Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pancakes and Ice Cream = A Fond Farewell

Jen and Jason are moving to Nashville this weekend- exciting for them, sad for us. Last night Jen and I returned to one of our favorite places...Colonial Cafe. If you live in the suburbs, chances are good you've seen one of their "I ate a Colonial Kitchen Sink" bumper stickers. That's 6 scoops of ice cream, 2 bananas, and a ton of toppings. And I've eaten it twice! Jill was also able to join us for dessert. The parking lot was packed when we arrived, which was puzzling. No one was on spring break but there seemed to be highschoolers everywhere. It turns out the Naperville branch was celebrating their 25th anniversary by offering pancakes for a penny. Naturally we each had a pancake to commemorate the occasion and then we dove into our delicious ice cream treats. I went a little crazy with a Super Sunday- 5 scoops of my favorite: Peanut Butter Chocolate. It was amazing and well worth the hour long wait. I know I'll still see Jen and Jason plenty these next few months while they come home for weddings and finalize selling their home but it was still nice to spend some good quality time at a local place we both love. The fact that Jill could join us? The true icing on the cake- or should that be syrup on the pancake?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter

Another first holiday without Grandma and Aunt Teresa has come and gone. I thought I was doing OK but wouldn't you know, grief sneaks up on you when you least expect it? Grandpa decided to host Easter at his (and Grandma's- it'll always be her place too) house. I think we all see this as a good, healthy sign. I knew it might be bittersweet but it is time for our family to reclaim that house and create some more happy memories there. I was on the phone with a friend when I pulled into the driveway after the 45 minute drive, thinking only about how I needed to get the green bean casserole into the oven ASAP. As I walked up to the house, I truly believed that Aunt Teresa would greet me at the door the way she always did, up until she got sick at least, and that I would find Grandma busily cooking in the kitchen. And then reality smacked me in the face. I didn't cry but I was momentarily stunned. Then I pulled myself together and went inside. It proved to be a wonderful afternoon. Yes, it was different but we still have each other. I absolutely adore my family. That is no secret if you've been reading this blog for any length of time. I got to play with little Kelli-o, banter with my cousins, and catch up with everyone else. Grandpa seemed to enjoy himself and we ate to our heart's content. In some ways it didn't seem like Easter, maybe because it happened on a cold March day or maybe because two loved ones are no longer with us. And yet, I was more comforted that it is Easter, to have that tangible reminder that death has no hold over us. Christ's death on the cross translates to eternal hope for those who believe in Him. This is not the end of the road. These light and momentary troubles will soon fade away and then we will see Him face to face. That reunion will blow all our family reunions out of the water- thanks be to God!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Domestic Bliss

I have been cooking up a storm lately. I always tell everyone that cooking is a great stress reliever for me. Given that I took mental health days on Friday and yesterday, it makes sense but I didn't plan on cooking as much as I did. Last Monday was the innaugural night of the new Dinner Club I started. This dinner club is for single girls, mostly from church. My old dinner club seems to have faded away with everyone either married, moving, or too busy so I'm excited about this new group of savvy sophisticates. I haven't figured out what to call the meal I served but it is one of my favorite creations- kind of like pasta fagiole without any broth. Delicious! The meal was a hit. The only hitch to the night occured when I sliced my finger while slicing bread. Not pretty but actually it was the first time I've ever cut myself while cooking. Turns out that is quite the accomplishment based on how many kitchen knife incidents I have since heard about from friends.

After Dinner Club I took a break from cooking until Saturday. I served up Irish breakfast at Mark and Erin's house for 9 friends. Then we headed down to the city for the St. Patrick's Day parade. I love being downtown for the SPD experience but I've decided I no longer need to watch the parade. We can just head straight to the pub for some hillarious and yet insightful conversations with drunk people. Sunday night I made Beef Stew- the last stew of winter. I invited a few friends to join me spontaneously and we ended up talking late in to the night. Ellen told me she is going to move in and just let me feed her from now on- she was happy to have been a part of Dinner Club, Irish breakfast, and then the stew dinner. I'm just happy that people like what I make!

Last night I had my parents over for Reuben sandwiches in honor of my favorite holiday. Donna was able to join us. It's the first time I've made Reubens by myself and now I have no idea what to do with the extra sauerkraut. Any ideas out there? I can safely say I'll be eating leftovers the rest of this week but who knows what I'll be cooking next...

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Say it ain't so!

Today's Chicago Tribune led with this harbinger of doom: "Cubs may share 'Cell' with the Sox." Apparently if the Cubs begin their $250 million renovation of Wrigley, they would play part of the season on the South Side. The mere idea sends a chill through my heart. I don't want The Cell to be tainted by the Cubs and I don't understand how they can even conceive of this idea. Cubs merchandise being sold at US Cellular? Fans rooting for the Cubs in our park outside of interleage play? The horror! I can't even imagine what this will do to our rivalry. I'm guessing that Cubs fans would not be thrilled by this move either. How would this affect game attendance? How do they feel about tweaking their beloved Wrigley? Frankly I have no problem with a Wrigley overhaul. I'm not impressed by the tradition of a dirty stadium. (In fact, I wonder if Cubs fans would even notice that no one is actually playing there, so long as they still have their beer. It's not called the Biggest Bar in America for nothing.) I don't want the Cubs to leave the imprint of their "lovable loserness" on our field. And I don't want our schedule to be adjusted for a team that has hogged a spotlight they've never earned. Crane Kenney must be taking crazy pills...I hope the madness doesn't extend to Jerry Reinsdorf next.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Little pleasures

Work has been hell the past week but thankfully I did have one small ray of sunshine yesterday. Shamrock shakes are back! Last week the shake machine was broken but yesterday McDonald's was smiling at me. Delicious! Now I just have to get as many as I can before Shamrock season is over. Last year my friend Jason froze a couple extra- not a bad idea!


Saturday, March 01, 2008

Emily is my favorite cousin!

I am a longtime fan of the TLC show "Miami Ink." My cousin Emily has been working with Chris Nunez, incidentally my favorite tattoo artist on the show (it's an added bonus that he's rather attractive), creating commercials for AT&T. I'm so proud of Em and also a little jealous! Just a few days ago I saw the first commercial and then today I got this wonderful email from Emily.
Hey Sweetie!
Just got back from Miami (shot another AT&T spot)
and I told Chris Nunez of Miami Ink (he threw us a little shin dig at his bar)
that you (my fav cuz) were a big fan and that u said "hi!" --
He said, "Her name's Leigh? Tell her I said 'What's up!'" :)
I said, "I'll try to remember to pass it along" :)
More soon! Running out the door for work!!
XOXO
your cuz,
em
OK, I know that Chris will never remember my name again, but still! For that moment, he did. I've been wanting to get my next tattoo for the past couple of years but my friend Dani is holding part of the design hostage. She went to Thailand about a year after I did and I asked her to have the word "faith" translated, which she did and now 2 1/2 years later she still hasn't given it to me. I will renew my efforts. I would love to go on Miami Ink or LA Ink because the artists are phenomenal and a tv show is about the only way I will ever have access to them. Plus, I think I'd be great on tv! Either way, it's time to get inked.