Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cooking Class

Last night, Heath and I went to the Chopping Block in Lincoln Square (a Chicago neighborhood) to take a cooking class. It was a lot of fun! We made southern Italian cuisine while sipping wine and visiting with the other people taking the class. Our chef, Micah, was very helpful and Heath and I both learned a lot. Heath is becoming a pro at chopping onions! We made White Bean Bruschetta, Italian Wedding Soup, Sicilian-Style Eggplant Risotto, and Cannoli's. Everything was delicious and these are definitely meals we would try again at home.

We also picked up a Le Creuset teapot that matches my dutch oven! So cute!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Busy Weekend!

Heath and I went up to Michigan last weekend for Easter and a variety of other activities. It was so much fun to spend time with my sister and Ron and my little niece and nephew. We each left work around noon on Friday so we wouldn't have as much traffic and so we could spend some time with the kiddos before they went to bed. On the way up, we stopped to get a few bottles of wine for Mindy and Ron as a pre-Thank you gift for taking our engagement pictures.

We got to Hudsonville around 6pm and chatted for a bit. We got some takeout dinner and played with Lucy and Henry for a little while before cracking open one of the bottles of wine and visiting with Mindy and Ron until bedtime.

Saturday was busy busy! We got up and headed over to order Mindy's bridesmaid dress, which looks great on her and will be super pretty down on the beach. Then we headed over to Blue Water Grill for a lunch wedding shower... for me! It was really wonderful. The food and atmosphere were just right and everybody seemed to have a great time.

After the shower, we went back to my mom and dad's house, where I tried on my wedding dress for my mom and Mindy. They both really liked it and thought it was perfect for the beach. (One of the must haves for the dress was that it can travel relatively easily, and it definitely does. I'll probably just need to have it lightly steamed once we get down there.)

Ron and Heath brought the kids over shortly after that and us grownups headed out to downtown Grand Rapids so Mindy could take some engagement pictures. We had a lot of fun, even though it was a little chilly. She's still going through the gazillion pictures she took, but posted a handful proofs for us so far, including this one that she posted on her photo blog (it's one of my favorites so far!).

She's amazingly talented; I'm so excited to see the rest of the proofs! The session was a huge success, except for me getting a big rip in my jeans at the first location (errant nail sticking out of a window board! Oops!) After a couple hours, we headed back to our parents' and had dinner together.

Sunday was just as busy with Easter stuff all day. Lucy took a faceplant in the backyard going after an Easter egg (video coming soon!), but was okay. We went over to the grandparents' house to celebrate Easter and my Grandma Myrt's 80th birthday. Lots of family picture posted on various smugmug sites. My grandma is awesome. She's always (and I mean always!) positive, loving, and generous (we grandkids could do no wrong. ever.). I am unbelievably lucky to have such a stable and consistent positive influence in my life. And, she sure doesn't act like she's 80! She even surprised us all yesterday with the FIRST AND ONLY sex-related joke any of us had ever heard her make! Hilarious! She's one of a kind and I'm so glad we got to visit and spend time with her on such a momentous birthday!

Overall, a great weekend. It was really tough to come back to this icky weather (30 degrees and rainy!) and get back to work after such a nice time!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

pros and cons

Ah, the adventure of home buying in Chicagoland! Super sweet townhome for a totally reasonable price - 3 bedrooms, 3.1 bath, huge rooftop deck (that's in addition to the 'grilling deck' off the kitchen!), nice finishes, 2 CAR ATTACHED GARAGE! See here.

Ready for the rub?!

How about that Murder Risk!?!? Eh?? Eh??

Compared to where we live now...

So, we're above average for most areas (given proximity to a major metropolitan area, this isn't surprising). But, the West Roger's Park numbers are too high for my taste!

For reference, these numbers were pulled off the Point2Homes website. Each of the images are hyperlinked to the respective data pages. You can search out any zip code, city, state, etc. and gather lots of demographics on the area, including these crime stats. Definitely a resource worth bookmarking if you're ever considering moving into a less than familiar locale!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Oh, Evanston!

How we love thee. Great location relative to Chicago, great restaurants, shopping, beaches, and so forth. We could even afford to buy a place here - there are a number of great condos and even houses with list prices well within our budget. Although there is definitely a markup for being in Evanston (the same place would cost much less in many other locales), it might even be worth it.


Taxes on a small 3 bedroom house with 1.1 baths with a small yard and one car garage -- not even that close to downtown: $11,000! An extra $917/mo... Uh, no.

Taxes on a 1500 sqft condo downtown: $7,000! Plus, the $500+/mo association fees! An extra $1083/mo... No again.

This, folks, is why we are not yet homeowners. :)

Foolish Tax

A lawmaker in Oregon (one of most bicycle friendly places as far as I understand it) has proposed a tax on cyclists to help pay for the roads. More detail is here as posted on the Freakonomics blog. Pretty much every comment was the same, that it is ridiculous to charge all bike riders $56 every two years to register the bike. It costs $56/year there to register A WHOLE CAR! Nobody could ever realistically begin to think that a bike does even half the amount of damage on roads as a car does. Plus, it's an incredibly green form of transportation, many adult cyclists also own cars, and most municipalities collect taxes from ALL residents that go toward road upkeep. This dude must have someting against cyclists or is looking for a quick buck! Super lame. :)

Friday, March 27, 2009


Since when do security employees at airports get to determine whether a person counts as "somebody"? Fairly short and worth reading...


Monday, March 23, 2009


I went online to check the availability of casepacks (i.e., packets of articles) for my classes next quarter (starting a week from Wednesday). The bookstore lists them by course and section. Neither of mine is available yet, but it wasn't easy for me to determine it. As you can see in the image, they run the instructor name into the course name with no spaces, so finding your class is no easy feat. This is pretty inexcusable if you ask me. As an aside, I don't know if online textbook ordering has ever been available - certainly not since I've started school here. It would be a great feature for people who are busy, like, say, oh I don't know, students who also work full time! :P

Those of you wondering, my classes are DECS 433 S73 and MKTG 430 S72. Let me know if they are in there and I happened to miss them in this excruciating letter jumble!

Monday, March 16, 2009

For the Record

I'm NOT one of them. And I don't care if everybody else is doing it.