1. Everybody needs a theme song.  I have two.  Very early on, I decided that Trond’s theme song is ‘Old Man’ by Neil Young. When Trond was just a few months old and I would take him to my part-time office job with me, Erica and I would sing it to him. He was so tiny and he’d get so hyper run around the office then immediately conk out wherever he was, whether it was on top of a stack of files or the tile floor.  He’d immediately conk out.  It was too precious.  And too hilarious.  Erica knows all the words to ‘Old Man’, too.  Plus, Erica fully understands the humor of singing ‘Old Man’ to a baby puppy. Yesterday afternoon as I played this record in the dining room, Trond came out of the bedroom to sleep in the afternoon sun to his theme song. His theme song is coming more true each day.  I had to capture it.  It’s fun to kinda bug him sometimes… plus, it’s our birthday week so I’ll do what I want…

    I’m a lot like you…

     
     

  2. big week

    The Big Week kinda started last week, with Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services.  Kristin and Nate visited us on Friday afternoon.  After Good Friday service, I took the bus from church down to another part of town to see the opening night of The Rack of Kahn.  It is the burlesque show that my amazing best friend Erica not only choreographed but DIRECTED, as well.  It is brilliant.  I am not well versed in Star Trek whatsoever and still thought it was hilarious because that is how great of a director and choreographer Erica is.  And the cast is great, too.  If you live in Chicago, I highly recommend this show.  It is truly original and definitely enjoyable. 

    Sunday we enjoyed a rather glorious Easter.  The sun was out all day long and it was warm.  Erica and I sang in the Easter choir, in Latin, no less.  We had friends join us for church and then Erica, Fuzzy, Tim and I enjoyed a delicious meal after church.  Some of us had breakfast items, some of us had lunch items, all of us had fun. 

    Yesterday also started a big week in our household.  A big week?  Yeah, kinda… tomorrow is my birthday.  Wednesday is my double-cousin’s birthday - they always go hand in hand and I love that.  Friday is Trond’s birthday.  There is a lot to celebrate this week!  We also celebrated our risen Savior yesterday in the proper fashion by going to church and then the silly side of Easter by opening Easter baskets.  Actually, I did something I normally do not do and opened my Easter ‘basket’ (technically, it was a package) that my sister sent me from Texas.  As always, Katie, I mean, Easter Bunny picked out perfect gifts for us. 

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    My sister bunny not only gifted me with delicious coconut filled chocolates but gave me these three albums!  So, I guess it was good I went against my normal judgement (purist ways) and  opened them before Easter, before Record Store Day because I would have purchased these on Saturday and then good grief —- mass hysteria would have happened or something… right? 

    Wouldn’t have been the worse thing to happen but it would just mean that my shelf would be fuller than it is now.  Yup - on Thursday afternoon, before all the big stuff of the big week was going to happen, I realized that even without going to Record Store Day, my budding collection was going to grow - the records Mamba bought me in Texas last month were on their way to Chicago and I knew I’d find some things on Saturday so my wooden crate filled with records would bloom and overflow.  I came up with a solution:  Rearrange.

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    I figured if I cleared the middle section of our little catch all shelf-thing, I could keep records there.  AND they would be closer to the actual record player so… you know, Yay.  I cleared off the shelf and the table behind the couch, making stacks in the dining room and brought out some various rugs just to mix things up even more.  The hund decided to be Big Helpie and plop his big ol’ hinder in the middle of everything…

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    Then, he decided to rest his head in the middle of everything.  So very very helpful… takk, Trond.

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    Saturday Jen picked me up at 10:30 and we decided to go to the Reckless Records in Wicker Park because neither of us had been to that particular one before.  We put an hour on the parking meter, got out of the car and saw this huge line coming out of the store.  We walked all the way to the end of the block where the line ended and waited.

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    This sign was hanging up at the end of the block.  We had the time to take a picture of it.  So we did.

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    We could hardly see the Reckless Records sign from where we were.  But I had the pleasure of looking at this girl’s pretty hair color…

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    and the pretty detail underneath the fire escape of this building…

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    We slowly crept towards the Reckless Records sign… we got this close…

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    at the hour mark so Jen had to go put more money in the meter (I paid for the first hour but she would not let me add more… she’s a sweet stinker like that) I held our place in line…

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    We made it in and as I posted the other day, we had a great time and did some good damage.  I came home with a few records…

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    It’s kind of the whole gamete, too.  The Reckless employee who had to run back and forth finding all of the vinyl to fill in the jackets (for those of you who don’t know, the jackets of the albums are what you sift through in the bins, then you take the jackets up to the counter.  The actual vinyls are kept in back so record store employees are the only ones with access to the actual records, they fill the jackets, then ring you up.  At great places like Reckless, they ask you if you want to inspect the vinyl yourself before purchasing because a lot of the vinyl is used.  I did not opt to this time.  It was crowded AND at Reckless, they label the condition and sometimes a little review/synopsis of the album on the jacket so you know what you’re paying for before you even pay for it.) was on quite a scavenger hunt for me but she was lovely.  I mean, if you can tell I had classics from The Allman Brothers, Beatles, some great jazz, all the way through The Zombies.  And yes - there is no judgment in purchasing records - I bought some horrible Kenny Rogers Christmas music (for nostalgia), Winnie-the-Pooh and some damn disco.  They were like $2.00 each.  It was too fun for me to turn down. 

    I brought everything home.  I had a show Saturday night.  Barbara and her friend came to see it.  So very nice of them.  Barbara and I walked home together and indulged in some classic cheeseburger, fries, Coke and banter at Diner Grill then let our puppies yard romp it up!  After a great romp, we all headed to our respective homes.  Because the downstairs neighbors were gone this weekend, I cranked some of my new records!  It was perfect!

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    The shelf is nice and colorful and stocked now.  And the records sound amazing!  What a way to kick off Birthday Week! 

     
  3. He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! I know that my Redeemer lives…

    A very happy and blessed Easter to you, with love from a girl + her hund.

     
  4. Record Store Day 2014, was today, Saturday, April 19th. My music pal, Jen, and I experienced our first Record Store Day together. We waited in line for over an hour in order to even get in the store but once we finally made it in, we did some decent damage. I’ll report more of my new vinyl finds later but wanted to make sure to put this on record for the record on this Record Store Day!

     

  5. våren

    We have entered my favorite time of year.  My favorite holiday season.  And my birthday month.  I love when they all coincide.  Although, Springtime (våren) could be a little more bold and hearty and just, like, stick around and stay and I would not complain at all.  That being said, last Sunday was Palm Sunday.  The ‘kick off’ of Holy Week.  Tim and I were fortunate enough to not only attend Palm Sunday service together but we had the lovely company of my step-sister, Blair, my step-mom, Jenny, and my sister-in-law, Maggie, come along with us.  Jenny and Maggie came in from Iowa on Saturday for a fun Girls Weekend of Shopping and to help Blair move.  Blair has spent these past few months, her final months of college, here in Chicago as a student teacher.  She has a few more weeks of observation here but then will graduate in a month.  Pretty excited.  We are all proud of her and can’t wait to see what the future will bring.  That being said, we spent most of Saturday afternoon and evening dining and shopping in Andersonville.  It fact, Maggie got caught red handed having fun in Chicago:

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    Maggie also brought us some amazing gifts.  These - to show a few:

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    She perfectly picked some new (to me) vinyl!  Isn’t this great?

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    And Peyton (her four year old daughter, my niece) drew us this wonderful drawing.  Trond is clearly on top and pink.  Katie and I are on the front and Tim is on the back, jamming to his head phones! So sweet!

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    I walked Trond early on Palm Sunday morning while everyone was getting ready for church.  It was a gloriously sunny day.  This tree was in bloom and it almost looked as if it was glowing.  I noticed it a block before getting to it - I’ve never seen one like this before:

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    The hund had never seen one before either.  Or smelled one, so… you know… he did what he does best. 

    Palm Sunday service was nice but as we sat in church together, with the windows open, initially, we were warm but by the time Communion was distributed, it was getting chillier and chillier.  The day that started out sunny turned cold and rainy.  That did not stop us from having a good time, finding good deals AND packing and moving Blair.  By the end of the long day, we decided to take my step-brother, Brandon, up on his offer of treating us to a very nice meal.  He sent Maggie with special money in tow for us ladies (Tim was working Sunday night) to go all out on going out for dinner.  And boy, howdy, did we!  We dodged raindrops and made our way to Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro.  We all had drinks (Maggie and I imbibed in some whiskey cocktails) in various forms with each course.  We ordered two appetizers for the table:

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    Baked rarebit with bacon and onions and crusty bread.

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    Beer battered asparagus with a lemon ranch dipping sauce.  They were both amazing!

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    Maggie ordered the half slab of ribs.  Mrs. Murphy’s wins at Ribfest every year and is very well known for their ribs.  Maggie agreed that they were delicious. 

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    Jenny and Blair ordered various forms of the gourmet mac and cheese.  Blair enjoyed a Stout that she had not had since being over in Wales.  She also authentically ate her fries like the Irish do, with malt vinegar.

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    Jenny and I each ordered this deliciously lovely entree: pork tenderloin with bacon on top of root vegetables in an apple cider reduction.  It was heavenly. 

    You know we opted for two desserts to split, too.   The Bacon Brownie Sundae with a Chocolate Pecan Brownie,  Guinness Ice Cream, Milk Chocolate Ganache, Toasted Pecans, and Bacon Brittle and Brioche Bread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel Sauce, Cinnamon Mascarpone Cream, and Walnuts.  We did not get pictures of those.  Believe me, they were scrumptious.  But we did get a picture (finally) of the four of us, having a wonderful dinner courtesy of Brandon.  Mange takk, Brandon!

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    Last night I went to Maundy Thursday service.  That and tonight’s Good Friday service are two of my top three favorite of the year.  The Most Favorite being Easter.  Good Friday is one of my favorite days of the year, I know it is somber, but we need that in order to truly celebrate Sunday.  The day today was not somber, because my very dear friends from college, Kristin and Nathan, who live in Sioux Falls, came to visit me today and finally FINALLY meet Tim Ryder!

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    Here they are!  IN MY HOUSE!!! 

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    My sweet, sweet Kristin and me.  ON MY COUCH!!!  They were in Wisconsin for a work and family trip and drove even further today to come see where we live and enjoy a lovely lunch together and drop off a birthday present for me and meet my wonderful husband.  It was perfect.

    This time of year is also significant because yesterday (April 17th) marked our eighth year together.  Yes.  Tim and I started dating eight years ago.  EIGHT.  FREAKING. YEARS! While cleaning the other day, I found my old cell phone.  We charged it up because I had these text messages saved (not really old love letters but hey - this is modern living, y’all.) from when I realized that Tim didn’t just like me but he like liked me.  He offered to pick me up from the airport.  Unsolicited.  Who does this?  Someone who likes someone, that’s whom.  He liked me.  Woo hoo!   EIGHT YEARS!

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    It’s a record.  For both of us. 

    Speaking of record…

    well - that is another entry. 

    A Blessed Good Friday to you all.

     
  6. You know if I see a window filled with ham, Imma stop in m’tracks. Gotta love a ham window. God bless the ham window. #hamwindow #hamdisplay #Easterhamyallz

     
  7. Sometimes, you get to be a tante to two nine-month-old nieces and it’s pretty darned spectacular! Happy Nine Months, Amazing Liv and Amazing Elin! You are both so very loved.

     
  8. This morning felt like a Spring morning should feel. It was warm and sunny outside. The hund and I enjoyed a glorious walk. But as I was captivated by these purple blossoms bursting from the ground, Trond sensed something else…

    He discovered two long lost tennis balls of ours under our neighbors’ pipe. What luck! I don’t think I would have noticed them but that hund nose sure did!

    Is it all too good to be true? Springtime? Blooms? Found balls? The hund tilts his head in wonderment…

     

  9. catch-up

    Yay!  You like the curtains! - I can only assume.  But I am sure you’re wondering if the hund still finds them an acceptable and comfortable addition to our huset even though they are so much brighter than our other curtains. Well, you can put your minds at rest on this question.  This is how he was yesterday afternoon, thus, your answer:

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    And even though yesterday was Tuesday, the husbo and I went out last night.  Due to Tim’s new job, Monday and Tuesday, for us, is much like Saturday and Sunday are for most normal people.  Both Tim and I normally have shows that we are each in on Saturday nights.  Tim performs  Thursday through Sunday nights but has Monday and Tuesdays completely off. I had obligations on Monday but yesterday we both had the day together.  And actual plans.  We had dinner reservations downtown at 5:30 in the afternoon evening. 

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    I tell you what - we really did it up, too.  Tim did the pre-fix meal:  three courses accompanied by a different wine with each course that some Portland vineyard was trying to introduce to the Chicago market.  I do not recall the name of the wine.  Sorry!  Tim started off with some grilled asparagus in prosciutto and shaved Parmesan cheese, a steak (can’t remember what cut) with foie gras pate for his first two courses.  A class of white with his first course that was delicious and a red that was all right.  His dessert was this lovely little glass of port and chocolate raspberry cake with hazelnut gelato.  Look how happy he is. 

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    We were not going to be those people who take pictures of the food but… by the time dessert rolled around, we gave in.  It was all so very scrumptious.

    I cannot do foie gras - more accurately, I will not do it.  So, the pre-fix was not an option for me.  I did, however, have a cup of potato leek soup, a glass of pinot noir and the filet mignon (small cut) that was absolutely incredible.  Absolutely.  Holy Roar was it divine.  Our lovely server, Liz, asked if I would like to look at the dessert menu.  OF COURSE I WOULD!  I shouted in my head but said in a polite fashion out loud. The drink menu was also in the dessert menu - these were not presented to us at the beginning of the meal so I did not know that Pear Martinis were even an option.  You know I jumped all over that!  And a sensible creme brulee.  I mean - that is the best way to chase your filet mignon… with a Pear Martini and creme brulee…

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    We know how to do!

    Normally, we do not eat such luxurious food.  Normally, we do not eat dinner at 5:30 in the freaking afternoon but we had a 7:30 show to attend.  Tim was really looking forward to seeing it.  I was indifferent.

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    Um… we saw this show.  Peter and the Starcatcher.  It is the story of how Peter Pan became Peter Pan.  I hate to be negative so let me try to be as positive about this show as I can.  Tim and I were glad that we can write these tickets off, in terms of taxes, and we would both tell you, if you have not purchased tickets to it - DO NOT purchase any.  If you have, hopefully, you can at least write them off, too.  I hope the actors are having fun performing it; all of the men and ONE FEMALE of the cast.  I was glad when it was over.  I was even more glad that as we walked to the train from the theatre, that Tim disliked it just as much as I did.  I was not sure what his take was; we didn’t discuss anything during intermission.  And I tell you what, we would not be discussing much of anything had he enjoyed.  Yikes.  And uff da.

    So - I dunno - spend your money on other theatre, folks!

    But on a positive note - it is actually 63 degrees in Chicago today!  On our afternoon walk, the hund and I saw this beautiful blossom!

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    We also were bombarded by three girls, all wearing cute spring dresses, all riding their little foot scooters, all under the age of nine, all stopping immediately and jumping off their scooters, all asking, "Can I pet your dog?!?" "Can I pet your dog?!?" "Can I pet your dog?!?"

    Can you pet my dog?  OF COURSE YOU CAN!!!!  I shouted in my head but said in a polite fashion out loud.  Trond sat right down and all three girls started petting him.  He absolutely loved it.  As I was saying to these girls, “He is very friendly.  But just know that he loves to give kisses.” Then, Trond, as if on cue, started lapping up and completely licking up each face.  Which made these girls giggle and giggle and wiggle and wiggle even more.  Then, it turned into each girl commanding Trond to, "Lick my face!"  "Lick my face!" "Lick my face!" to which the hund, of course, happily did. 

    Their moms finally caught up to them and told them they needed to cross the street and thanked me for letting them pet my dog.  OF COURSE!  IT WAS OUR FREAKING PLEASURE! I shouted in my head but said in a polite fashion out loud.

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    We headed home and on the last stretch of our afternoon walk, the hund had to plop down a bit.  All the walking and attention just wiped him out a bit - plus this dingus still has his winter coats and with the temperature being a balmy 63 degrees - he has to build up his tolerance to the heat.  I am glad that he plopped down on the sidewalk chalk drawing.  I am glad that it is finally Sidewalk Chalk Season again! 

     

  10. curtain call

    Many an hour was spent under a blanket on the little couch in our living room during Chiberia.  I spent much time trying to escape the cold under my blanket, sometimes with the hund, watching various television programs and movies on our big screen TV and… looking at the curtains.  I spent a lot of time looking at the curtains.  And - even though I liked the curtains okay, that is as much as I liked them.  They were okay.  Tim really liked them.  He picked them out and they were the curtains we most agreed upon.  They were fine:

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    They were wide stripes in various muted colors of off white, pale yellow and khaki.  They were inexpensive.  They were from World Market.  They spent nearly four years up in our living room.  The first winter in this apartment, we did not plastic the windows, so we would close the curtains at night to keep the draft out.  It kind of worked.  They were fine.

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    But Chiberia is (hopefully) ending and I decided that our time with the fine curtains should end, too.  For the past few weeks, I’ve been on a bit of a curtain hunt.  I looked at West Elm, Crate & Barrel, World Market, Marshall’s, Overstock.com and Target.  I did not want to spend a ton of money.  I wanted color and some pattern.  Nothing too horizontal.  I thought I found some okay ones at Target.  I brought them home and after getting the ladder out, I realized that I could not switch them out on my own.  The rod is too high for this shorty so I had to wait for Tim.  We put one panel up and they just weren’t right.  I returned them to Target.  Tim dusted and I washed the old curtains.  But we kept them off so we had a bare window for about two weeks.  Uff da.

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    But last week, I stumbled upon some curtains on the Pier 1 Imports site.  Tim did not hate them.  We drove over to Pier 1.  They did not have our size in stock but if you order from the store, you do not have to pay shipping AND they were 15% off!  And in less than a week, they arrived at our doorstep! Here they are!

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    Here they are up close!

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    They are called “Papaya Tile” curtain.  It is a warm burnt orange and sunburst orange pattern on a white background and I think they really brighten up the living room, even when the sun is not out.  The hund had to inspect this new change to the room -

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    -thankfully - they passed the ultimate test.  They did not hinder him from getting really comfortable and napping on the couch. 

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    So we can all rest easy tonight, knowing that these curtains still allow for him to nap on the couch by himself AND for him to nap on Tim on the couch, as he did this afternoon…

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    I am happy that the top of these curtains are not grommets, like our old ones were, they are just curtain rod tops so they stay nice and straight up top.  The only bummer was they did not come with tie backs.  So for about a day they stayed closed while I came up with something in which to tie them back. 

    And today it hit me -

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    I had some of this wire/twiney/jute stuff from a previous project.  So, I got the ol’ trusty wire cutters out and snipped some of this stuff off.  I think it looks all right! (Especially with today’s sunshine streaming in!)

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    So, yeah, for about sixty dollars, we made a warm change in our living room that all of us will enjoy for a long time to come. 

    Thank you, Old Stripey Curtains, for your past service.  Now, you may take your bow for your curtain call.