Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The HIGH KINGS.....not to be missed.
At the West Side Irish American Club on Monday August 16th.

They just take you back to the 60's with the Clancy Brothers in their woolen jumpers!

Here are a couple of their youtube videos.

Monday, July 26, 2010


While we were away, Daddy took a tumble!

Poor guy.....lucky guy!

He broke his right (of course, couldn't have been his left!) upper arm. No damage to the elbow, no damage to the shoulder but a serious break that resulted in the bone looking like an X!

Take a look for yourself!!!

Can you IMAGINE how much that hurts! Our Dad has the HIGHEST threshold of pain of any person I know. You have NO idea!

They adjusted the bone and although it's not perfectly in it's proper place, it is somewhat lined up and they're going to wait to decide if surgery is necessary. It's not a "weight" bearing bone and considering his age, they just don't like the idea or seriousness of the type of surgery it would require to put it back in it's proper place. They plastered him and sent him on his way!!

He banged up his knees, conked himself good on the head requiring some stitches, but all in all......a lucky guy!

He really is "my leprechaun Dad" because although he no longer has my mother with him, he's been SO lucky in every other way. He could have been WAY out on the walking path when it happened. He could have messed up his hips. Today, he took me out back to show me what happened (I think he was afraid we would think he was jigging around or something when he really was just walking!) and there's a large rock by the back door and he believes it was on this rock that he split his head open.

Imagine the possibilities!!!

So, although he's doing fairly well, it will be hard to keep him down while he heals.

We knew this day would come and maybe it won't ever happen again.....we'll pray for that!

It's time again for another episode of "Late Night Blogging". It's after 3 AM and I'm still awake. You would think I would be dead tired after such a full weekend. And, what a wonderful weekend it was.

We got the rare opportunity to spend time with friends from New Jersey. We only get to see them maybe once or twice a year....but boy, do we have fun!
We met in Niagara Falls this past weekend and we caught up with each other, visited some of the major tourist hang outs, ate great food, drank good wine and laughed a lot.

Over too soon.......

We found no lack of souvenir shops while in Canada (right, John?)....this one had a variety of Christmas ornaments right outside the shop......and if you look really closely, you'll see that we had it personalized!!
Our first night in Canada we went to dinner at a wonderful Italian place called Carpaccio's......need a "like" button! Later that night we took the hotel shuttle over to the falls to watch the fireworks and to see the falls lite up. I'm not sure why they bother with fireworks because between the smoke created by the fireworks and the mist off the falls, you absolutely CANNOT see a thing.....not even the fireworks! To me, it seems like a no-brainer! This really was taken at night time..... On Saturday we went on the Maid of the Mist which was AWESOME.....I always wanted to take that trip and I'm so glad I got the chance. It was very, very interesting to view and FEEL the falls from right down there in the water! We then drove up to Niagara on the Lake and enjoyed all the wonderfully quaint things of that region. While having lunch we asked the waitress to recommend ONE of the many, many wineries in the region for us to visit and she was spot on. Konzelmann's is lovely. The cable car ride over the great whirlpool.......who in their right mind, I ask you? It was a long drive for John and Paula, but we really have a great time. Looking forward to our next visit together!

Till then!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

We just returned from our Normal visit where we had a wonderful ISF experience.

Lude and I were joined by jJoy who took the bus down from Chicago on Friday afternoon. She arrived just in time to see "The Merry Wives of Windsor" at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival.

What a BEAUTIFUL place. The Ewing Manor was built in the 20's by Davis and Hazle Ewing. The design of the house is incredible. kClare says that the house is only one room deep because the owners wanted to be able to see out the front and the back of the house from each room. The house and property was donated to Illinois State University in the late 60's and on July 6, 1978 they began Shakespearean productions on a wooden stage on the tennis court of the Manor and a new theater was completed for the 2000 Season.

The new outdoor Shakespearean Theater
kClare gives Lude just a peek....

While waiting for the show to begin each night, we were treated to a nice little jazz concert. We are not really jazz music "lovers" but in small doses, is delightful.

On Friday we saw Merry Wives which was very merry. One of jJoy's classmates and friends from BGSU is performing this summer at ISF and had a major role in each of the shows we saw, so it was nice to see her. Since it was opening night for Merry Wives we were able to go to the company party. That was a lot of fun too.....great food, surrounded by lots of talented people.

This was taken at the restaurant where the opening night party was held. I love to take pictures that capture Lude and the girls deep in conversation. kClare was making a point about something here..........

On Saturday morning, we saw the kid's production: "As You Like It". kClare was the costume designer for that show.

While waiting for the show to begin, we sought what little shade there was.....we did bring our umbrellas to cast a shadow on us....but really, 90 degrees is 90 degrees!

I love this picture (taken while we waited for the show)....Lude is off to the left talking about something and the girl's expressions are so typical of lots of conversations around our house! kClare is agreeing with him and jJoy is not.....the faces say it all!

Here are some pictures from that show! (I got permission from the designer to take these photos!!!)

Confession: .....a senior moment (or two) here. kClare has been talking about the "kids production" all spring/summer - since she was hired at ISF. She's the season's costume manager and the designer of the kids production. Senior Moment: all along, I thought it was "As You Like It" PERFORMED by kids....when in reality it was produced and presented FOR children. After I realized it, I didn't even bring it up, I had such a "DUH" moment. All spring, I kept saying that I didn't know how you could have little kids doing Shakespeare successfully! DUH. (You can go ahead and laugh now, kClare!)

As I said previously, the grounds of the Ewing Manor/ISF facility are absolutely GORGEOUS. I truly wish that we had a facility near us that provided such a full package of Shakes festivities. The grounds have a very strict "photography" policy but I really assumed (and it was encouraged!!) that it was for professionals, which I am surely NOT. However, when we sat out on the lawn and "staged" a family picture, they came after us! I guess we now LOOKED professional! Still NOT....but OK, we'll stop!

More pictures of the Ewing grounds....too beautiful for words.
In the Japanese Garden

Anyway......Saturday was also our 33rd wedding anniversary, so we took Dad to Medici.......we'd been talking about how great Medici is so we went there for an early dinner.

We shopped around the little town of Normal where there is a super "record" shop. It has a ton of Beatle stuff, so kClare's always been attracted to it. Lude enjoyed it too. Shopping with a bunch of girls is not a lot of fun....especially in 90 degree heat!

kClare had to be at the theater a little early and the three of us were taking the "back stage tour". It was nice to see the behind the scenes at the Manor and theater. Unlike school, where she can pretty much take us anywhere, at the Manor, it's much more formal (they have people roaming the grounds taking away your cameras and everything......) and we could only go behind the scenes on the tour. But, we got to go up to the costume shop at the time when all the players were assembling and picking up their suits of clothing for the show that night. It was great to see kClare there along with her staff working very hard!

Afterwards, kClare asked me "so, did you get lots of pictures on the tour?" But, I had to tell her that my own camera nazi wouldn't let me take anymore. I was a little shutter shy at that point....I didn't want to get her in trouble! Her reply was that it was the one place that I COULD take pictures!

The Beefeater greeted people as they entered the grounds. kClare constructed these costumes with some of the other costume staff.

On Saturday night, we saw the delightful, "3 Musketeers". Wonderful.

On Sunday morning, we had a nice breakfast together at a local place and then we dropped jJoy at the bus station and took off for home.

It was a wonderful weekend. Coming together as a family that came at the right time....for everyone. We've not been together, the four of us, since Christmas and everyone was due!

The ride home was LONG and at times through horrible rainstorms! (And, I am a horrible passenger in torrential rains! I just feel so out of control.) I guess, weather-wise, you can't win 'em all! Better to not have had horrible rain while sitting out on the lawn of the Ewing manor watching Shakespeare!

Besides, how can you complain when the end of your day provides this:

We returned home around 9PM and, as they say....

"All's well that ends well!"
Top Chef Cold War......was interesting.

I have to admit that I fell asleep towards the end....but I did get to see most of it.

It's nice to see that the episodes and the challenges have really been mixed up compared to previous seasons.

Having the contestants taste and rate each other's creations added a little something to the episode. Just another way that the poducers are pitting the chefs against each other.

I think they are creating more of a "strategy" element to the show this season.

Hated to see Tamesha Warren go home.....I was looking forward to what was going to happen between her and Angelo. Although, I'm thinking that Angelo is just doing a little to speak!

And.....Cook Like an Iron Chef, with our own Michael Symon begins tonight.....on the Cooking Channel. It airs at let's wish him luck.....

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Duck White Kidney.......are they really testicles?

Padma says they are!

We're watching TOP CHEF......I work late on Wednesday nights, so we tape it, but if we're in the mood to stay up late and watch it, we wait until it's on at 11PM so we can watch it on the BIG TV. Otherwise, the taped version is pathetic on the bedroom TV.

Cooking with odd food, they are!

THEN, "switch to the protein on your left!"


Duck testicles, Duck tongue, ostrich, crocodile!

I definitely think that the producers have created challenges that will HANG the contestants!

May the best chef win! I know you know who's won already....don't tell! Please!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

We're serious Top Chef watchers. It's the ONLY show that we tape.
Yeah, we still "TAPE" have something to say about that???

I work on Wednesday nights and TOP CHEF is on at 9PM now and I don't get home until 9:30. So, we tape it.

We're watching it now...."real tape time!"

The chefs are pretty amazing....and for the first time I think that two chefs have stood out since Episode 1.

Kenny and Angelo. Both have been neck and neck top chefs since day 1; and the season's just started.

The show is really pitting the contestants against each other. I told Lude tonight that I think they are designing the challenges to actually let the contestants hang each other.

The previous seasons had begun to stale in their challenges and I think this season is bringing it back to a higher level of competition.

We would love to know just how many hours it takes to tape an episode. Of course, the timed challenges are the clocked time. But, the rest of you think it takes a week to do a whole episode? I can imagine that they tape a whole boat load of "house" drama. Anyone know the skinny on that?

stay tuned.......
I've started a new blog page. People have encouraged me to post some of my scrapbook designs, but I never really got around to it.

I've started a page just for that purpose.

It is......

So, visit there if you have some time.

Don't go now - there's nothing there.....come on already!
Scrappy Day #9.....
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Email me if you want to attend.........

Friends............gotta love 'em. Lude cooked us up some great ribs and our friends brought all the fixings for a great bar-b-que to celebrate the 4th of July! YUM
PROJECT RUNWAY............Season 8

Starts Thursday, July 29th and the episodes are 90 minutes long this time.

kClare and her group of designers in the costume shop is planning to do the challenges along with the season's episodes - they're thinking they'll keep a blog too! So, that will be exciting.

AND, one of the designers on Season 8 is from Cleveland: her name is Valerie Mayen and she's a multi-talented artist.....textiles, photography, graphic designing and much more.

So, tune in.......sign up for PR on FB.............

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

CHECAGOU......or as it's spelled now: CHICAGO

Over the fourth of July weekend, I took the MegaBus to Chicago to visit with Jess. It was just a "short-n-sweet" visit but we managed to do a lot together.

First let me tell you that the MegaBus continues to be a MegaDeal! Sure, you can wait patiently and if your lucky enough to get your order in right away, you can get one of the $1 tickets. But, still, even if you pay, as I did $15 into Chicago and $5 home, it's still a smokin' deal. The wear and tear on your car, the gas, the tolls and the parking, it's well worth it. It's a 6 hour ride and it makes a stop in Toledo to pick up and then a meal stop along the way. And the MegaBus now has free WiFi, an electrical hook up at each seat (for your phone or laptop) and a hook up for your headphones for the TV they have. The buses are double decker buses and in the lower level some seats have a table creating booth style seating.

We had dinner on Sunday night at a delightful place called Flat Top Grill. Sort of like a Mongolian Bar-b-que style meal. Very good. We enjoyed the sites of lots of fireworks that night from her apartment window which is high above the tree tops.

Walking through Lincoln Park to Flat Top Grill.
After breakfast on Monday we went to the Chicago History Museum which happened to be free that day...SCORE! It's just a block away from her apartment and I've always wanted to go in, so it worked out great. That evening, I got to see her fabulous show. Her castmates: Edgar, Ross, Natalie and Derek are all talented and delightful people. It's such a treat to watch them perform and I wish them all good things in life. We spent some time afterwards over appetizers and drinks before heading home.

The Second City stage.....I couldn't take any other pictures, drat!
Tonight's performers, the Second City RedCo Cast: Ross, Natalie, Derek, Jessica Joy and Edgar! After the Show at Corcoran's. The next day we took the bus downtown for lunch. What trip to Chicago would be complete without a stop in Millennium Park? The orchestra was practicing in the Pritzker Pavilion, so we stopped and watched for awhile. We walked through the theater district and did some shopping before we went up in the Willis (formerly the Sears) tower. Never been....might never again!

One of the many entrances to Millennium Park. OH, and the Bean.... The Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. A VERY nice venue. The Chicago Theater in the Theater district The Willis (Sears) Tower Jessica's apartment from the Sears Tower. She can see the Sears Tower from her apartment, so we figured we should be able to see her apartment from the Sears Tower....and there it is, the gold building. Top floor, the 5 windows on the right.... The Tower has added 5 of these glass cubes that jut out. I'd forgotten how Jess doesn't like heights too much, but she was more than willing to stand in one while I took her picture from the observation deck...................DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE Of course, you just HAVE to catch the L while in Chicago....even if it's just a picture! This is the restaurant where Jess works, Orso's, in Old Town. Normally, we would have a meal there, but no time this time. Short 'n Sweet! Thanks, Sweetie!