Thursday, December 29, 2011

Future Headlines

It's December 29th and there's still no snow! Awesome. In fact, I went to the driving range and hit 100 balls in the slightly heated outdoor driving range a few blocks from our home. Working on my new swing will take time, so the more swings I put in now, the better I'll be come spring.

And the lack of snow led me to a "Future Headline", which is a new feature I'm going to add to my blog periodically. It came to me earlier in the week and I don't know how often I'll be able to write one, but we'll see what happens. This one is "No Snow Means Extra Cash". It'll be an article that details the budget windfall the city will receive from not having to salt the streets and use plows to remove feet of snow during the month of December. Actually, if you live in the Midwest, your city may have a similar story written about it. It's been really nice this year after a brutal winter last year. The "experts" had predicted a much worse winter than last year including more snow and colder weather, so far, fingers crossed, they are 0-2.

It's Joisey Ken's birthday today!!! Happy Birthday Buddy!!!

Ken and Ricardo.

Ken and my niece.

Ken and his wife Dawn.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lighting it up!

You'd think we'd take a night off after the long string of events, but NO! Tonight we were off to take advantage of free tickets to the Brookfield Zoo and to see their zoo lights. Brookfield Zoo is a much more elaborate (and expensive) zoo in the suburbs as opposed to the free Lincoln Park Zoo which also has zoo lights (which we went to last year). So I loaded up my flask.....oh, did I not mention that of course we're going to drink a little while walking around in the cold? Well we did, but actually I didn't know that they would have various hot toddy type drinks available for purchase otherwise I might not have brought the flask. Cider with some Captain Morgan in it is pretty tasty to be walking around with outside. So on to the pictures!

Part of the long entrance walk. It was $9 for parking and another fee for the zoo if you didn't have a free ticket. We got there around 4:30 as traffic downtown was worse than we thought it would be.

This tree is sponsored by people from LL's hometown of Shorewood. These trees were all over the zoo and were sponsored by different groups. The groups then got to decorate the trees. Cool.

The real attraction was the lights though. Here's a sample shot.

And one scene that I particularly liked.

They also had an ice carver working on huge blocks of ice. Here's a dragon he made.

And an elaborate swan. We was working on an image of Odie from the Garfield cartoon, kind of a let down after seeing these two completed works.

There were animals too!! Some indoor and some outdoor. These pics are all indoor shots though. Here's a monkey with a miniature hippo swimming underneath him.

Here's a mandril and two otters snuggling up because it's time for bed. As kids would squeal, the otters would pop up and look around to see what the commotion was about. Very cute.

And what zoo visit would be complete without a picture of a meerkat??

As a whole, we thought the light show at the Lincoln Park Zoo was BETTER than the zoo lights at Brookfield. We had to go to check it out though so that we could at least have an informed opinion.

Tomorrow: a light day of activities as we leave for DC on Friday!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Post Christmas Tale

Are the holidays over yet?? Nope, not by a long shot in the Sutton household! Not even sure where to start regarding the weekend. There was family, food, friends. People you wanted to see...people you could do without seeing. Lots of gifts were received (including a new computer!) and given (I'm much better at giving gifts than receiving them). Food you could eat all day and food that does nothing but expand your waistline...and boy did it expand! Actually, as of Monday morning I was actually down a pound or two from where I was going into the weekend, so that was a nice surprise. On Monday night though, Naperville Greg and Kleveland Kim came over and we had cheese, sausage, crackers and then ordered Mexican food. Ugh. The evening was great, don't get me wrong, we hung out at home and talked for like four hours. We haven't seen them since the wedding (if you remember Greg played the guitar while I sang at the reception).

After being in Joliet for a night and Naperville for a day, we arrived at home late on Christmas Day (we left at halftime during the Bears game). Our paper was still on the doorstep and an envelope was stuck in our door. Inside the envelope was a gift card for a swanky restaurant to which I've never gone despite living in the neighborhood for 20 years. How swanky is this place? Well, inside the envelope was a $100 gift card and that didn't even cover dinner! We each had the lowest priced glass of wine (which was still tasty) an appetizer, an entree and we shared a side. The total for the two of us with taxes and tip? A paltry $160!!! Unbelievable. Forget about going there ESDNM. It was good, but I'm fairly sure I won't be darkening their doorstep again. Oh, the restaurant name is Boka.

And why did the neighbors leave us a $100 gift card? Well, they were heading out of town for the holidays and the card was expiring at the end of the year, so they gave it to us. Earlier in the year we had gone to an expensive restaurant with them called Gejas for fondue. I had a gift card for $100 and thought the four of us could eat for that, but I was sadly mistaken. Anyway, our food was good at Boka, but it's just crazy ass expensive.

Christmas was good with midnight mass at LL's family church this year (last year we came home on Christmas eve and went to my church). LL's father sings in the choir, so we enjoy going, plus they have a bell.....what...gaggle? No, not gaggle. A bell team? A group of ringers? I don't know what they call themselves, but people who play bells. Pretty cool.

Of the many gifts we gave this year, probably the most interesting (though LL may disagree) was a 6 month subscription to that we got for my parents (mainly my dad, who turned 75 on Friday). It was the international edition of too, so he wasn't limited to researching just in the U.S. Pretty cool and I'm glad I have my dad around to buy gifts for, but man it gets tougher and tougher every year!! For his birthday, we took my parents out to Rosebud in Naperville which they had never been to, but really enjoyed.

So if you're keeping track, that was: party at Ricardo's on Thursday, dinner with parents on Friday, dinner with LL's parents and family on Christmas eve, dinner with my family on Christmas day, Greg and Kim over on Monday and the very swank Boka tonight. Wow....that's a lot...even for me!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

Some more catch-up photos for your enjoyment. I am going to Joliet to LL's parents' house and then to my folks on Christmas Day, so I won't be writing again until Monday. Merry Christmas!!

From the last tailgate of the year. Let's see who all is here: Leah (girlfriend of Jack), Markakis (aka Nick), Blind Mender, Jack, Jack's brother Tim (also a softball teammate along with Jack), Marek (the son of a friend) and his girlfriend. Of course front and center is Mr. Heater!

Snapped this picture in a parking lot. Antlers....ha!! Today I saw a car with candy canes instead. Very fun.

Christmas tree pictures!!! In the natural light and lit up at night. Yes, there are TWO Bears ornaments....can you find them?

The Eastlake Studio crew at their company Christmas party. They are one of my clients and the party was at one of the owner's home (father of Marek from above). Can't remember why we had those on.....I'm sure there was a reason.

During the Yankee Gift Swap. It was pretty funny. Lots of crazy gifts.

One of the owners, Jon and his wife Stacey.

The owners opening their gifts from the staff....whatever they were they were not as good as iPads.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Meme

It's been a while since I've had any meme's on my blog, but I read this one on Terri's blog the other day (she got it from someone else's blog) and I thought it was fun. So here we go:

1. The Christmas song I can listen to even in June is: two of them: Baby it's cold outside and I'm dreaming of a white Christmas. Sometimes I'll sing those to myself while playing softball or golf!

2. Hot chocolate, eggnog or mulled wine? Mulled wine is the tallest midget in this group. Not excited about any of them.

3. When do you put your Christmas decorations up? Whenever I damn well feel like it!! Sometimes just after Thanksgiving, sometimes a few weeks later. It all depends on my schedule during that time and I'm rarely in a hurry. No stress please!

4. What are you having for Christmas dinner? I'm guessing turkey, but it could be ham, or it could be both! Whatever it is, it will be delicious!

5. What’s your favorite Christmas tradition? Hmmm, well it USED to be being allowed to open stockings before my parents were awake and downstairs....that was fun. Also, opening a relative's gift the night before. Now I'm not sure what the tradition is/will be as it's all new with LL and our families.

6. Have you ever gone carol singing? I don't think so. Not that I remember at least. Not much of a caroler outside of church.

7. When did you discover the truth about Santa? Absolutely no idea.

8. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Very minimally. Usually one color of light and 20-30 ornaments.

9. What’s the best thing about Christmas? People being nice to each other, except at the mall is one. Finding a really cool gift is another.

10. All I want for Christmas is: the pain from my pinched nerve to go away and to drop 10 pounds. Probably not going to get either!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Catch up, not ketchup, though there are condiments today

Sooo busy with the holidays, decorations, parties and such, that I could not write nor read any blogs yesterday. Here's a little catch up:

Saturday morning we awoke to snow all over the place! Aighhhh! There wasn't supposed to be snow yet. Well, there should be snow statistically speaking at this time, but there wasn't any predicted for this year at this time. I was very much enjoying that fact and love a good green Christmas. Fortunately the snow was only a minor annoyance as it didn't accumulate much on the sidewalks or streets and was pretty much relegated to the grass and trees. By Monday all of the snow was gone and all was right in the world again. That said, the snow was the impetus in LL and me staying inside most of the day on Saturday and working on Christmas cards and decorating the tree.

LL took one of her copious vacation days on Monday that she has left this year (while STILL carrying over 10 days into next year), but was a little disheartened to find out how much work I had to do. She would prefer that we just snuggle in bed or on the sofa or anywhere really and make a day of it. We did get to have lunch together though and our lunch of choice at home normally is PB and J with a few chips on the side: simple, some carbs, some protein, relatively light....good eating. Often LL will make the sandwiches but for whatever reason I was making them Monday. So I got out the jelly and the PB and started toasting the bread (oh yeah, we toast the bread first).

"Hey, this jelly is darker than normal. Did you get raspberry preserves like normal?"

"Yes I did."

Spreading jelly on the bread.

"Hmmmm, yep. Yes you did. My bad. Why is it darker than normal? Does it look darker than normal to you?"

"It does!"

Spreading peanut butter.

"It almost looks like it could be prune jelly or something. Odd. You just bought that right?"

"Nope. We had that one and the new one is in the pantry."

"Ohhhhhhh, I think I know what's up. Check that date on that bottle."

"December 1996!!! Ewwwwwwwww!!!!! I'm NOT eating that sandwich."

"Oh c'mon, it's probably fine."

"No. And you're not eating it either. We'll just make new sandwiches."

Then I remembered more fully that I "found" the jelly in the back of a shelf the other day and put it in the rotation for use. Whoops. Bad Joe. Remember to check dates!!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

It's all over but the shouting

A great weekend came to a somewhat horrific end when the Bears lost at home to the lowly Seattle Seahawks, 38-14. That, my friends, is an ass kicking. Not only did they lose, but their #1 wide receiver (well #1 according to everyone except the GM and head coach)got bent over backwards and has to have surgery to stabilize a vertebra. Ugh. So, in case you're reading this years from now, that's their QB, RB, WR, and #1 draft pick at right tackle all lost for the season at various points. So it's all over but the shouting for the Bears, plus it was the last home game so no more tailgating.

It's the week before Christmas!!! Aaaarrrrrgggggghhhhhh! I gotta get moving on a bunch of gifts still! Six days's all over but the shouting!

Friday night we headed over to a good buddy and client's house for their company Christmas party. It was the fourth company party we've been to this year. Good fun! The employees were surprised when they opened their gifts and inside were new iPads! Pretty sweet gift!! They're pretty successful and have fewer than 10 employees, so it's not too huge of an expense, but still very nice.

On Saturday we trimmed our tree, Frazier, with lights and ornaments. Oh, did I not mention that we named our tree Frazier? He's a Fraser Fir of course, so the name was pretty much a given. Frazier is decked out now in white lights (a compromise) with red balls and other ornaments. But that wasn't all of our Christmas cheer for the weekend. Oh no. Most of the day was spent labeling and putting together Christmas cards. LL finished all of hers, but I had just about twice as many to send out, so I didn't quite finish.

Then Saturday night we went to dinner with my good friend Joe D and his wife Kendra. We drove up to Evanston and they drove down from Glencoe, so it was about half-way or so. Dinner was at the Celtic Knot where the food was pretty good and my snakebite was pretty tasty. If you haven't had a snakebite, look it up and order one the next time you're in a bar. They are awesome.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Much to do

Busy day today doing non-work stuff. Had a dentist appointment in the morning out in Naperville.....yes, to the same dentist I went to as a kid. Over the years I've had a bunch of dentists downtown, but they've come and gone for one reason or another so I finally just went back to the guy who has been there for 30+ years. It was just a cleaning, but now that I'm insured again (thanks LL!), I'll go every 6 months.

Since I was out in the 'ville, I headed over to see my folks and take them to lunch. We went to OCB, Old Country Buffet for those of you not in the know. While my folks eat there quite often, $13 for two people!, I've never been and was hesitant due to unknown sodium content of the food. However, I was pleasantly surprised with their decent salad bar (including baby spinach, two kinds of lettuce mixes, garbanzo beans and egg)and baked chicken. They had fried chicken too, but I have to stay away from that. And while I was there, I was able to meet the employees who talk to my folks when they come in and generally treat them very well. Nice!

Got back home just before rush hour got bad, answered some emails and printed labels for our Christmas cards, which always takes longer than I think it should. Generally it's my fault as I keep the records in Excel and have to import them into Word AND into the appropriate template to match my labels. Still, it beats the hell out of writing them all out!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Being Mrs. Sutton

Still no snow in Chicago which is awesome. Every day that passes is another day closer to spring and another day to cross off the calendar with no snow on it! C'monnnnnn green Christmas!!!

It's tough to be Mrs. Sutton. You have to put up with a guy who plays softball, golf and goes to the gym a lot. Softball involves traveling too and tournaments on the weekend usually take up entire days. Golf means I'm gone for 4-6 hours at a stretch. And then there's the Turkey Bowl on Thanksgiving morning which seems to be cursed with bad weather.

Once you get past all of that, you get to deal with my wonderful physical issues including: allergies that result in gross symptoms like loud nose blowing, Meniere's disease that leads to vertigo episodes, a pinched nerve and whatever injury my sports endeavors lead to. The Meniere's means sodium limitation which have been well documented here. We try to keep our dinner sodium content pretty low in order to not trigger anything. Today LL made dinner (using our new crock pot for the first time) and put in a flavor packet which she thought was just 220 mg of sodium in total, but it was per serving and there were 8 servings in this tiny packet!! My ear started ringing shortly after dinner, not a good sign.

Yes, it's tough to be Mrs. Sutton because here she did a very good thing by making me dinner (she was working from home today) and it ends up inflaming a situation I was trying to reign in during the week. It was an honest mistake and I'm willing to risk too much sodium if she's willing to cook! With people over on Sunday and then going out on Monday, my sodium level was already too high and I wanted to use the week to detox essentially. Friday we have a party to attend and are going out to eat on Saturday with friends before another Bears game on Sunday. I'll just have to be extra careful the rest of the week.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Boyz night out!

Last night was a Holiday Boyz Night Out. The Boyz involved were: me, Ricardo, Smitty, Bill the Bear and Markakis (aka Nick). Thanks to Smitty for pushing for us to get together, though at the time we made the plan, we didn't know we were going to get together on Sunday for the Bears game anyway. No biggee, two days/nights of drinking instead of one!

We started off at Gale Street Inn, like we did for my 41st birthday (see Bill, I told you!). It wasn't just dinner though; it was a relaxing, long, drink and dinner event spanning a few hours. Very fun. No trip to Martini's this time though. We did however go a store front or two down the street to another bar with an Old Style sign in front of it.

Many beverages later it was midnight and time to head home to what would undoubtedly be an unproductive Tuesday.

Here's a picture of the ribs at Gale Street. Two half slabs stacked on top of each other. On Mondays they are $5 off. Yum!

Here are the da Boyz!! Markakis on the left, Smitty (prone), Bill behind him and Ricardo giving me the bird. Nice.

Our bartender for the evening, from Romania, Monique. She was very nice and even bought Ricardo a drink! She didn't get upset when Nick and I decided to play a game of "see who can get popcorn in the cash register". Ha! Good fun.

A catch-up picture: our Christmas tree. Not decorated yet, but we have the decorations ready to go.

And a picture of the common sink area between two bathrooms at a Korean barbecue restaurant of all places. The women's bathroom is to the left and the men's is to the right, but out of the picture.

Oh, and yesterday was the anniversary of the Metrodome roof collapsing. Fortunately there's no snow yet in Chicago and none in the forecast for the next week. Yay!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Busy 5 days! Looking forward to relaxing a bit on Monday

Tree hunting was a success, but not what we really wanted to do. When we got up Saturday morning to take ESDNM to the airport prior to going tree hunting, it was a balmy 15 degrees....too damn cold for wandering around trying to find a good tree. Hell, we ended up going to Home Depot on the way home and it was too cold to stand outside there and look at the trees that were already cut and bagged! Still, it was LL's first real tree and OUR first tree, so it was special nonetheless. Next up: decorating the tree.

It was a busy end of the week with ESDNM in town and long days of planning meetings with our clients. We started at 8 and ended around 5, one day til 6, with difficult meetings for 2 hours at a crack. It was tough, but good for the clients and good for project planning for next year.

One of the clients had their Christmas party on Friday night to which we were invited. The company isn't huge in terms of employees, maybe 20 or so and probably 35-40 with spouses. Good fun though and I normally don't get to spend much time with anyone on the staff other than the C-suite folks and the owner, so it was good to talk to some of the other employees. Plus the food and drinks were great!

On Sunday we had five folks over to watch the Bears debacle in Denver. Ricardo and Jodi, Bill the bear (wife Nadine was sick...get better Nadine!!), Smitty and wife Beth were the gang and we had fun cheering and swearing together. What an awful loss. A ten point lead with 4 minutes left and a three point lead with the ball and two minutes left and they had the ball on Denver's 35 in overtime and they couldn't win. Just awful. Marion Barber was once again the goat. This time he went out of bounds instead of falling down in bounds and keeping the clock running and then fumbled the ball in overtime while they were in field goal position.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Busy, busy, busy. --Hermey

Lots of work since ESDNM came to town and it finishes up tomorrow, followed by a client Christmas party in the evening.

Nothing great to say other than we might go Christmas tree hunting on Saturday! First time for LL even PICKING OUT a Christmas tree. First time for me going to a tree farm to cut down a tree. Should be fun!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Random Picture Day

The next three days are pretty packed with ESDNM in town and mucho client work to do. So with my mind stuck on work things, here are some pictures:

The Punke clan at the bowling alley for their company party. L to R is: Jonathon, Jessica, Sara, Doug Jr. and Doug Sr. They sit next to me at the Bears games and we tailgate together.

Another Punke picture but this one has Jr's best man in the picture and their friend Ted (far right). Ted's a little odd and sang "My Ding-a-Ling" during the karaoke portion of the evening. Sr got a kick out of me saying that he could NOT sing that song in my neighborhood. No sir.

LL bowling on lane one. She was a good sport about the long drive and ended up having fun!

This past weekend at the tailgate were: Andy (AKA Sausage), Blind Mender (sporting his t-shirt) and Nick (AKA Markakis or dumb dego.....his last name is not Markakis but he is's complicated). Oh and Mr. Heater. We didn't need the heater to start, but it got pretty chilly later on!

It was Jessica's birthday and Sr asked me to get a cake. Instead of that, I had a local restaurant owner make me "Birthday Cupcakes" instead! One letter per cupcake and in Bears colors. Awesome.

Our first party of the holiday season! Very swank!

The old-timey club ceiling.

An odd picture. It's not a Fibonacci sequence, but I enjoyed it. Look it up.

A recently posted picture of our opening day tailgate. I'm going to look back at this in January too. Wow was the weather nice!!!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Offseason Ugliness

The Bears lost yesterday, at home, against the 4-7 Chiefs 10-3. The only touchdown came on a hail Mary pass at the end of the first half which Urlacher knocked down right into the hands of a Chiefs runningback. Unbelievable. Roy Williams made his presence known at WR again by dropping a pass on the goal line, right into the hands of a Chiefs player. Just ridiculous. His explanation was even worse: I make my cut at the goal line and there's this "big brown thing" coming right at me so I put my hands up to at least try to grab it.

Seriously?? Did you really just say that? You're a wide receiver in the NFL, during a game, in a route that's called for you and you're surprised that the ball is coming at you? You em effing idiot.

Earlier this season our #1 draft pick, Carimi, went out with a knee injury because the guy next to him, Spencer, got blown up by the defensive lineman and Carimi tripped on him. This game our other offseason acquisition, Matt Spaeth, whiffed on a block and the lineman put his helmet right on Matt Forte's knee, giving him a sprained MCL and putting him out 2-6 weeks. Nice job on those offseason moves. Anymore pickups like those and we might as well not even play!!

Fortunately for the Bears, their wildcard opposition (NY Giants, Atlanta and Detroit) also lost and they did not lose ground in the playoff race. Still, it's a game they should have won and won easily. It also brings into question how they are going to beat the likes of Denver and Minnesota on the road. Those teams aren't any worse than the Chiefs. Could be a tough end to the year.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Random Perfection

The December party train has left the station! Last night was actually a two party night for us, but we opted to attend only one. Last year, and again this year, my church and a law firm I like both had their parties on the same night. The church party starts earlier, so last year we attended it and then went to the lawyers' party. That seemed a bit much for us this year, so we just drove down for the dress-up-like-a-big-boy party. They always have great food and of course a multitude of drinks which are all free and it's held at swanky club where the firm picks up the tab on the valet service. Nice!

And I came up with another perfect moment that was special to me and you can do it to! It was probably 10 years ago and I was working for Morningstar making a good chunk of money and my company stock options just got valued at A LOT of money. But that's money that's "at risk" still, so it's not like I had the cash in hand. However, I felt pretty wealthy and was very happy. That night, I went to an Indian restaurant (that's now closed) where you could get a solid Indian meal for two for like $20-$25. Ok, it wasn't the NICEST place in the world, but it was consistent and always filling.

Anyway, while I sat across the table from my significant other at the time, I noticed another couple not too far away at another table. They seemed very nice, younger, casually dressed, chatting with each other and being courteous to others as well. So as we finished our meal, I asked the waiter to bring me their check as well. It wasn't that much money to me, but I had a feeling it was to them. They stopped us as we walked out to thank us and see if they knew us. I said, "No, you don't know me, but you seem really nice. Have a great night!" And that was it. A perfectly random act of kindness. Those are the best.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

More Perfect Moments

Actually I'm going to start this entry by removing one perfect moment. Though it was a great afternoon, shooting par was not a perfect moment per se. During the round I had some perfect moments that I remember clearly though, two in fact, the first after hitting a shot onto the green and near the stick which prompted me to think "this is how the pros feel all the time" as I just knew I was going to hit the shot where I hit it and executed the shot as good as possible for me. Then on the last hole I stood over a 8 foot putt that I needed to sink for birdie and a par 72 and I just knew I was going to roll it in and I did.

Alexis asked about perfect business moments and their noticeable absence. After pondering that statement (see, I read the comments!), I drew the conclusion that it's hard for me to have perfect moments in business because of the nature of what I do and did. Almost every decision has had a longer term payoff and the payoffs were almost always from a decision made some time previously. For instance, hiring someone. I made plenty of good hires, but you don't know that at the time and you're not "in the moment" and lucid about the action and outcome. Does that make sense? You don't the hire is a good one until much later. You don't know an investment decision is good until much later. So nothing really stands out from a work perspective.

Here's something that does stand out: getting sick in high school. Time to weave something magical to get this to work right? Actually it's not too difficult. I was a freshman, always a tough time, and it was the Fall semester so it was still very new. After struggling to get to school because I didn't feel well, I really started to feel it as I closed my locker and headed towards my first class. Then it hit me; I was definitely going to throw up. I calmly walked over to a drinking fountain, one of the big old ones that are embedded into the side a wall not the free standing metal boxes, and hurled. It was a nice, controlled, matter of fact hurling with no extra dry heaves or spillage. Hardly anyone even noticed and I felt AWESOME afterwards. After rinsing out my mouth and getting some gum, I headed off to class and didn't even go home.

Finally, for this entry at least, was a perfect moment involving the law. It was a few years ago, maybe 8 or so, and I was headed to a Cubs game. As I was walking down the street which connected to Clark street (which runs to Wrigley Field), I saw a guy running away from the stadium and heading down an alley. It looked really suspicious so I ran after him, just what the police want you to do right? When I got to the alley, he wasn't in sight, so I headed down relatively quietly. As far as he knew, I wasn't there. After a few minutes I saw him behind some garbage cans next to a garage. I ran around the cans, grabbed him and bent his arm behind his back so his hand was moving up towards his head (standard move for disabling people). I said, "I don't know what the hell you did or who you're running from, but we're going to go find out." As we got to the entrance to the alley, a plain clothes cop came running up to us with handcuffs and his badge on display. "I'll take it from here." he said. "Thanks man." Turns out he sold someone fake tickets and took off running. And that was it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Perfect Moments

Saturday morning, a lazy day after the late night in Dwight, became a defacto movie day. A day actually turns out to be very long when started with a movie, followed by another movie and then a third. The weather wasn't very pleasant so staying inside was pretty easy.

The first movie we watched was called "Super" with Rainn Wilson. It wasn't LL's favorite as there were some graphic scenes (one character gets half their face blown off), but I enjoyed it. Early in the movie Rainn's character, a short order cook at a greasy spoon, looks at two drawings that he hung up on his wall that were of "Perfect Moments" in his life. He had only two: his wedding day (to his soon to be lost to drugs new wife) and the second was of him on the street telling a policeman which way a suspect went as he passed Rainn. That was it, but they were his perfect moments in his life where he took action and everything was clear, happy and....well, perfect. At the end of the movie, the walls of his room are covered with drawings of perfect moments.

This made me think of perfect moments in my life. These moments just jump out clearly in my mind. Now, many OTHER moments that aren't perfect jump out in my mind as well. So what are some of my perfect moments? My wedding day without a doubt and singing to LL has to top the list. That was absolutely perfect.

There were two golf related perfect moments: shooting a par 72 and hitting a hole-in-one, after hitting my first shot into the water so really it was a hole-in-three.

There's a few softball moments that seemed perfect to me as well. The first one happened down in Florida in about the third or fourth game of a tournament. There were runners at first and third in the last inning and we were up by a run after the opponents had mounted a comeback. With two outs and the heat of Florida beating down on us, I knew the hitter was going to try to pull it past me at third. And he did.....try at least. I dove to my left, snagged the ball and threw to second from my knees to Andy (aka sausage) to end the game.

Another perfect moment was also a softball play was on the fields at Disney in Orlando. Before the game started, I checked out how much room I had between third base and the fence by the dugout. It's good to know these things when you're playing on a new field as there can be holes, slopes, rocks, patches of cement or just about anything preventing a potential catch. Here however, there were no issues. In the second inning, a hitter popped a ball up foul towards the third base dugout and I raced over, slid and made the catch while sliding into the fence. It was the third out of the inning and then I led off the next inning. Our team had yet to get a hit due, in part, to sun issues and bad approaches, but I singled to center to get us rolling.

Finally, at least of what I'm recalling currently, I collected baseball cards that my dad had collected when he was 13 years old and had sold in the '70's for some much needed money for the family, and then gave them to him as a Christmas gift. There wasn't a dry eye that Christmas. Here's my first blog entry about it.

Any perfect moments that you'd care to share?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Some Sunday Pictures

Spent the day, after church, watching football and specifically the Bears. A tough loss, but without Cutler at QB, it was to be expected. One play before half cost created a 10 point difference as we were denied a TD and they returned an interception to our 10 yard line that ended up in 3 pts for them. Stupid pass play that was squarely on Martz, the offensive coordinator.

Friday night we made our second trip of the year to Dwight, IL, about 90 minutes away to visit our friends The Punkes (Punk-ees). They sit next to me at the Bears game and we went to Jr.'s wedding in September. The reason for this trip was an office party for Sr.'s company held at a bowling alley. Food, drink and bowling....awesome fun.

Here is the Punke clan: Jr., Sr., Jessica and Johnathon.

The bar in the bowling alley had a granite counter top. If you pay enough, not sure how much, they will play Ring of Fire and drizzle vodka around the horseshoe shaped counter and light it on fire. Pretty cool. You can't get that in Chicago. The cops would close that down in heartbeat.

I realized that I hadn't posted these pics on my blog yet. These are pics of me practicing for the singing element of the reception with Naperville Greg.

Here, I'm drawing the layout of the reception so Greg knows what to expect. We were in the office and the marker board helped here.

In this picture, I drew a woman's head and used the guitar case as her body and pretended it was LL. It gave me a visual for practice.

And here's Greg on the guitar. He really drove the need to practice. I really didn't think it was all THAT important, though I wanted to but we couldn't get together for several weeks due to scheduling. We finally did get together the week before I left for the wedding and it really was helpful. We were all ready to go after about 90 minutes or so. It must have been good enough since we pulled it off at the reception.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Turkey Bowl

As I mentioned, I participate in a Turkey Bowl (flag football game) every Thanksgiving morning for the last four years. Normally we play in the back of a school in a big open field, but this year we were able to play on an actual football field. Where we play is in Matteson, IL, about an hour plus away from me without traffic, which is normally the case on Thanksgiving morning. Last year it was rainy and cold, but this year was supposed to be nice and in the 50's. Unfortunately, it was actually in the 40's with a windchill in the 30's. LL was in the stands the whole time as the only fan to weather the cold the entire game. The other fans (sisters, wives, etc) gave up after three quarters and headed to their cars.

A little history of this particular game. This year was the fourth year of the least I think so as it was the fourth year I've played in it. The guys with whom I play, or at least organize it, sit near me at the Bears games and/or are friends/relatives of theirs. The first year we had about 6-8 people per side and the team I was on won by a huge margin led by me at quarterback. The second year, I was a captain for picking teams, had probably 10 people per side and my team lost by a ton as I threw 5 or 6 interceptions. Just awful. So last year, with that game as a recent memory, I was chosen last (or close to it) and quarterbacked our team to a rout where I was named the offensive MVP (by my team's captain, so it's official!).

This year, as every year, there were some new players and a lot of the regulars. The captains were chosen and I was chosen first.....a questionable choice, but probably based on last year's performance. The other team's captain was my good buddy Doug and I was really hoping we could play together like last year, but he lost the coin flip and had the second pick. New to the game this year, unknown to most of the people, was a Robert Morris College football player who runs a 4.4 -40, basically the fastest guy we've seen who is not on TV. He went to the other team and played QB for them, but had a very different style than me. While I prefer to get as many people involved as possible (a holdover mandate from my co-ed football days), he ran the ball himself probably 75% of the time.

That included a play midway through the first quarter where he ran 50 yards for a score, though we stopped the extra point. On our first possession, we drove the ball down the field eating up most of the clock in the first half. It's just what you should do when the other team has an explosive player: be methodical, don't take chances, keep the ball out of his hands. Textbook ball control offense. Unfortunately I threw an interception in the endzone to kill the drive. It wouldn't be my last either. Also along the way, my teammates dropped probably five passes, several of which could have changed the course of events. No excuses though, just foreshadowing.

As the half wound down, their QB threw a pass that was actually completed down to the 3 yard line, but time expired and we went into halftime down 6-0. A couple of more players showed up late, so now we had 8 a side starting the second half and we started with the ball. On the second play, I hit one of the new guys on a stop-and-go down the sideline with a perfect pass that he caught in stride to tie the game at 6-6. Our extra point failed as well, so it was back to defense.

On their next possession, their QB ran the ball down the field and scored quickly, including the extra point where he jumped into the endzone from the 3, to go up 13-6. We marched the ball on our next drive, despite more drops, and had first down around the 10. Twice I made bad throws to wide open receivers in the endzone, two of my worst throws of the day. On third down, I hit my receiver right in the chest on the goal line, and the ball popped up in the tipped by a defender.....into another of my teammates hands for a tying score. The extra point failed again and we were down 13-12.

As the fourth quarter rolled on, we stopped them with an interception and now had the ball in our hands with only about 2 minutes left. We had to drive down the field and score and there wasn't much time. On the second play, I threw a deep ball, into the wind and it was intercepted by....yes, their QB. He ran it all the way back for a touchdown. A pick 6 that's called. Ugh. Fortunately we stopped the extra point conversion, but were down 19-12 and only about 75 seconds left to play.

One of our speedy guys, who had hands of stone, caught the kickoff and ran it back to midfield before being tackled (yes tackled) by the other team. After the 15 yard penalty was marked off, we had the ball around their 40. After hitting a receiver for a short gain in bounds, I twice found a soft spot in their zone on the left side of the field for 15 yard gains. We got the ball down to their ten and I spiked the ball to stop the clock with 16 seconds left. On the next play, I scrambled right, came back left and threw over the middle hitting our team captain right in the chest in the endzone with the ball....and he dropped it. He was crushed, with his head hanging. He's only in his late teens, early 20's at most, so I went over to him and told him to shake it off because we still needed his head in the game. Now there was only 6 seconds left....last play. Again I scrambled right, avoided a three man rush, came back left and there was the team captain open in the exact same spot as the last play. I delivered another strike and this time he caught it for six points. We were down 19-18 and were faced with a decision, do we go for the tie or for the win?

I looked over to the stands to see LL there all alone and looking very cold and told my teammates we were going to man-up, go for two and win the game. The snap came from the 15 yard line and I rolled right before avoiding the rush and going back left again. As I approached the middle of the field, I stopped, planted and delivered a strike to the right side of the endzone to the same guy who caught our first touchdown pass in stride to start the half. He grabbed and the game was over! 20-19 victory and the best Turkey Bowl of the bunch. There were lots of high-fives and chest bumps on our side, drooped heads and shrugging shoulders on the other side. We lined up to shake hands as we do each year and this year there were as many hugs as high fives.

Though I was very happy for our win, I felt bad for the other team's players, other than the QB. As I mentioned, he ran the ball probably 75% of the time which means most of the guys on their team had a chance at one, maybe two passes and that's it. The players on my team, most of them at least, had the ball thrown to them 4-6 times each and probably had a better time even if we hadn't won.

Offensive MVP for the game? Well, their QB had 2 TD runs and an interception return for a TD and threw one pick. I threw 2 picks and 3 TD's. If it were Heisman voting, I don't think I'd stand a chance, but I'm 3-1 in Turkey Bowls!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving weekend

The Thanksgiving celebration started Wednesday as LL had the day off (using up vacation days before the end of the year). Even though I did work during the day, nobody really expects all that much to get done so I tried to meet those expectations.

Wednesday evening was a gathering at Bill the Bear's house with his wife to be, Nadine, where all I had to bring was some booze. Since Smitty was out of town, it was just six of us including Ricardo and Jodi. Bill and Nadine made all sorts of great "south of the border" food including soup, dips, salad and geez, I don't know what all else. It was all good though. Of course there were also margarita's, beer, wine and sangria, of which I had all but the margarita. A great kickoff to the holidays!

We left at a fairly reasonable hour of 11 or so, gave Ricardo and Jodi a lift home and got into bed by a little after midnight. Reveille was at 7 a.m. as our annual Turkey Bowl flag football game was an hour drive away and starts at 9:30. More on the game tomorrow.

We arrived in Naperville around 12:30 and the appetizers came out immediately, though I had to hit the shower first.

Here's a fun little display next to the table. Very holidayish.

And we had the real plates out for Turkey Day! Yay! All the food was really tasty. The new food item this year was peapods in some sort of seasoning. Good stuff. We ended up eating around 4 or so and left around 7. We brought pumpkin cheesecake that we bought from our favorite sushi place and it was as delicious as it was at the restaurant. Yes, you read that right, cheesecake from a sushi restaurant. They bought it from a bakery but ordered another one and sold it to us (cut into 24 pieces) at cost. Nice!!

And then we got home to our dog who had been home alone for 12 hours and didn't go to the bathroom in the house!! An added bonus.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"I want to party all the time, party all the time, parrrrttttyyy all the time!"

This time of year is awesome. While I work, expectations are extremely low....just the way I like it. Very little stress. That said, I'm actually getting work done. I think I work best under little pressure......nah, that's not right.

LOTS of parties planned for the next month or so! Tomorrow we go to Bill the Bear's house, then Turkey Day, possibly another party on Friday down in Dwight, IL. Come December, we have 8 parties that we've been invited to....eight!! Good Lord.....we're not that much fun. Then for NYE we are going to D.C. to see LL's sister and bro-in-law which is nothing but a party!!

So this video is of us signing the marriage license, traditionally done in front of the guests in Puerto Rico.

In the next week or two, I'll post more videos from the wedding in no particular order.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Engage-a-versary!

One year again today, tonight actually, I presented a ring to LL at the Paris hotel restaurant in Las Vegas and asked her to marry me. What a year it has been! Couldn't be happier.

The Bears game yesterday was an exciting one, but it came with a cost as our QB broke his thumb and is having season ending surgery. There is a chance he'll be able to play in the playoffs (or possibly even a week sooner), but I'm not holding my breath. Does this impact my thoughts on the Bears making the playoffs? Not much, no. They have a tough task on the road in Oakland next weekend, who have been resurgent with the acquisition of QB Carson Palmer mid season, but then they have "soft games" against KC, Denver and Seattle before finishing with Green Bay and the Vikings. According to an ESPN poll, 89% of Chicago fans believe the Bears will win 3 or more games with their backup QB. The biggest issue in my mind is can they win on the road against a playoff team with the backup if Cutler hasn't returned. They will definitely be going on the road if they make the playoffs as they will be a wildcard team with the Packers winning the division and currently undefeated.

Had a great tailgate yesterday with Ricardo and wife Jodi joining us, in addition to E-Money and his girlfriend, her twin sister and the sister's husband, plus others. Good fun. Mr. Heater debuted and worked great taking the edge off the plunging temperatures. The windchill was still in the 30's, which we'll love to see in a month I'm sure, but it was a bit of a shock to the system after such nice weather.

An actual pic! Looks cold doesn't it?

And I realized that I'm an idiot for serving brats and Italian sausages. Hamburgers are just as acceptable as far as grilling out goes and they have virtually NO SODIUM. What am I thinking?? Even though I have chili, it's tough to have a chili-dog because you need a huge bun and that's too much bread. Dan, the husband of the twin sister (and whose house we went to for Halloween) brought bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers. He smoked them and holy crap were they good! He even made some with lower sodium bacon for me!! What a guy.

And lastly, here's another clip from the wedding! This is entitled: The Procession.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Here it is!!

Whoa! I haven't made an entry since Tuesday....well, I guess that's just two missed days, but it's unacceptable. The culprit? Wine......and my lovely wife. Sometimes it's just tough to get to the computer or better that you don't after a certain time and/or amount of wine!

Fun weekend coming up with the Bears playing at home again and Ricardo and Jodi joining us for the game. It'll be another 11-8 tailgating day and should be good fun with our usual suspects as well.

Saturday night is a birthday party for a buddy of mine with whom I used to work, but on the way we're going to hang out with Smitty and Beth for a bit since they live on the way to the party.

And now, for those of you who waited, you get a special treat! Here's me singing "I want to grow old with you" to LL as a surprise instead of our first dance. The video is a little dark, but the sound is pretty good. Naperville Greg is on guitar and is strumming as LL and I walk up to the front of the room, that's where the video starts. Ricardo and Joisey Ken are off to the sides, but I don't think you can see them. Also when I start talking I say, "You're probably wondering why someone who has already broken down twice would grab the microphone." I was making reference to the fact that my voice broke up both during our vows and during my welcome "speech", not my finer public speaking moments, but obviously this was a little more emotional than relaying financial information to a company!

My last note is a reminder that I was seriously physically ill leading up to this scene. I couldn't eat, I was sweating up a STORM and had the chills. There was a huge question as to whether or not I was even going to be able to stay for the reception much less attempt to sing.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Friends and Resolutions.

As we approach the holiday season, I urge those of you who make New Year's resolutions to consider making them before Thanksgiving. Now, I'm not a big fan of New Year's resolutions as I think you should make improvements whenever you think of them during the year, but if you ARE a person who makes New Year's resolutions then why not get a 45 day head start on them? You can thank me in mid-January.

Over the last few days I've been thinking about what a good time it is in my life. Not only do I have a lovely bride, but I have a shit-load of awesome friends. In fact, we can't even hook up with all the great people we know as often as we like. For instance, LL couldn't make the Bears game on Sunday due to her training for work. In her place I invited my buddy Mokena Terry, of Memorial Day party fame. We had a great time!! But it reminded me that I'd really like to see Terry and his wife Sandi, more often. We actually tried another time, but they had a wedding to attend. On Saturday, while LL was in training, I went over to our friends John and Carol who have a six week old baby. We've had a baby gift for them from before our wedding, but have only saw them once, at softball, and didn't know that Carol and their baby was going to be there. It was a nice 2 hour visit which included Jack's in two days, so it was quite the event. Anyway, it seems like we have a bunch of couples we'd love to hook up with more often that we do which is great but also unfortunate.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bears Victory Monday

The day after any Bears game is an "off" day for me, in that chances are I'm not going to get much work done because I'm tired and probably a little mentally foggy. I do what I can, but I usually watch the game which I always record and try to get ready for work on Tuesday. When you work for yourself you have that luxury.

But when it's a Bears WIN, thennnnnn you can count on me doing even less than normal! That's what I'm faced with today as the Bears crushed the 6-2 Lions 37-13. The Lions humiliated us on a Monday night game in Detroit as our team self-destructed.....well, so maybe we humiliated ourselves. Anyway, this game was moved from noon to 3:15 local time to accommodate a national audience so it was great to get some revenge. The Bears had 6 takeaways including two interceptions returned for touchdowns and a punt return for a touchdown.

The Bears are now 6-3 and are headed for the playoffs, though obviously that's not for sure yet. The Lions are 6-3 and we hold several tie-breakers over them already, though it won't be necessary as the Lions have at least 3 losses lined up in their much harder second half of the season, while the Bears have 1 or maybe 2 losses left on their schedule.

If you remember two weeks ago, I wrote that we needed to win 2 of the next 3 games and we have won the first two. Next week we play San Diego as part of four in a row against the AFC West, where we should go at least 3-1 if not 4-0. That puts us at 10-3 or 9-4, not too shabby.

Even though the game was at 3:15, I got to the parking lot by 11:00 and had some food prep work to do before I left as well as loading the car by myself, so I was up at 7 a.m. That was a problem because I was drinking the night before with my buddy Andy (aka Sausage) at a local establishment as we watched the big fight which meant that I didn't get to bed until 12:30 and then had that bad quality drunk sleep for 6 1/2 hours. Last night I made up for it though by sleeping for 10 hours!!

Finally, just so I can publicly go on record as saying this, Tillman had a great game for the Bears yesterday. I've called him overrated and "not able to cover my mother" and numbers expletives, but he was up against one of the best receivers in football and he kept him under wraps. Nicely done.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Back it up...beep...beep...beep

Actually two interesting "back up" things to mention today. Well, at least I think they are interesting. First, if you're not backing up your main computer (pc or laptop or whatever you use) to an external hard drive somewhere, why not take the time this weekend to do it? It's cheap insurance against a huge headache. I decided to backup my files today just in case.

On my way to a client today (in which I drove), I saw a car almost run over two people and then hit my car. What fun! The dummy tried to turn left from the turn lane after the light changed, but was too slow so he got caught in the middle. Then he had to back up to get out of the way of turning traffic. Unfortunately, he didn't remember that he was still in reverse. Now I could SEE his reverse lights on, but there's no unwritten driving rule about how to notify people that they are in reverse instead of drive. So of course I'm ready to take some sort of evasive action and/or honk if he comes at me when the light changes. Then, as if on cue, two people decide to run across the street between his car and mine just before the light was changing back. The driver of course failed to realize their car was in reverse and fortunately did not lay on the pedal as you might expect. The runners darted towards my car and hit his car with their hands at which point the driver changed gears and started moving forward. Crisis averted.

Saw some snow today, but it didn't make it to the ground or accumulate or anything. Seems a BIT early for that kind of crappy weather.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Springy legs, not springy weather

After the last few trips to the gym to lift weights, not the running trips, I've showered and headed to my car and noticed that I had a spring in my step. That's right...a spring. A spring defined as sort of light, effortless jaunt. It felt like I could go running if need be. It's a nice feeling and lasts about 30 minutes or so when my legs resort back to their normal anchor like weights extending from my hips. I'm not sure exactly WHY this happens, but I'm guessing it has to do with either adrenaline or endorphins or something chemical. Whatever the reason, it's a nice feeling.

What wasn't nice is when I came out of the gym to 40 degree temperatures at 5:00 with a windchill of 30 degrees. Seriously? A windchill? Yep. Not pleasant. It's supposed to warm up everyday through the weekend, so I'm not too concerned about the Bears game on Sunday. It's going to be a long day with tailgating starting at 11 a.m., the game at 3:15 and then more tailgating afterwards.'s going to be like a 9 or 10 hour outdoor day!!

Tonight, in part because of the nasty weather, we opted for this beautiful morsel:

Yes, it's the McRib!! Combined with fries, it's about half of the RDA of sodium and about what I consume all day on a regular basis....if not more. Fortunately for me, the McRib is available only through something like November 14th. LL and I both wanted to have one before it goes away. Check!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Big Monday, not so big Tuesday

The Bears had a great victory last night (hence no blog entry) and are now 5-3 with the divisional rival 6-2 Lions coming to town on Sunday afternoon. It's a key game because they beat us already (on the first Monday night game in Detroit in like 20 years). With green bay being unbeatable (they are 8-0), the Bears are fighting for one of two wild card spots. They have beaten several teams with whom they will be in competition for one of those special spots. They should still be able to go 11-5 even if they lose this weekend, but if two other teams, including the Lions, go 11-5, we could miss out on the playoffs. So the victory last night over Michael Vick and the Eagles really just makes next week that much more important!

I watched the game with Bill the bear and Ricardo up at a place called Brickhouse near Bill's house. It's a pretty awesome sports bar (and a national chain) and it was packed. Interestingly, Ricardo left at half-time like many of the patrons. Bill and I stayed until the end though and had a pretty good time cheering on the Bears and generally being obnoxious......well, it was mostly me being obnoxious.

Can't tell you how awesome our wedding gifts are to use everyday. The glasses, bowls, plates, pots and pans with which I cook are outstanding. The knives are great and sharp and the silverware is substantial. Every once in a while I just remember how awesome that stuff is.

LL is in the middle of a Sunday to Sunday training session which means she's got to be in the office at 8 a.m. and stays there until close to 7 or later which means she leaves by 7 a.m. and gets home closer to 8 p.m. That's a long day. So today I cook dinner for her and made one of her favorite desserts: sweet ripe plantains in a brown sugar sauce over ice cream. Just delicious. Just trying to make her day a little more pleasant.

And we have communication from Benny Baseball!! His email correspondence was limited, but did let us know that he'll be re-entering society sometime in the next month or so. Yay for those of us who count him as a friend.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

What happened to Thursday and Friday??

Though I knew I didn't post on Friday, I really thought I posted on Thursday. Odd. Anyway the primary reason was me cooking.....and too much wine! Yeah, I cooked steak with that blue cheese topping again on Thursday and then made ribs on Friday (a 4-5 hour process) and I think we had wine afterwards on both nights. Yum.

Saturday was a fun day where LL and I drove out to Joliet to drop off our sick dog (Molly was given some-a very little bit!-of the steak leftovers by yours truly and she got sick) with LL's parents and then drove over to my parents. We had lunch there before heading west to Aurora to drop off LL's wedding dress to be cleaned. She showed them pictures from the wedding and they loved them (obviously those involving the dress in particular) and may use them to display the dress as an option for future brides. If you remember, LL combined two dresses to make her dress.

Then I dropped LL off at a Starbucks so she could study for a Sunday-Sunday training session this week and I headed over to a golf course to hit some balls with my new swing. Oh, that's right on Thursday I went over for a 30 minute helper session with Gabriel at Golftec. The consistency is still not there, as you might expect, but I'm getting closer. Two more 30 minute sessions left to get it right. Actually I can buy more time of course, I'd just prefer to not have to buy more.

Then I stopped by Benny Baseball's house to see if he was around and ok. Still no word from him since someone else stopped by on a Saturday morning. It was late afternoon when I stopped over and either he wasn't home or not interested in talking. His car is in the drive way with two of the windows open about an inch or so and a flat front tire. The inside looked like a mess too, but that's standard operating procedure for Benny. :-)

After my non-visit, I picked up LL and we headed out to her folks place to get some dinner. A friend of LL's family who could not make the wedding, took a bunch of pictures from the wedding and made a 20 minute video montage. It's awesome.

In other wedding news, I'm now in possession of the recording of me singing to LL. Haven't decided if I'll post it or not, but I'm leaning towards posting it, either here or on Youtube.

How awesome is the first day of daylight savings time?? Freaking awesome!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Trout with Mushrooms

Tonight I made this recipe, trout and mushrooms, though I used bread crumbs instead of flour and it was delicious.

And Super Closet 2.0 is done! Here are some pictures:

Ha! Tricked you. First is me, back lit I know, in my barista costume and actually in a Starbucks!

Here's the bifold closet door that leads into SC2.0. The door on the right leaves the room.

And here is LL in SC2.o with Molly.

Here are the shelves to the left of the door.

And this is inside to the right, where LL was standing in the picture above.

And here's our decorative turtle pull chain! So cute!!

Now to figure out what goes into the various closets and how we're going to rotate stuff around. Sounds like a weekend project.