Monday, September 29, 2008


Uh-oh, I've started a very bad habit. And it seems to be getting worse.

I have this great new office space that I share with a bunch of independent-contractor types like myself. I have fully justified the expense of the rent against my sanity, my ergonomics, and my hygiene. All worth it. More than worth it, in fact.

But what I didn't calculate into the equation are the coffee runs -- not to my kitchen anymore, but to the corner cafe, Beans & Bagels. Now, if it were just Beans, it would probably be OK, but for some reason I can't resist the Bagels in there. It started with just a bagel and cream cheese (still a luxury, but reasonable) and now I'm up to a full lox sandwich every morning. Not only does this come to $8.71 with my large iced coffee, it spoils my lunch which I (or Eric, rather) packs every morning. It's like a double-whammy of waste.

But I really can't help myself. It's so delicious over there and I feel like I'm helping out the small guy in these tough economic times by passing by the Starbucks, right? Plus, it helps break up my morning. Plus, it's always an interesting walk down the alley under the 'L' tracks to Montrose. Plus, eating Jewish donuts helps me to feel more a part of the family. Plus, plus, plus...

Not sure what I'm going to do about this addiction. Unless B&B moves, I can't imagine stopping my morning break over there. Maybe when the weather changes, I'll change my ways. Or maybe if the Dow drops 777 points in a single day... oh wait, shit, that happened today.

Oy vey! And Happy New Year!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

4800 Block of North Hoyne

I love our neighborhood.

This is a new-found love that comes with having children, I think. I mean, I've always liked where we live, but now that Oliver's in the picture, we find ourselves fraternizing with our neighbors much more -- and really enjoying getting to know everyone. We especially love all the diversity -- Cambodian kids next door, Indian nanny, Guatamalan girl whose mother owns a Mediteranean restaurant around the corner on Lawrence Ave.

Not to equate Oliver to a dog, but I feel like a "dog person," experiencing the attention and camaraderie that comes with having a dog around. We're becoming more and more involved with all the kids in our neighborhood (even though there's nobody quite Oliver's age). It reminds me of when I was a kid running around with all the neighbor kids -- really good memories. Of course, we have city-issues to contend with -- like traffic (we're petitioning the city for speedbumps at least) and having only a sliver of a berm and a stretch of sidewalk on which to play. But all in all, it feels like community and feels like home.

Every afternoon (after school, I presume) all the kids get together and hang out on the sidewalk to play -- with a good handful of parents keeping an eye. Even our nanny (Pushpa) spends her free time out there with all the kids. Yesterday afternoon I was on my way to the grocery store (actually just Chuy's, the somewhat-pathetic corner market) and was waylaid by the gathering, put down our blanket (still in my backpack from Stroller Strides) and proceeded to hang out til nearly dark.

Oliver loves to watch the other kids. He sometimes gets a little overwhelmed, but it's all good fun. Toys are discouraged, though, because of the issues that come with "sharing" among so many kids.

We are really trying to savor these last days of summer. Can't believe next year he'll be running around with the lot of them.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Camper!

Oliver went on the second camping trip of his life this past weekend and had a great time. We went camping at Yellowstone Lake, Wisconsin, a favorite spot of ours -- especially every other year, when nearby Monroe hosts the every-other-year (bi-annual, semi-annual? you tell me.) Green County Cheese Days Festival.

From CAMP08_Yellowstone

It was really the most beautiful weekend for camping -- nice and cool in the shade and overnight, but clear and warm in the sun. For those adventurous enough to trek down the hill from our campsite (Eric, Dawn), there were beautiful sunsets over the small lake, too. (The rest of us just peered through the branches around our campsite at the bright orange sky).

Oliver had a great time playing with Christian, who he was also meeting for the second time in his life (I just love saying that). Christian is the son of Andrew & Christa Weiss and is just about a month older than Oliver, so it was good fun to see them play together on the Neat Sheet (which I highly recommend for outdoor fun).

The Weisses travelled all the way up to Wisconsin from Urbana/Champaign -- so great to see them! And Jim & Dawn Finn joined us on Saturday (all the way from Arlington Heights), and willingly joined into our lazy group around the campfire. Thanks for being such sports, Finns!

The friend-fest continued in Monroe on Sunday where we saw the Harts (Ryan, Catherine, Henry, and Caroline) -- although very briefly (such is life with children in tow). Check out the full photo album to see some great shots of Henry on Ryan's shoulders watching the parade. (And, as a side note, please do not get the wrong impression of all the beer/baby compositions. No babies were harmed in the filming of such fodder. There is, however, some shame in the amount of beer the grown-ups went through in just 2 days of camping. But, c'mon, when in Rome... when in Wisconsin, right?)

I have to admit to a slight disappointment in Cheese Days, though (even after I advised everyone else not to build expectations too much). You see, I LOVE cheese. I mean really, really LOVE it. And I have come to the conclusions that Cheese Days as a theme is not lived up to by the festival. Sure, they have the elected "Dairy Queen and Princess" on their float and they have a wonderful cheese tent where you can fight your way to free samples, but beyond fried cheese curds and a grilled cheese sandwich, there is a lack of cheese-inspired food choices for purchase. I'm not sure what other choices I'd suggest, but really, there wasn't a cheesy nacho in sight. How 'bout cheese on a stick? Good 'nuff for me. Or hunks of cheese shaped into elephant ears? Or a quesadilla? Is that too much to ask? There were some good-looking cream puffs (dairy-deliciousness close enough to cheese to pass the test), but between the crowds, the 4-hour parade (things move a little slower in Wisconsin), the bees, and a crying baby, we needed to hit the road.

But at the end of the day, we had a really awesome weekend. We're so lucky to have a baby who is such a trooper. Thanks for making this installment of The Oliver Chronicles such a happy one, little man. We look forward to many years of successful trips, of enchiladas in the fire, of rice crispie treats for breakfast, and of wonderful memories with family and friends.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Test Post for BlogPress

This should be a vertical photo of Oliver in a beer box.

-- Post From My iPhone

A Tired Mommy

Yes, I poured baby formula into my glass of ice water.

And yes, posting photos from my iPhone automatically treats them as landscape, which is what I was trying to test out with this post anyway. This could be SERIOUSLY limiting.

Any of my HTML-brilliant friends out there know if there is a way to rotate a photo in the mark-up? Seems like a stretch. I'll have to write a nasty review to the makers of my iPhone blogging tool: BlogPress (

-- Post From My iPhone

I Want A Blog!

I've had the strong desire to blog lately. It's not that I have that much to say, really, I just think it would be a nice diversion, a nice thing to call my own, and a nice way to keep in touch with friends and family (beyond the reaches and depths of Facebook, to which I am also recently addicted). I saw that my long-lost but recently found friend Joan (Canada) Gallob has a blog on her family and it seemed to make sense to me to have one of my own -- even if part of me questions the self-importance it might convey.

Obviously, I'll have a lot of Oliver tales to tell, but I can already anticipate some diatribes of my own, however trivial (like the Jewel shopping cart that had me ranting and raving through checkout at 7:30 this morning) or seemingly dire (like my chronic indecision over whether to go for the "dream home" or not, and the ever-pressing question of public vs. private schools -- yes, I know he's only 8 months).

I welcome all comments and dialog, so don't be shy. More to come...