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Father’s Day

June 21st, 2021 Comments off

A couple of weeks ago K reached out to me about coming over for Father’s Day. I thought it was a great idea, and we decided I would handle the food and she could make a dessert for Joe. She and E arrived around 1 (side note: I LOVED that she texted me when they left the house and also when they were five minutes away) and stayed until just after 6.

We ordered pizza, boneless, wings, and stuffed mushrooms and I made some toasted ravioli (side note: why did Aldi stop selling toasted ravioli? It was so much better than the stuff we got from Walmart). The kids brought some alcoholic drinks for Joe (Crown Royal Washington Apple Whisky Cocktail & Not Your Father’s Root Beer) and we made a new mixed drink that K and I had – Simply Limeade mixed with whipped cream vodka which tastes like key lime pie.

Key Lime Pie Drink

So good I had two drinks yesterday and a small glass of it this morning… don’t judge!

We had cupcakes K made – yellow cake with chocolate frosting and sprinkles – all of Joe’s favorite things.

After eating we played 5 games of Aggravation before moving on to video games where we played Mario Kart and Bomberman. I wanted to play Penguin Wars too but the game wouldn’t load. It’s a digitally downloaded one so I’m not sure how to fix that.

The kids were so generous – not only did they get Joe a $50 Starbucks gift card, but they bought Wookie two toys.

Wookies Gifts

E surprised me with a picture disc of Faith by The Cure from Record Store Day and a magazine with Robert Smith on the cover and a bonus CD cover version of Why Can’t I Be You. I was so touched!

Cure Gifts

I don’t actually own Faith on vinyl so it’s a great addition to my collection (and such a great album).

The evening ended with us attempting to go to bed early but the weather had other ideas. A little after 11 pm it started storming. The rain was coming down so hard it was deafening and unsettling. Then I heard an eerie whistling noise which scared the crap out of me because I couldn’t identify what it was. I later figured out it was a tornado siren a town over which is why it was so faint. Luckily we weren’t hit by any tornados but other towns in the area weren’t so fortunate.

Categories: Family, Fun & Games, Holidays 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.

Easter Weekend

April 6th, 2021 Comments off

Spring Flower Show @ Wilder Park Conservatory

Saturday (4/3) we decided to pay a short visit to Wilder Park Conservatory for their one-week spring flower show which consisted mostly of white lilies and daffodils.

White Lily

It smelled really nice inside and we had the entire place (ahem, room) to ourselves. The building is actually quite large but the front room is for guests and the rest of the building is a greenhouse for staff only. I also learned that the Lizzardo Museum we visited many years ago moved to Oak Brook.

In any case, just being out and about made me wistful for the good old days. At least with the weather getting warmer we will have more things to do.

Since we rarely even leave the house on weekends, we maximized our trip by stopping at a few places:

» Mariano’s in Lombard to check for cherry lime IZZE – fail

» Dollar Tree in Villa Park to check for more metal carrots for the front – fail

» Sonic for an early morning soft pretzel (it tasted like half pretzel, half deep fried donut!) – success

» Speedway for a $15 Taco Bell gift card purchased with speedy points – success, and card depleted within a few days (damn you spicy potato soft taco!)

» Library to pick up holds – success – and we ended up with a huge pile now that they’ve lifted the 5 item hold limit

I also made my once a year carrot cake which came out a bit dry. I swear no matter how closely I babysit it that always happens. It always seems to take forever to make too since I make the frosting from scratch and powdered sugar got flung everywhere by the mixer despite me draping a towel over it. I may just buy a boxed mix and premade frosting next year. I like carrot cake, but not enough to go through the effort.

We had Culver’s for dinner since we were feeling lazy and didn’t want to make anything that would leave us with leftovers (as most dinners do when there’s only two people).

Sunday (4/4) morning we took Wookie to Northside Park in Wheaton for a lovely walk. Then I put her in the pet stroller and we sat in the driveway while Joe cleaned the inside of our vehicles and straightened up the garage a bit. We grabbed lunch from Taco Bell and opened all the windows to enjoy the fresh air. I noticed a lot of people in the neighborhood have company for the holiday. We opted not to do that since no one is vaccinated yet. We also opted out of a traditional Easter dinner (ham and sides) and decided to have steak instead. I grabbed some mushroom risotto from Target as well. It wasn’t great, and the steak took longer to cook than we anticipated, but overall it was still a very nice holiday.

Categories: Food, Holidays, Pets Tags:

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: