Thursday, August 28, 2008

Computer Recycling

From my "Living Green: 365 Ways to Make a Difference" calendar (online version - no waste!)

"Although a number of computer manufacturers offer some form of recycling, Dell’s program seems to be a standout. Some makers accept their old computers only when you buy a new one; Dell will accept its old models regardless of whether you’ve made a new purchase"

This reminds me of the dinosaur I have in my garage - from 1995 - the year I learned ALL about what the internet was all about. My life has never been the same! I credit that time in my life with helping me leave my first husband and five years later find my Hubby - the man I'm married to and father of my two children. But those are post topics for another time...


"It matters if you just don't give up"

- Stephen Hawking

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Almost Famous?

Wow, I just received a comment on my very first blog post from March of this year.

Not only was it from someone I do not know, but it was from the author of a book I mentioned in the post. Cool!

I'm flattered that he took the time to write a comment, albeit an unhappy one, but find it strange that he bothered posting on my little nobody-knows-me blog. He is, after all a published author and has even been featured on the "Today Show". I guess I touched a nerve (which was not my intent - blogging is all about your own opinions/thoughts/ramblings, is it not?) enough that he dashed off that comment.

I wonder how he found my blog - was he Googling himself? Did someone else read my blog and forward my post about his book to him? Either way, I feel kind of famous now and seeing his comment did make me smile. Thank you, Jeff!

Adios Bar Cars

Metra announced today that they will elminate the "bar cars" from the commuter trains. Yay!

I won't miss 'em. If you can't make it for a 30-60 minute train ride (depending on your destination) without access to alcohol then I think you have a much bigger problem. Plus it was always a hassle when you had to pass through these cars to get to the passenger cars on the other side - people standing there, alcohol in hand, gabbing it up and apparently oblivious to the fact they were actually on a commuter train and people needed to pass by. It just seemed ridiculous. Good riddance!

Friday, August 22, 2008

License Suspended

Chicago Tribune photo

Not mine!
Theirs -> Fulton's on the River What makes this even more gross is that I took business colleagues there for lunch three weeks ago... ick!
If you allow yourself to really start thinking about all the gross, disgusting stuff that could be happening to your food while it is being prepared (did they wash their hands properly? did they sneeze on it? was the waitress mad at me and did she spit in it?) you will never want to eat out again. So, I try not to let this stuff get to me, but I do think that Fulton's is now officially off my roster of lunch restaurants. Too bad, they have a lovely location right on the river too :-(

Thursday, August 21, 2008


"Maybe he is in a monster's mouth"

- My daughter speculating as to why her brother started crying while sleeping in his crib

Grilled Veggie & Goat Cheese Sandwich

Wait - don't go away!! I know this recipe sounds a little strange but believe you me - it is FANTASTIC!

We signed up with a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) this summer. In a nutshell it means you pre-pay for a seasons (June through October) worth of organic fresh fruit and veggies from a local farmer. In turn every week he packs a 1/2 bushel box full of everything that is ready to go from his farm that week. There are a couple of things we really like about this program - 1) we are helping to support a local organic farmer 2) we are getting fresh organic produce and 3) we are forced to try new veggies!

We did this two years ago and although we had good intentions I'll admit by halfway through the summer we kind of pooped out and a lot of our wonderful produce ended up in the composter (we joked that we had really nice, expensive organic compost in there!). This summer we are spliting a half share with a neighbor so the amount of produce we get is a lot less and for us that seems more manageable at this point in our lives.

A few things we have eaten from our CSA that I normally wouldn't think of buying: beets and beet greens, kale, lots of different mixed baby greens, fennel, garlic scapes, green garlic, patty pan, cabbage (we tried it sauteed and it was great!) and then this sandwich. I normally do not like eggplant, but there it was in our box last week: a baby eggplant. Thankfully they also include some recipes they have gathered to use the ingredients in that week's box and I was determined to eat that eggplant!

This was originally found on I loved the recipe as written but next time I would peel the eggplant. You can substitute whatever grilled summer veggies you have on hand.

3 T olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 12-inch-long baguette, cut in half horizontally
1 small eggplant cut lengthwise into six 1/2-inch-thick slices
3 medium tomatoes, cut into 10 slices total
3 oz soft fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet)
12 fresh basil leaves

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat) or preheat broiler. Combine oil and garlic in small bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Brush cut sides of baguette and both sides of eggplant and tomato slices with garlic oil. Grill cut sides of baguette until toasted; about 2 minutes. Transfer baguette, cut side up, to plates. Season eggplant and tomatoes with salt and pepper. Grill eggplant until cooked through, abt 6 minutes per side, transfer to plate. Grill tomatoes until warmed though, abt 1 minute per side; transfer to plate. Spread goat cheese on bread, dividing equally. Overlap eggplant slices, then tomatos slices on baguette halves, covering completely. Garnish with fresh basil leaves. Cut each sandwich diagonally into 4 sections and serve. 2 servings.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Weekend Update

Last Thursday kicked off a nice 4-day weekend and car trip to visit my new nephew in St. Louis. It's a five hour car ride and my little guy did not like it. And he made sure we all knew he did not like it. He cried, hollered, thrashed and swiped at his sister. She was a sport and just kept her head down until he got tired of it.

I wish we had more of this - it was fun when they were playing with each other.

I could have done with a lot more of this.

And this. You'll notice her arm is securely wrapped around her little red lunch bag. This girl is very protective of her food. She didn't put that bag down for anything.

Finally seeing my little 3-week old nephew made it all worthwhile! What a sweet little pumpkin he is! That new baby smell.... ahhhhhh.

We baked a cake for Hubby and my Dad, both of whom are August babies. The girls had a lot fun helping me. Notice my daughter (on the right). Yup, she is sneaking frosting right in front of me and I (inadvertently) caught it on camera for posterity.

I found out that mysteriously my little guy knows how to properly hold drumsticks - it was almost eerie. I'll have to dig this picture out to show him before he leaves on his first World Tour with his rock band in 25 years.

There are some things about Missouri that stick with you, even after you go home.

The Waffle House, for one. I know that it must seem a little nuts to the people that live where there is a Waffle House nearby but we always making a stop here for breakfast before we head back to Chicago. I know it's just a diner with diner food but I love their waffles. And they cost a whole $2.49.

This sign on their door however, not feeling much love for it. The first time I saw it I didn't know what to think ... but then I had a Waffle House waffle and I didn't care. Now I just laugh when I open the door and look for an open table.

Last but not least, how about this billboard. What a great combination! Beer, bait and bullets - one stop shopping! Yee haw!!!

Rock 'n' Roll McDonald's

Chicago Tribune photo
Somehow, I don't think this is the kind of rocking and rolling they want at the famed Rock 'n' Roll McDonalds in the River North neighborhood. Even more scary is that it's within walking distance of my office. I guess I'm glad all this happened at 4 a.m.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Handmade Wrapping Paper

Now that my little guy is 18 months old he is starting to bring home art work from school - mostly drawings on large 11x14 sheets of construction paper, such as this (excuse my photo - as much as I love this new camera I still don't know how buttons get pushed and I end up with B&W vs color photos ...)

I look at his art and say "awwwwww, my baby did that!" but realistically after putting one or two of these away for him, what else can you do with them? I feel bad just throwing them in the recycling bin.

I decided to re-purpose the artwork into wrapping paper. We used this particular drawing to wrap a book for a birthday party today. I also re-used some bright red ribbon that came on a gift basket we had received and the end result looked great, don't you think? The recipient (well, his mom) was thrilled that my little guy had "hand drawn" the wrapping paper and I felt much better knowing it went to one more use before (hopefully) being recycled.

The hardest part about re-using ribbons, bows and these art drawings are finding a place to store them but once you have that done it's easy to set these items aside for the next chance to artfully put them together and re-use them to wrap another gift with your own special touch.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

MGA Won! And other doggy news

I am so happy to announce that MGA (Midwest Greyhound Adoption) won the Chicago Pet Directory Contest! (the original post about the contest is here)

Thank you if you did take the time to vote in July. Winning this contest means the group will receive some free marketing assistance and a cash prize. Since MGA always takes in so many broken leg dogs (about 80% of their dogs) this is a "greyt" win for them.

Again thank you all for helping MGA WINNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cocoa Mulch Can Be Harmful to Pets

This is one of those round-robin emails that frequently travels all over the world to end up in my email; however, I checked this one out on and it is legit. If you use cocoa mulch in your garden and have animals that spend time there to you should read about the possible problems here .

Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk

A friend of ours was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. She went through surgery and chemo, lost her hair but has come through it and is healthy now. She also did it with two children under the age of 6 at home.

She is participating in the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk which starts on Friday. We made a cash donation but I also wanted to show her a little extra support, so I knit up this hat. I love how it turned out! I can't claim design credit though - I found the pattern on and it was designed by Carissa.

No one in my family would humor me and put the hat on their head so I could get a picture of it on someone - my 18 month old was crabby, my daughter just stared at me with her thumb in her mouth (I do not like it when she does that) and my husband said (in a very un-husbandly manner) "I don't want to show up on the internet wearing a pink hat!" Even when I told him I wouldn't take a front on picture with his face showing for heaven's sake...sigh... And me, I have a giant head and I didn't want the pattern to get all stretched out, so a self portrait wasn't an option.

Instead I opted for a upside-down vase. It's not the greatest model, but you can get an idea of what the hat will look like on someone. Or atleast someone that has a flat head.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Date Night

Ahhhhhhhhh, yesterday was Date Night. Before kids I thought it sounded silly/cliche/too cutesy to have a "Date Night". Then I had kids and realized that it becomes very easy to just not go out as a couple anymore. After our daughter was born in 2005 Hubby and I didn't go out by ourselves for 13 months so we decided we had better start Date Night in our family. I now understand the value in having at least one night a month when you do go out with your husband. Sometimes we go out by ourselves, other times with another couple. Although sometimes all the prep work(getting a babysitter, cleaning up the house, organizing what they are going to have for dinner, etc) makes me want to just stay home, but we persevere and most times it's actually fun!

This Saturday we went to see Gipsy Kings at Ravinia, a really nice outdoor venue with lawn and pavilion seating (we always opt for the lawn). What a romantic, fun, get-up-and-dance (and I don’t even dance) concert. I'm proud to say I liked the GK before they were popular here in the States - I have their first album and get this - it's on cassette. Man, that's a long time ago...

It was interesting to people watch and see all the young couples - women in long floaty skirts, some in heels. I was in shorts and a cotton sleeveless shirt - very suburban mom. As I sat there I tried to remember back when Hubby and I went to Ravinia while we were dating or before we had kids. It sure was a different experience and I did find myself a little melancholy for those days.

Still, by about 9:45pm all I could think about was going home, hugging my baby boy and getting to bed - I could hardly keep my eyes open. This seems to happen to me a lot on Date Night… I miss my kids and just want to get home to them and then go to bed. I think I need to work on that.

Anyway, if you aren’t familiar with the Gipsy Kings’ music I found a bunch of stuff on Youtube - these two are really good - Volare and Un Amor. Listen and tell me if you were able to resist dancing - or at least tapping your foot. I've had "Volare" in my head all day - but that's a good thing :-)