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This is an archive collection of entries from  my main personal blog, My Mundane Mid-Life.

This collection of entries is from the Category "Photos".

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Saturday, October 11, 2003

Wolves 2 - Griffins 3 - Overtime

Chicago Wolves Grand Rapids Griffins

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posted at 11:12 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Sunday, June 29, 2003

White Sox 2 - Cubs 5

Chicago White Sox Chicago Cubs

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posted at 04:07 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Sunday, June 15, 2003

White Sox 0 - Padres 1

Chicago White Sox San Diego Padres

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posted at 10:07 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Saturday, June 14, 2003

White Sox 6 - Padres 5

Chicago White Sox San Diego Padres

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posted at 10:31 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Sunday, May 25, 2003

White Sox 8 - Tigers 5 - 12 innings

Chicago White Sox Detroit Tigers

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posted at 04:07 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Saturday, May 24, 2003

White Sox 0 - Tigers 1

Chicago White Sox Detroit Tigers

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posted at 09:55 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Friday, May 02, 2003

Wolves 0 - Griffins 2 - Western Conference Semifinals - Game 4

2003 AHL Calder Cup Chicago Wolves Grand Rapids Griffins

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posted at 10:41 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Sunday, April 27, 2003

White Sox 3 - Twins 1

Chicago White Sox Minnesota Twins

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posted at 04:29 PM | Link | White Sox | 1 comment § |

Saturday, April 26, 2003

White Sox 7 - Twins 4

Chicago White Sox Minnesota Twins

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posted at 09:59 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Sunday, April 20, 2003

White Sox 4 - Indians 7

Chicago White Sox Cleveland Indians

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posted at 04:15 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Saturday, April 19, 2003

White Sox 12 - Indians 3

Chicago White Sox Cleveland Indians

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posted at 05:02 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Sunday, April 06, 2003

White Sox 10 - Tigers 2

Chicago White Sox Detroit Tigers

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posted at 04:20 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Saturday, April 05, 2003

White Sox 7 - Tigers 0

Chicago White Sox Detroit Tigers
OK, so would you trade your 37 degrees and cloudy with light rain for 32 degrees and partly sunny?

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posted at 04:20 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Friday, April 04, 2003

White Sox 5 - Tigers 2

Chicago White Sox Detroit Tigers
OK, this was NOT fun. The traffic was much lighter than I had expected, so we got to the park 1 hour before the 3:05 game time. It's cold, windy, raining.

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posted at 11:58 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Friday, January 31, 2003

SoxFest 2003

Carol got off work early, came and picked me up so I could leave early and on an ugly, wet Friday we drove downtown to the Hyatt Regency Chicago to attend SoxFest 2003.

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posted at 11:50 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Well, that wasn't much fun...

Looking out the office window - guess it's worse than I thought Brushing-off the car
OK, it was snowing a bit more than I had expected. Since it was coming down quicker, the salt on the streets really doesn't work, so, yes, it's accumulating on the streets. It was slow-going on the way home. Wasn't too bad, but it was a bit slick, and the traffic was moving a bit slower than normal, so the travel time to get home was a little longer than normal.

posted at 06:00 PM | Link | Mundane | 1 comment § |

Saturday, January 25, 2003

Comiskey Park Update

Last month, when we were on our meat run to Michigan, we were on the Dan Ryan and passed Comiskey Park. That was the first time I noticed it - there was something different about the park. The Upper deck looked the same, so there was no structural change there, but something else was going on. So, since I had nothing else to do today, I drove down to Comiskey to check it out.

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posted at 03:38 PM | Link | White Sox | 1 comment § |

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

A new Michael!

It's a brand new Michael Jacob!
Oh! I forgot! My former coworker Peggy had a baby! (You remember Peg - I've got some pictures of her and the family at Comiskey Park last year on Elvis night and the year before.) She and Rob and daughter Madison welcomed little Michael Jacob on the 12th. Congrats, Peg! Great name!!!

posted at 08:52 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Monday, January 13, 2003

Chicago Wolves Season Ticket Holder Party

Went to the annual Chicago Wolves Season Ticket Holder Party at the Allstate Arena tonight. Same stuff - not any different than last year. Saw all the team. Went in the locker room. Climbed on the Zamboni. Free stadium food. *yawn*

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posted at 09:12 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Wolves 4 - Moose 2

Chicago Wolves Manitoba Moose

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posted at 10:29 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Monday, January 06, 2003

Wow! My first one!

After a too long day at work (a tape-copy operation that took way too long), I came home to find... a box from Not a big deal as I had pre-ordered Cory Doctorow's "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" and it should be shipping around now. But then I opened the box to find... a wrapped present! Well, that was a new one to me! It had a card on the gift: "happy birthday (it might be a couple days past, but who says it can't be a birthday week or month!??!!) cheers!! hope all is swell!!!!" There's another envelope in the box, the front reads: "DON'T RUIN YOUR SURPRISE Open your gift before this envelope".

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posted at 07:06 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Sunday, December 29, 2002


Carol and I wanted meat. Barry & Buffy wanted meat. It was time to do something about it.

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posted at 06:46 PM | Link | Mundane | 1 comment § |

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve at Diane's
Tonight, it's take the parents to my sister Diane's for a family Christmas Eve with our cousins and Uncle Jim. The weather is starting to turn nasty - very windy and snowing. At least the snow isn't of the big-flake variety, it's more of the real tiny not-necessarily-flake-but-maybe-pellet variety. We all show up at Diane's house at the exact same moment, causing chaos and pandemonium amongst the dogs and, well, everyone involved. The evening went well. Dad seemed a bit crabby, though. I think it's just hard on him to travel, and I just don't think he wanted to socialize with our extended family. Well, while cleaning the snow off my car, I fell in the street. Yep. My right foot started to slide out from under me. I remember thinking to myself "This is going to hurt" as I didi the splits. The splits didn't hurt, as I was able to twist my legs so I didn't actually do the splits. Hitting the asphalt hurt. I slipped again when walking my parents to the car.The ride home was bad. The Kennedy hadn't been plowed or salted. Addison was the same, so travel was just slow. After dropping off my parents, I slipped again going to the car. By now, the sudden flailing of my body is screwing up most of the muscles in my back, and now I have a headache like you would get in a whiplash accident. Ouch. The drive home was made worse only by the number of idiots on the street who just don't know how to drive in this weather. Actually, it has nothing to do with the weather - they're just driving like idiots. Like the guy in the SUV that didn't even stop to look that traffic was coming at a busy intersection (without a traffic light) and just pulls out and turns. (Of course, there was traffic coming, and this little event caused a van to swerve to miss the idiot, cross the center line and come right at us, only to swerve again, this time to avoid us. Nice, eh? Merry Christmas!) Or the people that just pull too far into an intersection, causing you to swerve around them. That has nothing to do with snow, and everything to do with idiotic driving. I feel more Pet Peeves coming on here... (The bad thing, is that all of the idiots looked Eastern European... pattern?) The tollway was clear and wet, as well as most of the neighborhood. At least we're home safely.

posted at 10:12 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Saturday, December 21, 2002

Wolves 5 - Admirals 2

Chicago Wolves Milwaukee Admirals

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posted at 10:04 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Monday, December 02, 2002

Blue sky?

The guys at the NWS need to look out the window
I think the guys at the National Weather Service may want to yank their heads of their Doppler radar screens and look at the window. I'm seeing pieces of blue sky. It sure doesn't look ominous.

posted at 03:38 PM | Link | Mundane § |
Snow Advisory

The snow is starting again

945 AM CST MON DEC 2 2002

posted at 09:51 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Saturday, November 30, 2002

Wolves 2 - Griffins 1 - Overtime

Chicago Wolves Grand Rapids Griffins

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posted at 10:14 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Thursday, November 28, 2002

BLOG-A-TURKEY - Carve the turkey, enjoy the meal - 4:35 pm

The turkey is off the rack, and now flipped over breast-up, ready for carving A platter of white meat A platter of dark meat The finished dinner table
So, Carol's brother Gil and I hit the utility room and start carving the bird. As I'm carving, there's one thing very clear - the bird is moist. There's a lot of juices in there and you can hear it with every cut. It takes about 20 minutes to clean the carcass. We get a full platter of white meat and another of dark. Carol successfully concocts a delicious dinner and we finally all sit down to enjoy it. Finally.

posted at 04:54 PM | Link | Mundane § |
BLOG-A-TURKEY - Take the bird off the grill - 3:35 pm

The turkey is off the grill
Another check of the temperature shows no change - so that's it. I take the turkey off the grill and bring it inside to my utility room which doubles today as turkey carving central. The washer & dryer is all setup with utensils and platters to help with the carving. The problem is - the turkey is done WAY too early. I grab aluminum foil and basically wrap the bird to keep the heat in. Normally, the turkey would sit about 20-30 minutes to complete cooking before we carve. Now, it's going to sit for about an hour. Hopefully everything will work out.

So, let's see: On the grill at 1:10, off the grill at 3:35, that's 145 minutes for a 16½ pound turkey, or 8 minutes 47 seconds a pound.

posted at 03:36 PM | Link | Mundane § |
BLOG-A-TURKEY - Check the temperature - 3:10 pm

OH, CRAP! NOOOOOOOOOO!!! I went out and took the bird's temperature. I'm shooting for 180 degrees in the thigh and 170 degrees in the breast. Check one thigh - it's over 200 degrees!!! I pull the turkey off the grill to get it away from the heat and try it again. It's in the 190's. the other thigh in in the upper 170's, so the heat is uneven. I flip the bird around and leave it in just for a few more minutes, because I'm just not believing the temperature. I can't believe that a 16½ pound turkey would have been done that quickly. It doesn't feel right, but since this was a brand new chimney that holds much more coal, there's a possibility that there was much more heat and it just got done quicker. We'll see.

posted at 03:10 PM | Link | Mundane § |
BLOG-A-TURKEY - Check on the turkey, start another chimney - 2:45 pm

Check the turkey, add another chimney of charcoal, add more hickory Occasionally, the skin MAY tear. This is OK
Check the turkey, just to make sure everything is OK - and it is. Add another chimney of charcoal and more hickory. The bird is getting much darker and you can see that the skin seems to be drier and more "taut". This may cause the bird to "tear" the skin in some places (most likely near the wings, as these are going to get real crispy by the time we're done). Hold off on starting the next chimney of charcoal. We're in the home stretch now, and it's possible that this turkey is going to be done soon.

posted at 02:47 PM | Link | Mundane § |
BLOG-A-TURKEY - Check on the turkey, start another chimney - 1:50 pm

Checking the turkey. Nice color. Add another chimney of charcoal around the holes and more hickory. Note - potential for grease fire The hickory seams to be working just fine
We're in maintenance mode now - time to check on the turkey. It's looking really nice. Great color - it's gong to get much darker from here. Using a tool of your choice, try to push down the coals that are on either side of the drip pan. This will get rid of any dead ones, push more ash out, and make room for new coals. Add the new charcoal from the chimney buy pouring the charcoal into the holes, as well as on top of the grill near the holes. This is a dangerous time from here on out - anytime you add coal and you have the lid off, you now run the risk of a grease fire from the drip pan. Don't worry about it, but work quickly. Add more handfuls of hickory to the new coals and get the lid covered. This will extinguish any flames. You should see some great smoke pouring out of the lid as the hickey begins to work even harder.

posted at 01:53 PM | Link | Mundane § |
BLOG-A-TURKEY - Transfer the charcoal, add the hickory, put the turkey on, start another chimney - 1:10 pm

The turkey is ready - oiled up and placed in a rack breast-down Add the second chimney of charcoal, put the grill on, and put the turkey on the grill Empty the water out of the Ziploc bags and place handfuls of hickory on top of the coals
The second chimney is ready, so it's time to make our move. Carol has taken care of the turkey preparation, which is only oiled-up and tressed a bit and placed breast-down in a rack. The bird now goes outside. The second chimney is now poured on top of the other coals on either side of the drip pan. The grill is finally put on the Weber. The orientation is crucial - the handles on the grill (which also have holes around them) should be placed over the coals on each side of the drip pan. This allows you to add more coals later into that space. The rack with the turkey then sits on the grill. Open one of the Ziploc bags and empty the water out of it. Take handfuls of the wood chips and place them on top of the coals on either side. Cover with the lid, and start another chimney of charcoal. So, here we go! The turkey is on the grill at 1:10 - let's see how long it takes!

posted at 01:10 PM | Link | Mundane § |
BLOG-A-TURKEY - Transfer the charcoal, start another chimney - 12:30pm

Add a drip pan to the bottom of the Weber If the coal at the top of the chimney is white, the chimney is ready Pour the charcoal from the chimney along the long-sides of the drip pan Fill-up and start the next chimney of charcoal
Hmmm... this is getting hard to actually cook and blog at the same time... the digital photos are taking too much time to setup...
Time to check the chimney and it's ready. First I need to put a drip pan in the grill. I learned the hard way one of the first years we're doing this. We had a grease fire that took off a lot of Carol's hair in the front and singed her eyebrows in a freak accident. So, the drip pan goes in. You can tell the chimney of charcoal is ready when the coal at the top is white. The charcoal is then poured into the spaces between the drip pan at the side of the grill, only along the long sides of the pan. Put the cover back on the Weber, and then start another chimney of charcoal. When this one is ready, it'll be time to start grillin' the bird.

posted at 12:32 PM | Link | Mundane § |
BLOG-A-TURKEY - Prepare the hickory - 12:05 pm

While the first chimney is starting-up, it's time to prep the wood. I use hickory to smoke the turkey while I cook it. Though it does seem to lend a bit of the hickory to the flavor of the meat, the other thing it seems to do (and I have no scientific proof of this at all) is "seal" the skin of the turkey, retaining a lot of the juices. I had this fail only once when we had a bad thermometer to test the bird's temperature and it wound-up being overdone, and thus, dry. Otherwise it's moist.

A bag of Weber's Hickory FireSpice Wood Chips Empty the hickory into Ziploc bags Fill the Ziploc with water - remove the air in the bag and seal it Let the bags sit in the sink so that the hickory can get soaked
Since the object of using hickory is for the smoke, you don't want the wood to burn. To make sure that doesn't happen, you have to soak the wood in water for at least an hour. I use Ziploc bags to make sure that all of the wood gets submerged by filling then up and removing the water from them. Now we wait for the first chimney to get finished.

posted at 12:07 PM | Link | Mundane § |
BLOG-A-TURKEY - Start the first chimney of charcoal - 11:41 am

A brand new Charcoal Chimney by Weber Crumple newspaper sheets into a ball Flip the chimney over so that you can see the newspaper compartment Cram the crumpled balls of newspaper into the area at the bottom of the chimney Flip the chimney upright, place onto a pie tin, and fill it to the top with charcoal Light the newspaper through the holes on the side Make sure the newspaper is lit
Here's the start of the day for me - starting the first chimney of charcoal. I highly recommend using a chimney to start the coals because NO lighter fluid is used, just newspaper, and the coals are kept in a tight area, so the heat transfer occurs more efficiently and get white-hot quicker. It's very easy to start: 1) get some newspaper - 3 sheets works well and crumble into a ball 2) shove the newspaper underneath the chimney 3) fill the chimney with charcoal (there is a grill separating the area where the newspaper is places and where the charcoal goes. Don't use a chimney that uses flat metal separating the compartments - it just doesn't work) 4) light the newspaper. That's it. The paper will light the bottom coals and, in turn, the entire stack of charcoal.

posted at 11:44 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Every Thanksgiving since we've moved out to Hoffman Estates we've held the family Thanksgiving dinner. At each of those YOUR'S TRULY has cooked the turkey. Actually, barbecued the turkey. On my Weber. Since this is the first year of my Blog, I'm going to Blog my way through the barbecuing!

Here's the subject of today's Thanksgiving dinner:

Our Fresh Butterball Turkey >Our turkey is 16½ pounds
It's a 16½ pound fresh Butterball. Carol will be preparing everything else for tonight's dinner. This turkey is mine.

>Important equipment: Ove Gloves
I went out to Walgreen's to pick up a pair of 'Ove" Gloves - made of Nomex and Kevlar. I need something to handle the hot stuff around the barbecue and my old gloves are shot. The only other things I need are charcoal, hickory (for smoking) and a charcoal chimney to get the coals going quickly and efficiently.

posted at 09:35 AM | Link | Mundane | 1 comment § |

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Wolves 4 - Grizzlies 1

Chicago Wolves Utah Grizzlies

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posted at 10:52 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Tuesday, November 26, 2002


Pozo plowing my driveway. Gotta love it.
It snowed enough today that Ali Pozo called to see if he'll be plowing our driveway again this year. I said yes - he was already on his way over and was plowing the driveway within 10 minutes. Wow. I like this guy.

posted at 06:45 PM | Link | Mundane § |
It's snowing again

It's snowing again. 11:00am It's snowing again. 1:00pm
I just noticed that it was getting brighter outside. No, not sun. Snow. Lake effect snow, all the way out in the northwest suburbs.

posted at 11:37 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Sunday at Diane's

Mom opening-up her presents Oops. Diane and I get Mom the same card
We drove into the city to pick up my parents and went to my sister Diane's for dinner. (First, though, when we went to my parents' house, we had to go in to watch the Bears beat the Lions in overtime!) Dad was in surprisingly good shape for the ride and visit. It must have been one of his better days. Diane cooked a great dinner (a pork roast) and we annihilated the entire dinner. We must have been hungry or something, but there was only three pieces of pork left and absolutely nothing else. We had the dinner because we celebrated Mom's birthday (which was yesterday). There was one embarrassing moment, however. After all of these years, somehow Diane & I bought the same birthday card for mom. It started snowing while we were at Diane's, but the traffic wasn't bad going home. In fact, it was almost like people were off the roads, afraid of the snow.

posted at 10:38 PM | Link | Family § |

Friday, November 22, 2002


Movie times - four screens worth of Bond At least I got a matinée price... Too many treats for bunnies A macaw at PetSmart looks like he's never seen a digital camera before Too much Christmas at Hallmark
Had to run some errands today. First stop: AMC South Barrington 30 to pickup tickets for the 5:10 showing of Die Another Day. Then off to PetSmart to get some chow and bedding for Indy. Well, it's not chow, but rather a Kaytee Exact Rainbow for Rabbits. I hate going shopping for Indy. For some damn reason, I can't get out of the store without buying her some kind of treat. Today it was Banana Yogurt Dips. (Of course I don't know if she even likes these things.) Final stop: Hallmark for birthday cards for my Mom (her 73rd birthday is tomorrow). I don't know - I feel like there's a downturn in the quality of birthday cards recently.

posted at 02:52 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Thursday, November 21, 2002

I gotta get out of this place...

Hello, Welcome to Burger King! Would you like to try a Whopper Combo Meal? Ripping up the concrete median along Golf Road Steamrolling asphalt for a new temporary median on Golf Road
I just had to get out of the house... I'm just going nuts. I decided to at least get out of the house to grab some lunch instead of scrounging around here. The weather is bad. It's been raining all morning, the wind is actually howling, the temperature is actually dropping. I go out anyway. Where? Burger King - the taco's are cheap and for some reason I like them. There's even more construction on Golf Road now. They're not supposed to rebuild it until next year, but they've been taking it apart to help get ready for when it's time. A lame entry, but I had to get out...

posted at 01:20 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Sunday, November 17, 2002

First Snow

First snow Four hours later and the snow is goneow
I guess it was a bit cold all day yesterday. When I woke up this morning, all of those "snow flurries" decided to accumulate on the lawns in the neighborhood! It's actually the first snowfall of the season.
Update: It all melted four hours later.

posted at 06:41 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Saturday, November 16, 2002

Happy 15th Birthday, Sam

Today we went to my cousin Kathy's to celebrate a couple of family birthdays. Now, with Dad feeling the way he is, we knew he wasn't gong to go. He always had a low tolerance for kids, and that just advanced with his age. Now, with the Cancer, there's just no reason to put him through that. But what was surprising is that Dad said Mom should go. So Carol & I drove into the city to pick up Mom and drove out to Hawthorn Woods.

read more of this entry »

posted at 09:36 PM | Link | Family § |

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Burning bush

Our Burning Bush in full crimson fall colors Our Burning Bush empty of crimson
Looking out my front door this morning I noticed our crimson is gone. Our Burning Bush dropped it's leaves. There were three fat, fuzzy sparrows in the bush, slowly plucking the remaining leaves. I love the color of the bush and now it's gone for the season.

posted at 03:27 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Sunday, November 10, 2002

The Away Team

The Away Team - Joe, Michael, Barry and John La Valle - Population 446 A view of Dutch Hollow Lake and surrounding area John's house at Dutch Hollow Lake in La Valle, WI Taking in the view off the back deck The view off the back deck toward the lake Watching birds (Bluejays) at one of the feeders on the deck
I had a nice time this weekend. I was part of The Away Team - the group of coworkers that go up to John's house in La Valle Wisconsin to spend the weekend. They've been doing this since we worked together, about five years ago. It's been an annual trip, and, even though I had been invited, I've never gone (scheduling conflicts). Well, this year, we worked around the schedule. In fact, we had to reschedule for November, just to make sure we all got up there together. It was worth it. We were about 230 miles away, 4 miles outside of a town with a population of only 446. I lost cell phone connectivity 15 minutes before we hit town. It was a typical guys weekend - sat around, ate beef jerky, drank beer, watched TV, smoked cigars, talked about fishing (it was too late in the year and instead of being out on the lake in boats, we were putting away boats for the season). Fortunately, the weather was around 60° so it was enjoyable to be out on the deck, day or night. We didn't cook - we ate at the local establishments which were... interesting. Had some great prime rib on Saturday night. All in all, a good time. I miss these guys and it was so weird being together again. I can't wait for the next visit. Really. I want to sit out in a boat and fish. I want to sit on that back deck and drink and just watch the birds at the many bird feeders that John has. I want to sit around and just talk - about the old days, about what's going on in the world. I just want to be one of the guys. Like it used to be.

posted at 06:54 PM | Link | Mundane | 1 comment § |

Thursday, November 07, 2002

School bus

Waiting for the school bus
I live on a cul de sac. Actually, I live on a corner of a cul de sac. The corner is a school bus pickup/dropoff point for kids on out street. Since the cul de sac isn't that big, then why to parents have to not only drive their kids to the bus, but have to park in my driveway and in front of my house blocking traffic while waiting for the bus? Why? I'm not appreciative of having oil dripping from their minivans on my driveway.

posted at 08:24 AM | Link | Mundane | 1 comment § |

Saturday, November 02, 2002

Wolves 0 - Wolf Pack 4

Chicago Wolves Hartford Wolf Pack

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posted at 10:19 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Friday, November 01, 2002


Looks like the "big drop" happened
Went out to grab a bite to eat for lunch, and there they were throughout the entire neighborhood.


It got cold last night - 27°, Wind Chill 8°. All (well, almost all) of the trees in the neighborhood had this huge drop of leaves. They're everywhere - streets, lawns, sidewalks. So I guess this it it. It's fall. It's cold, too. There wasn't much of a transition here, it literally just "snapped" and the temperature dropped. There's no relief in sight either.


posted at 01:21 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Thursday, October 31, 2002


Scrambling for the doorbell The neighborhood starts to get busy
Halloween was actually a bit more quiet than usual this year. perhaps the cold temperatures kept kids away. Only a few cool costumes this year. The thing that struck me this year was that many of the kids were very polite and even said "Happy Halloween" when leaving. The tote board for today: 79 kids. We usually have over 100 (and yes, we actually count every kid).

posted at 06:54 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

They're changin'

WeatherCam shows leaves are turning - or falling
Looks like the leaves are starting to finally turn in the neighborhood (I can see it starting while looking at my WeatherCam). Chelby should be here any minute - We're going over some things that we need for her website.

posted at 11:00 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Saturday, October 26, 2002

Another Lazy Saturday

A nice lazy Saturday - exactly what Carol needs. We spent the day watching the Breeders Cup from Arlington Park. It was great hearing so many people say how great the facility is. Too bad it was cloudy and cold - the place looks beautiful in the sun. A new event record was set for All Sources Handle for the Breeders' Cup - $115,523,156. $13,568,233 was handled just at Arlington. There were 6 winners of the Breeders' Cup Ultra Pick 6, all purchased at Catskill OTB in upstate New York, with a payout of $428,392. Wow.

Paramedics responding to the house behind us
Just as the Breeders' Cup Classic was getting underway, paramedics pulled up at the house behind us. We never see fire department equipment in the neighborhood. Never. Looks like they took the homeowner away on a backboard with his head braced. I have no idea what happened.

Watched pieces of the World Series, Trading Spaces, and the Chicago Wolves hockey game on CLTV tonight, all at the same time (I love my remote). Wolves lost in overtime. Angels came-back and forced a Game 7. The jury is still out on Hilda Santo-Tomas (I think it was 1-1 tonight with Hildi - the huge dot portrait and the tall coffee table in Philadelphia: East Avenue just didn't work for me, but the kid's bedroom with the climbing wall and tent in Virginia: Gentle Heights Court was way cool)

posted at 10:35 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Sunday, October 20, 2002

The "E" word

Walk Away The Pounds Our Ash had leaves on it just 3 days ago Our maple is barely changing colors
I'm asleep. It's 8am. I'm hearing a "thump-thump-thump-thump-thump" entering my fleeting dreams. I start to think that someone in the neighborhood is working on a project outside in the clear morning. "Thump-thump-thump-thump-thump." No, that's not it - it's coming from from downstairs. Aw, crap - it's Carol doing her Walk Away The Pounds video workout - it's just turned up a little so that I can hear the bass through the floor. Then, I do hear noises outside - everyone is out with their leaf blowers. The trees are either shedding or green - the neighborhood doesn't have those fall colors yet, but there's an awful lot of leaves around. When I rolled out of bed and went downstairs, what's the first smell I smell? Yep, burnt popcorn. Cripes, I'm never going to get rid of that smell.

posted at 09:32 AM | Link | Mundane | 1 comment § |

Friday, October 18, 2002

Wolves 4 - Mighty Ducks 3

Chicago Wolves Cincinnati Mighty Ducks Tonight's Promotion: Magnetic Schedules Tonight's Promotion: Replica Calder Cup Championship Team Rings All of the new championship banners are hung Hmmm... a new bar opened inside the Allstate Arena A hurried photo of a real Calder Cup Championship ring
So Carol says, "Do you want to go to the hockey game?" Of course, I have to ask "Why?" "So I can get a ring." Oh, jeez. The Wolves are giving out replica Championship Rings to the first 5,000 fans tonight. They're doing it on November 2nd, our next game (we have a 21-game Season Ticket package, and tonight wasn't one of our games), but Carol didn't believe they would give out rings on the 2nd (they are), so we go to the game. (They also are giving out Magnetic Schedules tonight, the same ones we got on opening night). So we get our rings (we have three of them now, one for each championship). They're pretty cool, but they're just not something you'd actually wear out in public. The Wolves play the Ducks again tonight (same as opening night). The teams play a much more disciplined game, but by 10:55 of the second period Frederic Cassivi stopped only 12 of 16 shots and got replaced by Norm Maracle, who stopped all 14 shots that he saw. Steve Maltais had two goals, but the Wolves lose 4-3.

posted at 10:34 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Wet mower

Lawn service mowing in the rain
Sure enough, it started to rain pretty good - and the lawn service shows up to cut and trim the lawn. Figures.

posted at 04:39 PM | Link | Mundane § |

A sure sign of fall - the changing color of our burning bush The branches are thinning Leaves are falling
Only got up to 45° this afternoon. Fall is here, with it's low-hung gray clouds. Leaves are starting to fall, and our burning bush out front is turning crimson. The radar shows green blobs coming closer. I don't really like this time of year. If the sun was out, crisp air, barely a breeze - that would be different. Not this.

posted at 03:33 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Saturday, October 12, 2002

Raise the banner, hoist the cup

Chicago Wolves Cincinnati Mighty Ducks Tonight's Promotion: Magnetic Schedules Tonight's Promotion: Calder Cup Championship Team Photo New season - new ice - new logo Screen capture of CLTV Broadcast: Captain Steve Maltais brings out the Calder Cup championship trophy... with dry ice in it The team gathering for the pre-game ceremonies Screen capture of CLTV Broadcast: Captain Steve Maltais gets his<br />
Championship Ring Screen capture of CLTV Broadcast: I'm thinkin' putting dry ice in the Clader Cup is not a good idea... The Chicago Wolves with their Championship Banners Screen capture of CLTV Broadcast: Raising the championship banners Screen capture of CLTV Broadcast: Faceoff of the 2003-2003 Season Screen capture of CLTV Broadcast: Adopt-A-Dog info Two Adopt-a-Dog's check each other out Nice puppy for a nice lady
We returned to the Allstate Arena to watch the season opener of the Chicago Wolves playing the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks. First off - lousy day outside - low 50's and rain. There was a big tailgate party outside with live entertainment, free hotdogs and drinks - that we just couldn't get ourselves to participate in. Walking into the arena, we noticed something missing - the AHL mandated the use of protective nets to be installed above the glass on each end of the ice. No nets. (Found out later that the nets are on backorder, and should be installed sometime next month.) Before the game, the entire team was introduced. Then, the captain, Steve Maltais skated out with the Calder Cup trophy. It was a bit weird though - they had stuck dry ice in it so it was smoking up a storm as Malts skated around the ice. The team was presented with their rings, we all watched a video of the Calder Cup playoffs, then they unveiled the banners and raised them to the ceiling. That's always a great time for a fan of any team - to watch them raise a championship banner. So, faceoff was about 27 minutes late. The game started out weak. We seem to handle the puck well, and skated well, but we were down 3-2 at the end of the second period. I don't know what happened during the second intermission, but the Wolves scored 5 goals in the final period to win 7-4.

The Chicago Wolves continued their association with the City of Chicago Department of Animal Care and Control with their Adopt-a-Dog program. They set up "Dally's Dog Pound" - named after Wolves defenseman Dallas Eakins, who is a team spokesman for the program - in the East Lobby by the Customer Service Booth during 8 games this season (last season 98 dogs were adopted). It's really cool seeing the people interacting with the dogs and making the commitment to bring one home with them.

After the game, we drove home to a pitch black neighborhood. No power! One of my computers at home had paged me that another device (not on a UPS) had stopped responding at 21:52:01. I hate having to fumble with locks in the dark, un-doing the electric garage door opener to get the car inside, and just stumbling through a dark, quiet house. The power came back at 11:20pm - no idea why it was out in the first place.

posted at 11:56 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Friday, October 11, 2002

Sunny day

Oakbrook Center
It was too nice outside today (clear skies, light breeze, 72°) to waste it - I went walking around Oakbrook Center today. Didn't buy anything, just enjoyed the weather and people watched (a good day for that). Tonight, back at home I saw the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile going west down Golf Road! I wanted to follow it to find out where it was going!

posted at 05:55 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Wednesday, October 09, 2002



We've loved every bunny we have ever had. They make great pets, and great companions - once you realize that rabbits are not like dogs, not like cats... rabbits are like rabbits. They are not easy to communicate with. In fact, there's an entire website setup just to try to understand what they are saying through their body language.

But, what do you do when, out of the blue, your lovely pet rabbit decides that she doesn't like your carpeting and decides to tear it apart, hoping that her parents will get new carpeting?

I mean, look, after 18 years we need new carpeting. But, after being unemployed for so long, I've got no chance of replacing it. So, when we have guests over, I guess I'll have to cover the hole somehow...

posted at 09:26 AM | Link | Bunnies § |

Saturday, October 05, 2002

Wolves 3 - Griffins 2 - Preseason

Chicago Wolves Grand Rapids Griffins The Edge in Bensenville The Chicago Wolves during warmups Odd sign behind the bench Chicago Wolves bench Coach Anderson's view of the game Play-by-Play announcer Judd Sirott (right) Wolves applying pressure in the Griffins zone The team coming off the ice at the end of the Second Period Medics attend to a little boy hit above the eye with a puck The Chicago Wolves win 3-2
A bright, crisp autumn day in Chicago. Carol and I had absolutely nothing planned for today, and somehow we felt like we needed to start to gear-up for hockey season, so we wound up driving to Bensenville to go to the last Chicago Wolves preseason game against the Grand Rapids Griffins. We've never been to The Edge before - what a nice facility! Two rinks, lots of parking, good refreshments, great sight-lines. The game was So much better than last Wednesday. It was refreshing to see the style of play was back to what we've seen in the past - lots of aggression, decent puck control, wonderful shot combinations.

Now, one of the aspects of these preseason games (other than seeing players that you will never see again after the next week), is that these are really community events at discount prices ($5 general admission), and a lot of families come out. The downside? Well, these are people who bring kids to the ring and don't really supervise them. So? Do you remember Brittanie Cecil at the Columbus Blue Jackets game? You go to the game, you MUST pay attention. There was a large group of 5-7 year-olds that were 7 rows up above the tunnel. There were NO adults with them. In the third period, a little boy (5 years old - maybe) got hit over the right eye with a puck. FREAKED OUT EVERYBODY. A linesman saw what happened and got upset about it, streaked across the ice to get a towel, and came back to get it to the people that were now trying to help the kid. When you see these many kids running around, and the parents not understanding what could happen, you just know that something like this would happen. It took quite a while to get some medical attention to the kid. Damn, I hate this. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!

Anyway, Wolves won 3-2.

posted at 10:01 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Wolves 1 - Admirals 8 - Preseason

Chicago Wolves Milwaukee Admirals Milwaukee Admirals at Chicago Wolves in Rolling Meadows Chicago Wolves in warmups before the game Michael Garnett in net during warmups (Brad Tapper in the foreground) AHL Preseason Hockey at the West Meadows Ice Arena A nasty fight breaks out at the end of the First Period Final score on the scoreboard
Tonight, Carol and I took a quick drive to Rolling Meadows to go to the West Meadows Ice Arena. Our "Puck Boys", the Chicago Wolves, were having a preseason game there against the Milwaukee Admirals. Hey, the tickets were only $5 - how bad could it be? We always try to go to this game - the Wolves have been doing this for a few years now. Well, this was bad. Yes, it's preseason. Yes, the coaches are still trying to figure out who will make the team. It was still bad. The Wolves lost 8-1. There was no offense (we were outshot 47-26). There was no defense to help out the goaltenders. (Norm Maracle gave up 5 goals in a little over 29 minutes). The team can't handle the puck (as always) and can't control the puck. And there appears to be a little animosity between the two teams - I wonder if it started at the game last week? There was a nasty fight at the end of the First Period, that had everybody involved - except the goaltenders (which was actually surprising). By the end of the game, there were 8 Game Misconducts. Ugh. The season opener is next Saturday. They had better get their act together or this is going to be an ugly season.

posted at 10:04 PM | Link | Wolves § |
Back home

OK, I'm back home. Dad's not going to the doctor - he doesn't want to. Admittedly, he's only had a little over 2 days of antibiotics to treat this thing, so it isn't changing much. He's got better color, better energy. I finally looked at the thing on his neck when the nurse was changing the dressing. Oh, Christ... I can't talk about it. It was something I've never seen before, and I just don't feel the need to discuss the gory details of what it's doing. Blech. Anyway, I think they were happy that I was there while the nurse was there - I guess it was just added support for them. Dad's still in pain, though. We'll see what's happening after a few more days.

Mushroom in the front lawn
I got home and went to get the mail, when I noticed something round and white in the middle of the front lawn. It looked like somebody had lost a ball. I went to take a look at it and it was a big, white mushroom! Had to take a picture of it - I thought it looked cool.

posted at 02:23 PM | Link | Family § |

Monday, September 30, 2002

A nail

Nuts. Nail in the tire.
I can barely hear the phone ringing. I'm asleep and I hear the last ring before voicemail picks it up. I look at the clock - 7:22am. OK, that's not a damn telemarketer - who was it? I flip out of bed and look at my computer screen to see the last Caller ID message that was sent to the computers in my home network. It was Carol. OK, that means she's not home downstairs. The phone rings again and it's her. She has a flat tire and wants me to come help. So a throw clothes on, get in the car, meander through rush hour traffic to a gas station that has no air for her to use. We change the tire - first time on her Suzuki Grand Vitara, so we had to learn where all of the pieces are (jack, tire iron) and how to get the damn spare off the back of the SUV (including finding out that she has a key lock for the spare, which we didn't know about). As I'm jacking up the truck, you could see the problem clear as a bell - nail head. The entire nail is embedded in the tire. Anyway, change the tire, get her to work, get me home to collapse. Ugh. What a way to wake up...

posted at 08:19 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Last Home Game

Chicago White Sox Boston Red Sox The upper deck seats are covered with a blue tarp New paint test samples on the face of the upper deck, the back of the club level, and around the lower suites. Scaffolding to strip and paint the roof in the upper deck White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams being interviewed The guy running the radar gun for the NESN broadcast. Nice ear lobes. An 89 mph fastball from Danny Wright Danny Wright pitches to Lou Merloni Frank Thomas gets buckled on a pitch from Josh Hancock Magglio Ordonez hits a 2-run homerun off of Josh Hancock Magglio Ordonex trots home for his home run Nomar! Just get in the batter's box! The White Sox win 3-2 Goodbye, Comiskey Park... until next year... <*sniff*>
I couldn't help it - I had to go to the White Sox game this afternoon. It was the last game of the season at home, and I felt compelled to go. Got a single ticket in the 11th row behind the plate. When I walked into the park (which was pretty empty at the time), you could tell the work on the upper deck was on it's way - all of the seats on the third base side had been covered in a blue tarp, and some scaffolding had been erected - looks like they're going to strip and paint the roof. Whoopee - new paint (too bad they don't have the money to fix the upper deck, like change the pitch, change the seating...). And speaking of new paint, the paint samples I saw Sunday night aren't the same paint samples that are there today - maybe they've gone from four colors to two in their selection process. I get some sausages (Polish with grilled onions and a Brat with kraut, which later I found out was an Italian Sausage instead) and go to my seat. Just before the game starts, this guy sits down in front of me with a bunch of equipment, and some other people are running an extension cord and some coax cable to his seat. He's working for NESN (the sports network that covers the Boston games) as a radar gun guy. this guy is definitely not a baseball fan, as he really acted like he wanted to be somewhere else all game. He must have got no more that 80% of the pitches on the gun, as he was fidgeting and bored and not paying attention. Oh, and it looked like he had pennies in his earlobes. Anyway, the game was great. Danny Wright held Boston to two hits in seven innings. Magglio Ordonez got a homerun off of first-time starter Josh Hancock. Keith Foulke got his career 100th save. Sox win 3-2. When Frank Thomas came up to bat in the eighth, the fans gave him a standing ovation - it could be his last at bat as a White Sox (because of the "Diminished Skills" clause of his contract (officially referred to as "revised payment rights") may be activated in the off-season). Then, the game was over, the season was over. I walked around the park almost by myself - there was only 12,304 in attendance and there were less people there now than when I was there last month for what could have been the last game before the strike. It was sad. I was sad to leave the place and I can't tell you why. I didn't want to leave. I just wanted to find a seat and just sit there - by myself. Me and the park. Me and Roger Bossard's turf. Me and the crappy blue seats. I felt safe. I felt comfortable. I couldn't stay - I had to go. And as I'm walking down the ramps, my eyes start to water behind my RayBans. Goodbye Comiskey. See you next year.

posted at 05:56 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Tuesday, September 24, 2002


The NTB on Golf Road Getting new tires at NTB
Well, $521.34 later, NTB installed 4 brand new Dunlop tires, balanced them and gave the car an alignment. The car rides a bit differently now - it rides better. Who woulda thunk...

posted at 04:16 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Birthday cake and ESPN Sunday Night Baseball

Diane getting ready to blow out her candles Carol driving on the Dan Ryan to Comiskey Park
Went to my parents house for lunch. My sister Diane was over with Melinda so we could celebrate her birthday (remember, she was out of town on her birthday, though Carol and I already got her a present). Carol is driving this weekend since my car has that damn space-saver spare on it. I'll be getting new tires (yep, a full set) later this week. I think she's upset that she's driving, even though I've been driving to my parents and the ballpark all summer. She's pretty tired and stressed out right now. I didn't see too much of Dad. He didn't talk much, seemed tired and not as energetic as he has been. Hopefully, that was just today. His hospice nurse quit, and he has a new one - hopefully he wasn't the cause!

Chicago White Sox Minnesota Twins Tonight's Promotion: Fan Appreciation Night and Fireworks sponsored by LaSalle Bank John Miller of ESPN talking to the Twins during batting practice One of ESPN's remote cameras, on the rail of the White Sox dugout Tonight's lineups on the scoreboard Four different paint test samples on the face of the upper deck. The original unpainted concrete can be seen below.
Hardly anybody in the parking lot when we pulled into Comiskey Park tonight, our last game of the season. The game time was moved to 7:05 just a few weeks ago, so ESPN can broadcast the game. They really bring out the equipment for the broadcast - they added 3 cameras around the plate, all remote control (one on the backstop, one at each dugout), one in straight away center, above the batter's eye for that special Strike Zone analysis shot. Plus three cameras in the regular center field position, a roving camera on the outfield concourse... Parabolic Mics everywhere in the outfield and camera wells - on guy in the camera well next to the White Sox dugout got hit with a ball - it went through the parabolic mic dish! I was looking around the park and noticed that they started test painting the concrete on the upper deck. There's four different colors, all gray. That's part of the off-season rehab. Nothing major - there's not enough money to really fix the upper deck. Did you know it would cost $4 million to replace the blue seats with green ones? It was Fan Appreciation Night - the team gave out gifts to some of the fans. We weren't one of them. The Sox SWEEP the Twins 8-2. It doesn't mean anything, as the Twins already clinched the division, but it was a show of PRIDE. Mark Buehrle got his 19th win (19-11), Frank Thomas, D'Angelo Jimenez, and Magglio Ordonez each had a home run. Afterwards, fireworks and saying goodbye to all of our Season Ticket buddies hoping to see them sitting somewhere around us next year. It was our last season ticket game this year, but I think I'll go to the Thursday afternoon game against the Red Sox, since that is the last home game. I just can't seem to let go of baseball this year...

posted at 11:25 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Saturday, September 21, 2002

White Sox 14 - Twins 4

Chicago White Sox Minnesota Twins The ramp to the upper deck is closed It's weird seeing the empty upper deck Replacement turf from the Rolling Stones Concert Either MLB people (or construction people) checking out the park from the upper deck When you see people dressed alike from across the park, don't you want to know who they are? Keith Folke pitching in relief Our Season Ticket Buddy Karen came over to say goodbye for the season
Our final weekend of baseball at Comiskey Park. Extra security at the entrance and the checks were a bit more thorough (because of the Thursday Night Idiots). The upper deck is officially closed in preparation of some minor (unfortunately) remodeling for the All Star Season next year. There are people from Major League Baseball that have been touring the park as an advance team for the All Star Game (July 2003). The field is in pretty good shape, considering that the Rolling Stones played here a week ago yesterday. Roger Bossard, the groundskeeper, only had to replace 700 yards of turf - he was prepared to replace 2,000 yards. Even though the Twins clinched the division this week, the Sox weren't going to let them go quietly. The Sox won yesterday 10-2. Today, the Sox won 14-4. Jon Rauch (the tallest player in Major League Baseball at 6' 11") got the win. Magglio Ordonez had two home runs, Jose Valentin and Carlos Lee each had a home run. Great game - the boys played well, even though the Twins tried to come back. Keith Foulke finally got his ERA under 3.00 (2.99). Looks like he's coming back.

posted at 06:57 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Saturday, September 14, 2002

A & W

A&W at Woodfield Mall Self-serve taps of fresh A&W Root Beer One of the barrels for the taps of A&W Root Beer A cold mug of fresh A&W Root Beer
I know this is pretty mundane (hell, that's why my Blog is named what it is), but this was just so enjoyable. Carol, late this afternoon, decides she needs to go shopping for a few things for the trip, and she invited me along (I was shocked!). Anyway, we went to Target and didn't find what she wanted, so I suggested Woodfield. So, we shopped around there and got what she wanted at, of all places, Brookstone. It was getting near dinner-time. Somehow we went over to the A&W All American Food place. We couldn't decide on the food (we had Mickey D's for lunch), so decided on just getting a mug of root beer. I WAS IN HEAVEN. I had forgotten what fresh A&W tasted like. They give you a chilled mug, and you just go over to a tapper (that's mounted on one of their old barrels) and draw your own. Wow. I remember how we used to drive just to get a gallon of Root Beer to bring home. I haven't done it since the 80's. By then, the closest A&W was up in Racine, Wisconsin. We drove up and brought back a few gallon for us. Now it looks like they have a deal at this store to get 64oz. of root beer. It's not a gallon, but damn it's a much quicker ride! I just had to sit around a bit and sip and enjoy. Just had to share that.

posted at 06:14 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Indy hiding under the foot of the bed Indy pausing on her way down the stairs Getting the car washed at Turtle Wax
I got woken up by a large sound that seems to be coming from underneath the bed. When I abruptly sat up, Indy popped out from under the bed. It was after 8am, and Carol was downstairs cleaning Indy's cage. She must have lost track of Indy, because she decided to venture out into "BunnyLand" and came upstairs for a visit. I didn't sleep all that well - the skunk's odor didn't dissipate until after 2am.

Well, I got the car washed at Turtle Wax in anticipation of our little trip. Every year, since 1994, we've gone to Las Vegas either at this time of year, or in Spring, or sometime both. This year, with my unemployment situation being as bad as it is, there's no way we could go. Instead, we're doing a driving trip. We're going with Barry & Buffy up to my sister's house in Michigan, then driving over to Dearborn, Michigan to visit Greenfield Village on Monday and the Henry Ford Museum on Tuesday, then driving back to my sisters' and spending at least a day there, before driving home. Much much cheaper. We had to do Greenfield Village on Monday, since it is closing until June of 2003 for some underground restoration project.

Don't know how often I'll be able to Blog from the road - we'll have to see how this works out. We all need to get away for a while, though.

posted at 09:37 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Bulbs and mosquitoes

Chevy's in Schaumburg Home Depot in Schaumburg Too many damn lightbulbs to chose from... A really crappy picture of the mosquito abatement truck going by...
I really didn't want to write anything yesterday. It was just hard to be home and avoid the coverage. It was, however, a gorgeous day outside - low 70's, not a cloud in the sky. I needed to escape, but I waited for Carol to get home and we went out to Chevy's. I paid for it when I was trying to sleep last night, though. Urp... Today, another gorgeous day, but a little more clouds. Went to Home Depot to buy some lightbulbs for the outside lights. I only had 100 watt bulbs and that was over the rating for the fixtures. There are too many damn lightbulbs to chose from at Home Depot. Tonight, about 9 o'clock, the mosquito abatement truck was going through the neighborhood again. This time we didn't hear it (the generator on the back of the truck was noisy) - we saw the flashing yellow Mars light as he went by. Let's see how that West Nile Virus Tote Board stacks up - great, 314 cases, 13 deaths - both are highest in the nation. Why here?

posted at 10:30 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Getting oiled up

Getting well-oiled at Jiffy Lube
Since we're taking a trip next week (hey... I haven't told you about that yet, have I? I'll tell you later in the week...) I brought the car in for an oil change, change the wipers, fix a busted turn signal, top off everything, etc. at the local Jiffy Lube. Glad I did - I was a bit overdue (by about 7,000 miles)

posted at 04:17 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Monday, September 09, 2002

Not crunchy

Another treatment from TrueGreen - ChemLawn
Well, my lawn is no longer brown and "crunchy" as Carol would say. The rain that we seem to get once a week has turned the lawn nice and green and lush. Of course, that's helped by regular treatments from TruGreen - who happen to be outside right now applying... something. We were under contract for the year, so they come out regularly and do things to the lawn - fertilize, grub treatments, etc. Hopefully we can afford another year of that.

posted at 11:23 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Sunday, September 08, 2002

White Sox 7 - Indians 6

Chicago White Sox Cleveland Indians Today's Promotion - Night Lights from ComEd Gary watching me take a picture of the empty stands Attendance worse than yesterday - 15,067 Willie Harris playing shifted in short right for Jim Thome Aaron Rowand laying down a bunt Something's up - GM Kenny Williams in owner Jerry Reinsdorf's suite
Back at Comiskey. The Indians haven't had a 4-game sweep of the Sox since 1948. Great. It could happen today. The weather is hotter and hazier than yesterday. The park is emptier than yesterday - 15,067 paid. The game starts similarly - The Sox lead 2-0, only to go down 4-2, and the next thing you know, we're losing 6-3. Bottom of the 9th, 2 on, 2 out - who comes to the plate? Frank Thomas. This guy has done nothing this year. A DH with a .245 average. I can't remember the last time he's done anything in a clutch situation - strikeouts, ground outs, pop outs. What does he do? 3-run home run to tie it! Magglio Ordonez gets on base, and then Joe Crede - with two strikes against him - singles home Mags. Sox win 7-6! No sweep! And they gain a game on Minnesota

After the game, the Sox released Royce Clayton. So that's why Kenny Williams was hanging around in Jerry Reinsdorf's suite...

posted at 09:45 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Saturday, September 07, 2002

White Sox 2 - Indians 4 (Oh, and Gracie, Greeks and B&B)

Gracie looks a bit confused Gracie is ready to go
Time to pack-up Gracie. She looked a bit confused this morning, almost like she knew something was up but couldn't figure out what it is. But, then again, I think that Gracie's just not wired right. We got her packed up in the car and she just wouldn't settle down. She also didn't seem to recognize the neighborhood around my parents house. Odd. We got there and as soon as we walk into their house, she went nuts. Chelsea and her started wrestling as soon as they saw each other, like they missed it other. We couldn't stay long, since it's a baseball day and Fox has the coverage, so it's an early start.

Chicago White Sox Cleveland Indians Today's Promotion - White Sox Baseball Hats by PrimeCo Season Ticket Holder Gift - Nellie Fox Bobble Head Doll Just because we've won doesn't mean we don't still buy Sox Split tickets from our guy - Joseph Poor attendance - 16,622 Stadium Organist Nancy Faust had to leave the door open because of the heat The Little Pink Guy from PrimeCo

At Comiskey, it's time to play the Cleveland Indians again. Seems like we just saw them, but that was back at the beginning of July. I mentioned back then how I didn't like their fans, but they didn't show up to cheer their team. This time, nobody showed up to cheer either team. The place was empty - 16,622 paid. It was hot and humid. We had to drink lots of fluids to stay on top of things. The shade didn't get to us until 2 o'clock, which is at least earlier than in June/July when it's 3 o'clock. Anyway, Carlos Lee had a home run, but that was it for the team - Sox lose 4-2. Sad. Jon Garland didn't look too good, not like the complete game shutout I saw him pitch a few weeks ago.

The new "bowl" rises out of Soldier Field It's just not right seeing the steel rising above Soldier Field
After the game, we went up Lake Shore Drive to Wrigleyville. I'm not getting used to seeing the construction at Soldier Field. It just doesn't look right. The seating "bowl" is huge. It looks pretty damn awkward, sort of out of place. Anyway, we went to pickup our buddy Barry. We met Buffy up in Evanston to go to the Evanston Century 12 to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding. What an absolute fun flick! A Must see! The other cool thing is that it was only made for about $5 Million, and it was the 2nd highest grossing film this weekend! I didn't know it was filmed in Chicago.

Outside the Davis Street Fishmarket Inside the Davis Street Fishmarket
After the movie, we went to the Davis Street Fishmarket. OK, this was a delight (I'm starting to sound like James Lipton...). I really loved this place. Loved the service, loved the food. Our girls got roses on the way in (have no idea why). Need to go back again. Highly recommended. Between the movie and dinner, it was a great evening. When we got home and picked-up the mail, we noticed we got out check from White Sox Charities! Thank ou again, Elvis! Except for the Sox losing, it really was a great day.

posted at 09:39 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Friday, September 06, 2002

Confused dog

Garcie and Indy checking each other out
Trying to watch the White Sox game tonight. Gracie and Indy are checking each other out - both of them really want to play with each other, not realizing how bad of an idea that really is. Gracie actually has been a good dog this week. Indy has only been out about 2 hours this week, so she's a little frantic. Tomorrow, Carol and I drop off Gracie at my parents' house on the way to the White Sox - Indians game. Diane will finally be back from her road trip out west on Monday, and she'll pick up Chelsea and Gracie when back in town. (Diane should be at Jackson Lake Lodge in the Grand Teton National Park tonight, if she's still on schedule.)

posted at 09:24 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Thursday, September 05, 2002

Oh, oh...

Carol & Gracie asleep... where do I go? Carol asleep, remote in hand
I want to go to sleep. I can't. Gracie has decided to fall asleep on my side of the bed. On top of that, Carol has fallen asleep, remote still in hand, with her arm sprawled over my side of the bed as well. At least the TV is on TLC... there have been times when she's fallen asleep, and her thumb would twitch a bit and God knows what station would be on when I do to bed...


posted at 10:14 PM | Link | Mundane | 2 comments § |
Dog days

Gracie lounging around Hey! Get that thing outa my face! Hey! I'm tryin' to sleep here! Finally catching some z's
So far, all Gracie wants to do is sleep. Everywhere. Anywhere. Last night, she was on the bed with Carol and me - until about 1:15 when I couldn't get comfortable and sort of pushed her around a bit to get her out of my way. Damn, she's heavy.

posted at 10:11 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Monday, September 02, 2002

The Gracie Experiment

Chelsea trying to get comfortable Nope.. not getting comfortable... Gracie trying to figure out where she's going Carol on an evening walk with Gracie
Went to my parents' house for lunch. Since my sister is on her driving trip out west, the dogs are at my parents' house. So, to give them a break from two dogs, we're taking Gracie until Saturday. Oh, boy... this is going to be an interesting week. Gracie was eating upholstery on one of my parents' living room chairs. I'm going to have to watch her this week. I hope this works out.

posted at 05:09 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Sunday, September 01, 2002


Debbie and Carol Neighbors Mickey, Betty & Kenny TJ and Greta Some of the MANY flowers in the back yard The backyard party Kenny and Barry next door (at Kenny's) cookin' up dinner Mmmm... Scala Italian Sausages... Burger down! Burger down!
Time for a backyard barbecue - at Barry & Buffy's. I love these kind of parties, where you just sit around, talk, and eat. For hours. Wow. A very good time with everybody. Too bad the mosquitos showed up.

posted at 10:38 PM | Link | Friends § |

Saturday, August 31, 2002

Season Ticket Party

Lots of dads and kids playing catch in the outfield That turf is AMAZING... Throwing in the White Sox bullpen Relief Pitcher Kelly Wunsch's name on the bullpen fence Visitor's locker room at Comiskey Scouting on Sox pitcher Jim Parque
After tense moments of not speaking for what seems like hours, Carol and I drove to Riverside to pick up Janie & Gary and go to the annual White Sox Season Ticket Holder party. Nothing new, same old stuff. The only plus is being able to walk on the field. Roger Bossard has taken such good care of that grass - I heard recently that no weeds can grow in there because the turf is so think that a weed can't root. It's wonderful. Drove right back home afterward (quietly) and just sacked out for a while.

Oh, an interesting thing in the visitor's clubhouse: In the coaches' room, there's a whiteboard that had scouting information about Monday night's game (Toronto against the Sox). Jim Parque pitched that game (only lasting 2-2/3 innings and losing 8-4). The comments on the board were accurate and brutal. The synopsis to the Toronto team: "Soft tossing LHP, below avg. stuff! Picks alot. Make him elevate, get good pitches to hit, stay focused up middle other way." Another comment on his 2-seam fastball: "81 - 83 (mph) B.P. (batting practice) Type". Ouch.

posted at 04:49 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Friday, August 30, 2002

Where are my feet...

My old sunglasses My new RayBan sunglasses
I've been walking around the house with my new sunglasses on, trying to get used to this bifocal thing. I hate it. I never knew how much I've looked around without moving my head. Now I have to move my head constantly to keep things in focus. It sucks. I need to take these out on the road to see what driving is like. Think I'll go get something to eat...
Update... Well, I didn't hit anything, but these things are going to take some time to get used to. I'm just not used to having things in my field of view that are out of focus until I physically turn my head and line up the correct perscription for the distance to the object.

posted at 11:55 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Eye yi yi

I don't care - the equipment looks scary Are they dilated enough for ya? Hey! Look! It's Marcellas from Big Brother 3!
It's been four years, and I've been having trouble reading - time to get new glasses. I went to LensCrafters at Woodfield to get my eyes checked and get some new glasses. I have never had my eyes dilated, so that was also in the cards tonight. That, and the god awful retinal photography that really does blind you for a while. Turns out my distance vision hasn't changed at all - it's just that closeup reading part. Think the amount of time I've spent in front of a computer all these years has taken its toll? The exams and doctor visit went well. the doctor put the drops in my eyes to dilate them and I went out to the front of the store to pick out my frames. I really didn't want to change my regular glasses too much, so I picked out a similar frame. For sunglasses, though, I wanted a change. I picked out some RayBan frames and made sure that I could get the lenses with the bifocal no-line thingy and they could, so I got my order in. I could get the sunglasses tonight (cool!) but my regular glasses would take at least 10 business days (bummer!) due to the coating I wanted on them. I went back to the doctor so he can scope of the back of my eyes while they're dilated. Then it was off to Stir Crazy Cafe for dinner while the sunglasses where finished.

On the way to Stir Crazy, we were passing a Gingiss Formalware place when I noticed this really familiar face staring at me from a poster. It took a while to figure it out, but it was Marcellas from Big Brother 3! After dinner, back to pickup my sunglasses and have Carol drive us home - having your pupils dilated is a trip and I don't think I could have handled the headlights in the dark on the way home.

posted at 08:32 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

White Sox 8 - Blue Jays 0

Chicago White Sox Toronto Blue Jays Not much of a crowd - 12,972 Joe Crede warming up on deck A whole group of scouts watching the players A scout using a radar gun on John Garland's pitches Magglio Ordonez's 2nd home run of the game Jon Garland pitched a complete game shutout Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe... I think... Sox win 8-0 The concourse empties out after the game - sort of The empty park. Was this the last game?
What an absolutely gorgeous day for a baseball game. I am so happy that I decided to go. Of course, I look like a lobster right now. At least the sunburn isn't hurting - yet. Not much of a crowd - 12,972. Saw something I have never seen before, but it's probably because I don't normally sit behind the plate - there was a bunch of scouts with radar guns watching Jon Garland and the Toronto relief pitcher Brian Bowles. I know that one of them had a Cubs logo on his polo shirt. Carlos Lee had a home run, and Magglio Ordonez had two home runs. I think I saw former Negro League's pitcher/catcher Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe sitting at the top of my section. I saw him throw out the first pitch on his 100th birthday last month, and I've seen him on TV, sitting in the same location. Anyway, Sox win 8-0. Jon Garland pitched a complete game shutout.

After the game, people didn't leave. They just slowly left, lingering in the seats, lingering on the concourse. These were the people that just didn't belive that this could possibly be the last game of the year if the players strike on Friday. The customer service reps weren't chasing anybody out either. It's as if they understood as well. I just hung out for a while and watch them shut things down. Then I slowly walked down the ramps to my car. I hope the idiots that are negotiating understand what a strike will do to the game. I'm worried.

And like I've said before, it's screwing up my clock.

posted at 05:04 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Sunday, August 25, 2002

White Sox 8 - Devil Rays 3

Chicago White Sox Tampa Bay Devil Rays The lines for autographs are long Infielder Joe Crede and Coach Gary Pettis Outfielder Aaron Rowand, Infielder Willie Harris and Pitcher Damaso Marte Coach Gary Ward, Catcher Mark Johnson, and Pitcher Rocky Biddle Infielder Jose Valentin and Outfielder Carlos Lee Willy Wonka The whole team huddles around Tony Graffanino after his injury Another disgruntled fan
Back at Comiskey for what may be our last game of the season (if there's a strike Friday). (Three days watching Tampa Bay was too much, so we gave away our tickets for yesterday). It was one of the Willy Wonka Kid's day promotions. One of the big things is that the entire team is available for half an hour before the game for autographs. Two or three players station themselves at the bottom of a section and people just line-up and get stuff autographed. The team does this about once a month. Oh, and kids 13 and under pay $1 to get in (day of game only) and they can run the bases (weather permitting) after the game. It's a good promotion, and does bring out the families. The game started out shaky. Tony Graffanino went down in the outfield after backup up a play. He heard something "pop", and the game ground to a halt. he was able to walk off the field after a while, but he was put on the DL. Ouch. Sox win 8-3. I know know how lucky I was on Friday to win the Sox Split Charity Raffle. Friday's pot (that I won) was $3,585, yesterday's was $2,146, today's was $1,643.

posted at 09:37 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Saturday, August 24, 2002

Bobbing in the pool

Diane, Melinda, Buffy and Barry on the deck Diane putting batteries in her new shark Diane taking the shark for a spin in the pool Carol bobbing in the pool The shark in the pool Miller's Country House in Union Pier, Michigan Barry, Buffy, Melinda, Diane and Carol at dinner
A long day, but a good day. We left at 10am to drive into the city. We picked-up our buds Barry & Buffy, and then it was off to Michigan to my sister Diane's house. It looked pretty crummy when the day started, but by the time we got up there the sun was out and was gorgeous. Melinda ran to the butcher and picked up some fresh hot dogs and chicken brats for lunch. Wow. We're going up to Michigan next month for a couple of days and we're going to be bringing coolers and our vacu-sealer and hit the butcher before we leave so we can smuggle some quality meat back to Illinois. Diane's birthday is coming up next week, but she and Melinda will be driving out to Yellowstone and back for a cool road trip, so we brought out birthday gift over early - a Remote Control Shark for the pool! Lots of batteries, though - 4 AA's, a 9 volt for the receiver in the shark, and a 9 volt for the tranmitter (which floats!). And the AA's don't last too long. But the shark was way cool. We played with it all afternoon. For dinner, we drove down Red Arrow Highway into Union Pier to go to Miller's Country House. Very good food - in fact, way better than I had expected. There's something that does defy description, though... the room we were in had large windows that overlooked a garden and woods. During dinner, we looked up, and there was a tree moving in the garden. I mean, moving - like walking across the lawn. Sort of like a performance art piece. Odd. Strange. Weird. After dinner, back to Diane's to pick up our things and then the long drive home, which was traffic-free but with patches of fog. I love going up there.

posted at 11:05 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Friday, August 23, 2002

Thank you. Thank you very much...

Chicago White Sox Tampa Bay Devil Rays Elvis entertainment at Gate 5 Watching an Elvis entertain outside the park Elvis entertainment at Gate 4 Part of the crowd outside Gate 4 Elvis entertainment at Gate 3 The "Shrine" this year wasn't very impressive - probably due to security this year The E-Team flys-in the American Flag during the National Anthem Rob, Peggy and Madison Janie seems to be getting a bit bored during the game HEY! I WON THE SOX SPLIT CHARITY RAFFLE! The Steppin' Out Dads start the after-game festivities Shawn Klush performing after the game Fireworks sponsored by Miller Lite... not enough wind... That's me and Kathy at my surprise 30th birthday party back in January 1987


We were back at Comiskey Park tonight for what is always the strangest promotion night of the year- Elvis Night. Tons of Elvis impersonators - both professional and wanna be. There were three stages outside the park with impersonators performing. At least 5% of the people appear to be wearing Elvis-style sunglasses - with fake sideburns. Before the game, The E-Team - The Elvises of the Sky flew in the American Flag. (I was bummed - the weather was pretty weird and they couldn't jump after the game. They wear electric lighted jumpsuits, just like the Flying Elvises in the movie Honeymoon in Vegas.) The National Anthem was sung by impersonator Rick Saucedo. The only reason that I bring that up is a bit convoluted and "off topic" - over 20 years ago, we went to see a magician (who was a relation to our friend Teri) who was opening for Rick Saucedo. Teri brought her friend Kathy, and we went with my long-time friend Rick. They sort of "hooked-up" that night, got married, had 4 kids, and are still together. And to top it off, Kathy stumbled onto my website this past week (Hi, Kathy!). I'm going to have to find an old picture of us to put with this entry...

Anyway, during the game, there's Elvis trivia on the scoreboard. Some people perform in between some of the innings from on top of the dugouts.

The last time I saw my friend Peggy was two years ago, At Comiskey, on Elvis Night. Tonight, she was back with her husband Rob and daughter Maddie. It was absolutely great seeing them again. I knew they were at the game and went to visit them out in the bleachers. We sat around and talked and ate for an inning or so. Then they came over and visited us (our seats were along the third base side, pretty far down the line).

The weather is oppressive - it's not hot, it's in the low 70's, but the humidity is 94% and there's barely a wind. If feels stifling.

After the game, the Steppin' Out Dads do a little routine, then Shawn Klush ( a good impersonator) does a concert behind home plate. The E-Team was supposed to do their jump but FAA regs wouldn't let them. The night end with fireworks sponsored by Miller Lite.

Now, let's flash back a few innings... the White Sox have a charity raffle called Sox Split during the weekend games. Basically, you buy a ticket. The winner gets half the pot with the other half going to White Sox Charities. We actually won $804 back on June 28, 1998. Carol and I are both gamblers, so we always buy Split tickets when we go to the game. You never know.

Guess what? Yep, WE WON AGAIN. WE WON $3,585 !!!!! Thank you White Sox! Thank you Elvis!

Oh, the game? Sox lost 8-2. Against Tampa Bay. Against Tanyon Sturtze, who was 2-13 before the game and wound up pitching a complete game! We suck. One cool thing - Joe Crede hit the 1,000 home run by a White Sox player in new Comiskey Park (Frank Thomas was the first against Baltimore on April 22, 1991).

posted at 11:27 PM | Link | White Sox | 2 comments § |

Sunday, August 18, 2002

Chihuly in the Park

Carol, Buffy and Barry in the Monet Garden at the Garfield Park Conservatory A bee on a sunflower in the Monet Garden The line outside the Garfield Park Conservatory Tango Sur on Southport An odd sign on a toilet in the window of Lindstedt Plumming on Southport
Hmmm... Had a nice day, but feeling a bit funky right now... Carol and I drove into the city today to go see our buds Barry & Buffy. Why was it a mess? Well, they do live in the Wrigleyville area and it was less than an hour until gametime, and on top of that was the Chicago Air & Water show. When we were still on the Northwest Tollway, a C5-a Galaxy took off from O'Hare to go and fly in the show. It's the largest military aircraft that we have. Cool. Then, when going down Addison, we saw the F-117 Stealth Fighter. Even cooler. So, when we finally finished our struggle to get to B&B's house, we picked them up and headed to the Garfield Park Conservatory to see the Chihuly in the Park: A Garden of Glass exhibit by Dale Chihuly. I had gone to see it back in June with my Mom & sister, and I thought that Carol and B&B would enjoy it. It was a glorious day outside, and we had a great time at the exhibit. We got there at the right time, though (about 1:30) - when we came out about and hour and a half later, the line to get in wrapped around the building!

We drove back to B&B's house - fortunately I was able to use their garage for parking, as the game was still going on and there wasn't a parking spot to be had anywhere near their house. My sister Diane called while we were there watching baseball on TV. She was driving back from Michigan and was passing the Gary airport when the Blue Angels took off from the airport and buzzed her car! Sure enough, within 10-15 minutes, we can hear them in the show at the lakefront. We went out on the front porch for a while and talked, and watched the planes buzz the neighborhood. Even cooler yet.

The four of us left and walked up Southport to go to dinner at Tango Sur - an Argentinean steak house. Debbie met us for dinner. It was another great time at dinner (there's no doubt about it - the 5 of us really enjoy food).

We were on the road back home at around 7 o'clock. That's when I was starting to feel funky. I need to go to bed...

posted at 08:55 PM | Link | Friends § |

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Carol - A survivor

Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization
Two years ago today, Carol's life changed, and, in turn, changed my life. We were one month short of our 21st anniversary (!). We've known each other for 25 years. During that entire time, we were never really sick. Never was in a hospital (well, I had surgery on my hand in the mid-80's, but that was just a day surgery thing).

Two years ago today, Carol had a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery.

It was just LCIS - Lobular Carcinoma In Situ. Like the word "just" makes it insignificant. It was good that it was small, and in situ. The doctors kept saying it was "100 percent treatable".

100 percent.

The next sentence contained the words "mastectomy". It was not exactly what you want to hear, and I really fault the doctors for phrasing the entire conversation as "100 percent treatable" and getting your hopes up, when the treatment is a mastectomy. The cancer was in one breast, and LCIS is considered to be Stage Zero. It didn't spread - it was in one specific area.

Of course, we had another option - do nothing. but Carol's mom had died of breast cancer - a cancer that wound up being recurring and going undiagnosed until it was too late. Carol's had that hanging over her head her entire adult life. Doing nothing was not an option for her, she felt. She wanted the fear that she had been carrying to go away. For good. Doing one side made no sense in that regard. It had to be a double.

Carol waiting in the Surgical Pre-Op Area Carol just an hour after surgery Carol going home from the hospital
So, two years ago this morning, we were at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights. Carol sat on the gurney in the Surgical Pre-op Area, her eyes were big like a deer in the headlights. She knew what was going to happen, she accepted it, and she was still a bit freaked out.

I had been in the surgical waiting room with Carol's brother and his wife, my bud Barry and my sister Diane during the surgeries. The surgeon came in to talk to us and reassure us that everything went very well, and very quick (just over an hour) and that the plastic surgeon was now doing his thing. We waited around a bit and sure enough, about two hours later, the plastic surgeon showed up and we talked briefly. She should be out of recovery and on her way to her room. I just had to find her.

I walked into the room alone (after I had found it). She was out but she knew I was there. She said "hi", and just kept sleeping. Well, resting with her eyes closed. She barely moved. It was good to be there and see her. Alone. It makes you realize where you are, where the two of you are. Makes you realize how lucky you both are.

The next few days were amazing to a lot of family and friends. Carol was fine. Better than fine - great. Everyone was shocked on how well she was doing. Everyone. So much so, that Carol's brother and wife were convinced she was in denial. They just couldn't accept how strong she was.

But I could. It was real.

So, life goes on. Here we are, two years later. Carol has had most of the breast reconstruction completed (the rest is "cosmetic"). We're both alive and thriving.

And I'm stronger for seeing how strong my wife has been throughout all of this.

My flower for Carol in the front seat of her car
I hope she finds the flower I left for her on the front seat of her car before she sits on it. I hope she knows how much I love her and how much I actually look up to her.

posted at 09:09 AM | Link | Family | 1 comment § |

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Rainy chauffeur

Well, I'm back in the middle of chauffeuring my parents to Loyola. Dad has a CT Scan scheduled for today, some blood work, and an appointment with the speech therapist.

Right now, I'm in the CT waiting area being tortured. in the corner of the small room is a TV set, blaring Jenny Jones. It's one of those shows with teens out of control - this one is about girls whose bodies have developed too soon and are just crazy for sex. Great. All I hear are teens screaming at the booing audience to shutup and bleeping. I don't know how long I can take this.

It was pouring outside. lot's of lightning. It just started in one big downpour as soon as I pulled into the parking garage here. I couldn't see outside of the garage, and the rain was blowing in sideways. It's like it's foreign - I feel like I haven't seen rain in quite a while. Our lawn at home is brown and, as Carol calls it, "crunchy". It's been a hot, dry summer. Today it's dark, windy, and pretty wet.

Thankfully, someone changes the station to a soothing "Ask Martha" instead of the screaming "Jenny Jones". Dad's CT scan is over, and we head over to Rachael, where we go through a whole therapy session on trying to get the best usage of his electrolarynx. They also work on paperwork for getting dad his own electrolarynx. Then it was a quick jaunt over to the lab to get some blood drawn.

The rain lets up (temporarily) at Loyola The Infiniti turns over 55,555 OK, trying to drive in this rain is a bit difficult
The drive home was miserable. It had been pouring the entire time we were inside. Standing water everywhere. From the time we left Loyola to the time I got home after dropping them off was 2 hours and twenty minutes. During that period of time, O'Hare got 1.82" of rain. Oh, another little oddity: My car turned over 55,555 miles.

Symmetry. Catch it.

posted at 06:20 PM | Link | Family § |

Sunday, August 11, 2002

White Sox 6 - Mariners 5

Chicago White Sox Seattle Mariners Today's promotion: Minnie Minoso Bobblehead Dolls The newly unveiled logo for the 2003 All Star Game at Comiskey next July 15 All Star Game merchanise on display at the Hall Of Fame Gift Shop The shower is getting a workout... and coverage WARNING! Cover your ears if you see this man!
Back at Comiskey - game time temperature was 90°. It felt hotter yesterday, but in either case, too damn hot to sit out in the sun. But, nonetheless, that's where we were for the second day in the row. The game was better than yesterday, though. Joe Crede got his first Major League home run. Former Sox James Baldwin, facing his former team for the first time, only lasted 2 2/3 innings. Sox win 6-5.

posted at 10:16 AM | Link | White Sox § |

Saturday, August 10, 2002

White Sox 3 - Mariners 7

Chicago White Sox Seattle Mariners Today's promotion: Travel mugs from SBC Disclaimer on the side of today's promo mugs A young Ichiro fan A dad pointing out Ichiro in right field to his son Ichiro in right field Part of the Japanese press contigent More Ichiro fans taking a smoking break
Back at Comiskey again. I hate Fox games - they start earlier and the breaks in between innings for commercials just makes for a long day. The Ichiro bandwagon rolled into town, and the place with crowded, mostly with his fans, not only Japanese-American but Japanese-Japanese! He has a very large and loyal following, and it's very interesting to watch. I've bitched and moaned about other team's fans coming to the park and being arrogant. these fans are nothing like that. Polite but boisterous. You can't help but be respectful of that. It's always something to see. Last year was the first time we witnessed this - and it was just so interesting. It was amazing how many people had come to the park with bento boxes and coolers, eating sushi (which is just something you don't see around Comiskey). It was a night game last year and there were many more Japanese-lettered signed than this year.

Anyway, the game was great... for 6 innings. Jon Garland was fine, with a 3-0 lead in the seventh and then he was left in just a little too long. We wound up losing 7-3. Frank Thomas, as usual, did nothing for us, going 0-4. He can't do anything in a clutch. I'm not happy with him.

Pepper bothering Gary (that's Carol way on the right)
After the game, we went over to Janie & Gary's for the annual "Chicken Burn" - the title refers to what Gary does to the food on the grill. It's usually the group of people that sit around us at the game, but due to conflicts, it was just the four of us. Gary didn't burn the chicken, and it was a very nice night, just sitting around and talking.

posted at 10:16 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Mmmm... cream puffs...

Junior cattle judging in the Collesium The Wisconsin Cattlemen's Association Steak Stand... outside the cattle judging World famous fresh Wisconsin State Fair Cream Puffs Mmmmm... cream puffs... The street along the grandstand at the state fair Sand castle building inside the brand new Wisconsin Exposition Center The Milwaukee Marching Grannies during the daily parade Melinda trying out some weird sinus massage thing A big crowd at the pig races Diane & Melinda - um... the sign on the barn is not a comment...
I went to the Wisconsin State Fair today with my sister Diane and Melinda. What a great time. Now, yes, I realize that I don't live in Wisconsin, but let's face it - Milwaukee is closer to Chicago than Springfield. Melinda, even though she's from "down state", has never been to a State Fair, so this was going to be her indoctrination. We made sure we went through the animal barns (damn - those Belgian and Percheron horses are big) and then of course we had to sample food, which at this State Fair is huge. Oh, and we had to get some fresh Wisconsin State Fair Cream Puffs. Yum. And what's a fair without the exposition halls with all of the... um... crap that's being sold. The weather was great - high 70's, sunny. We caught the Pig Races on the way out. I enjoy going to the fair and I enjoyed being with them.

posted at 07:22 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Zip it!

Kevin Spacey as Dr. Evil in "Austinpussy" movie at the beginning of Goldmember
I just got back from the AMC 30 in South Barrington. I wanted to see a movie that Carol didn't want to see, so I caught a matinee of Austin Powers in Goldmember. I love walking into a theater just before the trailers start running and be the only person in the theater. Total number of people at the movie (including me): 6. The opening "Movie-within-a-movie" segment was hysterical. The rest of the movie really did have it's moments, but felt too much like there were specific gags just sewn together. There were two ladies sitting in the row behind me that I thought were going to wet themselves during the movie because they were laughing so hard. (It was funny, but not that funny).

posted at 03:58 PM | Link | Movies § |

Saturday, August 03, 2002

Arlington Park

Empty stands before the start of today's races Betting area inside Arlington The automated machines seem to be very popular The horses leave the paddock area A good crowd for today's races Sigh... another loser Irish dancers for today's Irish Fest Trumpeting the horses to the track The start of the 8th race
Well, I'm back from Arlington Park. I love the facility, but I had a bad day. Only won one bet (though I didn't bet a lot of the races, and left after the 8th). Good crowd. Lots of kids, though. I think too many. I felt that I wasn't prepared, even though I downloaded a bunch of stuff from Equibase. I just wasn't motivated to use the information, so... shame on me. I guess I just want output from handicapping software instead of pouring over statistics and charts.

posted at 05:09 PM | Link | Horse Racing § |

Sunday, July 28, 2002

White Sox 4 - Royals 2

Chicago White Sox Kansas City Royals Today's promotion: Carton Fisk bobblehead dolls sponsored by Dominick's and Pepsi Something Sox fans don't see - long lines two hours before the game Janie poses with her Pudge bobblehead Keeping cool in the Stadium Club
It was going to be a hot one today, and it's back to Comiskey. I mean hot, like reports of a heat index around 105. We have to get to Comiskey early today, because of the giveaway - Carlton Fisk Bobblehead Dolls. Bobbleheads always draw fans to the park and sure enough today was no exception. Two hours before the game the parking lots are almost full and there are lines all around the outside of the park. We had called Janie and had her meet us outside the Stadium Club entrance - we were not going to kill ourselves sitting outside, so it was definitely a day to stay cool in the Club. The disadvantage of being there is that it's hard to keep track of the game - it's noisy, smokey and you just feel "disconnected". After the game, I looked up at the scoreboard and saw a graphic that I don't ever remember seeing - animation of a broom sweeping. Yes, the Sox had swept the series against the Royals 4-2. Nothing really special happened during the game. Sometime after the game, the Sox traded Kenny Lofton to the Giants for minor league pitchers Felix Diaz and Ryan Meaux. So, the fire sale continues...

posted at 09:42 PM | Link | White Sox | 2 comments § |

Saturday, July 27, 2002

White Sox 9 - Royals 1

Chicago White Sox Kansas City Royals The happy couple George and Becky The bridal party taking pictures at the top of the section Congratulations on the scoreboard A hot night at the ballpark Tonight's promotion: Fireworks sponsored by Miller Lite
Driving to Comiskey today was rough - there was a ton of traffic because of Venetian Night at the lakefront. It was a hot night - game time temperature was 90°, but the official box score said 84°. After the bottom of the first inning, we're sitting in our seats and we head this hearing and applause coming from the top of the next section over. We turn around to see... a bride and groom walking down the aisle! Their whole bridal party was there, parents, everybody. The bride still had her bouquet, but even though the groom was in his tux, it was topped-off with a Sox baseball cap. Then, in true baseball fan form, the groom sat down next to someone in the next section so that he could fill out his scorecard for the plays he missed in the first inning!!! The game wound-up being a blowout - the Sox won 9-1 over the Royals. Magglio Ordonez had 2 homeruns, Tony Graffanino and Aaron Rowand each had a homerun, and Carlos Lee had 2 doubles. It was our first time seeing Willie Harris. He didn't do much tonight (1 for 4 and an error). But ever since he joined the team, they're doing well (they won 10-2 last night). Coincidence?

posted at 11:41 PM | Link | White Sox § |
Carol's 70th (not that Carol)

Carol's Brthday Cake Donated toys for Toys For Tots (minus the keyboard) Carol's daughter-in-law Patty, husband John, and son Terry
This morning, we went to a 70th birthday party of our "Penalty Box Police" buddy, Carol. It was held at a banquet hall in Des Plaines, and the bar opened at 11 am. We didn't know what to expect, but we hooked-up with some of our other Chicago Wolves buddies and we had a great time. Carol asked that, in lieu of presents, to bring donations for Toys for Tots. By the time everybody showed-up, there was a mound of toys, including 2 bikes. The lunch was good, and afterward, Carol's son entertained with music and singing. Actually, it was weird because he was singing a bunch of songs from the 60's and 70's and I knew the lyrics to every single song. It's amazing that the human brain can store that crap for such a long period of time only to be able to spew it out accurately decades later. After the entrainment, Carol & I had to make tracks out of there to go home, change, and get on the road to Comiskey.

posted at 11:37 PM | Link | Friends § |

Friday, July 26, 2002


Indy pretending to be a meatloaf
Indy was looking cute again this afternoon. I had to post another pic. She's being a brat, though, and will be spending a bit more time in her condo tonight.

posted at 05:50 PM | Link | Bunnies § |
Fresh concrete

Mmmmm... fresh concrete... Fresh road, waiting for new traffic How soon is "soon"?
Well, Higgins is looking pretty good, and I'm expecting to have the traffic flipped onto the new concrete in another week or so. The problem - that only signals the halfway mark. Between that and all of the temporary traffic lights along Gold Road, I don't have a clue what the construction people have up their sleeves.

posted at 01:48 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Thursday, July 25, 2002

One less second baseman

Ray Durham on Fuji Film Photo Day - May 26, 2002
Nooooooooo!!!!! The White Sox traded Ray Durham to Oakland (along with cash!) for minor league pitcher Jon Adkins. They called-up Willie Harris to replace Ray-Ray. Damn. Sounds like GM Kenny Williams is starting to throw in the towel. Ray had the second-longest tenure with the Sox.

posted at 08:44 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Penalty Box Police baseball

Alexian Field - home of the Schaumburg Flyers The view from behind the plate View from the 3rd Base side The Flyer's mascot Bearon signing autographs Tonight's promotion: Logo baseballs sponsored by Chipotle Part of the Penalty Box Police group at the game A plane landing at Shaumburg Airport passes over the field Hardly anybody stayed to watch the last at-bat Closing up Alexian Field after the game
Tonight, Carol & I went to the Schaumburg Flyers game with a whole bunch of "Penalty Box Police" friends from the Chicago Wolves games. The park is just a few miles from the house, so it's easy to get there (it also shares the Metra train station parking lot). the Flyers are part of the independent Northern League (which means there's no affiliation with Major League Baseball). The Flyers lost to the Joliet Jackhammers 9-3. It was a long, boring game. The Flyers stank. Period. It was cool, though, to see a certain rookie pitch - Tommy John III - grandson of Tommy John. Cool. The Jackhammer's manager/DH was Matt Nokes, who played for the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees. Other than that, a bunch of no names going nowhere. They just love to play the game. The crowd was somewhat small - 4,168. Hardly anybody stayed until the end - the Flyers were just getting whipped and the game was a bit long (3:12). The first 3 innings took about and hour and 10 minutes. But, it was a nice facility and it was fun seeing the Wolves gang again. We'll be going to another game next month with people from Carol's work. Hopefully it'll have a better outcome. (Box score)

posted at 10:41 PM | Link | Flyers § |

Monday, July 22, 2002

Cute bunny

Indy trying to snooze in front of the couch Indy just being snoozy Whoa! Back that thing up! I'm still trying to figure out why her whiskers got crooked I'm ready for my closeup, Dad!
No particular reason for this post... Indy just looked too cute when she was running around tonight, so I thought I'd torture bother her with the camera.

posted at 07:56 PM | Link | Bunnies | 1 comment § |

Saturday, July 20, 2002


The main entrance at the Bristol Renaissance Faire The Piccadilly Parasol Shoppe Some of the merchandise on the walls of The Piccadilly Parasol Shoppe Chelby completes a sale of a nice blue cotton parasol Damian and Chelby walking the Faire Mmmmm... orange sorbet in an orange! Broon escaping from a straightjacket high above the crowd Kaminari Daiko 4-time Grammy nominated The Rogues The Consorte Bella Donna lady madrigals The Friends Of The Faire private garden The Queen
Today, Carol & I went somewhere we haven't been in almost 20 years - the Bristol Renaissance Faire. In fact, the last time we were there is was still called King Richard's Faire. We actually went up to surprise our friends Chelby and Damian who are selling their ware up there. If you've been reading this blog, you may have known that I was making some parasol frames for them or their shop - The Piccadilly Parasol Shoppe. It was nice to surprise them and see the finished products that they are selling. We didn't want to disturb them too much, so we went around and listened and watched the entertainment, ate (a lot - and it's not just that old turkey leg foods anymore!) and went window shopping. There a lot of good crafts up there. The whole thing is bigger and better than the last time we were up there. We walked a lot - and it's all up and down dirt and uneven paths, so it was a good workout just to walk. Anyway, it was a good time and we're glad we went up there.

posted at 08:01 PM | Link | Friends | 1 comment § |

Friday, July 19, 2002

Carol -20

Great... new traffic patterns at Golf & Higgins...
So, I was out and about this afternoon, looking for a few things. I noticed that the road construction is changing things around next week. That should screw-up traffic for a few days, at least.

ALRIGHT!!! Green River at White Hen!!!
Went to the White Hen in the neighborhood and was ecstatic that I found Green River in the cooler!!! I love this stuff - it caffeine-free (good for late-night drinking, when you don't have to be awake). You just don't find this stuff everywhere.

Carol's Weight Watchers beads - 20 pounds worth!
Carol just got home - her streak is broken. For the past 13 weeks, Carol has lost weight at each of her Weight Watchers weigh-ins. She's now lost 20.4 pounds! (She's upset that she was weighed-in on a different set of scales today that showed her up .2 pounds, breaking her streak). The woman that runs her meetings has this bead-thing, where you get a bead for each pound you lose. Carol strung together 20 of them and they're on the refrigerator as a reminder. (I guess the leader got a kick out of what one of Carol's co-workers did - when she gained a pound she put a bead back! Apparently, nobody had done this before.) Her whole group from her office has lost 157 pounds between 7 people as of this past week). Way to go Carol! I'm proud of ya!

posted at 04:21 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Monday, July 15, 2002

Project Management from Above

Joe (up front) teaching project management
So, after spending a long day traveling and watching baseball, I had to roll out of bed early (not as early as yesterday) and pretend I was a commuter again. I hopped on Metra and to the train downtown. My buddy Joe let me sit in on a Project Management class he was teaching for his company. I felt like I was exercising mental muscles that I haven't used in a very long time. It was an all day lecture (he even made me do the classroom team exercises!), with lunch. It was a great class. Reminded me of the times we worked together back at Brunswick. It was a bit weird being a "guest" in a class of 18 people, the rest being actual employees of the company. Project Management has always been my weakest skill. This helped me a bit.

The view of Millennium Park and Grant Park froom Joe's office Aon Center Earth from Above exhibit at Millennium Park Earth from Above exhibit at Millennium Park Earth from Above exhibit at Millennium Park Earth from Above exhibit at Millennium Park - a photo of the World Trade Center Commuters trying to catch a train at Union Station
After hanging around in Joe's office for a bit (with a very nice view of Millennium Park), I decided to start my journey back. I walked to Union Station because I wanted to stop by Millennium park to see the Earth from Above exhibit that everyone has been raving about (especially Dawn at Wow. This was really something to see. It's not just the individual pictures, which are from around the globe and very interesting to see, but it's the entire collection of the images that was so interesting. I must have spent an hour over there just looking around. Well, that and buying some postcards in the gift shop. Then, the long walk to Union Station, and the long ride home (that was lengthened by "switch problems). Feels long a long two days. I'm not used to this!

posted at 07:37 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Sunday, July 14, 2002


Janie, Jeff, and Gary on our flight to Detroit Ah... the way I like my flights - Empty! A Southwest jet trying to cut in front of us Look! Midway! (MDW) Look! Detroit! (DTW)
Carol and I get up early, drive to Riverside to pickup Janie & Gary, and then it's off to Midway Airport, where we meet Jeff and we're on our way to Detroit. I've never flown on Southwest before, and getting an "A" boarding pass, I'm told, is good, but it doesn't matter - plane is empty. The flight is really short - just barely enough time for the complimentary juice & coffee service. The Detroit airport (DTW) is... well, let's just say, now that Midway has started it's remodeling, this airport is the pits. We get on the Hertz shuttle to get our Crown Vic and drive into the city.

A main entrance at Comerica Park Gary, Janie and Jeff outside Comerica Park Unusual gargoyles on the outside of the ballpark The back of the scoreboard at Comerica Park
Finding Comerica Park was actually a bit difficult - you can't see it from a distance. Heck, you can't see it a block or two away. It's tucked into a small area downtown. We got to the park pretty early - somehow we lost sight of the fact that the game started at 2:05 (we thought 1:05). So, we slowly walked around the outside of the park to see what it looked like.

The exclusive Tiger Den seating area above the Infield Box seats The view from the left centerfield seats at Comerica Park The exclusive Tiger Club in right field The scoreboard at Comerica Park - currently the largest one in the majors One of the tigers on top of the Comerica Park scoreboard Sculptures on the concourse along the left centerfield wall Tigers "Walk of Fame" along the concourse at Comerica Park Big Cat Court, a food court at Comerica Park The Big Cat Court food court from above The tigers on the carousel at the Big Cat Court View of the field at Comerica Park from the upper deck The Brushfire Grill picnic area and 50-foot ferris wheel
We went in as soon as the gates opened, and proceeded to walk around the park. The food selection was a bit pitiful. It wasn't until later did I find the better food at "Big Cat Court", and that made things better, but within the normal stands it was a bit plain & boring (though I had a Kielbasa that was very tasty).

Carol cooling-off in Tigers Den seats behind our "real" seats Our group at the park - Gary, his sister Marty & husband Harry, and Janie & Jeff
Our seats were 28 rows behind the plate - great view, but in the sun all through the game. This caused a major problem for Carol, who got what seems to be minor heatstroke even before the game started. She had to sit in a different area in the shade and we had to help her out with wet towels, lots of water, and some ice cream to help her cool down. She was better by about the 4th inning, but we kept in the shade for the whole game.

View from behind our seats at Comerica Park Carlos Lee swinging away
The game itself was OK. It looked like the Sox were going to lose again, but Carlos Lee had two homeruns, and then Jose Valentin hit a triple in the eighth that scored two and then scored himself when the throw to third went wild (sort of an in-the-park homerun, but not really). Sox win 6-4.

Pegasus and the Greektown Casino
After the game, we walked (!) over to Greektown to have dinner at Pegasus. Well, I wasn't hungry after being out there all day, so Jeff and I took a walk through the Greektown Casino while the others ate dinner. It was weird being in Detroit and being in a land-based casino. It was a nice place, two floors - larger than I thought it would be. Sunday afternoon, almost every single table game we saw were $10 tables. I think we saw one $15 table.

Janie going down I-94 to the airport Waiting for a gate at Midway
Back to the restaurant, the group finished up, and then it was off to the airport. This time we all got "B" boarding passes - not a good omen. Sure enough, the flight home was packed. We got in 10 minutes early, and had to wait 20 minutes for a gate. Then we drove Jeff home, drove Janie & Gary home, and finally drove home ourselves. A very long day. Would we do it again? You bet!

posted at 10:06 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Saturday, July 13, 2002

Gorgeous day for some bulls

Chelsea trying to take a nap Hey! I'm trying to sleep here!
GORGEOUS day outside. Did nothing all day (watched Big Brother feeds for a while and posted some transcripts). Drove to my parents for dinner. The Northwest Tollway is getting lanes reconfigured again during reconstruction. Good thing - construction is half over! Bad thing - construction is only half over. The new lane configurations typically throw off traffic for days. We'll see how it goes.

Back home, I'm watching the Running of the Bulls from Pamplona on ESPN2. Strange event, but it's a car wreck (or in this case, bull wreck) - you can't help but to watch!

Tomorrow is going to be interesting - Carol and I along with our White Sox Season Ticket Buds Janie, Gary, and Jeff are flying to Detroit to go to Comerica Park to see the White Sox play the Tigers. Sox have lost three in a row to the last place Tigers, and I'm not looking forward to the game itself, but we're going to see the park (We love seeing new ballparks. Janie & Gary have seen almost all of the new ones). We fly up there in the morning and fly back at night. Can't wait to see how the day turns out!!!

posted at 09:43 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Saturday, July 06, 2002

White Sox 7 - Indians 3

Chicago White Sox Cleveland Indians Today's promotion: Dog Tags from Mountain Dew Mmmmm... Hot Dogs, Polish, and onions... mmmmm... Bull riding in center field for White Sox Extreme Day Snap! Crackle! Pop! - Part of Kellogg's Kids Week Getting a beer from "The Mole 2: The Next Betrayal" player Lisa
What a gorgeous day! It never did rain. There were some clouds for a while, but it turned into something pretty nice. Back at Comiskey for a series against the Cleveland Indians. This used to be the one series we used to loathe to go to. When Jacobs Field opened in Cleveland, the games were always sold out. The Sox took out ads in the Cleveland papers to invite people who couldn't get tickets at "The Jake" to come to Comiskey. Well, it filled the place, but God it was awful to sit there with all these Cleveland fans, who just about out-numbered the Sox fans. those days are gone - The Jake is no longer sold out, Cleveland is not in the pennant race and is trading top players, and now Comiskey is not filled with their fans. What a nice day! Game time temperature - 81 degrees. Interesting confluence of promotions today - Kellogg's Kids Week and Extreme Day sponsored by Mountain Dew with rock climbing walls, mechanical bulls, bikes, skateboards... The game was good, too, a nice close give-and-take game (the kind I like). Sox won 7-3.

Merle's Smokehouse in Evanston
After the game, we drove up Lake Shore Drive to Barry & Buffy's (another glorious ride up the drive on a gorgeous day). We decided to do a movie and dinner, so we drove back up to Evanston, to the Evanston Century 12 to see The Bourne Identity. Wow. good flick. Great car chase... in a Cooper Mini!!! (I'd love to get one of those cars). After the movie, we walked over to Merle's Smokehouse for some barbecue. Hey, I was surprised - this was good food and we had great service as well. You know, even though I feel like I'm living in my car the last few days, I really enjoyed today.

posted at 10:32 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Friday, July 05, 2002

A family vacation

Flags and bunting welcoming us to Diane's Sign on Diane's front door Carol cooling her feet and talking to mom Just lookin' up at the trees while sitting on the deck Gracie is perplexed about trying to get a toy Gracie gives up trying to get her toys Diane grillin' up some pork chops, pineapple and corn That's me making parasol frames outside on the deck with my mom Wildlife hangin' around outside The Lighthopuse Premium Outlets Mall in Michigan City, Indiana Chelsea is all excited chasing balls being thrown around in the pool
My eyes are unfocusing, but at least I'm back home. Michigan was really nice. I could sit out on Diane's deck all day and night - as long as it wasn't buggy. I just realized something - this was the first 4th of July that I can recall where I didn't see any fireworks anywhere. There wasn't anything going on around town, and there was nothing to see nearby. Actually, Diane's house is so wooded, we couldn't see anything from there. That's probably one of the reasons I like the place. I love just sitting on the deck and lookin' up at the trees. This morning we took a little side trip - we went to the Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets Mall in Michigan City, Indiana. It appears to be built across the street from a nuclear reactor cooling tower - a very odd experience. Later, when we got back, Diane's friend Sue and her boys came up to spend some time (mostly in the pool). Did I mention how much I like being up there? Oh, another surprise - Dad survived the trip very well. Maybe that will help them think about leaving the house more often.

posted at 06:08 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Sunday, June 30, 2002

White Sox 2 - Cubs 9

Chicago White Sox Chicago Cubs Souvenir stands in the parking lot White Sox Manager Jerry Manuel during batting practice Who's on First, What's on Second, I Don't Know is on Third...
Back at Comiskey. Hot. No, HOT! Game time temperature - 91°. Heat index 103°. Oh, this is bad. On top of that, we've got too many Sox fans getting cocky and bringing brooms into the park, hoping for a sweep in the series. And now there's way too many Cubs fans here today, and they're the mean, venomous ones that I always hate coming into my ballpark. Sure enough, Sox lose 9-2 (but, I have to hand it to Matt Clement - he pitched a great game). Sure enough, security is very active today and there are fights in the stands at the top of our section. Time to leave early to go to my parents for dinner. Too hot, too ugly.

posted at 08:43 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Saturday, June 29, 2002

White Sox 5 - Cubs 4

Chicago White Sox Chicago Cubs A rarity - Sold Out at Comiskey Sammy Sosa getting stretched A popular t-shirt at the park Sox players' wives at the raffle table The shower in left field was getting a workout
Back to Comiskey Park for a weekend series that I always dread - Interleague play against the Chicago Cubs. The game was sold out months ago. It's gong to be hot. It's not going to be fun. I mean, let's face it, both Chicago baseball teams suck right now. Game time is 12:15 for Fox. The parking lot opened 4 hours before game time to accommodate all those tailgaters that can't tailgate at Wrigley since there are no parking lots up there (all the lots that exist are "private"). Gate opened 2 hours before, and that's when we got there. We were successful in avoiding traffic and crowds, but we get inside the park... and there's no batting practice. Great. Nice PR move. get everybody there early and bore them to death. Great. The park fills just before first pitch. It's hot, but fortunately cooler near the lake - 86° at game time (it's going to be hotter tomorrow). The sun is a scorcher. The bottle water vendors are plunging their hands into the ice water that they're carrying and shaking their hands over the crowd to help lure them to buy more water. It's like they're baptizing the fans. Somehow, during the course of the game, there's a healthy give-and-take on the field and even in the stands. The Cubs fans that are here are good, and the Sox fans are on their good behavior around us. It turns out being a great day. It turns out to be the second-highest attendance ever at New Comiskey - 45,942 (yesterday, the first game in the series, was the highest ever - 46,027). Sox Win 5-4. A good day.

Barry loading up the pork chops Talking baseball over the fence with Kenny Debbie, Buffy, and Carol
After the game, it's off to Barry & Buffy's to have a nice barbecue with Debbie. We leave the park, head east to Lake Shore Drive and head north. What a gorgeous day at the lake. People - believe me when I say this - driving north on Lake Shore Drive today reminds me of how beautiful this town is and why I live here. The new "bowl" is starting to take shape above the south rim of Soldier Field. Buckingham fountain looks great, Grant Park is full of people thanks to Taste of Chicago. Tons of people jogging on the bicycle path or riding their bikes... WAIT!!! HEY!!!... THAT WAS DICK BUTKUS THAT JUST DROVE BY ON HIS BICYCLE!!! OK, This is a great Chicago day! Had a nice dinner with B&B and Debbie - Barry grilled-up some pork chops on the grill. It was a very long day, but it felt like a good day.

posted at 11:28 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Thursday, June 27, 2002

Let's go to the zoo, Mom!

Paddleboats on the lagoon in front of Café Brauer Inside the Kovler Lion House A pacing cheetah Hey! You can use a telescope with a digital camera to shoot a sleeping tiger! A Mandrill sitting in the dark inside the Helen Brach Primate House An Aruba Island Rattlesnake in the Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House Penguins inside the Kovler Penguin and Seabird House A Roseate Spoonbill in the McCormick Bird House A zookeeper participating in a behavioral research study on Malayan Sun<br />
Bears A polar bear checking out the delicious children Diane and Mom at the zoo
Time for another family outing. I picked-up my Mom, drove to my sister Diane's house again, and this time we went to the Lincoln Park Zoo. I haven't ben there in at least 20 years. It's a "quaint" zoo. It's really not as big as people think. We had lunch first at Café Brauer and watched the paddleboats on the lagoon. There were a lot of kids in the zoo, mostly from day camps and other organized summer programs. It seemed that anywhere we went, either we couldn't find any of the "larger" animals. They were either all sleeping, or they were just "somewhere else" (they weren't inside a building or outside a building). We went to see the seals - I think there were two. I somehow remember a lot more seals. What's the deal? Now, to be fair, half of the Great Apes were shipped out to do a staged rehab of their enclosures, and all of the elephants, rhinos, and giraffes are gone because they are rehabbing/building a new Regenstein African Journey, and the Farm-in-the-Zoo is all torn up and being rebuilt, so I guess there wasn't a lot to see. While outside the tiger exhibit, I saw some kids playing around one of those 25-cent telescope things that you can use to get close-up views of the big cats. Well, I thought I'd try it and sure enough - it worked! You can use those telescopes with your digital camera! Just Put the camera up to the telescope and zoom in (optical zoom, not digital zoom) and shoot! Cool. I'll have to remember this.

The most entertaining part of the day was watching the polar bears. There was an underwater observations area with a bunch of windows so you can watch the bears swim. There was one bear that was always swimming around the glass. Diane and I were watching him, because he was very active, constantly swimming around. We noticed that he was really looking at some of the people. Then we realized that he was really looking at the children and just passing by the adults. He would even stop and size-up the kids. I even saw him lick the glass by one girl's leg! That's when we realized he thought the kids were seal pups! He was sizing them up as prey! It was, um, entertaining. It was a nice day and we were at the zoo for hours. It was nice being out and walking in the sunshine and looking at the animals. A nice day.

posted at 06:06 PM | Link | Family § |

Wednesday, June 26, 2002


Some assembled parasol frames
I've been spending my spare time making parasols. No really. Parasols. Well, not the whole parasol, just the frames. You see, our friends Chelby & Damian have decided to make parasols, mostly for the Renaissance Faire circuit. The have a shop that opens this weekend at the Bristol Renaissance Faire in Wisconsin, which runs weekends until August 25. They've started the business, Piccadilly Parasol Shoppe, with hopes of traveling around the country next year selling their wares. Well, I'm one of a few people trying to help them out by getting the parasol frames, or carcasses, or whatever you call them, assembled so that the fabrics and accessories can be sewn on them. Hey, they need the help. They want 1,000 made, and I'm only cranking out one every 20-30 minutes... when I don't make a mistake.

posted at 09:47 PM | Link | Mundane | 1 comment § |

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Destructive bunnies, cool chimneys and road construction

Indy seems to like Carol's slippers Inside a part of Galyan's at Streets of Woodfield Weber RapidFire Chimney Starter Installing temporary traffic signals over Golf Road
I came downstairs this morning to an odd little "surprise". Our bunny Indy has been hanging around Carol's slippers lately. Well, apparently Indy has taken to a real liking of the slippers - she's chewed passed the terrycloth covering into the foam rubber. I'm sure carol is not too happy about this. Indy has been acting up lately. It's weird. Actually, she's weird. She's been very demanding of my time lately. She wants her "lovin's" - which is just a very long session of petting. Maybe all of her Live BunnyCam time is too much pressure for her.

Drove back to Galyan's at Streets of Woodfield this afternoon. We're going over to Barry & Buffy's on Saturday after the Sox-Cubs game for a little grilled... something (don't know what yet). Barry needs a new charcoal chimney and I saw them at Galyan's last week, so I picked up one for him and one for me, too. At $10.99 I thought they were a good buy.

The Higgins Road reconstruction is progressing. Last Tuesday they laid new concrete. I guess they're letting it cure before they do anything else. The thing that's bothering me is the installation of temporary traffic signals along Golf Road. According to the Hoffman Estates website, a PDF brochure about the construction says the Gold Road construction isn't until 2003. If that's the case, I'm not understanding the traffic lights.

posted at 03:09 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Sunday, June 23, 2002


Loews Cineplex Streets Of Woodfield Cheap dinner? How about Popcorn Chicken from KFC?
Went back to Streets of Woodfield to go to the Loews theater there. It's not normally a place we go, but we have gift certificates, so this is perfect for being on a budget. We went to see Minority Report. Another great Spielberg picture. What did I like? Everything, but specifically for a film to be set 52 years into the future, the day-to-day technology used was (I think) very plausible (ignoring the existence of "pre-cogs" and the technology to "read" what they "see"). Well, except when I see Ed Witwer (Colin Farrell) sit down at John Anderton's (Tom Cruise) desk/cubicle... and realize that's the last cube/desk I had at marchFIRST!!! I'm not sure about retina scanning from the distances that were shown (like for the custom advertising, which I totally believe will come some day. I even thought the cereal box was pretty cool, too.) So, what do you do for a cheap meal after the movie? Why, popcorn chicken from KFC, of course!

posted at 05:02 PM | Link | Movies § |

Saturday, June 22, 2002

Jane's Wedding

Abigail never made it as flowergirl for the ceremony Richard exchanging vows with Jane during the ceremony The happy couple - Richard and Jane All of the Table Cards had names of golf courses My mom & dad My cousin Kathy & her daughter Sam Richard and Jane's First Dance Father-Daughter dance Ah, smart move! A separate room for the kids! An awake Abigail with mom Myrina
Just crawled back home from my cousin Jane's wedding. Other than the fact it was a great wedding and reception and Jane & Richard looked great. it was really nice seeing people that we haven't seen in decades. We clean-up pretty well! The DJ was OK, but the equipment was crap. The venue was pretty cool, too - the wedding & reception were both at Mia Cucina in Palatine. I think there was actually too much food, but it was good food. I don't know, I don't know what to say. It was a good time - congrats Jane & Richard!

posted at 11:39 PM | Link | Family § |

Thursday, June 20, 2002

The incredible edible egg

Example of Vegetarian eggs Example of Cage Free Vegetarian eggs Example of Organic Cage Free eggs
Carol doesn't let me go grocery shopping with her. Since I don't do it often, when I do have the opportunity to actually stroll up and down the aisles at a store, I'm always lagging behind her with a" Hey! look at that..." or a "Ooooo... that looks gooood....". We were going through a dairy section recently when I saw something that for some reason just made me confused. Eggs. Vegetarian eggs. Ok, some vegans don't eat eggs, right? So maybe that's why I feel "jarred" reading the carton. Vegetarian eggs? Then this week's Time Magazine (June 24, 2002) has one of their great graphics (page 75) demystifying - eggs! Sure enough, Vegetarian eggs are produced by hens whose feed has no animal by-products. OK. Apparently, there's also Natural, Cage Free, Free Range, Organic, and Nutritionally Enhanced eggs as well, making up a total of 5% of all eggs consumed in the U.S. Who knew?

posted at 09:54 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Thursday, June 13, 2002

The "Family Outing"

Dodging raindrops outside the Lincoln Tavern The Lodge room at the Lincoln Tavern Look familiar? The side of the Real World Chicago house/loft Garfield Park Conservatory Dale Chihuly "Peacock Blue Tower" Diane and Mom in the Palm House Chihuly sculpture pieces integrated into a palm tree "Niijima Floats" in the pond in the Fern room Workers hunting for turtles amongst the "Niijima Floats" glass spheres
Today was "Family Outing" day. I drove into the city and picked-up my mom, and then drove to my sister Diane's house in Bucktown. We are spending the day together. The first stop - lunch. We went a few blocks over to a corner bar called the Lincoln Tavern. Typical corner bar. We walk in and go to the back of the bar. There's a few tables there. But Diane doesn't stop - she makes a right after the bar, goes through this little vestibule area and we wind up on the first floor of the three-flat next door! There are tables, a fireplace, and it's decorated like a kitschy hunting lodge. We order lunch. I get a steak sandwich (which was surprisingly good!). When you order a Coke, you get a can and this little glass filled with ice - so little, you can fill it three times before you empty the can!

After lunch, we drive to the Garfield Park Conservatory. There is an exhibit there - Chihuly in the Park: A Garden of Glass by Dale Chihuly. Who is Dale Chihuly? If you have ever been there, he is a artist that designed the ceiling sculpture (called FIORE DI COMO) for the lobby of the Bellagio in Las Vegas. He is an artist that works in glass. I've never been to the conservatory, so I was an interesting walk. But it was really cool (almost like a Easter Egg Hunt) to walk through the whole place to find all of the Chihuly glass sculptures! Some are just out in the open, others hidden behind plants, some floating in water. Some pieces were actually designed for the specific plant and are almost integrated into them. Very cool! The exhibit runs through September 8. If you're in Chicago, this is a unique exhibit that you must see before it leaves.

posted at 05:44 PM | Link | Family § |

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Wobbly Carol

LensCrafters at Woodfield Carol getting measured for her frames Pandemonium at the Victoria's Secret $9.99 bra sale
Off to Woodfield tonight. Carol has an eye doctor appointment at LensCrafters and she's going to be buying glasses afterward. I along for the trip for supervision. She's getting her eyes dilated for the first time tonight, so I thought I had better accompany her. I mean, she could get into trouble wandering the mall by herself. I was apprehensive about doing this tonight. My unemployment situation has started causing a big money situation, and paying for glasses right now doesn't feel right. I just seems that it could be deferred for a while, though the both of us are struggling reading and doing up-close work. We've got coupons and there's $99 sale signs everywhere. Carol does the doctor and dilation thing and comes out a struggles to pick out frames she likes - one regular, one sunglass. The whole thing, appointment, lenses, frames, etc with discounts and coupons comes out to a whopping $788.34!!!!! We walk the mall for the regulation "glasses in an hour" timeframe. I'm stunned and a bit worried. Carol doesn't appear to be too worried. I'm thinking that my turn for glasses should really get deferred for a while.

While we're walking around, Carol still saying "cool" every once in a while when her dilated eyes catch some lights is a display case, when I hear somebody say, "hey! what's going on over there?" I turn to look and it's Victoria's Secret. A sign outside says there's a $9.99 bra sale going on. I've never seen so many women handling so much lingerie before. The place is mobbed. I can't divert my eyes. I'm entranced. Carol pulls me away saying her glasses are ready. Back to LensCrafters, pickup the glasses, get them adjusted, and we leave to go home and watch The Mole.

posted at 07:39 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Sunday, June 09, 2002

Party at Joe's

Joe grillin' chicken John and Darcy and Buffy Joe and Barb John and Darcy John and Darcy and Buffy and Barry
Tonight was a get-together at Joe and Barb's house. Joe was my former coworker and boss at Brunswick - the actual guy that laid me off back in 1998 - but was and still is a friend and, in a way. a mentor (though I've never told him that). Also there - John and Darcy. John is still at Brunswick and retires from there in 2004. All I can remember out of him for almost 10 years was "2004... 2004...". And then, of course, Barry & Buffy. We hung out on Joe's patio all evening. What an absolutely gorgeous night. Warm (a bit too warm while the sun was still out), maybe a gentle breeze every once in a while. We gabbed about everything. Joe grilled up a lot of chicken that Barb had marinated. We get together once or twice a year, and we enjoy our time together. I miss those guys.

posted at 09:18 PM | Link | Friends § |

Saturday, June 08, 2002

White Sox 1 - Expos 2

Chicago White Sox Montreal Expos Jeff and Janie, freshly back from her African Safari Hmmm... seems like it's not dark enough for fireworks... Tonight's Promotion: Fireworks sponsored by E & M Finer Foods
Back to Comiskey Park. Tonight, Barry is with me - Carol was at my cousin Jane's surprise Bridal Shower this afternoon at Cog Hill. First thing we did was to go upstairs to the Stadium Club to watch the Belmont Stakes. It was 70-1 long shot Sarava the winner (a record $142.50 for a $2 bet) - War Emblem didn't get the Triple Crown, finishing 8th (but was in first for a while, after stumbling out of the gate).

Anyway, it's Interleague time again, or as Carol calls it - cross-pollination. The first inning starts good - 3 up/3 down. Then we're up. Kenny Lofton triples to right (Vladimir Guerrero dove to his left and didn't come up with the ball, and Kenny just kept chugging). Ray Durham sacrificed to deep right and scores Lofton. OK, Good start. Frank Thomas strikes out - nothing new. Magglio Ordonez singles to right, Jose Valentin singles to right, Carlos Lee walks. BASES LOADED, Jeff Liefer steps to the plate. What the hell is he doing in the game? Where's Paul Konerko? Must be a lefty-righty thing. Sure enough - strike out. That summarizes what the Sox have been doing for the last month. It looked like we would get to Tomo Ohka, but it never happened. Jon Garland looked pretty good - retiring the first 12 batters. Expos tied it in the 5th. Both teams struggle the rest of the game, trying to do anything. Keith Foulke come in to pitch the 9th. First pitch to Vladimir Guerrero - home run. Thank you, Keith Foulke. He's caused more pain than good for the Sox lately. Bottom of the 9th, Frank Thomas flies out then Magglio Ordonez walks on 4 pitches. OK, we have a baserunner. On the first pitch, Jose Valentin hits into a double play. It's over. Ordonez, again, made no attempt to break it up, like I said during the Yankee game.


posted at 10:32 PM | Link | White Sox § |
Me on the tollway

My first Mirror Project submission - it's just something from back in March that I put up here in my blog.

posted at 09:50 AM | Link | Memes § |

Friday, June 07, 2002

Stir Crazy

Stir Crazy at Woodfield Mall Cookin' up some stir fry at Stir Crazy
Carol came home from work without any dinner plans. I had a hankerin' for some stir fry, so we went to my most favorite place near us - Stir Crazy at Woodfield Mall. I love going there (I love Flat Top Grill, too, but there aren't any out by us - actually I think I like it better, specifically the way they charge for the dishes, except when I was there they were missing one specific ingredient that I must have - water chestnuts). I love being able to pick out exactly what you want in the stir fry. And I always believe in one thing - if you don't like it, it's your fault since you put it together. Had some chicken pot stickers as an appetizer. Carol had garlic chicken, and I had a stir fry with steak and lo-mein noodles plus whatever I can scrounge at the vegetable bar (heavy on the water chestnuts, with a walk through some snow peas, red peppers, green onions and whatever hit me. Yum. We walked around the mall a bit for exercise afterward. That, and Carol had to go Payless Shoes for three pairs of shoes. Sigh.

posted at 07:08 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Thursday, June 06, 2002

Hiya, Peg!

Maddie at Comiskey - August 20, 2000 Maddie and Peg at Comiskey - August 20, 2000
I received an EMail recently that just made me feel warm inside. A former coworker of mine has been reading my blog quite regularly. It was something I hadn't thought about, but she said "I feel like we are still working together and seeing each other everyday." I hadn't thought of a blog giving that kind of connection to people that you used to work with. Even though it's a bit one-way (even though there are options on each post to make a comment for feedback), it feels good to know that there's a connection. On top of it, since Barry is mentioned a bit in my blogging, she's vicariously keeping in touch with him as well. I really enjoyed my time working with Peggy. She's a great woman and a great worker. I've missed her dearly since my time at Brunswick. One of the last times I saw her was at Comiskey Park almost two years ago for Elvis Night. She had her daughter with her, so I snapped some pics. These are for you, Peg! Hope you keep reading.

posted at 01:03 AM | Link | Friends § |

Monday, June 03, 2002

Chicago Wolves 2002 Calder Cup Champions

2002 AHL Calder Cup Chicago Wolves Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Carol and Joe Laura and Joey Lasers, spotlights, fireworks... must be the opening Bob running through the crowd, dispensing High Fives The guys waiting for the period to start Getting ready for the puck drop Carol and Chelby A young fan with a mock Calder Cup Chelby's Mom Carolyn and Edwin Nicole - on duty making the aisles safe Joe talking to Carol - and apparently ignoring his girlfriend A dejected Bob going into the 3rd Period tied 3-3 15,132 fans creating noise to help boost the team The Chicago Wolves win the 2002 Calder Cup Chris ringing her bell after the win John waving Ricky's sign after the win The Wolves celebrating after the win Part of the Penalty Box Police gang - Erin & Scott (foreground) and Chris, Bob and Brad The team and management posing for a group picture with the Calder Cup
Let me start by saying - I'm glad I'm going to the doctor tomorrow to get back on my blood pressure medication! The crowd was even louder, up from 5,022 Thursday and 9,115 Friday to 15,132, the second largest in the 66-year history of the AHL. Steve Maltais get's two goals in the first period only 2:15 apart. It feels good. In the second period, Malts gets another goal for the hat trick. Ooo, this is feeling good. Then Bridgeport scores a goal. And then another. And then another. Crap - it's the end on two periods and it's all tied 3-3. The officials start letting the players go - the penalties are stopping and the crowd is going nuts. Third period - no penalties, also no scoring. We go into overtime, and then something ugly happens. No one sees it because it happens behind the play, but Dallas Eakins is laying flat on his back with his arms outstretched, not moving at all. AT ALL. And Nobody sees him in the corner. NOBODY. The officials never blow the whistle, no team member comes over, play is at the other end of the ice. Pasi doesn't even go over to him. The crowd goes nuts. THEN the whistle blows, and Bridgeport's trainer is first to Dallas with other Wolves team members. The place goes quiet. the team doctors come up the tunnel. Next thing we know, Dallas is up and going back to the bench! No penalties were called. In fact, again, no penalties that period. No scoring that period either! We go into the second overtime. Then, at 2:05 into the second overtime, Yuri Butsayev scores the winning goal and the Wolves win the Calder Cup during their first year in the league. Well, the place went up for grabs at that point. I've never seen so much hugging and high-fives amongst the fans before. The team is going nuts on the ice. Then, of course, the obligatory handshakes. And then the red carpet gets rolled out, a table setup, and the trophies are walked out. Pasi Nurminen is awarded the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the Calder Cup Playoffs' most valuable player. The Calder Cup is then presented to the team captain, Steve Maltais. Then the streamers and confetti rain down, Queen's "We Are The Champions" starts playing, and the team takes turns, passing the cup around player to player to allow them to skate part of a victory lap around the ice and show the fans.

Yes, I know it's only a minor league team, but in a town like Chicago, you grab what you can. And having a cup is, as Martha would say, a "good thing."

posted at 11:49 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Sunday, June 02, 2002

Family birhtdays

Jane, Mom, Diane and Carol gabbing in the kitchen Hanging out on the patio before it got too cold It's Golf Boy! Jimmy doing the grilling Mmmm... sausages... aauuuggghhhllllll... The graduation and birthday girls opening their presents Sam's diploma
We spent the day at my cousin Kathy's house, celebrating Sam's graduation, Alex's birthday, Bethany's birthday, Michelle's Birthday, Nana's birthday... there was a lot of celebrating. It was early in the afternoon, so there was grilling of meat (mmm... meat...). Jimmy bought this great gag gift for Jane & Richard - Golf Boy! It's a remote controlled guy that shoots golf balls. He comes with three clubs - a driver, and iron, and a putter. You can move him in any direction and control the amount of his take-away before the swing. Way cool. He was running all afternoon and was still running when we left.

posted at 06:38 PM | Link | Family § |

Saturday, June 01, 2002

Jasmine and clones

Little Jasmine napping... Little Jasmine napping... Let's see... 12:45 Star Wars... Those famous words... I wish more parents would read this sign Ladybugs in a toy store window on Southport Buffy & Barry coming out of the Red Onion on Southport
We decided to spend the day with our buds, Barry & Buffy (or B&B as we sometimes to refer to them), taking in a movie and having some dinner. We dove into the city, into Wrigleyville to go and pick them up. When we called them from the car (we were just going to wait outside and have them come out), Buffy said to double park the car and come in. B&B's brand new granddaughter, Jasmine, was over for a visit. We had to go in and see her! She was beautiful - all sacked out taking a nap on B&B's bed. Of course, mom Kim was there, too, so we had to chat a bit. And, well, I had to take some pictures because she was just so damn cute! What a gorgeous little baby. Well, we had to get going, so Jasmine got "packed-up" and all six of us left - well, only four of us drove back up to the Evanston Century 12 again, this time to catch a matinee of Star Wars Episode II - Attack of the Clones. I'm starting to like the theaters - good concessions, good seating (gotta love that Stadium Seating), and free parking (with validation). The movie was great. There's something about seeing those famous little words at the beginning of the movie, those same words that we saw 25 years ago. I think that you couldn't tell that the film was shot using digital video instead of film. The special effects were very good, and even though there were a ton on digital sets, they were well done. There seemed to be a lot of pieces that reminded me of other movies, like Blade Runner for the city/planet Coruscant, a little bit of Gladiator, and I thought that I saw a little Mr. Miyagi in Yoda at least once... There was a large group of pre-teen girls that were sitting in the row behind us, usually chatting throughout the movie. Fortunately, they were pretty quiet, but every once in a while you can hear what they were say. For instance, when Anakin would show a bit too much anger for a young padawan, I could hear one of the girls say "What is his problem?" And then there was the scene with Anakin and Padmé - wearing that black corseted dress - that was dimly lit in front of a fire. As soon as the scene started it was really quiet in the theater and then I heard from behind me this quiet "oh oh". Carol and I struggled from laughing out loud. After the movie we went to Sam's Club, so B&B can do some shopping. Then back to Wrigleyville (which was a bit of a mess since there was a 3:05 Cubs game), and then a brief walk down Southport to go to Red Tomato for dinner. On the way there, we passed a toy store with these cute ladybugs in the window. We had to stop, as Buff wanted to but one for Jasmine (it wound up having a chime ball inside of it - pretty cool). Dinner at Red Tomato was great. We all had to get the carpaccio for the appetizer - we had been thinking about it all day. Had a good meal - I had something that was actually called a "stir fry" which was beef and potatoes - it was very good. We walked back to B&B's and watched most of Jurassic Park III on cable, had some apple pie (from Sam's) and finally left about 9 o'clock. I don't know what it is, but I love having friends that we could just spend the day with and have a good time the whole time.

posted at 09:53 PM | Link | Friends § |

Friday, May 31, 2002

Wolves 4 - Sound Tigers 2

2002 AHL Calder Cup Chicago Wolves Bridgeport Sound Tigers Pregame fireworks during the video presentation Player introductions before the game Wayne & Kathy sing the National Anthem The crowd goes nuts to help energize the boys Bob gives high fives to the crowd as it erupts after the final empty net goal
Back for Game 4 at the Allstate Arena. Bridgeport scored first tonight, and it was just a real flat game. A lot of tickey-tackey penalties. It just was going back and forth, pretty evenly - it was 1-1 after the 1st, 2-2 after the second. Then things started getting turned up a bit. The crowd was loud, up from 5,022 Thursday to 9,115 tonight. Rick DiPietro showed that he hasn't been going to his "Wandering Goalies Anonymous" meetings. Somehow, the kid thinks he need to play every puck that comes near him. We just need to remember that - and I think we do - to see how we can capitalize on it. Brad Tapper tipped in a slapshot from the high slot by Dallas Eakins. Andreas Karlsson had an empty netter that he struggled to get working over a Bridgeport defender, and actually got kicked by Ricky, who was sitting on the wall and not on the bench. Pasi Nurminen saved 29 of 31 shots while Ricky only saved 14 of 17 shots. We lead 3-1 in the series and actually have a possibility of winning the Calder Cup at home on Monday! How unlike me - a bit too optimistic, but it'd be pretty cool.

posted at 10:43 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Thursday, May 30, 2002

Wolves 4 - Sound Tigers 0

2002 AHL Calder Cup Chicago Wolves Bridgeport Sound Tigers Commemorative Calder Cup puck John and Carol with her signs, and Carol behind them The Bridgeport Sound Tigers during the pre-game shoot-around Looks like they turned-up the propane for the player introductions... Presentation of the Western Conference Champion Robert W. Clarke Trophy before the game
What a game - what a game - what a game! Back again at the Allstate Arena, this time for the third game of the AHL Calder Cup Finals. I'm still in shock that the Wolves are actually playing for the cup. The series is tied 1-1. I was hoping that the team can really take it to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (and what the hell is a Sound Tiger? The logo says Sound Tigers and not Tigers). I really wanted to see the team stick it to "Ricky". Ricky is Rick DiPietro that I talked about last week. As much as I thought Jean-Francois Labbe, the goalie for Syracuse Crunch was nuts, I think Ricky is just a punk kid whose ego is much larger than his current ability. Well, we got to him all right. He was making mistakes all night. Once, he went behind the net and half-nelson'ed one of our players, so he got a penalty for interference. Later, while there was a "fire drill" (Judd Sirott's words) in front of his net, Ricky was swimming and flopping around on the ice. He turned his back to the play to try to get up and yep, we scored on him. Later on in frustration, to clear the puck out of the zone, he threw it up in the air and took a full swing at it to send it down the ice - just a real cocky move. So we stuck it to them - the Wolves won 4-0. How sweet - we had a shutout, and we were able to score 4 times on Ricky. Aw, poor Ricky. Pasi Nurminen stopped all 28 shots (Ricky stopped 19 of 23). The crowd, though not as big I would have wished, was loud, and I know that helped the team (they've made a lot of comments in the press about wanting to play at home and having loud and involved fans. Guess we did our job tonight. I hope we can keep this up. (Boxscore)

posted at 10:19 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Monday, May 27, 2002

White Sox 6 - Yankees 10

Chicago White Sox New York Yankees Tonight's Promotion: Mousepads from Patria Partners A pre-game tribute to Robin Ventura on the JumboTron Part of ground's crew pause to watch the tribute to Robin Ventura The sun lights up the top of the scoreboard before sunset Is the upper deck too steep? Try walking up 30 rows to your seat! Tonight's winner - Green Frog (sure wasn't the Sox...)
Went to Comiskey today. We suck. The Yankees beat us 10-6 (hey... this is sounding familiar...) OK, let's talk about the positive side of the night - there was a tribute to former White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura (it was his first trip back to Comiskey since 1998 - he's been in the National League playing for the Mets, and this year he plays for the Yankees). Everyone gave him a standing "o" and he came out to acknowledge the crowd. It was great. Oh, and Frank Thomas celebrated his 34th Birthday.

OK, let's talk about the bad side of the evening. We get there an hour & a half before the game - normally enough time. Tonight, the parking lots are full. Tonight's attendance - 43,781. We're not used to people actually being at the park! And the inflation in the attendance was all due to Yankee fans. Not just Yankee fans, those goddam sombitch arrogant friggin' big-mouthed Yankee fans. I hated every single one of those bastards. It's one thing to root for your team, it's another thing to antagonize the people around you, the friggin' bastards. Another way to tell that the increase in attendance wasn't due to White Sox fans? They were doin' the friggin' wave in the upper deck!!! You don't go to a damn baseball game in Chicago (even on the North Side) and do the friggin' wave!!!!!!!! Fights? Oh, sure. I saw a lot of people getting hauled out of the park - something we don't normally see. Screw you, you damn Yankee fans. Get the hell out our ballpark... Oh, and Carol almost attacked some blonde bimbo that was sitting behind us, but that's another story. She did lose it, though. I was a bit concerned. Anyway, Danny Wright gave up 6 runs on 5 hits in the first inning on 39 pitches. That was the game - if it wasn't for the first inning, the outcome would have been different. Jose Valentin twisted his ankle on a grounds crew hose when going after a foul ball. He's day-to-day now. The guy that's bothering me right now is Magglio Ordonez. He's not base running well - he seems to be giving up on double-play balls, making no attempt to get to first (in case someone bobbles the ball, which happened tonight) or at least attempt to take out the shortstop/second baseman. I don't know, it just doesn't feel right. Anyway, we were glad to get the hell out of Comiskey tonight.

posted at 11:06 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Sunday, May 26, 2002

White Sox 2 - Tigers 9

Chicago White Sox Detroit Tigers
Went to Comiskey today. We suck. The Tigers beat us 9-2. Here's a stat for you - the Sox haven't won a day game in the month of May. Weird, huh? OK, starter Todd Ritchie got hit in the face in the first inning and I think it effected him. Of course, they left him in for 3 1/3 and he gave up 6 runs. The damage was done. In the seventh, Kelly Wunsch got hit on his throwing hand by a batted ball, and tried to throw to Ray Durham for a double play - and all he could do is sort of roll the ball to him.

Today's Promotion: Fuji Film Photo Day Field "credential" for Photo Day (and a free Calling Card) 400 feet to straight away center... People lining up on the warning track, waiting for the players
Best part of the day was before the game. It was the annual Fuji Film Photo Day, where the first 2,500 fans (I was one of 'em) were allowed on the field to take pictures of the players. Always a cool time getting up close and personal. Even better: Blue skies, sunny, temperature in the 70's - FINALLY!!!

posted at 11:03 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Saturday, May 25, 2002

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man

The Century Evanston 12 Time to get the tickets... Mmmm... concessions... Carol. Buffy & Barry chat before the flick Opening credits for Spider-Man... no, really... hey, it was dark, OK? Barry, Buffy & Carol Mickey all sacked-out...
The Sox play the Detroit Tigers today - but we're not going. We gave our tickets away because we wanted to see our friends Barry & Buffy. (We're going to see enough of Detroit this year - we've seen them one weekend already, we'll see them tomorrow, and we're flying to Detroit to watch the game on July 14th - long story. Sox win tonight 6-4.) So we drove into the city, into Wrigleyville to go pick them up. We drove to Evanston to go to the Evanston Century 12 theaters to see Spider-Man. Nice theaters - we've never been there before. It's a nice complex and nice area. The movie was good - good action, just the right amount of "campiness" for a superhero picture. HATED the ending. And you had to stay until the end of the end credits to hear the old Spiderman theme song (I was hoping somebody would re-make it). We drove back to their house to have a nice steak dinner and great conversation. We wound up watching another movie on PPV - Bandits. We enjoyed that movie more than I thought we would.

posted at 10:34 PM | Link | Movies § |

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Lunch and planes

Time for a Chinese buffet lunch...
I went out to lunch with my bud, Barry. We went to a Chinese buffet and just sat around and talked for a while. Actually, we mostly talked about Barry doing a financial system upgrade at where he works. It was weird - I really enjoyed talking about it. It's the first time in almost a year where it felt good talking about typical corporate IT things. I know, it's petty, but it felt good! We'll be going over to their place on Saturday, hopefully to sit outside and barbecue something.

After lunch, since I had passed it to and from the buffet, I ducked into the Allstate Arena parking lot to watch some airplanes land at O'Hare. It's something I haven't done in a long, long time, and it's just one of those things that I enjoy. I wish I had my scanner with me.

A playoff banner on the Allstate Arena An American MD-80 flying over the top of the Allstate Arena on approach for 22R at O'Hare A United 777 flying over the top of the Allstate Arena on approach for 22R at O'Hare
First thing I noticed was the banner that's still on the building for the Chicago Wolves. It's a banner advertising that "The Playoffs Are Here". Well, they've been using the banner for a few years, and that's when I realized that, well, things have changed. The Wolves are now in the AHL, not the defunct IHL. The banner depicts the IHL Turner Cup, not the AHL Calder Cup. I guess they didn't want to spend the money, and/or they didn't think they'd be in the finals. I watched a couple of arrivals. I wanted to get a picture or two to show you how close the aircraft come over the top of the building.

The ORD Store in the O'Hare Hilton Part of the wall of plane models at the ORD Store A model of a National Airlines 757-200 The assembled National model Part of my aircraft collection
I drove around the airport some more, watching the air traffic. I just love watching the planes. I don't know why. I've done it since I was a kid. O'Hare has a great diversity of aircraft and airlines, so it's always interesting watching the traffic. Then I remembered this store that's in the O'Hare Hilton that I love and haven't been to in a few years. I was looking for a model airplane to add to my collection - a National 757-200 - Our Favorite Airline to Las Vegas™. So I went to the airport, parked in the garage, and took the elevator down to the underground terminal level. The ORD Chicago Store is on this level, underneath the Hilton, near Elevator Center 4. I browsed around a bit, looking at all the aircraft. The last time I was here, National wasn't flying to O'Hare and they didn't have the model. Now they did, so I paid for it, walked around a bit more, and went back to the car and went home, where I promptly put it together and added it to my collection.

This was a weird afternoon. I was doing stuff as if I was decades younger, and I felt good.

posted at 02:00 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

CT Results

Loyola University Health System Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center Clinic A Waiting Area
Today was the day that I took my parents back to Loyola to see Dr. Emami about the results of Dad's CT Scan that he had last week, to see how the radiation treatments went. The 3:00 appointment slowly turned into the 4:00 appointment. Dad, who at the ripe old age of 88, doesn't like waiting at all and it was aggravating him. When we finally got in, we found out his blood pressure was 160/92 - not good. He worked himself up pretty well. He says that the reason why it's so late is because there is bad news. I try to settle him a bit and say we don't know that. And you know what? We don't We have no idea if the radiation did anything.

Dr Emami comes in and looks at the report. He says the major tumor in the throat has been reduced by amount one half, and that all of the others have been reduced as well. Not only that, but there's no new growths in the radiation area, and that the tumors can actually reduce in size a bit more over the coming weeks or remain stable. This is good - the radiation treatments have achieved about 70-80% of what we were hoping for. OK, now for the bad news - "there are several new growths in the right upper lobe and right middle lobe" of his lung. Dad needs to see Dr. Clark for a consultation to see what can be done, if anything. Dr. Clark is both an Oncologist and internist and he should be able to figure out how to proceed. Makes sense - we're past radiation treatments (the growths are too scattered and radiation can't be done - it would probably "knock out the lung before knocking out the tumors").

All in all, a mixed bag. I feel good about the radiation treatments. I guess it's a matter about those other pesky growths. We'll find out a little more next month when we see Dr. Clark. On the drive home, we feel a little better. I know Dad can't handle chemo - that would be really hard on him at 88. I know he won't agree to it. But we need to find out options and figure out what's happening. Hopefully, we won't think about it until next month. In the meantime, Dad & Mom seem to feel better, and though it may be a bit misguided, I feel good that they feel good. It'll help them through the next month.

Westbound Northwest Tollway in the new temporary "Express Lane"
The drive home is a mess. I haven't driven in rush hour traffic in a year and I don't miss it a bit. I made a mistake on the way home. I took the Northwest Tollway. That wasn't the mistake. I took this new temporary express lane that has no exits until 53 in Schaumburg. It's a single lane with no shoulders. As I was standing still in the express lane looking over at the free-flowing traffic in the "local" lanes, I'm wondering why I did this. I won't do that again. It's nice having multiple lanes just in case some LAC (Law Abiding Citizen) is just moving a bit too slow. Sheesh.

posted at 05:39 PM | Link | Family § |

Sunday, May 19, 2002

Wolves 7 - Aeros 0

2002 AHL Calder Cup Chicago Wolves Houston Aeros Wendell Young's banner at the Allstate Arena Wayne and Kathy Messmer sing the National Anthem Handshakes after the game
The Chicago Wolves win the Robert W. Clarke Trophy as the AHL's Western Conference champions for 2001-02! For the third time in Four Years, the Wolves are playing for a championship cup. The Wolves won 7-0 over the Aeros. Pasi Nurminen in unbelievable. I can't stop talking about how much this guy works. And a shutout on top of it. In the third period, the Aeros were trying to score at all costs. When on a power play, they pulled their goalie for a 6-on-4 attack, and came out with nothing. In fact, they played over half the period without a goalie just to get something. The team is playing like a team, considering that during the course of the season there were over 100 transactions sending guys up and down (or out). It's been a heck of a lot of fun to watch.

posted at 05:31 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Saturday, May 18, 2002

White Sox 10 - Angels 4

Chicago White Sox Anaheim Angels Anaheim Angels taking Batting Practice Our Season Ticket Holder buddy Victor warming up in the Stadium Club Field of Dreams characters emerge from the smoke... Today's Promotion: Field of Dreams Fireworks sponsored by ComEd
So it's, what, May 18? It's 48° at game time tonight. Mother Nature is screwing us yet again. Carol and I go to the park and head directly for the Stadium Club and get seats on the rail (not on the glass, but great seats anyway). This is why we spend the money for the Stadium Club - for shelter from cold, rain, and excessive heat. Around the 5th inning I take a trip downstairs and get our buddy Victor (otherwise known as The Diz on WGCI 107.5 FM) (who sits next to us) and Jeff & his date (who sit next to Victor) and rescue them from the cold with the warmth of the Stadium Club. As far as the game, well, Frank Thomas had two home runs, Paul Konerko and Jose Valentin each had a home run as the Sox win 10-4 over the Angels. Pitching was scary again. Gary Glover got the win. Kelly Wunsch made his first appearance after missing almost a year with arm surgery. He faced 3 batters and only threw 9 pitches with one walk and one hit. Rocky Biddle, Damaso Marte, Antonio Osuna and finally Bob Howry all pitched. Sounds and feels a bit excessive.

posted at 10:29 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Friday, May 17, 2002

Wolves 2 - Aeros 1

2002 AHL Calder Cup Chicago Wolves Houston Aeros Enemy fans all around the rink... Another night of 5,000 pairs of ThunderStix...
I really don't know how Pasi Nurminen keeps doing it! The Wolves won 2-1 of the Houston Aeros and now lead the series 3-1. Officiating - crap, as usual for the AHL. Very uneven all season. Tonight, just 1:34 into the first period, Dan Snyder got mauled at center ice behind the play. Referee didn't see it. So Danny goes back, puts his stick between the aggressors' legs, and yanks straight up. Guy hits the ice. Referee didn't see it, but a linesman does. Danny gets a Five Minute Spearing penalty along with a game misconduct, because they think it was with intent to injure. Great, there goes one of out leading scorers, whose scored game winning goals in 4 playoff games. Somehow, we still survive. Pasi stopped 34 shots, and the one he didn't was a weird wrap-around where Pasi was down on the ice on the other side. Just looked weird. Finally had 7,035 people instead of the usual 2,000.

posted at 10:46 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Wolves 4 - Aeros 1

2002 AHL Calder Cup Chicago Wolves Houston Aeros Right Wing Dan Plante and daughter Sidney hanging out before the game Aw, crap... first 5,000 people got Thunderstix... where's the Excedrin...
Here we go again... Back again at the Allstate Arena, this time for the third game of the AHL Western Conference Finals. I'll be honest with you, and I think I've alluded to this a few times before, I am very surprised at being here. I didn't think a seventh seed team, that wasn't playing well, would make it this far in the playoffs. This is a best-of-seven series against our old IHL nemesis - the Houston Aeros. How much of a nemesis? In the old IHL, Chicago won the Turner Cup in 1998. Houston won it in 1999. Chicago won again in 2000 (after beating Houston in the Conference Final), and as far as 2001 is concerned - well, we lost the Turner Cup to the Orlando Solar Bears. But, the Solar Bears disbanded and did not make it into the AHL. However, The Solar Bears NHL affiliate was the Atlanta Thrashers - the new affiliate for the Wolves this year, so we have a few players from that Turner Cup team as well (like Turner Cup winning goaltender Norm Maracle, Dan Snyder and J.P. Vigier). The Wolves have met Houston in the Conference Finals three times in four years. Enough of the history. The series is tied at 1-1. The Wolves won tonight 4-1 with some brilliant goaltending by Pasi Nurminen. Man, I love this guy.

After the game, walking to the car, we got a little scare. The Allstate Arena is right under the approach to runway 22R at O'Hare - and I mean right under the approach. If you've ever been there, watching the planes coming in is great. I do it all the time when I'm there. It's something I've actually done all my life - watching airplanes. Plane spotting (as opposed to Train Spotting). When I was in grade school, I would take the O'Hare Express bus from Jefferson Park to the airport just to walk around and watch. (Now, of course, the Blue Line El goes there directly, but not back in those days). Over time, you know traffic flows. You know the airlines that serve ORD, you know their fleets. Just like any other hobby, or a fan of something, over time, you learn and you just know. I was watching traffic coming into ORD on the way to the game, noticing that they were using 22R and 14L. When we came out, I could see the traffic in the dark lined up. But something isn't right. There's and aircraft coming in, amd I can't recognize what it is because it's moving fast and it has only a single landing light. There's no strobes, only blinking red & green marker lights. Then as it flies very low overhead I can see it as light reflects up at it's underbelly... it's a damn F-15 landing at O'Hare... That's weird. And then I look down the approach path again, and I see another aircraft, this time no landing light, just the green/red lights. Another F-15... But this time, right over the Allstate Arena, it breaks right and pulls away... what the hell is going on??? I never found out. A few minutes later, a Continental 737-700 comes over and lands normally. The traffic around the airport looks normal. It was a little scary seeing military now a days.

posted at 10:04 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Monday, May 13, 2002

Crabs, pretzels, pens and tears

Joe's Crab Shack - Schaumburg IKEA - Schaumburg Costco - Schaumburg Carol hunting for pens - OfficeMax Schaumburg
Birthday Dinner tonight was just at Joe's Crab Shack. Carol felt that seafood would be good for points for her diet, so Joe's it was. Food was OK. Then it was one of those things that you've got a stop to make on the way home, and the next thing you know it's three stops. First - IKEA, looking for halogen bulbs for some under counter lighting we had bought there a few years ago. No dice - they didn't have any 10 watt bulbs that we needed (20 & 50 watt, no 10 watt). Then off to Costco, since it was near there for some pretzels (long story, but little boxes of Bachman Pretzel Stix are a childhood favorite) and Pepcid AC - no dice with the Pepcid. Then I noticed Carol is looking at the business supplies for some pens. She's very fussy about her pens, even buying them herself to take to work. Well, they didn't have anything to her satisfaction, so I offered that we should go to OfficeMax. Off to OfficeMax for pen shopping, then, finally, back home. I had bought Carol a couple of DVD's for her birthday and some cards, all of which I had snuck down to the garage last night and placed on the driver's seat of her Grand Vitara. Turns out, I made her cry, so I guess I did OK. Happy Birthday, Carol!

posted at 07:09 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Sunday, May 12, 2002

Mothers Day

Club Lucky on Wabansia
We spent the day at my sister's (Diane) to celebrate Mother's Day. She lives in Bucktown and I just love her house. Since it's been raining this whole damn weekend, Diane couldn't grill-up anything on the barbecue outside, so we ordered Italian from Club Lucky, just a few blocks away. Again, more good food - just a bit too much of it. Had another good time just sitting around talking.

posted at 10:08 PM | Link | Family § |

Saturday, May 11, 2002

Steak and Friends

Magnum's Prime Steakhouse Magnum's Rolling Meadows - OK, it's a little dark... A dessert with a torch for the Birthday Girls The Birhtday Girls - Debbie & Carol (nuts... she blinked...)
Carol & I had dinner at Magnum's in Rolling Meadows with Barry & Buffy & Debbie as our Birthday get together - Debbie's birthday was the 7th, Carol's is the 13th. Man, we love this place. We didn't have a scrap of food that wasn't good. We asked for the waitress that we had back in December - Char (well, Charlene actually) - who happened to be working tonight. It was just a great time. It was good seeing Barry - we were concerned about his hand and actually, it looked just good. It didn't seem to impair him from cutting steak, that's for sure. We took our time with the appetizers and dinner and just talked and talked about quite a few things. (They had a special appetizer tonight that was a crab and avocado dip thing that was just really unbelievable). When Car brought our desserts, there was a Magnum's torch in the white chocolate ice cream that Deb & Carol ordered. (No, it's not a sparkler - it's a metal tube that they can reuse - it's sort of like a fireworks fountain. It's bright and just looks dangerous, which makes it kind of cool.) The night was too short. I just love being with these people.

posted at 09:34 PM | Link | Friends § |

Sunday, May 05, 2002

White Sox 2 - Athletics 3

Chicago White Sox Oakland Athletics Today's Promotion - Wilson Fielding Gloves from Pepsi & Navy Pier for the first 10,000 kids 13 and under Frank Thomas at the plate... no, really... the black dot over there... Frank Thomas Home Run Fireworks
I hate getting to the park real early only to find out there's no batting practice. Nuts. Well, Oakland is a good team and hoping for a sweep was just a bit too optimistic. Frank Thomas had a home run, but Danny Wright just couldn't be as solid as we needed today. Sox lost 3-2. Cold day at the park - 48° at game time. The sun almost made the cold bearable but once it left (right at 2:20) forget it. It was bad.

posted at 10:09 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Saturday, May 04, 2002

White Sox 10 - Athletics 2

Chicago White Sox Oakland Athletics Saturday In The Park... Another White Sox winner... Today's Promotion - Fireworks Sponsored by Miller Lite
OK, back home. The Sox won 10-2. Jose Valentin had 5 RBI, and Ray Durham had a home run and Carlos Lee had a spectacular catch in the 6th that saved a home run. We needed this - Oakland has had our number for a long time. The whooped us bad in Oakland last week with a sweep and a total of 32-5. Ouch. We won against them yesterday and we won today. Only 20% of the Sox's games have been decided by two runs or less - everything else seems a blowout, either good or bad.

The weather wasn't too bad for our first night game of the season. It was pleasant, though not warm. It was also the first fireworks night. At least the presentation was new, so we have hope for a better series of fireworks this season.

posted at 11:12 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Sunday, April 21, 2002

White Sox 11 - Tigers 8

Chicago White Sox Detroit Tigers Today's Promotion - White Sox Calendars Seating area next to the Stadium Club bar Sitting at the window at the Stadium Club A cold, windy, rainy Comiskey Park from the warm, dry Stadium Club
Such a cold, windy, rainy day... let's go to a baseball game! 43°. Thank God we made reservations for a window seat up in the Stadium Club bar at Comiskey. It felt good knowing that we could go to the park and not worry about how to dress for the weather. We got there early and got a good seat. Had a great lunch (the food is always good - the facility is handled by Levy Restaurants).

The game was "iffy" again. Oh, sure, we scored 8 runs in the first inning (Jose Valentin had a home run, and Tigers starter Jose Lima only lasted 2/3 of an inning), but that doesn't mean anything anymore when you have a questionable starting pitcher. Today it was Jon Rauch (who is now officially the tallest player to ever play in the majors at 6' 11"). Well, those 8 runs weren't very secure as Rauch gave up 8 runs in 4 innings. I still don't know how a pitcher can feel the ball and control it in weather situations like this. Finally, in the 7th, Ray Durham came up to pinch hit with the bases loaded (he was out of the lineup with a chest cold - yesterday he had an ingrown toenail dug out. Ew.) and hit a single (which was misplayed by Tigers LF Bobby Higginson) that scored 3 runs and gave us the game. Whew. Watching the game from behind the glass sure made the game more enjoyable.

Went to my parents' house for dinner. I jealous again - my sister is going to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival next weekend. She always goes to great destinations for these great little getaways.

Watched the Wolves on cable TV and they won against Grand Rapids and advance to the Calder Cup Western Conference Semifinals! We never thought they would go further in the playoffs! They now play the Syracuse Crunch (the number 1 seed) in a best-of-7, but we don't know when.

posted at 09:18 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Saturday, April 20, 2002

White Sox 12 - Tigers 5

Chicago White Sox Detroit Tigers Today's Promotion - White Sox Calendars Carol finds a St. Bernard waiting outside the park A little agressive Min Pin waiting outside the park The parade of dogs before the game The same St. Bernard in the pre-game parade The loneliest stand in the park - Dippin' Dots & Lemon Chill's The sign outside the dog area on the outfield concourse A skateboarding dog (yes, I saw him do it) Two great Great Pyrenees A very cold pug looking for warmth A bored Bernese Mountain Dog Ahhh... warmth... watching the game from te Stadium Club
Another weekend at Comiskey Park. Today, other than the game against the Tigers, was Dog Day. People (with advance paperwork) can bring their dogs to the park for the day. There's a pre-game parade, the dogs and owners all sit together in their own section of the bleachers, and the outfield concourse is loaded with tables from local humane and pet organizations. It really is a fun time. For the last few years, it was held in August. There have been days where the temperatures were pretty high, and the dogs didn't fare very well being out in all that concrete in this heat. The Sox decided to change the date this year to April to help with the comfort level.

April is not the correct month to do this.

The day was miserable. Gametime temperature - 45°. Wind - 20 mph. Windchill in the 20's. This is not baseball weather. We got there early to look at the dogs as they entered the park at Gate 1. We went inside and it was pretty empty. The pre-game parade was one of the longer ones that I can remember. I also used to remember a costume judging aspect to all this - they must have stop doing that since we didn't hear anything about the winners.

The game started out a little rough. Jon Garland didn't have the command of his pitches. But then again, how can a pitcher really feel the ball when you're pitching with windchills in the 20's? Again, the Sox offense was unbelievable. Jose Valentin, Frank Thomas, and Magglio Ordonez had home runs and Paul Konerko hit a Grand Slam.

By the end of the 6th inning we had enough of the weather and went upstairs to the Stadium Club to watch the rest of the game and get a quick bite. We made reservations for seats on the glass for tomorrow - the weather is actually supposed to be worse.

The Sox won 12-5. They now have the highest team slugging percentage in all of baseball at .509 and highest team batting average at .316. Pitching, well... 5th in the AL 18th in baseball with a 4.39 ERA., third in the AL in Fielding Percentage but 14th in all of baseball. It's obvious we're all offense. We need the pitching to come around, but that's something we saw during spring training. All I want right now is to either stay tight to the division leader or get on top and get some room between us and the rest of the division.

posted at 05:08 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Sorry. Not a winner.

Sorry, not a winner
7 10 25 26 27 +23... OK, time to look... since I have a bunch of old tickets, I went to the local White Hen and used their scanner (they have a scanner that scans the bar code on the ticket and looks up the numbers for you. Nuts. No winners. Not even a buck or two. The Big Game is being replaced by Mega Millions, with tickets going on sale May 15 and the first drawing on May 17. Hmmm... Mega Millions? Let's see... In Big Game you choose five numbers from 1 to 50 and select one Big Money Ball number from 1 to 3. Odds of winning: 1 in 76,275,360. In Mega Millions you choose five numbers from 1 to 52 and select one Gold Mega Ball number from 1 to 52. Odds of winning: 1 in 135,145,920. So, you have larger jackpots because they are harder to win so they rollover more often!

posted at 08:26 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Monday, April 15, 2002


The old hot water heater at the curb Well, I guess the grass is officially dead...
Do you remember our hot water heater replacement last month? Well, when that full hot water heater hit the lawn, the hot water and god-knows-what sediment poured out onto the lawn. I think I can now say that the lawn is officially dead. I don't know how I'll get it back since I'm not sure what caused it - the heat or the crud.

posted at 02:06 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Sunday, April 14, 2002

White Sox 9 - Orioles 4

Chicago White Sox Baltimore Orioles Today's promotion - Magglio Ordoñez Bobblehead Doll Sign outside the entrance to the main level concourse The new look of the main concourse New permanent souvenir stands on the main concourse Ahhhh... back at the ballpark...
Back at Comiskey to see the Sox run out of power and pitching. The Sox lost to Baltimore 9-4. Danny Wright gave up 5 runs and got the loss. He was wild, throwing stuff all over the place. Lorenzo Barcelo came on in relief and gave up 4 more runs. Saw Mike Porzio for the first time and pitched two good innings. Damaso Marte came out to pitched the 9th and also looked good (but it got his high-flying ERA down to 11.57). Kenny Lofton was 3-for-5 and is now batting .400. Paul Konerko was 3-for-4 and is getting his average up a bit to .298. More people at the game - 23,951, probably because of Magglio Ordonez Bobblehead Doll Day. (ESPN Boxscore here)

posted at 09:24 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Saturday, April 13, 2002

Hey! It's Lisa!

The Mole 2: The Next Betrayal Hey! It's Lisa From The Mole 2: The Next Betrayal! Hey! It's Lisa From The Mole 2: The Next Betrayal!
Well, as you know I've spent a few days at Comiskey Park cheering on the White Sox this weekend. Well, Carol and I were sitting in our seats before the game today and who comes walking up the aisle selling Pepsi? Yep! It was Lisa, our favorite Assistant U.S. Attorney/Hot-Dog Vendor from The Mole 2: The Next Betrayal on ABC! We talked briefly. She was genuinely warm and seemed to be a little excited that she was actually identified. She said that she had received an EMail last week saying that the Mole will start up again around the first week of June, though she didn't have the exact date. So, she obviously got her Comiskey Park job back, and she said that the paperwork had not gone through, so she was able to return to her other job as well. She also said that there's a good little twist around week 6 of the show. Can't wait to see it - We enjoyed this show so much in its first run, that I wanted to Audition for Mole 2 (but couldn't because of other commitments). I would love to do be on this show.

posted at 10:37 PM | Link | The Mole § |
White Sox 4 - Orioles 3

Chicago White Sox Baltimore Orioles Today's promotion - magnetic schedules View from our Weekend Season Ticket seats New signage for section numbers The new concourse lighting on the new brick facade MLB Opening Day 2002 logo behind the plate The new backstop netting behind home plate The new Batter's Eye in front of the scoreboardate Bushes and ivy on the new Batter's Eye The plaza on top of the Batter's Eye
Ahhhh... back at Comiskey, but now we're back in our "normal" Season Ticket seats. It's great seeing everybody around you again. There are people that we consider friends that sit around us amd it's interesting seeing them come back and see if their seats have changed.

Couldn't tell how the game was going to turn out. Todd Ritchie started, but was pretty shaky. Antonio Osuna came out in relief and pitched a great inning, and wound up getting the win when Paul Konerko got out of his 0-16 slump and hit a single in the eighth to score Ray Durham for the go-ahead run. Jose Valentin had his second home run in two days. And Keith Foulke finally looked like the Keith Foulke of old and got his fourth save. The attendance was back to what we have seen around here - 19,201. At least it was another "quick" game at 2:36. (ESPN Boxscore here)

After the game, we went to Barry & Buffy's, where Barry barbecued some ribs and fried up some shrimp. You can't beat barbecue. Another great evening with friends - too bad Buff has had a cold for almost a week and is miserable, though she's finally getting better.

posted at 10:18 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Friday, April 12, 2002

White Sox 5 - Orioles 2 - Home Opener

Chicago White Sox Baltimore Orioles A sample of the new signage around the main concourse The South Side Hitmen Grille Ozzie & Harold's All-Star Stand The new brats stand next to our season ticket section The Grounds Keeper coffee shop (actually, a Dunkin Donuts) Side view of the new Batter's Eye in center field The new plaza behind the new Batter's Eye in center field TV Cameras on top of the new Batter's Eye in center field TV Camera view from the new Batter's Eye in center field View through the nylon screen on top of the new Batter's Eye in center field Opening Day player introductions Balloons released after the National Anthem
Another long day, but baseball started at Comiskey and I felt that "clock" that moves move life start ticking again. We were pretty excited to see what the new renovations looked like at the Park. There was four things that were done over the winter - the first we wouldn't be able to see, and that was the enclosure and rehab of the Club level concourse and concessions. Another renovation was minor, but was put to the test during the game - a new backstop. This one is a much finer mesh and it's just a vertical screen - there is no longer a net to cover the people behind the plate. If there's a foul ball behind the plate, people now must pay attention because the net won't save them!

The other two renovations were hard to miss. The old black aluminum "Batter's Eye" in center field was torn apart and rebuilt to include plantings (bushes and IVY). On top is a large plaza area that had a series of picnic tables. To block any distraction of the fans from the batters, is a large green nylon "screen" that lined the plaza area. It's difficult to see people moving behind the screen, so the batters shouldn't be distracted. The problem is that the screen is pretty hard to see through. You can sort of see the field, but it's almost impossible to see the ball.

The biggest renovation and the one that we were really excited about was the main concourse. Everything was redone in brick and aluminum, with new lighting, signage and new designs for all the concession stands - it totally changed the feel of the park when you were walking around. It was amazing. It's gorgeous, and it's in the right "direction" to change the over all look of the park. And then I heard on the radio the one thing that I've wanted for years that I think will be the biggest change to the look of the park: in the future, the seats and padding on the walls will be changed from blue to dark green! YES!!! You'll see more pictures of the rennovations in the next couple of games. For some reason, they've named most of the concession stands after former White Sox players

So, what about the game?, Oh yeah, the Sox won 5-2 over the Orioles. Mark Buehrle pitched 7 innings of 2-hit ball (he's now 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA). Home runs by Jose Valentin, Sandy Alomar Jr., and Ray Durham. Kenny Lofton was 3-for-3 with a walk. Keith Foulke got another save, but he's still looking shaky - he gave up 2 hits in the 9th, and his ERA is still high at 6.35, which isn't good for a closer. There were a lot of questionable calls from the entire umpiring crew, that almost made it feel like there was a conspiracy against us. Weird. And, in typical White Sox fan fashion - not a sell out, but 41,128 were there. The game lasted only 2:24, which was great. (ESPN Boxscore here)

After the game, we drove out to Riverside to have dinner with our Season Ticket buddies Janie & Gary (who we were sitting with during the game). First we made our flight reservations - we're going to Detroit to see the Sox play the Tigers at Comerica Park on July 14th. Should be fun, and I really enjoy seeing new ballparks. We went out to dinner at a restaurant called the Choo Choo Cafe in Riverside. Now, when I heard the name of this place, I had this thought of old women serving coffee in gingham dresses and aprons to patrons sitting at red & white checkerboarded oil clothed tables. Not so. This is a bit "upscale" and the food was great. Carol & Gary and lamb shanks, Janine had some encrusted chicken thing, & I had a New York Strip that was one of the better pieces of meat that I've had in a while.

Long day but a good day.

posted at 09:12 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Thursday, April 11, 2002

Wolves 3 - Mighty Ducks 2

2002 AHL Calder Cup Chicago Wolves Cincinnati Mighty Ducks Hey! He's Back! The gentleman (on the left) that was hit by a puck yesterday The Wolves celebrate after their win The teams congratulate each other
Wow. It was another 3-2 game, but tonight the Wolves win and advance to the Western Conference Quarterfinals! On Tuesday, I didn't believe we'd make it. The team finally played with a good intensity and held-off the Ducks. Zdenek Blatny had the game-winning goal again, and Frederic Cassivi was great in the net again, stopping 32 shots. Another poor showing by the fans, though - the boxscore said 2,032, the lowest of the three games.

The other good news is that the guy that was hit by the puck yesterday was at the game tonight! Everybody knew what happened and everybody was talking to him to make sure he was OK. In a very odd way, it felt good that he was there...

So now the Wolves are off to Grand Rapids starting Saturday for a Best of 5 series. The Wolves are back in town on Wednesday.

posted at 10:13 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Wolves 3 - Mighty Ducks 2

2002 AHL Calder Cup Chicago Wolves Cincinnati Mighty Ducks Another accident - an elderly gentleman is attended-to after being hit by a puck
Oh my God, this turned into a long night... Back at the Allstate Arena for the second game of this silly AHL Qualifying Series. It took two overtimes, but the Wolves won over Cincinnati 3-2 on a goal by Zdenek Blatny. The boxscore says there were 2,061 people there, which means the attendance was down from yesterday's game. There wasn't any "desperation playing" by either team. The game was relatively penalty-free. Both teams, though, looked pretty tired. It made me comment that the team that wins will win because of a mistake. Blatny's goal was on a slapshot that tipped off the glove of the Duck's rookie goaltender Joey MacDonald (who never played a game in the AHL before tonight). Frederic Cassivi actually looked good (and at times, stellar), stopping 43 shots (Last year, Cassivi led the AHL a 1.49 goals-against average during the playoffs with the Hershey Bears).

Oh, and I spoke too soon yesterday about "Chuck-A-Puck" - someone actually won the $500 tonight by getting their puck in the helmet!

On the downside, someone else was hit with a puck during the game. An elderly gentleman in the section next to us was hit in the side of the head with the puck. He wasn't watching the game - he was looking into a bag of candy that friends of ours offered to him. The security guys (like Rick who sits right behind the official scorers) responded quickly, and so did two paramedics who saw the incident from across the arena. Friends of the gentleman, who left with him, came back for the overtime periods. They told us that he got 4 staples to close the wound. (And to show how awkward this was, it turns out that this man has had 2 brain surgeries in the past). So between the candy, and the fact that the usher at the top of our section invited this guy to come to the game, there were a few people that felt bad about the whole situation.

posted at 11:04 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

Wolves 2 - Mighty Ducks 3

2002 AHL Calder Cup Chicago Wolves Cincinnati Mighty Ducks 2,119 fans watch the lackluster Wolves 2,119 fans cheer as the Wolves FINALLY score a goal The Wolves Chuck-A-Puck charity event Another way to tell that the Allstate Arena was empty...
The Wolves first journey towards the AHL Calder Cup began tonight... and nobody cared. Not the fans, and surely not the team. First, this round is just weird. The season just ended Sunday, and two days later is a best of three qualifying series of games. The Wolves (the #7 seed in the Western Conference) play the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks (the #10 seed). All three games are played here and all on consecutive nights (Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday). Well, there was nobody in the stands. The box score said that the attendance was 2,119, but that was paid. It sure looked empty inside the Allstate Arena. I think it was emptier than some of the severe snow days that we've had. The turnout was just bad. And then they decide to do their old stand-by charity event - "Chuck-A-Puck". This is where you purchase an orange, foam rubber puck for $2 (3 for $5) with a number on it. During one of the intermissions, a member of the Wolf Pack will go out to center ice and place a helmet (open side up) in the middle of the ice. Then all the fans throw their pucks onto the ice, trying to get their puck into the helmet to win $500. To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever accomplished this. It's an easy fund raiser for the night's charity.

And the game? Well, the Wolves never looked like they were there. Pasi Nurminen was still a scratch (I wonder what really happened to him - he was "shaken-up" in a game last Wednesday). And then coach decides to bench Norm Maracle, so Frederic Cassivi was in the net. He tried. As usual, he had no defense to back him up. We had a 6-on-4 for the last minute of the game and we couldn't tie it up. The Wolves lost 3-2. Lackluster. No intensity. Poor passing. Mistakes. The words "they suck" just keep going through my head. They look tired and the look like they're not committed to this. Right now I feel that the Wolves won't make it through this crazy Qualifying Round, and I'm not sure they will win tomorrow. It's hard to root for a team that looks like they don't care.

posted at 10:07 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Sunday, April 07, 2002

Wolves 3 - Aeros 4

Chicago Wolves Houston Aeros Merchandise clearance sale! Everything must go! The team getting ready for the "Shirts Off Our Backs" promotion Wolves "Shirts Off Our Backs" promotion
Last Wolves game of the regular season. The Wolves lost 4-3 against the Houston Aeros. This is not the way to go into the playoffs. It looked like Norm Maracle didn't see any of the shots coming at him. I mean, Houston only had 17 shots! We need Pasi Nurminen back quickly (he got shook-up in a game last Wednesday). Instead - as our backup goalie, we've got a guy named Michael Garnett who was signed by the team as an Amateur Tryout! Oh, great! We now have the 7th seed in the playoffs. That means we don't get a bye in the first round of the "Western Conference Qualifier" - a best of three series against the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks on Tuesday, Wednesday (and, if necessary, Thursday). Great - a best of three series.

This was also the last day of Fan Appreciation weekend. They were still selling tons of old merchandise in the East lobby. After the loss, the team threw merchandise over the glass to the fans (which is always a cool thing). Then they had the "Shirts Off Our Backs" promotion - during the course of the season at selected games, the Wolves were wearing alternate jerseys (it's a cool black jersey, that looks similar to the Atlanta Thrashers (their Parent Club) alternate jersey). The jerseys were auctioned-off for charity (usually one or two a game). The winners came to this game and were escorted onto the ice after the game, where each Wolves player, one at a time, skated over and literally gave them their "shirts off their backs". Off course, they were a bit smelly and sweaty and may have blood on them, but hey - it's a game worn jersey! The downside to all this is the auction itself. Though it benefits charities, the average price for a jersey is $1,000. There are so many fans that cannot compete with this kind of money. Not only that, the vast majority of the bidders already have other jerseys that they have bid on and won!!!! Give us schmoes a break!

posted at 09:08 PM | Link | Wolves § |
Wolves 2 - Griffins 3

Chicago Wolves Grand Rapids Griffins Chelby, Carol, Nicole, Damian and Scott - our little "crew" Caution message on the video screens Joey and his Thunder Stix Wayne Messmer with the five finallists for the Porsche Giveaway Victor O'Block wins the Porsche 944 One of the 24 dogs up for adoption
The season is winding down, and the Wolves lost to the Griffins again 3-2. This was just a case of being outplayed. Period. The Griffins were swarming, and just seemed a hell of a lot quicker. Before the game, Steve Maltais and Rob Brown were honored in a pregame ceremony to recognize that each player surpassed 1,000 professional games this season. These guys are getting old - but here's Rob Brown who's second in the entire league in points (83)!

Today and tomorrow are Fan Appreciation games. Today, they gave away a 1986 Classic Porsche 944 (there were entry forms given out at each home game). There was also Scratch-and-Win cards for everybody to get giveaway stuff (today we got a team picture and a CD from The Verve Pipe). The first 10,000 people got a pair of Thunder Stix - basically they're mylar tube balloons that you blow up and seal, and you bang them together. Let's just say they were way more annoying than you would think. Tonight was the last night of the Chicago's Department of Animal Care and Control (ACC) "Adopt-A-Pet" Program - there were 24 dogs up for adoption, and they made an announcement during the game that 16 were adopted. Before today, there have been 77 dogs adopted. Dan Snyder has a web page on the team website for the adoption program.

Oh, I got hit before the game tonight. Not with a puck, but with a tennis ball that was thrown into the crowd. (It's part of a Max & Erma's giveaway - there's Wolves Players' names on the tennis balls - if the first goal is scored by the player whose name is on your tennis ball, you get something). Well, I got hit in the collarbone. I couldn't see what was going on - Brad who sits in front of me was sitting on the back of his seat, totally blocking my view. I never saw the ball. And it hurt like hell - it caught the bone just right. Oh, well. I'm happy it wasn't a puck.

After the game tonight, we went over to the Ramada for a private WolfPack party in a suite. It was a bit too empty, and then we found out why - there was an after-game skate around, so everyone was still back at the Allstate Arena. We didn't stay too long - we were bushed, and with the change in Daylight Savings Time, we thought it'd be a good idea to get home.

posted at 12:26 AM | Link | Wolves § |

Thursday, April 04, 2002

Final Day of Radiation Therapy Chauffeur™ duty

Dad's ribbon from the Radiation Oncology staff Dad's form-fitting mask for radiation therapy
It's over. I have finally ended my Radiation Therapy Chauffeur™ duty. Dad's last radiation treatment was today. No big fanfare, but he did get a ribbon from the staff and they let him take home the form-fitting mask that is used to lock him into the radiation gear. He's got a CT Scan on May 16th and an appointment on the 21st. The treatments took more of a toll than I had thought. The fatigue is pretty bad. He's really tired now. He's been pretty quiet in the car during our trips. We used to have conversations before. Well, as much of a conversation that you can have with someone who tries to talk but can't because of the laryngectomy, which means that you have to read his lips... which is extremely difficult when you are trying to drive a car. But at least they were conversations. It seemed that I was the only one that could read his lips well - Mom or Diane couldn't, and Mom would just give up and say to him in a frustrated voice "I don't know what you're saying" and that would just piss him off. I looked at his skin that was in the radiated area. Not only did it look leathery from a bad sunburn, there were areas that almost looked purple because the burn was so dark. Now he needs to just kick back and chill. It'll be weeks before his sore throat goes away. He's lost about 7 pounds in the last 6 weeks. I'm just hoping that his energy comes back.

posted at 04:26 PM | Link | Family § |

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

B&B back from LV

Waiting outside security in Terminal 2 Buffy & Carol in Baggage Claim
Our friends Barry & Buffy went to Las Vegas last Saturday. The four of us have gone together 6 times. This is the first time they've been there on their own (we just couldn't go - the money situation, you know). They were coming home tonight, so both Carol & I thought it'd be fun to meet them at the airport and surprise them, and then drive them back home - that way, we were still "part" of their trip. Their flight was well over an hour late (they said it was "ground delayed" in Las Vegas due to weather in Chicago - weather? what weather?) Anyway, we waited outside the security area in Terminal 2 at O'Hare. Carol made a little cardboard sign with their last name on it, just like all those people meeting co-workers - or fares - at the airport. Well, let's just say the surprise worked, and they were ecstatic to see us. They seem to have an OK time. They stayed at Harrah's (the four of us never stayed there before) and seemed pleased. It was 90° in Vegas today - about 20 degrees above normal. They said that Easter weekend was mobbed. They ate somewhere new - Postrio at The Venetian. Sounds like we'll have to go again when we're all together again, perhaps in September again. Well, it turns out that Barry drove to the airport, so we couldn't drive them home. We'll be seeing them again - after the White Sox game on the 13th.

posted at 08:34 PM | Link | Friends § |

Sunday, March 31, 2002

Easter Sunday

Carol's roses Mums from Diane Diane's special bunny egg plate Watching Iron Chef after dinner Diane, Melinda, Carol & Cathy watching Tom Hanks on Inside the Actors Studio
Happy Easter!
Indy enjoyed today, though she didn't get out much until after everyone left tonight. She didn't get many hits to her live BunnyCam either. We hosted our family's Easter dinner again this year. Unlike last year, this year was small and quiet. Just my parents, my sister Diane and Melinda, and Carol's brother Gil and his wife Cathy. Oh, and of course Diane brought the dogs - Chelsea and Gracie. Typical Polish-derivative Easter dinner - but this year no pierogi and no sauerkraut. I swapped-out the DirecTV receiver for my TiVo to bring it into the living room so we could listen to digital music during and watch TV after dinner. We watched Iron Chef after dinner and my mom is convinced that the Japanese-to-English translations were made up (She had never seen Iron Chef before). Tonight's ingredient - cuttlefish (though the description says squid - same thing?). All it all, it was a good dinner & get-together without a lot of stress.

posted at 10:47 PM | Link | Family § |

Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Wolves 4 - Wolfpack 1

Chicago Wolves Hartford Wolfpack
The Chicago Wolves played the Hartford Wolfpack tonight. It looked dicey early when Hartford scored first on Olympian Pasi Nurminen. They looked pretty strong. But somehow, the Wolves got back into it and wound up winning 4-1! And to top it off, the clinched a playoff birth with their win tonight! Very cool, but I hold no hope that they'll win the Calder Cup this year. Rob Brown tied it up in the first, and is now tied for the league-lead in scoring with 78 points. Guy Larose had two goals tonight. It's nice to see him back from the Augusta Lynx of the ECHL. (Simon Gamache is also back from the Greenville Grrrowl of the ECHL)

Puck accident at tonights Wolves game
In the third, there was a very scary moment. There was someone from Hartford that took a shot on goal. It was a rocket. It went wide and ricocheted high off the tall glass on the end of the rink. The puck came off the glass and somehow cleared the glass on the side of the rink and hit a guy in the second or third row squarely on the bridge of his nose. Well, everybody freaked as this poor guy is streaming in blood and pain, so the Rosemont police guys (who work the Allstate Arena security) ran (pushed) through the crowd to help. It took way the hell too long for the medical teams to get to the guy (5-10 minutes maybe). The guys was in pain and even though Rick (one of the cops that sits by us by the Penalty Box) was the first to get to him and had a towel over his face, there was still blood everywhere. Smalley and Kenny O told us there was blood everywhere in the aisle and they moved some of the fans out of the area. All that we could think of is Brittanie Cecil at the Columbia Blue Jackets game. Hockey is quick, people. Pay attention. (even though, I don't think this guy had a chance - the shot was a rocket). He walked to a wheelchair so that he could get medical attention. Everyone gave him a round of applause.

posted at 10:19 PM | Link | Wolves § |
Construction, a wash, and a carcass

Eastbound Golf at Higgins - the construction begins
What a gorgeous day outside. On the way to my Radiation Therapy Chauffeur™ duty, I could see the start of the construction in the neighborhood. I was wrong earlier - this years construction is Higgins Road. Next year's construction is Golf Road. They started hacking apart the medians and anything else in the way at Golf and Higgins, though. Should be an interesting summer.

"Working at the Car Wash... Car Wash, yeah..." Getting a wipe down outside...
When done with my Radiation Therapy Chauffeur™ duty, I decide to get the car washed. Though dark blue, it looks llight gray from all of the salt stains on it from the last few weeks of snow. So, it's off to Turtle Wax to get a Super Turtle.

Wednesday is Garbage Day. So I get home from my Radiation Therapy Chauffeur™ duty, only to see that the old hot water heater carcass is still laying on my front lawn. Damn. What the hell is going on? And I've got family coming over for Easter on Sunday! Why didn't the pick it up??? (You, too, can watch the drama by clicking on the thumbnail of my live webcam on the left of the page to see if it finally disappears!)

posted at 04:09 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Monday, March 25, 2002

74th Academy Awards

Buffy & Ken in discussion Ken, Pat, Debbie & Roberta on the couch for the Oscars
We went to Barry & Buffy's, like we do every year, to watch the Oscars. We got there at 4:30, and we left at 11:30! We always have a good time, starting with watching the red carpet stuff. We have food, lots of drink, and take our shots at Oscar fashions . Then of course, there's the balloting, Every year, B&B go out and buy a present to be won. we all vote - most correct wins. This year, Barry just reproduced the ABC ballot that they had at the Oscar website, which meant we had to vote in all categories. We only had 8 people this year - Buffy keeps changing the mix to get it just right for entertainment and fun for all - including her. A few years ago they had about 24 people and that was really difficult to listen to the show, serve food and refreshments, and have a good time. We're still having problems actually listening to the show - there are times when people are socializing and not paying attention, causing others to get a little irate. The year of the big party was bad and may have strained a few friendships.

Since this is the first year that I'm blogging, I didn't think about blogging during the Oscars - I'm going to have to add to the post later!

posted at 12:16 AM | Link | Friends § |

Saturday, March 23, 2002

New Hot Water Heater

Damian *TRYING* to empty the old hot water heater "Gunk" clogging the intake pipe to the old hot water heater The old hot water heater at the curb The new hot water heater
Just four days ago, we had to have someone come out and service our furnace - a fan stopped working and thus, no heat in the house. That wasn't planned. Unfortunately, today was planned - by Carol. After almost 18 years in the house, she decides we need a new hot water heater. We were still getting hot water (though she claims not as much as we used to), and let's face it - 18 years on a hot water heater is just asking for trouble. So today, we're doing a preemptive strike by replacing it. Our friend Damian in coming over with his dad and they're going to handle the swap. They're over at about 8:30 and start working on the disconnection. Well, we knew we were in for a problem when: 1) when disconnecting the feed into the tank, you look at the inside of the pipe connected to the tank and it's full of gunk and crud, and 2) when opening the tank's drain, nothing is coming out. The means the tank has to be moved out to the curb full of 40 gallons of water and God knows how much sediment. That wasn't easy, but we finally got it out to the parkway, where Damian just tips it over. The thud of the tank hitting the lawn actually bounced me in the air (admittedly, just barely). So at 9:30, we're off to Home Depot and find a tank that looks almost identical the the old one (meaning - the piping doesn't have to be redone!). We're back to the house by 10. Damian says they have about an hour of work ahead of them.

The tank finally goes "live" at 2 in the afternoon. Yes, everything fit, but apparently sweating the joints and getting the whole thing leak-free just took a bit longer than they thought. It didn't help that everytime they lit the torch to heat the pipe the hard wired smoke detector right above their heads would go off. Since it's hard-wired to the house, there was no way to disconnect it. Anyway, we're now have drip-free hot water coming from a tank that should last at least 9 years...

posted at 02:23 PM | Link | Friends § |

Friday, March 22, 2002

Radiation Therapy Chauffeur™ duty

The weather, though it feels bitterly cold, is actually beautiful - bright sunshine, hardly a cloud in the blue sky. The traffic on the Northwest Tollway was "normal" - even though the construction is still there, it's like everyone knows what's going on and they're either taking an alternate route, or they're just blowing right through the construction area. Today is Dad's Radiation Treatment #22. Only two more weeks to go. We're in the Radiation Therapy waiting room. Mom is reading a book. I look at the floor - there's a piece of red yarn that looks like it's from Mom's craft work she was doing yesterday (Cubs logos and little guys). Got into the car to go bring them back home - there's a small piece of red yarn in the backseat. Sigh.

Hey! That's it! Indy can make money!
On the way home, we pass Skrudland's - a photo processing place in our old neighborhood. I look up at the sign. It's something I had never thought about! I'm unemployed, and short on cash - hey! I can get our pet bunny Indy to make some cash!!! Why didn't I think of this sooner!

posted at 03:08 PM | Link | Family § |

Thursday, March 21, 2002


The beginning of the traffic on the Northwest Tollway An asphalt "chewer" on the Northwest Tollway Construction crew on the Northwest Tollway
The tollway construction has officially started. The Northwest Tollway had the right lane and shoulder closed in both directions east of 53 and west of Arlington Heights Road, centered around Golf Road. There's one of those "asphalt chewers" on each side, chewing-up the shoulders. Traffic is bad through the construction area - probably just from the shock of the construction zone.

Daffodils from Radiotherapy
Radiation Therapy was backed-up. Well, just one of the two machines was backed-up. I guess you always go to the same machine with the same technicians. Forget about getting there early for the 1:30 appointment. Dad goes in at 2pm and comes out afterwards - with a bunch of daffodils! The staff was giving them out to patients today. It's part of the American Cancer Society's Daffodil Days.

posted at 04:18 PM | Link | Family § |

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Local construction

Installing temporary traffic lights at Golf & Higgins Construction horses on right shoulder of Norhwest Tollway Construction barrels on left shoulder with turnaround sealed off on Norhwest Tollway
Well, the construction hasn't started on Golf Road (next week), but they're really scrambling to put up temporary traffic lights at Golf & Higgins. The Northwest Tollway also has no construction - yet. The Roselle Road entrance ramp has "Work Zone - Speed Limit 45" signs posted and they're posted in a few other places. There's small construction horses along the right shoulder from Roselle to 53, construction barrels from Golf to west of Arlington Heights, west of Elmhurst Road on right side, then onto left side east of the Des Plaines Oasis. There's some patching-over of the "rumble strips" in the left shoulder around Mannheim. That's it.

Found out that my dad passed his annual Driver's License test this morning! He turns 88 next Tuesday. (Drivers that age have to take an annual visual test and road test, just to make sure they're OK to drive.)

posted at 03:17 PM | Link | Mundane § |
Proficient Heating & Cooling

The gutted furnace Furnace fan parts Dan installing the fan
8:31. He's here - Dan from Proficient Heating & Cooling. I remember him! He says it's the drafting motor and it won't be as bad as trying to replace "that board"! He's got one in the truck that can be used - for $498! What can you do. at least it's not as "that board" - it's a circuit board that controls the whole staging of the furnace - unfortunately, the furnace manufacturer is bankrupt and getting a replacement was quite difficult - we were without heat for two days in the middle of winter a few years ago.

At 9:26, I'm hearing the sound of a fan! Sounds like the furnace is alive! Yep, it has fully turned on. Dan's been carrying it on the truck for a year. He actually has to cut apart the housing of the old fan to reuse the flange because it's not an exact replacement fan. Dan leaves with his Merrit cigarettes at 9:36.

posted at 09:47 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Monday, March 18, 2002

Radiation Therapy Chauffeur™ duty

Drivin' down the Northwest Tollway...
They didn't start on the Tollway construction yet. They were putting out barrels along the inside shoulder, but that's about it. Traffic was normal inbound & outbound during my daily trip to the parents and taking Dad to Radiation Therapy at Loyola. The waiting room was really crowded - overflowing out into the hall. Things just felt slower. So did Dad - he's just slowing down. I think the radiation is getting to him. Hopefully he'll tough it out.

posted at 03:05 PM | Link | Mundane § |
Construction Season

Sign for Golf Road Construction Sign for Northwest Tollway Construction
Well, it's that time of season again. Construction season, that is, as my life is talking another step towards "hell-like". Golf Road by my house is going to be under construction for most (if not all) of the year as they make it three lanes in each direction (expanding what was already done east of here). And then the Northwest Tollway is being "rehabbed" as it gets stripped down and resurfaced. That also should last at least most of the year. Traffic should be horrendous and it's a bit difficult to avoid. I'm going to have to take side streets and other main arteries to get anywhere. Sigh.

posted at 10:42 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Sunday, March 17, 2002

Wolves 3 - Admirals (Norfolk) 4

Chicago Wolves Norfolk Admirals Coach John Anderson Bobblehead Doll Wedding of Abe Bloom and Pamela Shaw during 1st Intermission Irish Dancers during 2nd Intermission Bidders hovering over the Silent Auction bid sheets
Well, 13,116 people saw the Chicago Blackhawks farm team, the Norfolk Admirals beat the Chicago Wolves today 4-3. The Wolves had some absolutely Brilliant play in the second period, but just couldn't catch-up. Norm Maracle actually looked bad, letting at least one of the goals go by him on a simple glove save. He gave up all 4 goals on just 19 shots - Frederic Cassivi replaced him in the second. For about a minute and a half late in the third, we actually had a 6 on 3 power play!!! And came away with nothing. Clean play, though - even with our new guy from Philadelphia Francis Lessard. He had 14 minutes in penalties last night in his first game with us. He set a franchise Record for the Philadelphia Phantoms in penalty minutes back in the 1999-2000 season with 416. The next year he had 330. He already had 251 with Philadelphia this year before we got him. Sigh.

The big crowd today could have been for the Coach John Anderson Bobblehead Doll giveaway. Or it was for the end of the St. Patrick's Day Jersey Auction. I didn't see a single jersey for under $700. There was a wedding during the first intermission. Both the bride and groom skated onto the ice (separately, of course). Too bad the groom couldn't stop well, and fell into a metal arch of balloons and flowers, toppling them and him. A bit embarrassing. Wayne Messmer came up the aisle afterward (he "hosted" the event) and muttered something about "Some people have no shame..."

posted at 07:07 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Thursday, March 14, 2002

Wolves 2 - Phantoms 1

Chicago Wolves Philadelphia Phantoms Front of Chicago Wolves St. Partick's Day Jersey Back of Chicago Wolves St. Partick's Day Jersey
The Wolves met the Philadelphia Phantoms tonight. A very good game, and I was actually feeling good about the Wolves again. We beat Philly 2-1. The Phantoms had only 5 defensemen available for the game due to injuries and a suspension - a pretty clean game, though. It was weird seeing Jarrod Skalde playing for them (he was traded to them on March 5 for Joe DiPenta, and now Skalde is an Assistant Captain). We're not doing too bad since Atlanta called-up All Star J.P. Vigier on March 13. And Atlanta is not doing bad either - they won 2-0 against the Colorado Avalanche tonight with goals from, yep, J.P. Vigier and Brian Pothier who was recalled on March 9. I even felt good about Norm Maracle - he's been seeing the puck pretty well. Not a big crowd tonight - 4,609 - pretty typical for a weeknight.

The Wolves wore their St. Patrick's Day Jerseys which will be auctioned on Sunday (a silent auction). When the doors opened, somebody put a $1,000 bid on Derek MacKenzie's jersey. In case you haven't been to one of these things, $1,000 is about average to low for a jersey. And the whole team's jerseys are available. The proceeds from this auction go to Easter Seals.

posted at 10:04 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Tuesday, March 12, 2002

Radiation Therapy Chauffeur™ duty

Dad napping in my car
Another packed day at Radiation Therapy. This time, though, for some reason, Dad gets called in ahead of everybody else in the room. Everybody gives him the Evil Eye as he leaves. Had to stop at Walgreens on the way to their house to pick up some prescriptions. Dad's starting to look tired. His cough is still there, though it's hard to tell if it's getting worse. It's just a bad, dry cough.

posted at 03:12 PM | Link | Family § |

Monday, March 11, 2002

Radiation Therapy Chauffeur™ duty

Signs for the Radiotherapy Reception & Patient Waiting Room Signs for the Radiotherapy Reception & Patient Waiting Room
1:25pm. Ah, another crowded day inside the Radiation Therapy waiting room. Standing room only. They guy that complained about & dropped his coffee is here, as well as the other older couple with the guy who also has a laryngectony like Dad. Both of these couples are cut from the same cloth, and I'm thinking my parents are in that group as well. There's an older lady sitting next to me, talking to another woman about divorce papers - I think it's about her daughter. There are not many secrets here - the room is too small, and most of the people here are old enough that their hearing is probably going, causing elevated voice levels. There's been a younger woman here that must have an appointment before Dad's since she's always here with the rest of us.. She gets called in to get changed - few people do, must be specific to the location of the tumor(s). She stands out from the others because of her age - she's definitely below the mean average of the room. Mom is doing her plastic needlepoint craft work that she takes everywhere (and I do mean everywhere), making some Cub players. Yech. There's an electrical equipment closet, just inside the entrance of the reception area. Whenever some gets their radiation exposure, you can here a very loud buzz come from the closet. It makes sitting in here a little odd - you can tell how much radiation the patients are getting, like you can tell who is getting high dosages because of the exposure time. I think that younger lady is in there now, and her exposures are relatively short - 5-10 seconds. I brought this up to my parents about a week ago, and now it's always on our minds as we sit here. Somebody get's an exposure of just under 60 seconds. To me, being just a Joe Schmoe, I equate length of exposure to severity of the tumor(s). Well, Dad's getting called in, so it's time for me to walk back to the Parking Garage to get the car to drive around the buildings to pick them up when he's done...

But my day isn't over - my Mom wants to go to the cemetery (St. Adalberts). Seems that as of March 1st, the wreaths that may be on the graves must be cleared off, so she wants to pick up the stuff she brought out there who knows when over the winter. So we drive all the way up there and wind our way through the cemetery - only to find out that one of the sections have been cleaned out of decorations. We go to another site where she picks up the wreaths at her parents graves - then proceeds to steal two more to make up for what she lost on the other graves! Needless to say, it was a long ride home...

posted at 04:19 PM | Link | Family § |

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

Radiation Therapy Chauffeur™ duty

Mulcahy Outpatient Center at Loyola University Medical Center
My normal daily "taxi service" for my parents is different today. Today, Dad has a 1pm appointment for Dr. Bastian's office. Last week, Dr. Emami thought that there would be some kind of device - like perhaps a different trache - that Dad could get to help him "talk". I'm skeptical, but I feel that my parents aren't making use of any opportunity that's afforded them, so even if he comes away with nothing, it shouldn't be viewed as "time wasted". We just don't know what's available, and it's important to find out.

I'm sitting down in the Lobby of the Mulcahy Outpatient building with my little Toshiba Libretto - my parents are up in the office area of Dr. Bastian. Mom came down to let me know that nothing is happening upstairs and Dad is getting impatient - pretty typical for him when meeting a new situation. He's been very "calm" dealing with the process in Radiation Therapy. This kind of stuff drives him nuts - the older he gets, the more impatient he gets. He's going to be pretty upset. It's been over an hour, and we're late for our 1:30 Radiation Therapy appointment. They show up at 2:05 and I get them to the Russo building at 2:15. We're back on the road home at 3 o'clock.

Yellow Lights at Railroad Crossing
Saw something I never saw before on the way home. We cross a couple of different Commuter rail lines to and from the hospital. This one crossing - near Lake and First Avenue - seems to be near a Metra station, because there has been a few time when I saw the crossing gates go down, only to go back up again a few seconds later. There's always a train to the east, probably at a station. Well, I noticed something today - at the railroad crossing, there is a second set of flashing lights - not the red flashing lights that go on when the gates go down when a train approaches, but there's a pair a blinking yellow lights - identical to the red ones - near a sign that says "DO NOT STOP ON TRACKS" - probably a warning that says "there's a train that'll be here in a few moments - stay off!"

posted at 04:28 PM | Link | Family § |

Saturday, March 02, 2002

Wolves 3 - Americans 3

Chicago Wolves Rochester Americans A very snowy Allstate Arena reserved parking lot Darcy Hordichuk and Christian Matte Mario Larocque and Andrew Peters Sign for the Rochester Penalty Box The neighborhood after the game...
Well, we set off to the hockey game in the snow. The traffic was pretty light - not many people wanted to be out on the street. The traffic moved well, and we were there in no time. I was surprised at how many cars were in the lost an hour before the game. The Wolves played the Rochester Americans for the first time at the Allstate Arena. The referee (Dan O'Rourke) called everything, even Delay of Game. Lots of Misconducts, too. He wanted to be in control of the game, and for the most part he was. He was consistent at least - all you can ask for. The Americans have a guy (Andrew Peters) with over 300 Penalty Minutes. Well, they lit-up our goalie Frederic Cassivi (3 goals on 6 shots) so Coach Anderson replaced him with Norm Maracle, who stopped the rest of the shots. The game ended in a 3-3 tie after overtime. The official stats say the attendance was 13,119 - I find that a bit hard to believe because of the weather, though there really was a good crowd. In a nice gesture, the Wolves are allowing fans the opportunity to redeem last night's used or unused game ticket for admission to any other regular-season game, Sunday through Friday, for the remainder of the season. Aren't minor league franchises great? The ride home wasn't too bad, though the neighborhood wasn't too clean. Now, the temperatures are supposed to drop to zero tomorrow night...

posted at 10:41 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Friday, March 01, 2002

Fish Fry

Poster for St. Ferdinand's Fish Fry Oooooo... Free Pierogi! St. Ferdinand's Annual Fish Fry
Well, I went back to my old parish tonight (my parent's current parish) - St. Ferdinand's to go to their annual Fish Fry. They run it every Friday through Lent (except Good Friday). My Mom helps out, cutting cakes mostly. The turnout is always good - last week they had 650 people show up - and they do a drive-up business as well. Well, Carol, Diane, Melinda and I decided we were going today - Polish Day. You get a free Pierogi with every adult meal! It's always an odd socializing time - either meeting people from my childhood or meeting my Mom's friends. Had the Cod tonight (pretty good... and quick!) And, of course, Mom brought over some extra sauerkraut Pierogies for us.

On the ride home, we saw our first flakes of snow at 8:30pm. Let's see what happens...

posted at 09:26 PM | Link | Family § |

Saturday, February 23, 2002

Wolves 3 - Grizzlies 0

Chicago Wolves Utah Grizzlies Goaltender Norm Maracle Bobblehead Doll
Went to the Chicago Wolves game tonight against the Utah Grizzlies. Huge crowd - 15,525. Don't really know why. I'm finding it hard to believe that the draw was the Norm Maracle Bobblehead Doll that was tonight's giveaway. We invited Janie & Gary (our White Sox buds) for their first Wolves game. I think they enjoyed it - after all, we won 3-0. Maracle was in net (probably because of the Bobblehead promotion) and he came through with a shutout. But you have to feel for the Grizzlies, though. This is their 16th game of their Road Trip. You see, they've been on the road for 32 days. They got "kicked-out" of their home arena - because it's the E Center and it's been occupied - it's the 2002 Winter Olympic Games Hockey venue! Things were "chippy" again tonight. The road trip has to be getting to them by now. Their first home game is Thursday February 28. (Their last home game was Saturday January 19.)

posted at 10:07 PM | Link | Wolves § |
Conference and Learning Center at Comiskey Park

Carol going into Gate 3 at Comiskey Park Main entrance at Gate 3 to the Conference and Learning Center at Comiskey Park Welcome sign for the Open House Main Auditorium at the Conference and Learning Center at Comiskey Park The main tunnel under the stands at Comiskey Park Players have locker rooms, Umpires have dressing rooms... Row of lockers in White Sox clubhouse Ray Durham's locker Odd picture taped-up in Ray Durham's locker Rules for everything - MLB Uniform Policy hanging in White Sox Clubhouse Sign on door for access to White Sox dugout MLB rules for dugout access A view of the stands from field level at Comiskey Park The playing field at Comiskey Park Construction of the new Batter's Eye in center field at Comiskey Park
Carol and I drove to Comiskey Park this morning to go to a White Sox Season Ticket Holder Open House. It was really to show off two things - the new "Conference and Learning Center at Comiskey Park" and one of the new amenities under construction at the park. The new center is actually inside Gate 3 at the park. They did a really nice job of it. There's a couple of different sized conference rooms and a 135 seat auditorium. The whole place can be leased for business meetings and is also going to be used for a joint partnership with the Chicago Public Schools' After School Matters program. Really nice. There's some unmarked double doors that open into the main access tunnel beneath the stands. The Conference Centers doors were right across the tunnel from the Visitor Clubhouse entrance. They had setup a series of picnic tables and had free hotdogs and soda. They also had some souvenir stands setup for some last minute purchases (we passed - nothing seemed to interest us). The White Sox Clubhouse was open, and they had access to the field. When we went outside, we were able to see one of the new upgrades to the park - the entire "batter's eye" section in the center field stands was ripped-out and was being rebuilt. It's now going to have plants and a green background (Green? Green? This is great! It's part of my campaign to get Comiskey to get rid of everything blue in the place and replace it with green! The place would look a lot more like a ballpark than a swimming pool!) On top, they'll have a see-though screen around a new "plaza" area. We couldn't see the other things going on - renovation of the main concouse, renovation of the Club Level concourse (but the seats were removed from club level - I thought I had heard that they were going to be upholstered). The last thing was replacing the backstop with a vertical screen. They didn't even start that. I love going to Comiskey for these things and see everything behind the scenes. I love being on the field (Roger Bossard the head greenskeeper is a god) and it's great seeing the field green in the middle of February.

posted at 01:17 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Wednesday, February 20, 2002

Radiation Therapy Chauffeur™ duty

Loyola University Health System Jack & Leela get Dad locked-down and marked Patient form-fitting face masks to lock the head into position Dad getting test images made in the radiotherapy gear Computer displays for the radiotherapy gear and video monitors
It was 52° this morning. It's ugly outside, that drizzly pissy rain. Got the parents to Loyola Medical Center early for Dad's 1:30 appointment for a radiation therapy "practice" session. The Radiation Therapy waiting room is tiny - only a dozen chairs. I've always heard that these guys just crank through the patients - not today. Things are way backed up. This, needless to say, isn't "pleasing" to Dad, who, as he's been getting older, gets more and more impatient over these things. I walk around, just to walk around and get out of the room that seems to be getting more crowded and claustrophobic. While I'm out, there was a discussion with Mom & Dad and Dad wants me to go in with him - he thinks I can read his lips better than Mom (I can). I don't remember when he got called - it was a little before 2 o'clock - and we go in. Dad has to strip to the waist, so I've got to help him with his shirt & undershirt. He's so much smaller than me. It's the first time in my life that I'm doing something for him - for his care. He's got to take his glasses off and hearing aids. Then climb up onto a table that's is precision controlled to line him up correctly with the equipment. The techs - Jack & Lela - get a white, plastic mesh form-fitted mask (that obviously was molded sometime in the past, probably during his Simulation CatScan), but it over his head and lock him into the table. Then Jack puts a piece of plexiglass under Dad's feet with ropes tied to it. Dad has to hold onto the rope. I remember him telling us about it but we couldn't understand what the ropes were for. So I asked. The idea is for the patient to reach down and grab the ropes, but not to pull - this gets the shoulders low and out of the way of the radiation. Dad looks very uncomfortable locked into the table. There are laser lines all over the room to align his body correctly with the machine. The techs are taping things around him and are marking the mask and his chest in blue markers. The lights darken and we have to leave - everybody but dad, who's still on the table. Films are taken - three in all, all of which take time to load the films, rotate the radiation "thing" (I don't have a clue on what it's actually called - it's the thing that actually shoots the radiation). Jack doesn't think Dad is tolerating this well, and they get the last films but don't finish-off drawing on his chest. They get the face mask unlocked, and that's when dad tells me that he couldn't swallow with it on, so he was having some problems. He looks really weird - I had no idea that the mask was so tight against the skin - he's got marks from the mesh all over his face and head - he looks like a cheap alien from Star Trek or Babylon 5. We help him sit up - a bit too fast and he got dizzy & lightheaded. Then I help him get back together - hearing aids, glasses, and shirts. We finally shuffle out of the room, when a nurse - Dolores - says she wants to talk to us. I go get mom and Dolores talks to us about what to expect from the treatment. Basically, there should be no side effects except the sore throats and dad has no restrictions on his lifestyle - just keep doing what he's been doing. The side effects won't show up until about 10 treatments in. since radiation therapy is cumulative. Dolores gave mom some cream to help with skin care - keeping the skin moist. We look at the clock and it's 10 to 3. We're off. Tomorrow - the actual treatments start - every weekday for about six weeks.

posted at 04:16 PM | Link | Family § |

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

PC Help

Well, I spent almost all day at our friends Janie & Gary's house. I spent all afternoon working with Gary, getting his PC skills "upgraded" a bit and help him out with his "new" Dell. Then I spent some time with Janie, getting her setup as a seller on eBay. She wants to sell some artwork. Boy, this was harder than I thought today. And longer. Carol drove down to them and Janie made a great chicken stir fry for dinner, along with ginger bread for desert. The food was great. Then I went off to try to take some digital photos of the artwork - very hard to do when some of the pieces have glass in the frames. Carol & Gary were watching the Olympics and then I realized that I missed the Olympics today! Bummed me out! I need to figure out what's going on! I heard that the IOC went after the ISU to get it's act together and do it fast! I guess the Olympics are getting mired in this whole skating controversy. Anyway, finally got back home after 10 o'clock. I'm trying to get some Olympic Pins on eBay and I keep getting outbid. Some of the pin prices are getting outrageous, and I just can't seem to get a winning bid that I feel comfortable with.

You gotta watch where you dig! Did they call J.U.L.I.E?
On the way to Janie & Gary's, I was at the corner of Golf & Higgins at a stoplight. I looked over, and saw the work crews that are working on prepping the area for the construction that's coming over the next two years to widen both roads and try to fix the intersection, one of the worst intersections in the state. There were some telephone poles on the ground that they must have been installing, probably for additional lighting, but also maybe for video cameras (they did that further down the road on Golf when they were widening Golf and Roselle).

And then I saw it, the water gushing out of the ground. Yep, they were digging and hit a water main. The intersection started to flood. When I drove by tonight, there was a lot more heavy equipment and night lighting and a much bigger hole, trying to fix the problem.

posted at 11:09 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Sunday, February 03, 2002

Wolves 2 - Griffins 1

Chicago Wolves Grand Rapids Griffins Wolves warming up for skate around Scott in a promotion during 2nd intermission
Went to the Wolves game today. It was originally scheduled for 4 o'clock, but they finally moved it to 1 o'clock to get it away from the Super Bowl. When we got there, before the skate around, they were playing the Bears Super Bowl Shuffle video on the scoreboard. We got a new goalie, Frederic Cassivi from the Colorado Avalanche. He won the last two games that he started, but he wasn't the first one onto the ice for the warmups (first goalie out is always the starter - today it was Pasi Nurminen).

Well, it was the 10th time these guys have met. Good, fast, clean game. The Wolves beat the
Griffins 2-1. The go ahead goal was shot by Rob Brown off of Steve Maltais' nose! Maltais got the credit!

Throughout the game, I had a drunk that sat right behind me. And when I say drunk, I mean drunk. He spilled beer in the back of my seat (though not too bad.) He spilled a fresh beer on his seat, so he had to sit in the row behind - he slept through the entire second period - even with fireworks going off after we scored two goals!. Then, when he was sitting behind me during the third, he fell asleep again, tipping his fresh beer and pouring it - slowly - into the aisle. The guys with him just said this was "normal" and it occurred "365 days a year". Great.

Our bud Scott who sits in from of us was in a 2nd intermission promotion on the ice. The object - stand at one end of the ice and throw a football into the net at the other end of the ice. There were 3 other people along with Scott trying this. They went through the group - no one got it, though Scott actually came close (the second guy had a GREAT arm). So since no one got it, they tried again. NOBODY GOT IT, so no prizes were awarded!

After the game, Pasi Nurminen was sent up to the Atlanta Thrashers and then off to Salt Lake City as Finland's Olympic Goalie.

posted at 04:48 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Saturday, February 02, 2002

B-52 and a movie

Miltary contrails over the city Binny's Beverage Depot
Carol & I left to go get some Chianti (which we've never shopped for before) to bring to Barry & Buffy's house. I pull out of the driveway and look up into the sky and see something I have only seen on television.

Over the skies of Afghanistan.

I remember seeing perfectly circular contrails in the skies over Afghanistan being made by B-52 bombers as they circled, providing cover. And now, over Chicago. The same circles are in the sky. Perfect, large circles, about six of them, the older ones dispersing and moving east with the wind. Perfect circles. We watched the last circle being completed, when the aircraft broke it's pattern and headed straight west, right over my house. Commercial aircraft don't do this. Not at this altitude. I've always heard about the military flying cover over the major cities. It's just something I've never seen. After thinking about this - I'm trying to rationalize what I'm seeing. When the plane came overhead, I couldn't identify 8 engines - a typical B-52, but they're 4 pylons of 2 so it would be difficult to see that from that altitude. I'm starting to believe that maybe it was a KC-135 providing refueling services for the aircraft flying cover. That would make sense. I mean, a bomber over the city? I hope not!

Headed over to Binny's to buy the Chianti. Found a good "end of bin" deal, and took off to go to B&B's for dinner. Buff's mom is recuperating there from knee replacement surgery that she had about two weeks ago. She's in her 80's and was moving around great (even though it was with a walker). You almost couldn't tell that she had the surgery. This joint replacement stuff is amazing. Had a nice homemade Italian dinner, and watched the movie Memento afterward. Wow, what a flick. I'm still not sure exactly what we saw, but we all loved it.

posted at 11:21 PM | Link | Friends § |

Friday, February 01, 2002

SoxFest 2002

GM Kenny Williams, Radio guy Ed Farmer & Manager Jerry Manuel Jeff listening to his answers with Doreen and Janie Jeff's questions signed by Kenny Williams Fox Sports Net Chicago broadcasting from SoxFest Pitching Clinic with Jon Garland and Jim Parque A group of fans at SoxFest Pitching Clinic Autograph session with Paul Konerko and Joe Crede Hyatt Regency Chicago atrium
Well, we left home almost two hours before SoxFest was supposed to begin. We barely got there in time, due to the traffic. We were meeting our friends and season ticket holders Jeff & Doreen, and Janie & Gary at 5pm, when the doors opened. Well, when we got there, we had to go to a different floor because the line was so long. We knew that there was a security bag check before ewe went in, but had no idea what we were in for. We met everyone else while we were standing in line. The line started to move around 5:40pm! We went straight to the first (and only) scheduled seminar - a discussion session with General Manager Kenny Williams and Manager Jerry Manual, hosted by radio broadcaster Ed Farmer. The first thing we hear is something that literally just happened probably minutes before - we get Kenny Lofton as our new Center Fielder!!! Got him as a free agent with a one year deal. This is big deal!

Well, Jeff gets in line to ask a question of Kenny Williams, the General Manager. It's long, involved, loaded with pointed questions. Kenny rolls his eyes and asks Jeff for his cheat-sheet that has the questions on them, so he can answer the whole thing. It was priceless. Kenny signed the questions for Jeff and gave them back. The audience seemed to like it. The thing about SoxFest is that you see management types like this and they don't dodge questions - they answer honestly - how many major league teams of any sport do that???

We went downstairs to the main floor. Jeff & Doreen get into line to get an autograph from Paul Konerko (her favorite), so Carol & I with Janie & Gary go over to the Fox Sports Net stage where they broadcast live from 7-8 tonight. They were interviewing players throughout the show. Pretty cool.

We walked through the exhibitors, picking a few trinkets along the way (hats, pins, signed baseballs, etc).

There was always a White Sox Training Academy clinic going on - we watched a bit of the pitching clinic with pitchers Jim Parque and Jon Garland.

We finally pick up Jeff & Doreen toward the end of the night from their autograph session, take a last walk through the exhibitors and then go to the Hotel lobby (Hyatt Regency Chicago) to hit their coffee shop for dinner. Dinner took almost two fricken hours!!!! Severely understaffed! Kelly Wunsch came in and sat down in a corner by himself for dinner. It was amazing how many people went over to bother him!!! Anyway, it was a great time at SoxFest. It hard to believe that the first pre-season game is 4 weeks from today!

posted at 11:04 PM | Link | White Sox § |

Thursday, January 31, 2002

Wet snow and no signal

The neighborhood after the snow Snow on my DirecTV dish
pant... pant... pant... (gulp)... damn that snow is heavy... just shoveled the sidewalk to the front door... the snow is heavy and wet (it's 34° outside) - your typical "heart attack snow". So far, none reported on the news, but a guy in LaGrange lost two fingers in a "snowblower incident". Ew.

So I get up this morning and was watching the local news to see how bad things are outside. Then I decide to see what else is on - I flip over to BBC America, and... nothing. Black Screen. Hmmmm... I flip over to ESPN. Nothing. What the.... I have local stations and NOTHING ELSE. I have now experienced what is probably the single downfall of DirecTV - SNOW. The local channels are spot beamed down to the Chicago area and are at a high signal strength. It's getting through the snow on the dish (Normally I get 100% signal strength on these channels - I'm getting 78%), The signal strength on the other channels is ZERO. No lock on the satellite. I look out the family room window and see my dish covered in snow. Crap. I get dressed, grabbed a ladder and trudged through the snow to the side of the house. Only twisted my ankle once and went down in pain, but I'm OK. Got on the ladder and brushed the snow off - it just slid off. If I just waited longer, I bet it would have slid off by itself. Now, I'm back to 84% signal strength on the other channels and everything is fine. Got online and went to American Satellite to order what Carol calls a "sweater" for the dish - it's a cover to keep the snow off so I won't have to do this again.

posted at 12:18 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

CT Assisted Biopsy

So, I drive into the city. Not a flake in the sky until I get to Foster & Nagle, and then it's barely doing anything. Get to my parents house, walk in to the house in the middle of an argument about God-know-what. This whole health situation has been slowly effecting my family in so many ways. I can't imagine what goes on between my parents day-in, day-out... couldn't park in front of the house because someone has parked a dark gray 1990 Chevy Cavalier with no plates or sticker that they're trying to sell for $1200 right in front of my parents house. PISSES ME OFF. It's been there since at least Sunday. Anyway, the snow continues but never accumulates... the streets are just wet...

Carol's favorite house in Oak Park Signs along Chicago Avenue in Oak Park The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio 1889-1909
I love driving down Chicago Avenue in Oak Park. It's great just after a snow, to see the streets that are lined with the old-growth trees, just covered in snow. And there's a ton of great houses. BIG houses. Carol has a house that she loves that's on a corner lot. I think it was up for sale recently... can't remember how many millions of dollars it was going for... one of these days I'm going to have to go to the Frank Lloyd Wright house.. I pass it on these trips to the medical center...

Loyola University Health System "The Ten Commandments" by Cliff Helfrich
Finally got to Loyola Medical Center. Still no snow on the ground - a good thing. Dad goes back to the CatScan lab in the basement. We were there for almost an hour, getting him signed-in and prepped. Then we have to leave - we're going to go to a separate CT lab back on the first floor. Typical of a super large medical facility, it takes a while to finally get there. We're in part of the hospital we've never been in before. We go down one corridor, and there's a brand new art exhibit hanging on the walls (it was new according to the nurse that escorted us to this CT lab). The exhibit was "The Ten Commandments - 10 pieces of canvas with abstract painting on each that is supposed to depict each commandment. We didn't pay too much attention, but I just didn't get it.

The sign for CT Scanner #4 Dad waiting for the biopsy Dad actually getting scanned Dad in the CT Scanning room Screens with Dad's CT Scan

We finally make it to the CT Lab - "CT Scanner #4". We all wait out in a very tiny, dark waiting room. Eventually the nurse takes dad in. It's 12 noon. Mom and I ask if we could go to the cafeteria to grab something to eat & drink. The nurse says sure, it should take about an hour. Off to the VERY crowded cafeteria for a quick lunch. We sat by a window and watched the snow falling on the patio area. Still no accumulation, its just wet - puddles everywhere. We go back at about 20 to 1 and find out that the actual procedure hasn't started yet. They were just cranking-up when we had got there. Apparently, they had to confer with Dr. Bastian before they could do the actual needle biopsy. All of a sudden, Dad gets scanned, they look at the shots, another doctor goes in, gets the tissue sample, and walks out to go and make sure he's got a good sample. It just happened probably within the span of 5 minutes. I stepped out of the room for a minute or two, just to walk down the corridor to see what was down the hall (The Heart Failure Lab, actually) when I saw the doctor going back in. I started walking back and the doctor was coming back out and said "We're all done". When I walked into the waiting area, the was another doctor that was talking to my mom, in broken English. All I caught at the end of the conversation was something about the tumor had grown, and "wrapped around" something, and was now down below the stoma. This sounds bad. The tumor has grown since the last CT? Mom helps dad get dressed and we head on home. Still snowing, still no accumulation. I drop them off, and head home myself.

This is sounding worse than I what I heard from Dr. Emami just two weeks ago today.

I'm feeling scared. This is new to me. Mom had said to me in the waiting room that she "knew that people with 'this' never come out of it" and that she's taking it a day at a time and she's doesn't want to think about it much because it bothers her too much.

I understand.

posted at 03:20 PM | Link | Family § |
Garbage Day

Holy crap... am I tired... I wanted to keep sleeping... must be the weather. No snow by us. but 1"-2" south of O'Hare. The city is literally split it half with this Winter Storm that's been going through since last night... 6"-10" by tomorrow afternoon! I've got to get myself together to drive my parents to Loyola Medical Center again...

Ah, the weekly garbage pickup...
it's Wednesday, so it's garbage day... nothing I hate worse is to be on your way out the door and remember "hey, it's Wednesday!" and have to drag out the garbage and recyclables...

posted at 08:05 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Tuesday, January 29, 2002

Geese and Satan

OK, now I think they're inviting friends...
The geese are back... now I'm starting to think they're inviting friends...

Got the mail and saw a letter from Unemployment... lots of things run through your head when you see a letter like this, all of which have to do with losing your benefits. Turns out, it's just a letter saying that the calculation changed for calendar year 2002. Unfortunately, I made too much money during my 6 months of work last year for that new calculation to make any difference - I'm still at the max allowable.

OK trust me, the next two things aren't related (I don't think...)

We have to sit through another State of the Union speech tonight by George the 43rd. Look, I'm behind the guy absolutely 100% when it come to the War On Terror, but I never liked his domestic policies. I hope we start turning up the heat in the Philippines, and, after seeing Black Hawk Down over the weekend, I hope that Somalia gets "cleaned-up" as well, but the rest of the policies? Fahgetaboutit.

Now - not related (I don't think), the Mayor of Inglis, Florida (Carolyn Risher) issued a proclamation that declared the Prince of Darkness persona non grata. "Satan, ruler of darkness, giver of evil, destroyer of what is good and just, is not now, nor ever again will be, a part of this town of Inglis." Think the ACLU is happy?

posted at 04:16 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Monday, January 28, 2002

Unemployment check

Employment SECURITY??? Hello - May I help you?
Another unemployment check to deposit into the bank... boy that's a slap in the face - looking at the envelope, it comes from the department of Employment Security. Employment Security??? Since when are jobs secure??? Boy, they're not doing their jobs! A quick trek out to the ATM, and we make it through another couple of days...

posted at 03:17 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Saturday, January 26, 2002

Mogadishu on the big screen

AMC South Barrington 30 Hmmm... what to see, what to see... Hmmm... what to eat, what to drink...
Wow. Another 52° day.

Barry & Buffy came over to visit. We went out this afternoon to the AMC South Barrington 30 to see Black Hawk Down. The only negative: it runs 144 minutes. Wow. What a movie, what a story. It's the true story of the Battle of Mogadishu, the longest sustained ground battle involving American soldiers since the Vietnam War. 120 American Delta units and Ranger infantry were dropped into Mogadishu, Somalia on October 3rd, 1993, to abduct two of Somalian warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid's lieutenants. Instead, two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were shot down, and what was expected to take an hour lasted 15, resulting in the deaths of 18 Americans, 73 wounded, and hundreds of Somalians dead. Great cinematography. Great acting. Ridley Scott did another great job.

But the real real story is even more timely and hits home even more - you see Gen. Muhammed Farrah Aidid's people were actually trained, funded, and staffed by - guess who - BIN LADEN! Yep, the same bastard we're still going after 8 years later. If you happen to see the movie, think about that and see how it "colors" your view of what was going on in Moga (as the Rangers call it).

Went to this Mexican place, El Mason, in Schaumburg for dinner. Haven't been there since the 80's. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and sounds like we'll go back. Everyone had combo platters (Carol, Buffy & I each had the same one, that came with a half of a strip steak that was very tasty and tender).

posted at 08:15 PM | Link | Movies § |

Friday, January 25, 2002

They mock me

Great... now they're mocking me... Damn it! Get the hell outa here!
They're back... they're mocking me... they're sitting on my driveway... time to go ruffle some feathers...

posted at 02:45 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Wednesday, January 16, 2002

The cancer won't be cured

Loyola University Health System Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center

I leave the house at about 12:30pm to drive to my parents to drive them to Loyola Medical Center in Maywood. Dad had to see Dr. Emami, who's the chairman of the Radiation Oncology department at Loyola. Out in Hoffman Estates, it's been snowing big time - big flakes, too. On the way to my parents and on the way to Loyola, the snow was lighter and wetter. But the closer we get to the hospital, the bigger the flakes are becoming. Get there at 2:30 for a 3:00. Turns out that the big deal is not the lymph node that Dr. Bastian was concerned about. There's a mass behind the stoma that is probably cancerous. The MRI shows the mass and everyone believes it's cancer.

If dad would have gotten radiation treatment after his laryngectomy back in May, that mass would not be there. At that time, Dad didn't want to do radiation. Mom agreed. They both knew what could happen if he didn't get radiation. He was feeling good after the surgery. He didn't want to feel worse.

Now he's in trouble.

Dr. Emami wants to make sure it's cancer. He wants dad to get a needle biopsy to make sure. Dad was also supposed to get a chest x-ray, but now he'll get a chest CT instead, just to make sure the cancer didn't spread further down.

A resident (Dr. Paul Crossan) checked out dad, made sure he was OK.

The course of treatment will probably by 33-34 treatments, once a day, 5 days a week, so that'll be almost 7 weeks.

But there's a major problem: behind the mass is dad's spinal column. The spinal column can only handle about 25 treatments. It's going to be difficult to monitor - radiation treatments take weeks to actually work - (there's actually a delayed reaction to the radiation), so it's going to be tricky. Really tricky. And this won't be a cure. It's too late for that. It'll give him a bit over 2 years. If he doesn't get it, the mass will continue to grow, eventually cutting off his windpipe.


posted at 06:39 PM | Link | Family § |

Damn crows!
Wow, really started to snow... I gotta get going to pick up my parents... there're salt trucks going through the neighborhood. Damn! It's Wednesday and the crows have found our garbage AGAIN, like they do every week when we put it out for pickup...

posted at 12:07 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Monday, January 14, 2002

Chicago Wolves Season Ticket Holder Party

Wolves Season Ticket Holder Party Bryan Adams wins at Dome Hockey Wendell Young in net in Dome Hockey! Garnet Exelby and Dan Snyder Derek MacKenzie & his new stitches Steve Maltais and Dan Plante Norm Maracle and Dallas Eakins J.P. Vigier and Kamil Piros
Went to the Chicago Wolves Season Ticket Holder Party at the Allstate Arena tonight - get together of ticket holders to eat crappy stadium food and meet all of the players, get their autographs, take their pictures, and maybe even play hockey with them - dome hockey or air hockey, that is. It was an OK time - it's never anything stellar, but a nice time.

posted at 09:50 PM | Link | Wolves § |
They're baa-ack

Damn geese!
There is something that happens around this time of year that pisses me off... it never fails, when there's no snow on the ground, usually when it's drizzling or raining, we have "herds" of geese that walk the neighborhood, always stopping to feed on our lawn. The hang around for hours at a time, refusing to leave, even if I go out there after them. They never fly away, they always just walk around. And, of course, there's a big negative spin on this - they're crappin' all over the driveway and sidewalks. It's gross. Why can't they just migrate!!!!

posted at 03:02 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Sunday, January 13, 2002

Wolves 4 - Moose 5

Chicago Wolves Manitoba Moose Zdenek Blatny wearing special White Patriotic Jersey

Went to another Wolves game tonight against the Manitoba Moose. We lost 5-4. Same officiating crew as last night... and they still suck. More fights. One of our guys (Clark) elbowed a guy and got 5 minutes (he drew blood), but he also got a game misconduct. I hate these guys. They did a real crappy job keeping control of the game both nights. Lots of missed calls and wrong calls.

Today was the end of the patriotic jersey raffle and auction. There was a total of 60 jerseys up for auction (4 of them were up for raffle). I didn't win anything. bummer. They were great jerseys. And, of course, the prices at the auction were at the $1000 level for almost all of the jerseys. I think I heard they made about $71,000.

posted at 07:42 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Saturday, January 12, 2002

Wolves 7 - Barons 3

Chicago Wolves Cleveland Barons J.P. Vigier receiving his All-Star Jersey from AHL President and CEO Dave Andrews J.P. Vigier wearing special Dark Blue Patriotic Jersey One of the MANY fights tonight A VERY crowded Cleveland Penalty Box
Went to the Wolves game tonight against the Cleveland Barons. Wolves won 7-3. UGLY game. Four Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalties in the 1st period. It just kept getting worse from there. The 3rd Period was unbelievable. Cleveland had three game misconducts, including one against the assistant coach. We wound up getting one game misconduct, which I thought should have just been a 10 minute misconduct. When was the last time you saw 2 7-minute power plays in one game? (2 minute instigating, 5 minute fighting, usually coupled with 10 minute misconducts and maybe a game misconduct). I think I heard on the post-game show on radio that Cleveland had a total of 144 penalty minutes. Cleveland now leads the league in Minor penalties (373), 10-minute misconducts (24), and game misconducts (12), and tied for gross misconducts (1). All of this in front of the President & CEO of the AHL, who was there to present J.P. Vigier with his All Star Jersey. (Vigier wound up getting a hat trick during the game. Think he was pumped?)

The team also wore special Patriotic theme jerseys that were being auctioned this weekend. Tonight's jersey was dark blue. A very cool jersey. Proceeds from the auction are going to selected September 11 charities.

posted at 10:51 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Tuesday, January 08, 2002

Dogsitting, eBay, and marchFIRST

My marchFIRST shirt from eBay
Nice quiet day dogsitting Katie. Replied to someone that saw my resume on Monster, but no reply from the EMail. Got my marchFIRST Microsoft Alliance shirt that I won on eBay. Watched a bunch of Hopkins 24/7 shows on Discovery Health. Great series.

posted at 10:09 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Friday, January 04, 2002

Birthday dinner and DirecTV

My sister Diane and Melinda took Carol & me out to dinner for my birthday. Had some great baby back ribs at Bone Daddy. Yum. On my way to her house, I realized that I didn't eat a crumb of food all day. I think this DirecTV thing has got my adrenaline going and I just forgot!

Sony SAT-B55 Digital Satellite Receiver
All the DirecTV receivers are plugged-in - half are fully operational. I need to go out tomorrow and buy a new multiswitch - I think that's the problem. The picture quality is absolutely unbelievable! We got the Platinum package and can't believe the number of stations! 23 local sports stations! I can't wait for baseball season!

DirecTV - a very nice birthday present!

posted at 10:54 PM | Link | Mundane § |
Decent signal

Satellite signal display
Working out the kinks in the satellite signal on the receivers...

posted at 01:58 PM | Link | Movies § |
Up on the roof (of the garage)

Larry Barnes installing the DirecTV dish
Ooooooo.... the dish is up...

posted at 10:18 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Thursday, January 03, 2002


Box o' Receivers
Wooooooo Hooooooo! UPS just delivered my DirecTV stuff! Three boxes worth. One box is the dish itself, another box looks like a self-install kit (cable, connectors, a multiswitch and a videotape), and the last box is the 4 receivers (much smaller than I thought). Now I just need to get it installed and activated...

Damn... installation is expensive! More than the equipment itself! But I got an installer to come out tomorrow.

Another Katie-sitting day again. I gotta tell you, I've been looking all over the house to see if Katie left a "present" anywhere. She didn't. Man, is she passing gas...

posted at 11:37 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Tuesday, January 01, 2002


New Year's Eve spread
Spent the evening at Barry & Buffy's with Debbie and Kenny & Pat. As usual, everyone brought appetizers to eat. Things from brie & pear slices, toast points with creme fresh & caviar, cucumber slices with salmon, creme fresh, capers, & dill, walnut dried salami, Kenny's special shrimp (very yummy), barbecue chicken wings, Italian meatballs, a great Reuben mix that you put on miniature rye slices, baklava... and I'm sure I'm missing something... Watched the ABC 2002 coverage, even with the 30th Anniversary of Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve. Was very disappointed in the local coverage. The phone rang at Barry's just after 11. Barry answered and talked for a while. We couldn't figure out who he was talking to. The he turns and hands the phone to me - it was Diane! Her and Melinda were at their Michigan home - where it was midnight (the New Year) and she had to call! The drive home this year was uneventful - dry roads and hardly any idiots.

posted at 02:04 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Saturday, December 29, 2001

Wolves 3 - Moose 6

Chicago Wolves Manitoba Moose
I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out... Went to the Chicago Wolves game tonight. The Wolves lost 6-3 to the Manitoba Moose. Lost their last 4 now. They're looking bad. I don't understand what's happening I don't trust any of our goalies. I don't trust our defense. I don't trust our vets - they're old and slow in this fast-paced play of the AHL. The new kids just get called up or sent down, so there's always a constant change in lineups. Not to mention injuries.
The first regulation goaltender fight in Wolves history
There's bad blood between the teams. The Wolves lost to the Moose in Manitoba Thursday night 4-0. Bob Nardella got a Game Misconduct for spearing. It obviously spilled over tonight, where we saw a rarity at 17:34 into the 1st period: both goalies - Norm Maracle & Alfie Michaud - skated to center ice, dropped their gloves and masks and went at it! Hard to understand, though - the both of them were smiling and laughing through the pummeling. Both got 5 for fighting and 2 for leaving the crease (which, somehow, I didn't realize was an actual penalty). At the Allstate Arena they also announced that both goalies got game misconducts - which they rescinded or corrected after the start of the second period.

posted at 10:54 PM | Link | Wolves § |

Monday, December 24, 2001

Christmas Eve

Passin' presents on Christmas Eve
Another Christmas Eve at my sister Diane's house with her dogs, our parents, and my cousin Kathy's family. A nice night. Diane did a great job of cooking. It's great seeing the kids get their presents, even though they're getting older. For us, well a few "couple" gifts - gifts for Carol & me. I wound-up getting a wallet and a Best Buy gift card.

posted at 11:30 PM | Link | Family § |

Thursday, December 20, 2001


Katie on the couch
7:26am. Katie starts howling. And she does this every 2-3 minutes for the next half-hour. I'm dog-sitting a friend's dog, who just had an eye removed due to glaucoma. She's got a cone around her head, and she needs to be leash walked. Since I'm currently unemployed and not doing anything, I'm watching her. I just wish she'd get over her separation anxiety. Then again, I should be awake and up and about. Checked my web job posting sites. Nothing new today.

posted at 08:33 AM | Link | Mundane § |


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This Blog was last updated Friday December 18, 2009 13:03:12 CDT (-06:00 GMT)
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