Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Trouble With Starting Them On Sushi When They're Little

Our first "going out" meal with the college kids this break was their choice and, without a doubt, the choice is always sushi. I'm writing this today because sushi has always been significant to us on New Years Eve. 

We thought, as parents, since we loved sushi, let's take our little kids to the Sushi House with us so we can get our fix. We started this snowball rolling 15 years ago when they were 3 1/2 and 6 years old.  They're tastes back then trended toward chicken teriyaki and cucumber rolls (manageable for a young couple). What we didn't realize is we were creating sushi fiends and, that down the line, our wallets would take a huge hit!

Believe it or not, there were other insane families in our neighborhood that groomed their young kids to have the same form of distinguished palates as ours. This began a tradition that lasted many, many years as our New Year's Eve celebration.

When they were grade schoolers, a major highlight of the holidays was going out for sushi (table for 14) then cosmic bowling (black lights and neon) to ring in the new year. The evening's attire was always PJ's...even to dinner!  Suburban Bowl was a "hot spot" these nights with kids ordering loads of fries, we a few pitchers of beer, and lots of gutter balls. The bowling alley knew the deal and rang in two sets of the new year; one at 11:00pm and the other at midnight. This was perfection as the kids would start to crash and burn just prior to 11 from the over stimulation of bowling in neon.

We, as parents, created this life long desire and expensive habit for our children. Instead of crack, they crave Dragon Rolls! You might call them addicts of a sort. I have heard them make plans with these childhood friends to meet for sushi, discuss the best sushi restaurants on their university's campus and which delivers to your dorm or apartment! Now when we're out at any of our local places, we usually run into one of the 14 from the original NYE sushi club, dining in or picking up.

Today, being NYE, we are doing sushi for lunch. The kids have plans for tonight and so do we. I'm sure they figure the old folks will spring for their fix and all they have to do is join us...easy enough. It benefits both sides and we couldn't be happier!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Why Are My Clothes So Tight?

Two weeks ago, my clothes fit awesome. I don't know if I weighed less but I felt like I did. I committed to 6 days a week of challenging exercise and I actually did it (ate well too)...6 days a week for 2 weeks. It was a great start to something even bigger... or smaller, or maybe firmer...however I describe it, that's the look or feel I was going for during the holidays!

I really thought I was going to beat it...the holiday bulge! Then came, Christmas Day and the lethargy that comes after. It lasted three days!!! I was wiped. So wiped out that I didn't move a muscle but to eat and drink just a little more.

Then guess what? I put on my clothes today...three tries worth...and they were all too small. They hadn't been to the cleaners so I couldn't blame them. Is it possible they shrunk in the dryer. What the hell happened in three days...Sunday through Wednesday? Where did this inner tube come from that is encircling my waist?

How can it be that I am good for two, plus, solid weeks and in three days I am chubby?

It is not fair! Not fair at all!

I started again today, with the exercise part at least. Let's hope I can make some headway or I am certain that I could be my own PFD (Personal Floatation Device)!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Butter or No Butter....

On your popcorn? Me, I'm all for the fake butter stuff!

Just got back from "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo". I read all three books and saw the Swedish version of all three movie adaptations. However, reading and viewing the first was a whiiiile ago, so I remembered the gist of the storyline and some of the "unforgettable" particulars but it was pleasing to be surprised by a few things. I must mention that I have a memory like an elephant, which is a blessing and a curse (I will write about this one day, I'm sure), so I will have to go back and see if the screenwriters changed some things to make it easier for the viewers to understand the plot (I think they did)! It's quite complicated.

What I can say is the neophytes to the trilogy, husband and daughter,  thought the movie was fantastic. I will add that Daniel Craig was at his best and Rooney Mara was exactly the "Lisbeth" I envisioned. She should win some sort of something! 

The movie is outstanding without the need to have read any or all of the books. Of course, I was on hand to explain some of the criss crossing plot thingies. It was a very crafty movie that makes all of us want the sequel to be out...RIGHT NOW!

Go and get your popcorn!

Monday, December 26, 2011

No One Sings the National Anthem Like...

IMO, there is no one who sings the National Anthem like Jim Cornelison at a Chicago Blackhawks hockey game. It is the most chilling rendition you will EVER hear! It never fails to give me the shivers and a tremendous feeling of pride for my country.

How can a person singing a song give shivers to an entire stadium? He is absolutely amazing and does it every single time. God bless the servicemen who accompany him onto the ice!

This link is Mr. Cornelison singing at this year's Chicago Bears football game on 9/11/11. ( I must point out that it will never sound as it does at the "Madhouse", aka The United Center or The Chicago Stadium (of old)!

The Calm After the Storm!

I just love a quiet house, especially after a crazy weekend. I have decided to give everyone the day off today. This includes the kids, dogs, one husband and ME!

No work today, just fun and relaxation! 

This morning, let's all read our books (or sleep), lay on the couch, and eat leftovers for breakfast. Then, after a while, let's walk the dogs on this beautiful, sunny Chicago day to get the blood pumping and our bodies moving. I almost wrote "movie" instead of moving. Apparently that's what I want to do next. 

After our walk, shall we see a movie? We probably don't have time to go to the theatre so let's rent one on the tube.  

I hope everyone feels like Thai food for dinner. Let's order from Siam Kitchen and pick it up early so we won't be late for the Hawks game in the city. It's a 7:30pm start! Hockey is the best sport seen live (maybe between football but not Bears football).

I'm so happy I just planned a fun day for us after such a special one yesterday. Not to say Christmas day wasn't was, but just not relaxing!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"

My very favorite Christmas song was set in stone many years ago when I was an avid Ally McBeal fan. I absolutely loved the period when she dated Robert Downey Jr.'s character. If I remember correctly, he sang this song as he played the piano and it was almost, or was, the last time he saw Ally. The timing for RDJ was such that he went into rehab shortly thereafter.

I will never forget when he simply and sweetly sang "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" to her! Every time I hear it on the radio, it reminds me of him.

Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Living With Nocturnal Animals AKA College Kids!

My precious bundles of joy finally arrived home last night from Indiana University. It was so very nice of them to come bearing gifts for Christmas...smelly laundry. Thanks a bunch! I hate laundry! However, I love having them home so I squeeze both a little too tightly and dig into the two giant mounds before me.

(I'm about to talk about myself in the third person because that's how I'm referred to around here...Mom this or Mom that!)

Mom is so sweet. It's day one.

The load total for the day was nine (not including our laundry) and netted Mom just short of $10 which, by the way, she keeps. If you fail to empty your pockets, it's not Mom's fault. It fast becomes her coffee money. Don't even ask if there was anything in your pockets because she doesn't remember.

Not only has she finished all the laundry because we told her we're wearing our last pair of underwear, she has cooked our favorite dinner (beef tenderloin; tomato, mushroom and spinach couscous; salad and Angel bread). We haven't had a family dinner, just the four of us, in 3 1/2 months. It's really nice being home!

Mom is pooped from creating Christmas over the past few weeks and readying our home for arrival day. She hits the hay about 11pm.

This is when the nocturnal animals come out to play. They make Paninis, bake cookies, have friends over, play with the dogs, eat again, etc., etc., etc.... There is a whole nighttime world out there which begins around midnight that she doesn't know about and it's active! Rumblings and strange noises can be heard coming from the first floor. They are oddly familiar. 

Trying to recreate the blissful calm and quiet of moments before, she realizes something is far different than it was yesterday, one week ago and even one month ago. This sense is confirmed at 6:30 a.m. the next morning when the state of the family room and kitchen are revealed. 

The college kids, AKA the nocturnal animals, are home and they're here to stay for almost a month! The animals know full well that Mom's mood can change very quickly especially from lack of sleep and messes! Let's not even add bickering to the list this early in the game.

Therefore, the challenge before us is to change their internal body clocks to be more like  the animals awake during the day....Mom and Dad! The new world order begins today!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Go To The Mall At Your Own Risk!

I will say it again and again and again. Don't do it! Don't go to the mall! It will be a big mistake if you do!  Go at the risk of your own sanity! You've been warned!

Please take my word for it. This is what it's like out there and it's nothing short of nuts out there!

The parking lots have cars stalking shoppers in order to park as close as possible never thinking about the line up of cars behind them. You'd think all the honking would switch the dim lightbulb in their noodles to MOVE OVER so we can pass. I'm surprised that I didn't witness an accident. However, I did see flashing red and blue lights. 

Once inside, there are too many people in too narrow of spaces like the shoe department of Nordstrom, and the makeup department for that matter. Customers are running into  each other without an "excuse me" or a even a glance. Basically, you're invisible to other shoppers. Their glazed eyes will look right through you. I must acknowledge the service people at Nordstrom were incredibly pleasant and cheerful! Surprising for 2 days before Christmas.

I am not at all a bah humbug type of person. I'm just not a mall shopper. I avoid the mall at all costs unless I really need an outfit or shoes for something special. I don't browse. I buy, then high tail it out of their as quickly as possible. I don't even know how I got talked into going right before Christmas.

Actually, I do know! My darling, sugar plum fairy of a daughter, who is recently 21, wanted to run a quick errand for makeup. You might be thinking, "Why doesn't she just go herself?". The short answer is she spent from years 18-20 practicing for the Indy 500. The police in Illinois and Indiana didn't care for her choice of practice tracks...the highway. Therefore, her fabulous mom has become her favorite chauffeur for a second time in her life. March 12th can't come fast enough! 

 So I was at the mall, unnecessarily, two days before Christmas with a beautiful 21 year old girl who wanted to spend time with her Mummy!!! At least that's how I would like to think of it!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Focus and Motivation...Lacking in Both!

Tabata high-intensity strength/cardio interval training1 hour (568 calories burned)
Tabata training is a form of cardiovascular exercise which is beneficial to burning fat. This method uses 20 seconds of ultra-intense exercise done as quickly as one can (ex. squat w/ shoulder press) followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated continuously for 4 minutes (8 cycles) with 30 seconds rest after all 8 cycles are finished. This is done with 10-12 total exercises for an hour workout. I'm pooped!

Now to address my focus and motivation issues...

It must be that Christmas is virtually here because I am not feeling either of the above today in the least, wasn't yesterday and probably won't tomorrow! I'm feeling like the calm before the storm. I'm ready for the weekend but that's when my mind plays tricks and tries to convince me that I've forgotten something really big.  Calgon...take me away or to "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"!!!! However, I'm not one to panic so I'm thinking of just rolling with the rest of the week and see what happens, marinating in my shortcomings. My kids are older so there is no terror of blowing the beard off Santa, hiding all the presents above the pulldown steps to the attic, or secret midnight wrapping...Thank God! 

The only two things I've done today are workout and make a gigantic batch of cinnamon roasted pecans. Is that enough? Wait...I'm writing so that's something too. And I've answered the door when Fed Ex guy came. I've done four things!!!

So far, the true highlight of my Wednesday was seeing the 16 year old neighborhood Bassett Hound, Buddy, taking his 1 of 3 walks down the block today (you'll never know when you've seen his the last one). Imagine Tim Conway walking Tim Conway. That's how fast Buddy and his, younger than me, owner walk. It's a riot, especially when I see them somewhere unexpected like in town which is three blocks away. I wonder how long it took them to get there and how many hours do they spend walking each day...Buddy in his coat and Owner in his trapper hat? For the longest time, we thought Owner (sorry I don't remember your name but I smile and wave to you every day!) was smoking weed in order to be willing and able to walk that slowly. (Actually, we truly did wonder about the weed!) Owner of Buddy, do you have a job and it's okay if you don't? Now, we just think they both enjoy their time together everyday as they meander the streets of our town!

I don't think I'm going to accomplish anymore today. I am going to chalk up this day, lacking in focus and motivation, to my wine hangover and call it! No pressure! I wonder what time the movie is playing this afternoon!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


There comes a time when you find out the unexpected....In my case, I found out someone is a player and it's really, really disappointing! Hasta manana!

Blog Discovery Day

I just discovered this blog today called Sunday Stealing ( Every Sunday, the game, I think, is to answer the questions that are stolen from another blog each Sunday. I don't know. I'm going to take a stab at this each week between my other lazy activities for the day. So here is this week's Community Meme.

Sunday Stealing: The Community Meme 

1. As a blogger, what do you draw inspirations from for your posts?
Since I’m a new blogger, just what pops into my head.

2.   If you could swap blogs with another blogger for a post, who would you switch with and why?
I would switch with one of two people…the editor of Conde Nast Traveler or Anthony Bourdain from The Travel Channel. Why them? They have unlimited access to travel! I am obsessed with traveling and willing to go anywhere at any time. I would choose the gift of travel over the Hope diamond every single time. 

3. If your blog had a theme song, what would it be? Why?
“You can’t always get what you want” The Rolling Stones or Pink “Raise Your Glass”. True and fun! 

4.  What is your writing process for a post?
See 1.

5.  Your blog requires a cute, new, mascot-what would it be?
Addison (one of my chocolate labs) caught mid-air after taking a running leap off our pier at the lake.

6.  Do you feel you express your “true self” on your blog?
I’m getting there. Since no one is reading it, it’s pretty easy to be myself. However, my mind is far more R-rated then I have let on so far.

7.  What is your biggest online pet-peeve?
When you have to type in those funky words to authenticate an entry for a website, if that's what you call it, ala Ticketmaster purchases. ANNOYING!

8.     If you could live in a fictional universe, where would you live? Why?
It would be on an island in the Pacific inhabited by only those truly important to me. We would have all the food and wine we would ever need and live peacefully with each other.

9.  You’re having a bad day, you’re upset, you’re angry, or you’re sad-what is your go-to comfort?
Either I call one of my best friends to bitch or I read.

10.  What is your favorite inspirational quote?
I have two, both by Mother Theresa. “People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people my cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” AND 
Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”

11.  If they were to make a movie based on your life, who would play you, your leading lady/man, your best friend, and your rival?
Me: Gwyneth Paltrow; Leading Man: George Clooney; Best Friend: Sandra Bullock; Rival: Madonna

  12.  Do you think the world isgoing to end in 2012?

13.   If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?
My procrastination when no one notices.

14.  What is your favorite season and why?
The Fall in Chicago because of it’s beauty and glorious jeans and sweater weather. It feels like a new beginning or transition to me.

15.  You’ve been bitten by a vampire. Would you fight it with all your undead being or would you embrace it for all it is worth?
I’d have no choice but to embrace it. I am a biter at times. A guy in college got really mad at me for biting him in the shoulder (through his shirt, I might add) and didn’t speak to me for over a year. He figured out he wanted to date me again but I had already moved way on. It was unfortunate because he was gorgeous. Interestingly enough, he now lives in my tiny suburban Chicago village. It was a long time before I bit anyone again and the next guy liked it!

16.  Have you personally met any of your blogger friends?
No but I don’t have any.

17.  What does your favorite pair of underwear look like?
White, gray and black lace thong

18.  Have you ever drank something right from the container in the refrigerator knowing other people will have to drink out of the same container later?
Of course! Who hasn’t?

19.  What is your favorite word and explain why?
Besides a good explicative to emphasize a point (my favorite is fuck) there are too many to pick one.

20.  2011 is soon coming to a close, is there anything you’d like to do different on you blog in the year 2012?
Figure out a better format and design. Interest some people.

I Must Exercise!

Since no one reads my blog yet, I have decided to start all my posts with the type of exercise I have accomplished for the day. It will be just a few words unless it was hard as hell then I will complain as well. ...One hour Spin class has made me very hungry... This is for me and not related to anything other than keeping my lazy ass moving. Therefore, I will only sit down to write if I have vigorously moved my bod. If I haven't, I suppose I will still write but  hopefully be embarrassed to admit to the blog, and web, that I failed for the day.

I get one day off, though, and it will usually be Sunday. On Winter Sundays, I slowly read the Chicago Tribune with coffee, eat a late breakfast, watch football (or a movie), read, nap, then drink wine while making dinner. It could be the perfect day, particularly in the winter! Summer Sundays involve very different activities and a vibe all it's own. Love them both but am in love with Sundays in general!

Ok...I must stay focused on this goal of strenuous daily exercise because I have something very fun and important to do in mid-January. These last few weeks have been a kick start to an increased fitness level. The beaches of Tulum are calling my name and I have to debut a recent birthday gift from my best friends at that time...a custom made Rolling Stones bikini! Yikes!!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Woo Hoo! Freedom to Write Anything!

There is a certain freedom to writing when you believe no one is reading what you have put down on paper, or screen, as I am here. I get to write about what I feel like and right now I feel like writing about things that get easier over time and things that don't. I will leave food and wine out of this since those are no brainers and never difficult!

In my life, the easy stuff is usually a cyclical thing.

For instance, marriage is generally easy but at certain times in my life has become now...during the holidays! Or when you both have a different idea about a decision you're making. Or when the in-laws overstay their welcome. This list could go on forever but marriage is pretty easy if you are married to the right one or you can get your way on a regular basis.

It's the same with kids. They are physically challenging to raise, then mentally challenging, then easy, then mentally challenging again. I am currently at the "mentally challenging again" stage with my college freshman. Work hard, play hard is the mantra we are trying to instill in him. He has mastered part two (play hard). If he doesn't balance this he will intrude on my empty nest and that's not acceptable right now!

Exercise even gets easier when you commit to doing it regularly. You get over the hump with weight training so you can walk the next day as opposed to not being able to sit on the toilet for days because your ass or thighs are too sore. Cycling gets easier as does running, walking and boxing.

Two things aren't getting any easier for me so far.

The first thing that never gets easier are the Palos toboggan stairs. They are 125 steps of pure hell every single time! What the hell! My legs are so fatigued and shaking right now that I had to sit down. Tomorrow, I won't be able to walk very well.

The second thing that isn't getting easier for me is writing. Just writing is easy but the challenge is finding something interesting to write about every day. No one really cares what I write or is reading this but today I'm boring myself. I feel sorry for me because it's making me want to take a nap...the Palos toboggan stairs and my writing!!! If anyone needs to nap, read this first and you will go right to sleep!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Night- Weekend in Review

What should I do on this Sunday evening when I don't really feel like writing? Have a glass of wine, of course! It's the holidays.

My husband is back from a very bad football game (Da Bears AKA Can anything else go wrong with this season?).  He is currently snoring on the couch, smells like beer and his mouth was in a perpetual state of smirk when he got home. I think they were drowning out the brutal second half. Thank God for the metra trains who deliver us all home safely to our little villages outside the city! I certainly know what I should do about our season tickets....list them on Ebay. Someone from our opponents side will certainly want to see their team win against us! Hey Green Bay fans, I've got four tickets! To the Bears, go ahead and apply my monies for the playoff tickets to next season.

Since I am committed to writing everyday I must admit, as no one reading this can see, I missed yesterday due to travel. It's unfortunate that I couldn't write because I did have a dilemma that I was pondering. My decision was to cocktail it up at an out-of-town party I knew would be boring (except hanging with my best friend) or lay low sparing the hangover? It is difficult to get things going when the party is at the home of two recovering people (I'm happy they are!) and most importantly, there was no music! How can anyone have a party and not think about music? It makes the party! Decision was made early...have a few cocktails, challenge some people in ping pong and then drink water for the remainder of the evening. Best part is I felt great today and was ready for a peaceful glass of wine tonight.

The evening's checklist:

Fire in the fireplace,
Christmas tree glowing,
Lou Malnati's deep dish, butter crust pizza ordered,
Pour glass number two!

It's going to be a great evening!

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Country Club Christmas Fiasco!

Today's blog is of the "Does anyone care what I write?" variety and involves one of my very silly best friend.

Last night was our fancy Christmas dinner at the country club. The "blue hairs" were out in force (not me, I'm blonde), everyone was dressed to the nines and wine flowed freely as hors d'oeuvres were being passed. We thought this was a great night to behave since it wasn't the rip roaring kind of night that we sometimes like to have and did the week before.

Everyone made a grand entrance into the dining room to candlelight, flowers and 50 string instruments playing gorgeous Christmas music. Approaching our table, we decide to continue acting like grown ups and sit boy/girl even though we REALLY want to sit girls on one side and guys on the other. We feel this need when we're dressed up and I don't know why. A grand night calls for grand gestures, so our gentlemen pull out our chairs for us to gently sit. Doc Weed, Susie's guy, pulls out her LEAST two feet. Poor Susie went down hard in her little black dress and Jimmy Choo stilettos anticipating her non-existent seat with about 25 people looking on. The look on her face was priceless! At the same time and I don't even know how as we were all in shock, the flower centerpiece falls into my full water glass and lands right in my lap. Thinking I was clever and wearing satin, I thought the water might run right off me on to the floor if I stood up. The only things in the way of this bright idea were my shoes and I sat the rest of the night in wet Stuart Weitzman's but Susie sat in shear mortification!

I'm sure our table looked like a bunch of big drunks and we weren't even really drinking! Thank God we pay to be there and can't get kicked out...I think!

That was the start of our night. Then I had the craziest conversation with Sue during dessert. She always gives me her tomatoes because she doesn't like them. I always give her my raspberries because I don't care for their consistency. Sue finally, after 15 years, asked what my problem was with raspberries and the rest went like this:
"Why don't you like raspberries?" " I like the taste but not the consistency. They are seedy and sometimes hairy and I don't like that." Sue, "Well I'm hairy sometimes and you still like me don't you?" Me, "Yes, but Sue, I don't eat you!" Doc just looked back and forth between us and said, "I hope not!"

Okay, so I thought that was funny! Have a great!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I Should Change My Mind?

Took the time just now to peruse the Chicago Tribune which is a luxury today. While turning the pages, my eyes gravitated to an ad with a beautiful diamond filigree necklace. It is just my taste in jewelry... elegant, understated, etc. The best, and most clever I might add, caption was stated simply below the lovely piece. It said, "Give The Gift That Keeps On Giving You Golf Trips".

This is one fantastic advertisement. The creative team who came up with this is spot on for placement and target market. This ad will pop up on desks, in dressers or just plain on the counter top of many suburban Chicago homes this evening.

Here is my dilemma. My husband loves, loves, loves golf trips but should I change my Christmas list which only included leather gloves, a robe, wine glasses and a teapot? What is the "cost" to me in a new Christmas list featuring this gorgeous thing?  Hmmmm, I need to weigh this out because I might be able to swing it. What should I do?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Well I did it!

Today is the Beginning...Of What?

Today is the first day my boredom ends! What should I do??? Start blogging? I have wanted to blog forever but didn't know how, if or  when to start. Today seemed like the day and I'm not sure why!

Two things happened recently that jogged it all into place. I ran into this computer science professor working in the gift department at Neiman Marcus. Jen and I were looking at journals for her. He overheard me saying I loved to write, journaled in bullets and wanted to blog but no one but me would be interested in what I had to say. Jen said she would be but knows I would write a whole lot of butt facts! The gentleman told me "just do it". Then last night I watched one of my all time favorite shows while wrapping Christmas presents, SATC. I have always loved the fact that Carrie just wrote whatever came into her mind.

I have a lot of stuff, real and BS, running through this head but the question is...I think I have a lot to say but will anyone else? I really wanted to title this blog, "Does Anyone Really Care What I Have to Say?" (that's the title I gave the prof at NM). Maybe I actually did call it that but I can't remember. That was five screens ago.

Penelope Trunk says to just start writing which is what I'm doing and I am going to practice everyday. I promise myself that I will write something everyday whether it's bullets or paragraphs. I can usually amuse myself and my goal is to, someday, amuse someone who reads my blog!