is the name of the park, address, and a link for directions which goes to Bing. Bing! Are you kidding me?

In contrast, Carol Stream’s parks page lists each park name, and when you click on it you get the address, a map, the park’s history, and a list of amenities. It irks me we pay so much in taxes and our town can’t put together a decent website. I said Carol Stream’s page looks like something Leslie Knope created and my town’s was done by Larry Gingrich. And if you don’t get that reference, you’re dead to me.

I commented on one of my town’s Facebook posts asking if there was somewhere I can go to see more information about their parks and no one bothered to answer. I mean, why would they? It’s no wonder there’s very little engagement from the public on anything they post to social media.

Also, also, a few weeks ago they posted a list of local restaurants in town they encouraged people to visit to help stimulate the local economy. This list was in NO type of order, alphabetical or otherwise, only listed an address but no phone numbers, and couldn’t be searched because it was a jpeg. For the love of god, someone hire me so I can save them from themselves. There’s no doubt there’s some overpaid lazy person responsible for doing the bare minimum. I only say this because I have to deal with the least friendly, slowest worker, every year when I go into the village hall to buy my parking stickers and pet registration. I dread it every time and was pretty excited to learn I could renew them online this year without a few. Too bad they didn’t send me the pet registration notice! On the plus side I was able to correct the errors in their database that I’ve only pointed out in past years for them to ignore. My last name was wrong and they had my car listed as a Cross Truck (its a Crosstrek). SMH

Sunday (05/24) we headed out early (7 am) once again, but this time to Armstrong Park in Carol Stream. This park isn’t quite as picturesque as Northside Park, but it does have a few ponds where different birds congregate, including a special island where a colony of purple martins live. The park was relatively empty so we could walk around the loop (only once, as it’s quite large) without worrying about getting too close to other people.

Monday (05/25) we woke up to rain so there weren’t any outings in store for us. Later in the day we grilled some ribs we grabbed at Costco the week prior and were thoroughly disappointed.

We’ve had and loved them in the past, and from my quick research they are exactly the same ones they’ve always sold, so I can’t understand why they sucked so much. They weren’t nearly as flavorful, or as tender, as they were before. Needless to say we won’t be getting them again. What sucks is they were only sold in 2-slab packs so there’s more in the freezer that I have no desire to make now. Maybe they’d come out better in the crockpot? I honestly don’t know.

Categories: Animals, Holidays, Neighborhood Tags:

Roller Skating & St. Patrick’s Day

March 18th, 2019 Comments off

We had quite the social weekend and I’m mentally exhausted now.

Saturday (03/16) B & R came over and I made dinner for them – grilled chicken breasts with roasted green beans. We then went to the roller rink for 80’s Night. We arrived a little after opening and the place was packed! We should have just left, but we soldiered on. Unfortunately we didn’t get to skate very much because not only was it crowded, but there were very young kids on the rink, as young as 4, which made it very difficult to skate. There were people going super slow and super fast and it felt inevitable we’d fall. Someone fell and broke their arm shortly after we got our skates, in fact; an ambulance came and took them out by stretcher. I only skated to a handful of songs the entire evening. B probably skated the most of all of us. R didn’t skate at all, and Joe threw in the towel around 9 pm. It definitely was the most disappointing skating session we’ve had; even the music was pretty disappointing. I think we’ll need to go back the weekend before Halloween like last year since it was pretty dead.

Sunday (03/17) our friends K & E came by for dinner. We made corned beef and cabbage in the crockpot. When we had dinner with them last time E had mentioned how much he loved it and was planning on getting some from the restaurant we were at (the one I didn’t like), so I had to step in and invite them over. No way was I going to let him eat their disappointing food. He really enjoyed dinner so I definitely made the right call. We also sent him home with leftovers. K doesn’t care for corned beef and cabbage so she brought her own tortilla-less chicken fajitas. I offered to make her something else but she’s on a limited diet so it was easier for her to bring her own food. They came over around 2 pm and left just after 7. Wookie was a bit annoying, barking at them here and there, but they didn’t seem to mind. I hope so because I want her to be good with visitors. She peed on B’s sock on Saturday because apparently both my brothers get her overly excited. She doesn’t really excitement pee when we come home anymore, but with certain visitors she does. I really wish she’d grow out of it, but it doesn’t seem likely. R told me she has a friend who has a Mastiff who does the same thing so it could be worse; imagine how much pee a Mastiff would leave all over the floor!

Categories: Family, Friends, Fun & Games, Holidays Tags:

Home & Craft Projects

March 10th, 2019 Comments off

Today Joe installed some particle board under our cabinets to go over the old contact paper that wasn’t even the same color. It’s a pretty close match and looks so much better now. Not bad for only $16! Thank you, Menards. Strangely, neither Lowes nor Home Depot carry such boards.

Before:

After:

While he was working on cutting the boards, I decided to tackle two craft projects, one of which I will reveal next month when I put out the Easter decor. The other one is a shamrock banner for St. Patrick’s Day using $2 of Dollar Tree products – 1 pack of glitter foam shamrocks and some Jute Twine. I happen to already own a glue gun and some glue sticks that my mom gave me years ago that was collecting dust in the closet. It was my first time using a glue gun, and my first DIY home decor craft, so all things considered I think the end result is pretty good even though the spacing between the shamrocks isn’t uniform (I just eye-balled it) and the one shamrock is a bit more angled than the others.

We don’t really have a lot of decor for St. Patrick’s Day and I’ve been gravitating to more neutral colors and a more minimalist look, so it’s perfect. I’m pretty proud of how it came out.

Categories: Holidays, House & Home Tags:

Valentine’s Day & Puppy Playdate

February 19th, 2019 Comments off

We decided not to do anything for Valentine’s Day this year because, eh, who cares? We don’t need anymore trinkets or candy. So imagine my surprise when on his way home from the airport on Thursday Joe came in with tulips and an Oreo ice cream cake. I just knew my cousin had something to do with the cake because I was talking about it with her just a few hours before on messenger. We’ve been enjoying that cake almost every night since. I have to say, though, that it seems like they add a bunch of cool whip to it to help it freeze harder. Maybe the regular Oreo ice cream is the way to go in the future. But I’m happy I finally got my first ice cream cake. I’ve been wanting one for a long time.

Friday (02/15) evening we went to Home Depot in search of a piece of particle board that would better match the cabinets. We got one from Menards but it wasn’t the right shade. Well, turns out neither Home Depot, nor Lowes, whom we had visited a week prior, carries such things. So it’s back to Menards in hopes they’ve stocked in a better matching color.

We also brought our paperwork from when we purchased carpeting from them 15 years ago in hopes we could order a small square to patch the holes Wookie chewed in the carpet. No such luck since they no longer have that particular item in their inventory. I could just kick myself for us throwing out the whole big roll of extra carpet we had sitting in the garage. Who knew we’d get a dog and need it someday? Ugh! My next step is contacting the manufacturer to find out if they can tell us whatever equivalent they have in the same color. Trying to pick out the correct color by memory is not working. Note to future self – keep at least a small sample of the extra carpeting next time to make such things easier. If all else fails I guess we’ll have to keep the plastic in that spot or go with hardwood flooring at some point, neither of which I’m happy about. I actually like carpet in the living room, but with how often Wookie throws up on it, it’s only a matter of time that it will need to be replaced. I clean it thoroughly every time but still.

Saturday (02/16) we took Wookie to K’s house for a puppy playdate and she peed on her throw carpet. WTF dog? At least she didn’t puke in the car since we took mine! She’s very confident roaming her house now, at least when we’re there. We left for about twenty minutes to get some food and she sat in front of the door waiting for us to return. We plan to leave her with K for the weekend in the spring to take a road trip and I hope she adjusts ok so we can build up to leaving her there for a week when we go to Disney. I don’t know how parents leave their kids with strangers all the time. I guess it gets easier? I know K would never do anything to hurt her but I still get nervous thinking of leaving her with someone else for an extended period.

Sunday (02/17) we were pretty lazy because it was snowing and Joe had to leave for the airport in the late afternoon anyway for a work trip to Seattle. His flight was getting delayed later and later so he changed to an earlier flight which was also delayed, but at least he made it to his destination! His original flight ended up being cancelled entirely.

I had actually won tickets to see The Price Is Right live @ the Chicago Theater for that night and ended up having the tickets transferred into my friend’s name so she could go instead. When I originally entered the contest in October I didn’t know I wouldn’t be able to attend. Figures. At least it wasn’t something more exciting. I mean, I would have gone for free but I’m not broken hearted about missing it.

Monday (02/18) Wookie had a grooming appointment and later that afternoon I went to Dollar Tree in search of a few specific storage bins that weren’t in stock. Between that and how crowded it was thanks to it being President’s Day, it was a disappointing trip.

Categories: Friends, Holidays, House & Home, Pets Tags:

New Years & My Birthday

January 9th, 2019 Comments off

We don’t really do anything special on New Years Day and this year was no exception. In fact, I was in bed when it hit midnight, although I did hear fireworks going off. We decided to make ribs on the grill but unfortunately they were on too long and ended up getting burnt so we grabbed burgers from Culvers instead.

As for my birthday, I put too much pressure on myself to have fun even though winter birthdays suck. Usually it’s super cold out but this time around it was raining all day and I just felt like garbage. We ran some errands, including a trip to Savers were Joe found three t-shirts and I found nothing. Ugh! We also sold some old computer games and K’s old copy of Twilight on DVD to Half Price Books. I bet Joe they’d give us a whole $1.50 for everything and that’s exactly what they offered us. Better than nothing if we had donated them at least. We had lunch at Red Robin where they burned my burger so they are now on my shit list. Overall it was a disappointing day and I’m glad it’s over. I did get a monster green tea lemonade for free from Starbucks, though. They put the free drink in the app on on your actual birthday. I ordered a Venti but the girl said I could get a Trenta which is 32 oz so that was pretty cool. I drank some that day and then drained the ice and had the rest between yesterday and today.

Over the weekend we had a black wire rack delivered from Amazon and reorganized our little food stockpile we had going on upstairs in the former rat room which is now more like Joe’s office slash storage room. We also went through the closet in there to get rid of some things. It’s amazing to me we keep finding things to purge. The hall closet is now emptier too which I like. I hate having any space filled to the brim with stuff. Joe got me a three-drawer organizer for my birthday which I’m using to store all our tea in the kitchen cabinet. Not only is that cabinet more pleasant to look at now that it’s less crowded, but having easy access/sight to the tea has encouraged me to drink it more frequently.

Oh, and with our new shelving upstairs I took some things from the pantry and moved them upstairs so the pantry is less crowded as well. Menards had bins on sale so I got some to help make things look nicer in there as well. We went to another Menards so I could get more but they were all out of stock which was a bummer. I might go to another location later this week to get some more since they are a great size for other things too.

I might come back here and post photos if I can get them in good light later this week, so maybe stay tuned? Like anyone reads this except me.

Categories: Holidays, Shopping Tags: