Happy Mother’s Day

Actually, my Mother’s Day was all weekend.  I started on Saturday by sleeping in.  Rich got up with Sascha to put her out, but that was just his excuse to go fishing.  It was a beautiful morning and he had made bait the night before.  He was ready for this.

I woke up to no dog or no Rich. I knew right away that he finally got out there on the banks of the mighty Fox River to try his luck.  That was fine.  It meant a quiet morning for me.  I got my coffee and headed to the couch to read the paper in peace.  I did check on Sascha, but she was totally ignoring in case I wanted her to come in.

Today, I was getting my Mother’s Day flowers for the deck and patio.  This is what I ask for every year.  It’s simple and it’s something I truly want.  I rousted Rick from his bed to go and be my labor for the day.  This meant I had to feed him breakfast.  Oh wait, he is a working stiff as of Monday, so he took me to breakfast.  We went out to Island Café.  As soon as we stepped in the door, Rachel looks around and asks where he is.  Who?  Oh yeah, Rich.  I assured her he was doing something else and it would just be two.  Throughout breakfast, everyone asked where Rich was.  I didn’t realize he was so popular.

Then it was off to Castle Gardens to pick out my flowers for the year.  I had been planning for this and had decided on the flowers I wanted.  On the road just past the Volo Auto Museum, the fire department had the road shut down.  The Gardens were just on the other side.  This meant that we had to snake through the roads in the tiny town of Volo.  The fire appeared to be a field right next to the nursery.

Once we go there and got a wagon, we headed up the hill to the annuals.  I said I wasn’t going to wonder around, but I lied apparently.  I walked up and down the rows looking at the colors.  Finally, I did settle on purple and yellow jump ups, purple and white alyssum, white snapdragons, red and yellow snapdragons, and purple variegated petunias.  I wanted some other things, but decided to wait on those.

It was back to the house.  Rich was just getting back from fishing with his prize.  It was one lonely, rather large carp.  He had a story to go with it.  Apparently, he caught the fish after it took his bite and was trying to make its escape.  It was a good sized fish.  So we left Rich with his carp since my running wasn’t over.

I still had to go to the grocery store for the week’s load of good eats.  Rick went with me.  I like the company and the help.  He had ulterior motives though.  As I said, Rick is starting work on Monday and he wanted to pick up some things for lunches next week.  I saw the dollar signs stretching out in a straight line and the pinch on my wallet.

The grocery store was nuts!  Who knew that Mother’s Day weekend was the biggest holiday of the year.  It was worse than Christmas and Super bowl.  I think it was because the weather was going to be so gorgeous and people were planning to grill out.  You don’t always get that at Mother’s Day in the Midwest.

Finally back home, Rich was done carving up the carp for dinner.  There were fish scales all over the yard.  We unloaded the groceries and put everything away.  Now it was time for me to get busy with those gorgeous flowers.  Dinner was a couple of hours off.  I might just get this done.

I have the flower boxes on the deck to fill along with three pots that I keep up there for more color.  The sun was warm and the wind was nice.  I worked around first to remove the old and dead leftovers from last summer.  Then I arranged my flowers in order along the top of the seats.  After that, it was all fun and dirt.  I finished up in good time.  That left the pots along the patio.  I arranged what I had left to decide the best coverage.  They came out with a very stunning look.  I was very pleased with my work.

That was enough for the evening.  Rich started up the burner and we prepared dinner.  Rich was going to fry up a mess of hushpuppies before doing the fish.  I found a recipe and started creating.  The mix was easy and tasted good before they went into the fryer.  But they were so much better after they came out.  A variation of fried dough is always good.  Even the crispies were delicious.  Dinner was excellent.  Nothing like getting the food yourself.

I’m not obsessed with finding out as much as possible about the next connections that I’ve made in the Zurek family tree.  Through more records, I’m finally able to identify Joseph Zurek, Rich’s great-grandfather, in the records and correlate his claimed hometown in Poland.  Rudy Rysie seems like an interesting name.  I found it on the map of Poland. It is about where I thought it might be, between Krakow and Tarnow.  The village is still there.  I can open a street view through Google.  It’s cute and reminds me of many German villages.

I tried looking through some Polish genealogy sites.  I don’t find much, but not being able to read Polish kind of hurts my efforts also.  I just need to find the church records for this part of Poland.  I see a Joseph Zurek, but he is three years too young.  The mother’s name is right though.

I did manage to find the immigration record where Joseph Zurek from Rudy Rysie, Poland came through Ellis Island.  He came from Bremen, Germany to New York.  It shows that his mother was Marya.  Now I at least have one parents’ name.  I had found a Civil Registration card for what would have been the Selective Service around the time of WWI for Joe.  I have a general description of him.  This also listed his hometown as Rudy Rysie.

See, I can get really obsessed with this stuff.  But it’s 9:00 by this time.  I had asked Rich to make me up a mint julep.  We had plenty of mix left from the party.  I just need the ice to melt into the mix a little before I can drink it.  Rick wants to try a taste.  He doesn’t really like bourbon, but he thinks it’s pretty good.  We settle in to watch an episode of “Father Brown.”  I like English detective shows and this one is quirky and cute.  Apparently, it was an inspiration for Agatha Christie as well.

The night is pretty over by now.  We watch a couple of other things and I start to think about ready.  I’m finishing up an Agatha Christie tonight and moving on to the next book.  Sascha has only been nagging us to go to bed since 8:00, as usual.

That takes us to Sunday morning now.  I get up first and handle the dog duties, which includes grabbing the Sunday paper.  Coffee gets made to help me wake up and to enjoy while reading the paper.  Sascha decides to stay outside since it is so nice.  Pretty soon, Rich gets up and heads for coffee.  Rick finally gets up.  After making it through the comics, he heads to kitchen to make breakfast.  We have Sascha’s favorite, corned beef hash and eggs.  Maybe that’s because she does expect to get a share in her bowl.

Rich and I decide to head out and get some supplies to work in the yard.  The winter was hard on the roses.  Rich lost a couple.  I want to get herbs to grow this year as well as tomatoes to add to the garden.  We head to Ace first, but we just don’t find what we want.  Over at Home Depot, it’s crazy.  We do find everything we want.  After loading up, we head for home.

I start working on the flower bed off the patio.  I’m putting my tomatoes and herbs in this bed for the summer.  I’m just hoping Sascha stays out of it.  She loves to dig when the soil is loose.  I find I have room for more herbs.  I just need to figure out what I can add.

Rich is around front digging up the dead roses and replanting with the new ones.  He sees that not all of the dead ones are totally devastated.  Problem is, will they really survive?  Better safe than sorry and just put in the new roses.  The new roses are grandifloras.  These are really huge blooms.  They should add to the bed with the rest of the roses.  Then it’s time to put down the Moo-Nure.  I love the name.  The picture of the cow on the front is cute.

I get the patio bed finished and move on to the garden on the side of the house.  The garlic mustard plants are taking over.  And they smell to high heaven when you disturb them.  Well, they have to come out.  They are right in the way of planting my other flowers.  Here I’m doing some seeds and bulbs.  I plant zinnias for Rich.  I have Bachelor Buttons and Anemones for the fence.  I have to find a spot for my Dahlias.  Unfortunately, I’m finding so many of my plants didn’t survive.  The daisies are gone.  So I clean out the bed and put the Dahlias there.  My butterfly bush looks like it is dead.  I have to start all over again!

While I’m working, Rich comes around to dig up two of the roses that survived along that side of that house.  He moves to the front where I have some space for them.  More of that Moo-Nure goes in and the smell is a little overpowering.  But I guess it’s not as bad as the grass in the compost pile.  It really smells this year.

I convince Rick to come out and burn all of the wood, sticks, and other burnables.  The pile is huge and it is threatening to keep growing.  He agrees and gets the whole thing going.  It burns really fast.  I guess the amount of rot is pretty good.  Before you know, Rick announces he is done and heading back in to his computer.  Really?  It’s a beautiful day out here.

Did I speak too soon?  After dinner the clouds start to thickening and rain looks like it is moving in.  Sascha must hear thunder from a long way away.   She cowers under Rich’s desk.  The lightning and thunder start up pretty good.  Rick attempts to get the trash out before the rain and doesn’t make it.  The garbage can is out, but the recycling will have to wait.  It pours down.  I go out to the garage to watch the storm with Rick.  We see some hail, but not much.  Then the second wave comes in.  This time the hail is pea-sized and quite a bit of it.  The storm finally passes and the sun comes back out.

For one final Mother’s Day taste, Rich is making rhubarb upside down cake.  I saw this in the morning paper and it sounded good.  Rich wants to do something with his rhubarb.  It sounded like a good thing to try.  We’ll see when it comes out of the oven and cools off a bit.

So tomorrow is back to the grind.  Rick starts up his job in the bay preparing the hardware for the engineers to stage systems.  The weather sound like spring:  a little warm with showers.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, and role models for us all.

One of the deck boxes with the flowers planted.
One of the deck boxes with the flowers planted.
I love the smell of the alyssum while sitting on the deck.
I love the smell of the alyssum while sitting on the deck.
Snapdragons, jump ups, and alyssum on deck.
Snapdragons, jump ups, and alyssum on deck.
My bleeding heart by the hot tub survived and was blooming this weekend.
My bleeding heart by the hot tub survived and was blooming this weekend.
The pots on the patio with their color.
The pots on the patio with their color.
There's the carp that Rich caught on Saturday morning.
There’s the carp that Rich caught on Saturday morning.
That's an ugly face.
That’s an ugly face.
Sascha always gets excited when there is fish to fillet.
Sascha always gets excited when there is fish to fillet.

 

Getting the oil up to temperature.
Getting the oil up to temperature.
And the hushpuppies go into the grease.
And the hushpuppies go into the grease.
Rich pulling the golden hushpuppies out of the fryer.
Rich pulling the golden hushpuppies out of the fryer.
Rich preparing the carp for the fryer.
Rich preparing the carp for the fryer.
Fish fry is ready.
Fish fry is ready.
Sascha is trying to be patient for dinner.
Sascha is trying to be patient for dinner.
Rick was learning to drive Sally on Saturday.  He didn't kill it once.
Rick was learning to drive Sally on Saturday. He didn’t kill it once.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trip to Southern Indiana

I recently went home to Southern Indiana.  Rick had his plans fall through, so he joined me.  The drive down was good.  Even going through India No Polis on the day before the big race wasn’t too bad.  We arrived in the late afternoon.  I gave Rick his choice of things to go and do something he wanted.  Of course, he chose the Falls of the Ohio.

The Falls of the Ohio is an interpretative center on the Ohio River.  When the locks are closed, this side of the Ohio dries up and the riverbed is exposed.  There are thousands of fossil that appear under your feet.  The walk across the surface is full of water whirls, pot holes, and fossils.

The flower beds were all in bloom.  The smell was heavenly and the colors bright.  I had to take pictures, of course.

We walked down to the river to find the fisherman standing shoulder to shoulder along the shore.  There was hardly any room for them to be casting out.  As one stepped aside they would close ranks on the spot.  The unfortunately guy or gal would have to force their way back in.  I didn’t know fishing was quite that competitive.

We walked along the bank and back along the trail that leads to a growing ox bow that was developing down stream.  There, the cottonwoods are hanging on in the sands.  It was nice and cool.  We went by a lady with a doberman pincher followed by five puppies.

After leaving the river, we went for dinner at the New Albanian Brewing Company.  I’ve been wanting to check it out, but didn’t want to do it on my own.  Rick could drive so I had decided to try one of their brews.  I chose the one called Naughty Girl.  It seemed appropriate and very hoppy.  The food was fine.

Rick then drove up to the top of the Knobs.  The Knobs are the top of the old river bank that now makes a small mountain.  The drive up and down is quite thrilling.  Rick likes to take the drive when we are in town.  We drove up one side and across the Skyline Drive so we could look out from New Albany to Louisville and beyond.  I took a few photos along the way.

On Sunday, we took my nephew, Charlie, and his son, Trysten, down to Kentucky.  I needed to show my nephew where to find the places the family came from and the graveyards where the most important people were buried.  We had a very nice day with very nice weather.  I was able to find most of the locations.  I told my stories and shared the genealogy of my family.

In between, I was able to pay a visit with my friend, Kay, and my aunt, Brenda.  I had a very nice visit and got a few hugs from all the important people.

Amazed at the number of people out fishing on the banks.  This looking back at the railroad bridge and the gates on the dam.
Amazed at the number of people out fishing on the banks. This looking back at the railroad bridge and the gates on the dam.
Taking a stroll along and over the cliffs that make up the fossil bed.
Taking a stroll along and over the cliffs that make up the fossil bed.
Rick walking along the fossil bed.
Rick walking along the fossil bed.
Walking along the river's edge on the fossil bed.
Walking along the river’s edge on the fossil bed.
A sponge fossil in the rock next to Rick's foot.
A sponge fossil in the rock next to Rick’s foot.
Cottonwoods growing along the banks of the mighty Ohio River.
Cottonwoods growing along the banks of the mighty Ohio River.
Looking out at the river and what part of the fossil beds is exposed right now.
Looking out at the river and what part of the fossil beds is exposed right now.
Flowers and roses in bloom at the Falls of the Ohio visitor's center.
Flowers and roses in bloom at the Falls of the Ohio visitor’s center.
Rick's brick in the memory walkway.  This is under his old name.
Rick’s brick in the memory walkway. This is under his old name.
Mom's brick in the memory walkway at the Visitor's Center.
Mom’s brick in the memory walkway at the Visitor’s Center.
Naughty Girl in the foreground and Orange Dream soda in the background.
Naughty Girl in the foreground and Orange Dream soda in the background.
Rick at the Bank Street Brewery having dinner.
Rick at the Bank Street Brewery having dinner.
Beer wall at the Bank Street Brewery.
Beer wall at the Bank Street Brewery.
Thought this sign in the window at Bank Street Brewery was cool.  Just had to have a picture of it.
Thought this sign in the window at Bank Street Brewery was cool. Just had to have a picture of it.
This is an art sculpture in downtown New Albany.  After a little dinner, we walked over to admire it.
This is an art sculpture in downtown New Albany. After a little dinner, we walked over to admire it.
Looking out from the Knobs towards Louisville.  Beautiful evening for a view.
Looking out from the Knobs towards Louisville. Beautiful evening for a view.
Another view from the top of the Knobs.
Another view from the top of the Knobs.

 

Carp Slayer

The previous weekend was beautiful.  Rich decided to put that fishing license to good use and go down to the river to try his hand at catching something.  Around here, the drum and other fish tend to run plentiful.  Rich has been learning to fish for carp.  These fish tend to stay toward the bottom and do not come up to the middle to see anything that floats.  Also, they tend to be very picky about what they will try for.

Rich has been mixing his own carp bait.  It’s a secret recipe at this point.  Something to do with cornmeal, maple flavoring and a lot of other stuff that gives it texture and flavor. It must work though.  Rich has been successful in getting them to bite.

Over the last few years, Rich has managed to catch a few.  There was the story of the big one that got away though.  I’m thinking that yes, it was a big fish.  However, it might go the way of many a fish story and just get bigger and bigger with the telling.

Not so with the fish Rich brought home the other weekend.  As pictures show, one was pretty large.  Rick had his feet in the picture for scale.  Keep in mind, Rick wears a 13.

After prepping the fish, Rich froze them until Memorial Day weekend.  He fired up the smoker and cooked some fish.  Not too bad either.

 

Fisherman returns with his catch of the day.
Fisherman returns with his catch of the day.
Rich holding the big guy.  Nice job.
Rich holding the big guy. Nice job.
A pair of nice sized carp.
A pair of nice sized carp.
Rick giving us scale for the largest of the two.
Rick giving us scale for the largest of the two.
Sascha was watchful as they flopped around.
Sascha was watchful as they flopped around.
Preparing the fish for the envitable.
Preparing the fish for the envitable.
Smaller of the two, minus the head.
Smaller of the two, minus the head.

 

Flood waters are receding

This has been an interesting week.  After almost 6 inches of rain over the short course of three or so days, we were flooded here.  This turned out to be the highest rate that the Fox River has ever seen on record.  The river finally crested at 7.48 feet.  That meant that the channels around us were flooded as well.

On Saturday, the 20th, we went to Michigan to help Jon celebrate his upcoming 50th birthday.  With a cookout at the 40, we celebrated with BBQ and the fixins.  The best part was all of the family who gathered.  It is always good to see Busia.  Irene and her family came up from Fort Wayne and Ohio.  Donna and Norm came in from Chicago.  They all have such a good time.  They are fun to be around.

On Sunday, we returned to find the water a little deep over the roads.  There are barricades to warn people to stay out of the area.  River Road through the state park is closed, cutting us off from McHenry. It seems a little strange driving around it every day to get into the neighborhood.  The best signs are in the neighborhood though.  Basically, it said if you weren’t a resident, you would be arrested.

We were high and dry though.  The basement sprung a leak for a day or so which meant that we were vacuuming up water.  Rich got up early on Thursday to find the basement filling with water.  There was a considerable puddle in front of the bar.  He quickly moved furniture and got the area cleared.  With a little Yankee ingenuity, he built a jig to dam up water and suck it out through a hose to the sump pump.  Luckily, it went from sucking water out every 15 minutes down to an hour at a time.

We’ve talked about fixing the cracks in the basement a couple times, but the leaks were never that bad.  I got motivated and found a company.  I called them and set up an appointment for them to come out and give us an estimate.  They didn’t sound too busy on the phone.  On Friday, Glen came out and took a look.  Rich heard what he wanted to hear.  We set up an appointment to get the work done.  It was time.

The weather improved, so Rick started painting the garage.  We borrowed scaffolding from Dave.  This would make reaching the 10 foot ceilings easier.  The primer went up and he started the white paint on the ceiling and halfway down the wall.  The other half of the walls will be blue gray.  It should look like a real nice workspace and home for Sally when it is done.  We have our fingers crossed that he can complete it by next Saturday.

So plans continue for the annual Derby party here.  The flood waters should be gone.  Rich is still planning to BBQ up brisket, ribs, and chicken.  I have stocked up on food and people are planning to bring things to help out.  Oh yeah, the Zurekbrau is brewed and kegged.  All we need are a few good people to drink it.  We’ll see who shows up.

On Thursday evening, our department was treated to drinks and foods at a local establishment.  We went over to enjoy some time with our co-workers.  While we were talking to people, we came across a couple of new people.  Turns out, a couple of engineers from Krakow are in Schaumburg working in the bay and acting as liaison for products from Krakow.  I found out I actually know them.  We have worked together by phone for a few years.  I guess I’m well known in Krakow as well.  The question everyone there asks is if I speak Polish!  They see the Polish name and hope that I do.  Unfortunately, I only married Polish.  We’ve invited Marcin and Aneta to the Derby party.  Thought it might be fun for them and good me to reinforce my connections to Krakow.

Rich is organizing a reunion of people who served with the same group he was with in Germany.  Someone had started a Facebook page for the related groups.  They have been exchanging photos and memories.  Someone suggested that they meet up for dinner somewhere.  San Antonio came up in the conversation.  That’s as far as it got.  Rich decided to take on the task of really organizing dinner.  Since Rose lives in San Antonio, he went with the suggestion to do it there.  A web site went up on Zurekbrau with an email list.  One of the guy who is in San Antonio is checking out German restaurants in the area.  It looks like we are on for July 6.  Hang on, Rose, we are coming down for the 4th!

Vacations are planned and we are adding these as we go.  I might have brought this up before, but I am excited for it all to start.  I’m working on adding more.

We start out in June for Chicago Bluesfest.  We are staying downtown.  It’ll be the Bluesfest during the day and trying to hit some of the places we’ve wanted to go in the evening.  We are identifying all the brewpubs, bars, and joints that we’ve wondered about.  Should be a busy few days.

The following week, we head out to Kansas City.  My favorite blues band, Trampled Under Foot, is holding a release party for their next album.  Rich put in enough to their Kickstarter account to get invited to the party.  They sent out the date and place.  Now we just have to show up and listen to the music.  I love the name of the bar where we are headed.  It’s called The Trouser Mouse.  More to come on this one.

July will find us in San Antonio for the 4th of July.  We will be attending the first reunion for Rich’s group from the Air Force.  Should be fun as well.  It’ll be nice to Rose and hang out with her for a while.

In August, B. B. King and Peter Frampton are coming Aurora for a concert.  I’ve wanted to see B.B. for a while.  Peter is an extra.  I purchased my tickets and ready to go.  I’m hoping for good weather as this is an outdoor concert.  More to come on this, too.

In September, we head down to the Great Smoky Mountains for a little hiking and some mountain views.  It’s been a while since I’ve been down there.  Rich hasn’t been.  Once again, we are hoping for good weather since we plan to be outside a lot.  Big question is: bears or no bears.  There’s a good bet of seeing at least one.

Well, it’s time to start another week.  I have deliveries this week.  But I don’t think that will mean my workload will get easier.  Might be time to think about expanding the team again.  We’ve definitely got more than enough work to go around, and then some.

 

Cars made their way slowly through the water on Tower Rd.
Cars made their way slowly through the water on Tower Rd.
Looking down Holiday Rd back to the river.
Looking down Holiday Rd back to the river.
This was Tower Rd coming in to our part of the neighborhood.
This was Tower Rd coming in to our part of the neighborhood.
The sign says it all.
The sign says it all.
This is the playground at Hickory and Tower.
This is the playground at Hickory and Tower.
Water coming over the road at Moraine State Park.
Water coming over the road at Moraine State Park.
There is a road under there called Lakeview.
There is a road under there called Lakeview.
Looking down Holiday back up to Sunset.
Looking down Holiday back up to Sunset.
Standing at Tower and Hickory looking toward the lake.
Standing at Tower and Hickory looking toward the lake.
We had hail really bad during one of the storms.
We had hail really bad during one of the storms.
There is a Goose Island in McHenry now.
There is a Goose Island in McHenry now.
This garter snake was trying to stay safe and dry.
This garter snake was trying to stay safe and dry.
One of the houses on river has their deck elevated over the edge of the river.  That's about all you see.
One of the houses on river has their deck elevated over the edge of the river. That’s about all you see.
Standing at Tower and Hickory looking toward the lake.
Standing at Tower and Hickory looking toward the lake.
At Catalpa, you can see this house that sits on the river and around the bend from Squirrel Alley.
At Catalpa, you can see this house that sits on the river and around the bend from Squirrel Alley.
This is the view across the channel.
This is the view across the channel.

Latest holiday season

So instead of writing my blog on Sunday, I went down to The Roundhouse for appetizers and beers.  We decided to take a road trip to Aurora with a friend.  We had wanted to go down and check out the surroundings for Two Brothers.  We’ve had some of their beers and now it was time to see what The Roundhouse was like.  The structure is an old train turnaround on the tracks leading in and out of Chicago.

The Roundhouse had originally been saved from decay by Walter Payton and his business partners.  They set it up as a restaurant and beer house.  After Walter was gone, the restaurant slowly declined.  Two Brothers Brewing decided to expand their food and service by buying the property and making it their own.  They are in the process of setting brewing on the premises.

History is very nice and the restaurant is pretty good.  We took Rick along to act as chauffer for us.  The beers were very good.  I had samplers so I could enjoy more of the beers.  I can only drink one beer so the samplers equal to one, but I can have more flavors.

We got hit with winter and a snow storm on Thursday night into Friday.  We got about 7 inches on top of the 4 inches we already had on the ground.  It was heavy and wet.  Earlier in the week, we had snow and rain.  The commute was agonizing.  One day, it took an hour and an half to crawl to the Mot.  On Friday, it was a much better idea to stay at home and work.  Didn’t hurt that I wasn’t feel that well anyway.

The snow left a wonder world of lacy limbs and icy puddles.  On Saturday, Rich and I took Sascha out for a walk through the snow.  We wondered down to the river.  Geese were hanging out.  Sascha was barking and trying to reach them.  Not all of the river was frozen and the geese gained the freedom of the water’s edge.  I took pictures of the scene.

We continued around through the neighborhood.  We wandered down through squirrel alley.  This is the road that continues around by the river and back into the hood.  We call it squirrel alley due to the great number of squirrels who live in the woods surrounding it.  These squirrels go to great lengths to torment the dogs.  Sofie had a hard time walking through there and Sascha barely makes it through the length of the road.  We rarely walk through there.

Around and about, we ended up down by the lake.  It looked really questionable on whether it would hold a human walking across it.  We could see several fishermen out on the ice and fishing away. Rich attempted to walk out there.  He sunk into the water and decided to give up the attempt.  I wanted to take Sascha out on the ice to see if she would walk out there.  She’s going to have to pull the sled when Rich decides to ice fish himself.

Back home, I needed to clean up the house before the housekeeping people came out.  I know that sounds ridiculous.  I don’t do much, but I feel I need to pick things up out of their way so they could clean.  Then there is the matter of all that dog hair.  We do have a Husky and they drop an entire dog every two weeks.  I keep telling Rich we need to name that dog that appears in the hallway in our room.  So I vacuum up the excess dog hair so they only have to mop and get up the dirt.

Rick received his long awaited scarf in the mail this week.  Back in the fall, he decided that he wanted a scarf just like Tom Baker wore in an earlier version of Doctor Who.  This scarf is striped and very, very long.  I was surprised at his choice.  Tom Baker was my Doctor Who in the 1980s.  He asked around to see who knew how to knit.  It turned out that his Aunt Kelli could knit and was willing to create this scarf for his Christmas present.  Since it took a little longer to finish, Kelli sent the scarf through the mail.  Now, Rick wanders around with this scarf draped around his neck.  Everyone comments on it.  Thanks, Kelli.

Ah yeah, Rick finally completed the insulation in the garage.  Now the walls are ready for drywall.  Rich decided to have a professional do the work.  It would be easier on us and would only take a few days rather than week.  So Rich is checking around for someone to do the work.  He has a couple of sources to find a professional.  It just seemed like it was taking a while to connect with someone.  Rich thinks he has someone and there is a possible meeting for a quote on Saturday.  Hopefully, this moves forward.  More to come on that.

Valentine’s Day has come.  Our habit is only to exchange cards.  There is no need for gifts or a great show.  We’ve even given up going out to eat on that day.  The restaurants are packed and it is noisy.  We stay at home and enjoy the quiet.  This week, Valentine’s fell on our normal family eating out day.  We moved it up one day.

After having a really long day at work, I decided that a drink would help.  We headed out to The Onion Pub in Barrington.  This is a very nice pub.  The food tends to be iffy, but the beer is always excellent.  The beer cheese soup is also great.  So a Russian Imperial Stout and beer cheese soup is always good on a cold day.  Once again, Rick was the chauffer.  Did I really do that to him twice in one week?

This year, Rich snuck in and got me a gift for Valentine’s.  I was totally caught off guard.  I didn’t have my card yet!  I opened the package and was very, very surprised.  I didn’t even know that Rich listened to me when I rattle on.  Of course, I can’t tell you what it was, but I absolutely loved it!  I did finally go out at lunch time and picked up the perfect card.  Oh yeah, I also got the latest SI swimsuit issue for Rich.

The next big holiday is Rick’s 19th birthday on March 9.  I know he wants a cool gift and that means a lot of money.  I tell him that’s not going to happen.  He keeps showing me pictures of cool guitars.  They are Les Pauls, no less.  Then there is something about a Jack Harkness coat.  It is not on my list though.  I did get a couple of things.  I don’t think he’ll be too disappointed.

I’ve even started on Rich’s birthday gifts.  It’s never too soon to shop.  Rich has decided that he wants to go to Hofbrau Haus that opened in Rosemont this winter.  That’s OK.  We’ll enjoy some good German food with some good German beer in a very nice German environment.

I’m still collecting up pictures of that moment known as “I have a heavy weight on my chest.”  Since Sascha loves to be a lap dog, it tends to spread to your chest.  My collection of photographic evidence of this phenomenon is growing.

Rich was having trouble with a little chest pain the other day.  Sascha seemed to be fine .
Rich was having trouble with a little chest pain the other day. Sascha seemed to be fine .
A close up of Sascha making sure that squirrel didn't cross the line into her yard.
A close up of Sascha making sure that squirrel didn’t cross the line into her yard.
It's hard to tell, but that's Rick under that big ball of fur.  Yeah, he was having chest pain too.
It’s hard to tell, but that’s Rick under that big ball of fur. Yeah, he was having chest pain too.
A good way to see the snow that accumulated from the last few snows.
A good way to see the snow that accumulated from the last few snows.
Snow was falling as Sascha was watching that pesky squirrel that was just out of reach.
Snow was falling as Sascha was watching that pesky squirrel that was just out of reach.
It was my turn to feel under pressure.  Sascha was just wanting a little love.
It was my turn to feel under pressure. Sascha was just wanting a little love.
It was snowing pretty good out there.
It was snowing pretty good out there.
Just a shot of Griswold Lake with the ice fishermen out there.
Just a shot of Griswold Lake with the ice fishermen out there.
Rich was feeling a little under the pressure.  I'm not sure why though.
Rich was feeling a little under the pressure. I’m not sure why though.
Rich walking Sascha down to the river.
Rich walking Sascha down to the river.
Rick finally got his Christmas present from Aunt Kelli.  Great scarf.
Rick finally got his Christmas present from Aunt Kelli. Great scarf.
Sascha was watching the geese that she just couldn't get down at the river.
Sascha was watching the geese that she just couldn’t get down at the river.

Recap of this week (June 17, 2012)

It was another hot one today.  The last few days have been really adding up the heat.  I think it’s Thursday evening now before they say it will be better.  I like summer and the heat, but I’m really getting worried about what July will bring if it’s in the 90s now. 

I did voluntarily go back to work.  Not sure I was ready, but you have to pay the bills.  For that, I work at Motorola.  Everyone seemed glad to see me back.  I jumped in with both feet and tried to pick up where I left off.  Not too much changed and I was able to keep up with the conversations without getting that glazed over look in my eyes.

My intern was still there.  I think she is finding the idea of what we do exciting.  My plan to get her started with some actual writing this week.  Technology hasn’t been too kind to either of us and we’ve been battling just trying to make our computers, emails, and the intranet sites work.  Maybe next week will be better. 

Sascha is back to enjoying her yard and patrolling for squirrels.  One evening, Rich tried to bring her into the house.  He came back and said that he didn’t realize that dogs had a middle finger.  From that comment, I take it Sascha made it very, very clear that she had no interest in coming back in.  There is something grand and majestic about a husky that gives you that look when they want you to go away and leave them alone.  Sascha does it very well.

On Saturday, we met the Streeters’ Car Club to do the bi-monthly trash pick-up on our designated stretch of Bull Valley Rd.  We had way more people than we needed, but the more the merrier.  We had a couple of newcomers join us.  So I got to meet some new people.  We were done in less than an hour.  However, we couldn’t join them for lunch this time.  Rose was coming to visit today.

We got back to the house and Rick had already left to pick up Rose.  Guess it turns out that JP was coming with her.  His plans had changed for the day.  Rich and I showered and changed into clean clothes to meet our guests.  Rick delivered them safely to the house from the train station.

Rose walked into the living room and saw the big red chair.  She immediately had to have her picture with Sascha in the big red chair.  For those who don’t know or don’t remember, Sascha has been pretty well trained to think that the big red chair belongs to her.  If someone sits in that chair, Sascha believes it is OK to sit with them, on them, or around them.  Rose remembered all the photos of us and others with Sascha and had to have her picture also.

Sascha, of course, obliged right away and hopped right into the big red chair.  Since this is her favorite thing, Sascha seems to smile the entire time that she is in the chair.  I snapped a picture for Sascha’s Facebook page, that Rick is constructing to capture the Big Red Chair Moments. 

Rose gets picture with Sascha in the big red chair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We went out to lunch and then Rich took JP and Rose for a ride in Sally.  That was two trips because you can only take one person at a time.  So JP went for a ride first.  Then I quizzed JP on his new job while Rose took her turn.  I understand technology and what’s going on out, but I don’t really know anyone doing the cool stuff.  Except JP, that is. 

It was getting late and we had to drop the two of them off at the train station for their journey back downtown.  The three of us headed to the outskirts of Chicago for a graduation party.  Donna and Norm had two sons graduating.  David graduated from college and Kevin graduated from high school.  Donna is Rich’s cousin. It was a chance to hang out with family and we meet some of their very nice and interesting friends.

Sunday was Father’s Day.  Rich headed out early to get in some fishing time before the boats hit the river here.  It turns out, you have to get their early before everyone brings their dogs down to swim in the river.   No catches, but Rich had a lot of nibbles.  He thinks they were waiting for the bait to get soft and then they could take without much trouble. 

Rich has been working on a strategy for catching carp.  I guess these are some wise and difficult fish to catch.  They are bottom feeders and it takes a different strategy to get them interested in the bait.  This means that Rich has been developing his own recipe for carp bait as well.  A little messy to make in the kitchen, but the results could be rewarding.

Not playdough; that's carp bait from a secret old country recipe.

 

Rich spent his Father's Day morning by the river waiting for the fish to bite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After fishing, Rich and Rick worked on the truck some more.  The air conditioning went out last year. This meant that the warm weather was a little less enjoyable if you had to drive the truck instead of the Honda.  We got it looked at and an estimate for the work.  The guys decided to do it themselves.  It meant some replacement parts, but those came in on Friday.

While the guys were working outside, I was trying to clean up the drifts of Husky hair that had been floating up and down the hallway all week.  That dog can drop some hair.  There might have been enough to two dogs there.  I was vacuuming the bedroom, but coudln’t get Sascha out of under the bed.  I managed to coax her out and put her outside.  After I got done, I went to bring her in.  However, she seemed to be enjoying watching the guys work.  Therefore, I got the majestic death stare and she went back to observing her other humans.  Fine, I can go about my business then.

I finished up inside and went outside to try and reclaim some of my gardens from the wilderness.  My side garden had been hopeless before I left for vacation.  It was an extreme case now.  I mowed the general garden paths with the push mower.  Then I set about to pull the weeds from my daisies.  With that done, I pulled out the weeds from the butterfly garden.  Most of my black-eyed susans had been lost to the weeds.  I might have to replant to get them back. 

Time for dinner.  Rich cooked the steaks while Rick got the mushrooms done along with the baked potatoes.  Adding a salad to the bowls, we dug in.  After working so hard, we were all hungry.  Maybe not me so much.  Over vacation, I had cut down on the amount I was eating.  I hope I can keep that up.  It would be good for the waistline.  Besides that, it meant that Sascha could have some bits of steak.  She seemed to agree and ate it down. 

Now I can relax this evening and get ready for the week to start all over again.  I’m already tired just thinking about it!