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Sangria & Laser Queen

November 5th, 2018 No comments

Friday evening we decide to grab dinner from TacoMaya. A location opened nearby two months ago and it was already our THIRD visit because the food is THAT good. This trip I decided to try their sangria.

At first I didn’t think it was that great with all that orange flavor, but it was strong, and yes, yours truly got a bit tipsy from one glass. Call me a cheap date I guess. Our post-dinner trip to Target was all that more fun. We got a few things from the Halloween section since it was on clearance (50% off). I already put them away for next year but there’s a small orange ceramic bowl that says witch better have my candy inside and an all black skull.

Speaking of clearance, Saturday we went to Walmart and their Halloween stuff was also on clearance (75% off) so we got some orange crackling light bulbs and two projectors that will look really cool in the windows next year.

Saturday night we went to Cernan Earth and Space Center to see Laser Queen. I’ve never wanted to be high more in my life. The show was trippy enough straight but I can only imagine how cool it would be while on acid. Too bad those days are long behind me.

PLAYLIST
We Will Rock You
Bicycle Race
Another One Bites the Dust
Best Friend
Flash
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Somebody to Love
I Want it All
Stone Cold Crazy
Princes of the Universe
Killer Queen
Bohemian Rhapsody
We are the Champions

After the show we were treated to a short five-minute view of the night sky via their telescope which was pretty cool. I definitely want to go back for their full star shows. We get so much light pollution here you can’t see 75% of what’s up there. In places like Arizona you can literally view the Milky Way at night. How cool is that?

Categories: Excursions, Food Tags:

Court & Wookie’s Birthday

September 25th, 2018 No comments

Friday (09/21) Joe worked from home and we went down to the Bridgeview courthouse to look into how to stop getting a $36 annual fee for old child support accounts that are still open with the state. Apparently even though the terms of the orders were fulfilled, you have to appear before a judge to have the account closed. Of course, trying to even find out WHERE to go has been an exercise in frustration because you can speak to three people and each will give you a different answer. We had been convinced, thanks to a conversation Joe had with someone, that we needed to go downtown. Luckily I called the number on the paperwork and was instructed, in not the nicest manner I might add, that we needed to go to the court where the order originated, which would be Bridgeview. I wasn’t 100% convinced that was true, but figured it would waste a lot less time and money going there and being wrong than heading into the city.

Luckily that information was correct. We had to fill out some very complicated and not self-explanatory forms, and then file that same information online on computers they have set up for that purpose. That process, too, was not easy whatsoever and required an employee to stand with us to show us every step. Your tax dollars at work!

FINALLY, after much back and forth, he had his court dates. Yes, that is plural, because when his pain in the ass ex originally filed for child support it was before they were divorced (and she was awarded LESS money than he was already giving her (that’s what she gets for being greedy)), and then a new order was opened when they divorced since it also included alimony. The original order wasn’t closed, however, and because one is strictly child support and the other divorce related, he has to see two different judges on two different days because certain cases are only heard on particular days. Fun! Again, your tax dollars at work.

I have no plans on accompanying him to either court date because a) I will be at work for one of them and b) I have a difficult time hiding my disdain for this entire ridiculously convoluted process.

Observations:

They really need to stop hiring people who hate people in general, because the woman I spoke with on the phone was pretty condescending, not to mention stupid. She told me since the accounts had a $0 balance there was nothing we needed to do despite the paperwork stating otherwise. And she works in the department that handles these queries on the regular!

It makes no sense that the automated process knows when to stop deducting child support from his checks but you still need to appear before the judge to officially close the account and stop getting billed an annual fee for account maintenance. Just another way Illinois tries to get money as much money as possible out of people!

Anyway, I was more aggravated than Joe was once we left the office. We stopped for some breakfast before heading back home so he could do some work and I could clean the house. I did a quicker job than I usually do since I wasn’t really in the mood plus didn’t have as much time to get things done.

Friday was also Wookie’s birthday so we gave her some special treats and new toys to celebrate.

Wookie’s Birthday Presents

I also ordered this cute Chewbacca treat jar a couple of weeks ago from Petco since it was only $8 and practically has her name on it.

Star Wars Treat Jar

We also took her to the dog park before the regular time most people go since she prefers to be alone to sniff all the areas without being bothered. It worked out well since we met up with our friend, D, for dinner at Culvers followed by miniature golf. After golf we ended up at a dive bar where her friend was hanging out and had a few drinks and played pool. By the time we got home it was around 10 but I wasn’t able to get to sleep until after 1 am!

Because of that, we got up later than usual on Saturday (09/22). I wanted another Acai bowl from Costco so we headed there for breakfast. This time we each got our own. I just wish they had put more granola in there.

Costco Acai Bowl

We also stopped at Walmart for a few things and ran into our friend SL there. I found a pair of Halloween themed leggings that are super cute too.

Halloween Leggings

Later that afternoon we also took a trip to the library which we haven’t done in months. Having free On Demand movies through Joe’s work has eliminated the need to borrow any, but I did want some books and Joe wanted to check out the new music releases. I want to state for the record that having access to movies via On Demand is really convenient, but at the same time I miss the excitement of going to the library to see what good stuff you might find in stock. It’s just not the same when everything is so readily available.

Sunday (09/23) morning we finished our breakfast leftovers from Friday before heading to a charity dog show nearby. It was held in the same place as another dog event that apparently lost funding and ceased after several years. This new one was sponsored by a local animal hospital and the turnout was even worse than the aforementioned festival. There were far less booths, only two food trucks, and no place to sit and enjoy the various contests going on (such as waggiest tail, best costume, etc). The festival would have bleachers which is a must because this park is just littered with goose feces. Ick! I told Joe that if they hold the event again next year we should bring our own chairs so we can stay longer. We were there for about two hours anyway, but it was such a nice day out I would have liked to have stayed longer.

Monday (09/24) I headed to Savers but it was a bust. Did see this very unique Deadmau5 artwork, however.

Deadmau5 Artwork

I also went to Target where I ended up spending $55 on fall and Halloween decor! They had a spiderweb tablecloth that I wanted, plus a matching table runner, and by that point I figured I’d re-buy some black pumpkins to get the $5 off $30 deal and then return the original ones from my receipt earlier in the month. I also spent a lot of time digging through the disorganized Bullseye Playground section as well and found some cute fall things although I’m starting to rethink the light up leaves as they aren’t as cute as I originally thought.

New Fall Decor

Note: The pumpkin lights aren’t from the cheap section.

Categories: Food, Friends, Pets, Shopping Tags:

Septemberfest & Labor Day Weekend

September 5th, 2018 Comments off

Friday (8/31) Joe and I decided to have dinner at The Village Inn Tavern since we haven’t eaten there in years. I don’t know why, but that place just doesn’t thrill me that much even though the food isn’t bad. I had a Reuben with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and Joe had the all you can eat fish. Our bill with tip was $36 which seems high for that type of food. In contrast, we went to Chuy’s out in Schaumburg on Sunday for lunch and paid closer to $30 and enjoyed our meal much more, plus we had a ton of leftovers. The free chips, salsa, and jalapeno dip alone can really fill you up, plus we got free queso for checking into Facebook (which I had planned to do anyway). I got their #1 combo and Joe got the #2 but I think next time maybe I’ll just get the chicken flautas since that was my favorite part of my plate. I also liked the enchiladas, but could have done without the ground beef taco, rice, or beans.

After dinner on Friday we headed to Target where I found some nice unscented candles on clearance. I ended up buying five for only $13.14 (regular price was $29.25 and the cashier forgot to scan one of the candles for some reason). I originally intended to gift them to my mom but I’m thinking about keeping them for myself. I wrapped them multiple times in plastic bags and put them in an upstairs closet to keep out any scents just in case, though.

I also got a candlescape set on clearance. In addition, we found a box of six solar pathway lights (called Malibu lights back in the day) on clearance for $10.50 and decided to get those for the front walkway. Joe put them up and they look so nice! I’ve always wanted some but didn’t want to shell out a lot of money so we were both pretty excited about our find.

Saturday (9/1) we took my car to the dealership for them to do recall work. Apparently the car can stall at low speeds when the A/C is on full blast. I never run it that high, especially now that my windows are tinted, but got that out of the way anyway. The recall was announced the week before I took my car in to get the headunit updated since my bluetooth was randomly disconnecting, so I wish they had done the work then, but they claim they didn’t know about it at the time. While they worked on the car Joe and I first had breakfast at Taco Bell and then went to check out a dog boarding place nearby. Unfortunately I don’t think it would be a good fit for Wookie since it’s similar to the place near the house that makes her anxious. We also hit up Dollar Tree to look around and by then the car was done.

Sunday (9/2) we headed to Schaumburg for Septemberfest since they always have the best craft booths. We found really close parking too which was nice. What wasn’t nice was how muddy the grounds were because it had been raining all weekend. I’m so glad I didn’t wear my new grey sneakers or flip flops like I had been contemplating because our shoes were caked in mud and I had to clean them in the sink when we got home. We ran into my friend, C, which I totally expected since I know she loves that fest. It took us about an hour to go through all the craft booths and by then it was already getting really warm so we decided to take off. Chuy’s wasn’t open yet so we decided to kill some time by checking out a pet store, Dollar Tree, and Target in the area. I got a new toy for Wookie at the pet store but she doesn’t seem to like it very much. I found a cute Beware sign at Dollar Tree and since I couldn’t decide between the orange and white one I got both. At Target we found another box of the solar pathway lights and they were even cheaper – $7.50. Score! We decided to put them around our back patio.

Labor Day (9/3) we dropped Wookie off for a half day of doggie daycare and did some shopping, then I came home and documented all my Halloween decor so I know what I do and don’t need this year. Hint: I don’t NEED anything but I might see something I really want. Also, I wouldn’t be sad if I found a nicer door hanger than the one I’ve been using for years. I also decorated for fall because I couldn’t wait.

During this process we cleaned up the garage a bit more and I came across a storage tub of my old stuffed toys from my childhood that I had completely forgot I even had. In it were my Pound Puppies, Pound Kitty, Fluppy Puppy, Garfield, and my Popple amongst others. I can’t believe how clean they still are after 30+ years! I definitely need to get some pictures of them and decide whether I’m willing to part with any of them. I think not for the Popple but the others are up for debate. I do want to get rid of my Care Bear collection since that one was acquired as an adult (why???) but they’ve just been sitting in a bin for years with tags still on. What a waste of space.

We made cheddar brats for dinner on Monday and then ended up eating our Chuy’s leftovers for dinner on Tuesday.

Categories: Excursions, Food, Shopping Tags:

Doggie Daycare & Shopping

August 28th, 2018 Comments off

Friday (8/24) I took Wookie to a local doggie daycare/boarding facility called Camp Ruff It for an evaluation and a half day of daycare. It was only $5 with the coupon I had instead of $20. She was, as expected, very shy and reserved according to her report card. They did mention she crawled into one of the workers laps to give her kisses. I’m sure she was looking for reassurance since she still isn’t convinced other dogs aren’t ready to attack her at a moment’s notice. She loves to play and chase certain little dogs at the dog park, but she gets scared when they try to do the same. I feel so bad that we didn’t properly socialize her when she was a puppy. I’m sure a lot of this could have been avoided. In any case, I’ll be bringing her back to daycare on Labor Day for another half day so she can hopefully become used to the facility and the workers so we have somewhere to leave her when we go out of town. Our friend can dogsit but she also watches other dogs so often she’s not available. She also isn’t a neat freak like I am so I’m worried Wookie would get into something on her floor and eat it since I noticed some stuffing from toys lying around on the floor the last time we visited her. Plus she’s forty minutes away from us and works during the week so Wookie wouldn’t be under supervision 24 hours a day like at this facility. That being said, I don’t want her to be stressed out the entire time we’re gone so I’m hoping this place works out. I had hoped my brother could watch her when we went out of town but since we haven’t had any opportunity to have her and his dog spend time together I’m not sure that would work out. It’s a shame since we wanted to go out to Indiana in a few weeks and their home would be on the way out there.

Since it was so hot this weekend we took advantage of Joe’s free movie ticket (for his birthday) to go see The Meg on Saturday (8/25) and had the entire theater to ourselves. The movie wasn’t bad and seeing Jason Statham shirtless is always a treat. ;)

After the movie we went to a store called At Home to look at fall decor. I didn’t see anything worth getting and was more than a little annoyed that they were playing Christmas songs over the loudspeaker. Seriously? It’s August! I’ve complained about this before, and I’m going to do it again – I hate that everyone gets a hard on for Christmas months in advance of the holiday. It’s ridiculous how much time and energy is spent on a single holiday. It makes me dislike it more every year. I’d be so much happier if we could start talking Christmas after Thanksgiving and stop talking about it once January rolls around.

After shopping we got some food from Just Kabobs and I ended up taking a nap on the couch when we got home. I woke up with a huge headache and got really nauseated for some reason. I pushed through it to take Wookie to the dog park since we knew it would be too hot to go again for at least a few days and ended up feeling better after that.

Joe had to work Sunday (8/26) so I did my usual Monday cleaning then and once he got home around noon we went to Downers Grove to check out a new restaurant called City BBQ. Joe had a beef brisket sandwich and fries and I had plain beef brisket with mac & cheese and cornbread. The beef was good but I wasn’t really in love with any of the sauces and I could have done without the sides. Joe’s sandwich was pretty awesome, though, so I think we’d go back just for that. On our way out we ordered a peach cobbler to go and the woman told us it was on the house which was so nice. Normally it’s $5 which for the size and how delicious it was is totally worth it. I’ve been working on it here and there since it’s over 1000 calories; I definitely didn’t want to eat it all in one sitting.

Monday (8/27) morning I went to Savers and scored a nice long flowy purple tank top which will go great with my black capri leggings, a pink/purple/grey flannel (I so missed having a soft comfy oversized flannel), and a nice polyester blanket to add to the couch. The total was $8.24 for all three things; you can’t beat that. Some seasonal pillow cases I had ordered on Amazon (which shipped form China) came in too.

I do like them, although the shiny/slippery material kinda throws me a bit, and they are super white which I wasn’t expecting. I plan to switch them out each season just for a nice decorative touch.

Categories: Food, Pets, Shopping Tags:

Three Weekend Catchup

August 4th, 2018 Comments off

Friday (7/27) we saw Shinedown and Godsmack live. I was wise to the venue’s shenanigans so I hid two extra water bottle caps in my bag so when they confiscated the ones on our bottles we were able to reseal them and put them back in our bags so they’d stay colder. We had a quick dinner at home before leaving but stopped at Target by the venue to grab a few snacks which we enjoyed during the show. We had seats but didn’t care for their placement so headed up to the lawn area like last time. The bands were much louder this time around so it was a good call. Shinedown put on a good show even though the actual sound seemed a bit distorted. Godsmack was much better, though! I really enjoyed their energy and wasn’t even mad that (I think) they played Whatever twice since I love that song. I’ve been trying like hell to find either a review or a recording of the full show to validate this, but haven’t had any luck. We did take off during the last song so we could get out of the parking lot with ease. There were definitely twice as many people in attendance than when we saw Poison but luckily even though the far away bathroom had a line it moved swiftly. They have about 40 stalls in there with workers directing you to open ones by calling out the number painted on the outside of the door which is very helpful to keep things moving. Standing on the lawn made my feet sore, though, but the show was too good to sit through.

Saturday (7/28) we relaxed since Sunday (7/29) was Pierogi Fest day! We picked up my brother around 10:30 and made it to the fest right around official opening. We headed straight to Dan’s Pierogis like we always do and spent about 25 minutes in line. We shared some sweet cheese plus Joe got a meat one and I got cherry. He let me have a bite of the meat and I liked it so I’ll be getting some of those too next year and skipping the cherry. I didn’t get as many piergois as I normally can eat because I was saving room for a taco pierogi from the Mendoza truck, only to find out they no longer make them because the owner sold the truck but not the machine that makes the pierogis. That was a pretty huge disappointment. Joe got a polish dog, J got a corndog, and we shared some mini donuts that could have been better (first time even getting mini donuts that were not that good). We ended up at the White Castle just outside the festival grounds to get a couple of sliders before dropping J off and heading home. So I guess this year was a bit of a flop, although the weather wasn’t terribly hot like most years and despite the crowd being bigger (we usually go on a Friday) we were able to find parking nearby and a place to sit as long as we shared a table with others. So all in all not bad, but because of the timing we had to skip the Milwaukee Brew Fest this year. It would have been too hectic plus there wasn’t anyone to watch Wookie. That’s probably the only one thing I don’t like about having a dog – not being able to just do stuff without worrying about who is going to keep an eye on her. We let her roam the downstairs when we’re not home and she pretty much just sleeps the entire time but I would feel awful leaving her home alone any longer than 8 hours at a time.

This weekend was spent with Joe’s dad who is visiting from Arizona. Joe picked him up on Thursday (8/2) after work while I was at home tidying up the house and preparing a surprise dessert – chocolate peanut butter pie – which ended up being a hit with both of them. I also made beef stroganoff for dinner.

Friday (8/3) was their birthdays so we went out for breakfast, drove around the arboretum for a bit (his dad cannot walk long distances), and stopped for gelato on the way home. We originally planned to have Red Robin for dinner but his dad slept so late (he takes daily naps) we decided to order deep dish from Lou Malnatis instead.

Saturday (8/4) we went to IKEA for breakfast and spent a little time in the pool (his dad just sat in the shade). After Joe’s dad’s nap we went to Red Robin for dinner.

Sunday (8/5) we had a light breakfast at home because we had lunch at The Pit Ribhouse in Hickory Hills at 1 pm. The kids both brought their significant others which was fun. They were late to arrive (no surprise there); E and his girlfriend (who we met for the first time) had to leave early as it was so they didn’t get to visit too long.

After lunch we dropped Joe’s dad off at Joe’s aunt’s house. We visited for a bit and fixed her computer’s wifi connection so Joe’s dad could get on Facebook. We also left with two pieces of homemade pineapple upside-down cake which we didn’t get to enjoy right away since Joe wasn’t able to eat on Monday due to a colonoscopy on Tuesday. He ended up doing the same prep I did since it was cheaper than the prescription. The doctor said the prep was good and he didn’t have any polyps. We’re both free from this nonsense for five years which is good since it’s going to cost us about $1200 out of pocket, thank you crappy insurance. It used to be only $250 through Blue Cross Blue Shield but they haven’t been an option with Joe’s recent employers. We have Aetna which I don’t like as much.

Friday (8/10) I did a deep clean downstairs since I hadn’t cleaned in almost two weeks! I also reorganized the laundry room and guest bathroom cabinets. Once Joe got home we headed out to Dollar Tree and Costco. We decided to get a couple of hot dogs before shopping and just as we were finishing up I spotted friends of ours in the checkout line. That’s the second time in about two months that we’ve run into them at Costco. We chatted for a bit and then did our shopping. We also took Wookie to the dog park that evening. I got the pass last month since it’s half price after July 1st.

Saturday (8/11) we had breakfast with Joe’s dad, aunt, and cousin and then visited with his dad and aunt at her house for a bit since his dad was flying home that afternoon.

We decided to visit Lake Katherine and The Little Red Schoolhouse before heading home. I brought my camera and got some nice shots. We didn’t stay long at either location very long since it was around noon and already very warm and humid outside.

That evening we took Wookie to the dog park again where she almost played with this cute white Bischon named Luna. She (Luna) was egging Wookie on but I think she’s still not sure how to dog. That’s totally our fault for not socializing her enough as a puppy. I hope after more trips to the park she’ll figure it out because I think she’d enjoy herself if she realized the other dog isn’t trying to hurt her. I plan on taking her to a local daycare next week after our neighbor sang its praises. It would be good to have a place close by we can take her in a pinch. Their rates are not much different from what my friend charges and Wookie could play with other dogs (assuming she wants to do so).

Sunday (8/12) we ran more errands and I got a bunch of different colored leggings from Walmart as well as two shirts that go well with them (and are long enough to cover my crotch which is perfect for wearing leggings outside the house).

I’m also still dealing with the whole glasses/frames fiasco. I really wish my eyes didn’t get so dry and itchy with contacts so I wouldn’t even need to worry as much about finding a comfortable pair of frames.

Categories: Excursions, Family, Food, Fun & Games Tags: