Sunday, April 29, 2012

A second field and then a bunch of fields!

What a busy weekend! There was much to do with work and demolition on the bathroom, and I did none of it.

Friday night was the Bears draft party, to which I had two free tickets courtesy of the Season Ticket Holder Advisory Group. With LL out of town, I took my buddy Markakis. Unfortunately the event was sponsored by Miller, so I had to drink Miller High Life, the lesser of several evils, though they were only charging $5 a glass.

So what do you do at an NFL draft party on day two of the draft?  Well, we bought some discounted used sideline equipment/clothing for one. They had all sorts of things to choose from, mostly in xxl or xxxl or xxxxl, and I'm serious. They had everything from socks to football pants to pullovers to shirts. Good stuff! With every purchase, by the way we had to wait in a decent line to get into where the clothes were in the first place, you received an autographed mini Bears helmet.  Who signed it varied throughout the nice I guess and the early folks got the best ones. Ours were signed by Devin Aromashadu, who was a wide receiver for the Bears....two years ago. Last year he played for Minnesota. Crazy.  Well, it was free, so whatever. Then we went and got the mini helmet  autographed byNick Roach, outside linebacker for the Bears.  Ok, the value was increased slightly. Then we saw D.J. Moore, defensive back for the Bears. He was just wandering around so he didn't have a silver Sharpie, which is what you needed to sign the mini helmet, so we had him sign this orange-6-pack-beer-carrier-thingy.

Then we took a tour of the locker room, went down on the field and were ready to call it a night when we decided to see if anyone was still signing autographs upstairs. Nobody was, but the Bears first round draft choice, Shea McClellin was going to be coming upstairs in about 15 minutes, so we were one of the first few people in line! Nice! He had a silver Sharpie so he autographed the mini helmet, whose value went up significantly!  Now for Pictures!!

Here's Shea autographing my helmet. Picture courtesy of Nick, aka Markakis.

Shea shaking my hand! Not sure why I was hunched over....guess I thought I had to lean in. He's not that big a guy, which is why I think he wasn't a great first round pick for the type of defense we play. We needed someone bigger who can handle big lineman as they rushed the passer. Shea is more of a stand-up linebacker who would work better in a 3-4 scheme versus the Bears 4-3.

Nick and Shea. Nick is carrying the orange beer-tote thingy.

Here's the entry out onto Soldier Field. It was my second professional field that I was on in as many days. If not for softball on Saturday, I could have taken a tour of Wrigley and maybe got three in three days!!

The sweet, sweet field at Soldier Field.  My season ticket seats are in the picture. Can you find them??

OK, so running onto the field was a no-no. That's fine. It was still cool to see.

Here I am with the schedule for the last regular season home game (against Seattle).  Just making sure the schedule makes sense.....

Here's Nick in front of Charles "Peanut" Tillman's locker.

And I guess that's all of the pictures!  It was a fun night and Nick enjoyed himself as well.  Tomorrow I'll tell you about all the softball we played. Just two games on Saturday (along with batting practice and some team together time at a bar) and then from 7 to 6 on Sunday.  It was not warm, again, but the results were good! More tomorrow.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Cold April comes to a close

As April comes to a close, I look back on it and wonder....just what the hell was I thinking?  After the warmest March on record, April has turned out to be slightly colder than normal, which feels a lot worse. During this cold month, for some reason, I decided to attend four baseball games. I NEVER go to baseball games in April. I've missed opening day, or avoided it more appropriately, for several years, and have no desire to suffer the cold to experience the pomp and circumstance. Yet this year I went to four games and one of them wasn't even opening day!

As if that wasn't bad enough, I'll have played in three tournaments (really four, but one was just a Friday night tournament) and frozen my butt off in all of them. Tomorrow is the last of them and it's supposed to be a high of 45 and rainy. Great. Well, it is what it is and I won't even think about it while I'm down in the Dominican. Now some pictures!!

Here's a picture from my seats for the Cubs game. Very close and very nice, except when the cold wind blows out of the north, which is right down the left field foul line. Brrrrrr.

I thought this was fun to take a picture of now because the guy in the middle, Marlon Byrd, has already been traded and I thought it was funny to have the manager up there on a banner (Sveum).

Here's a picture from the tunnel as we're waiting to go onto the field last night at Comiskey, the park on the south side of town.

Here we go! Time to go on the field!

This is the infamous Sausage, aka Andy, pretending to make a catch at Comiskey Park last night when we got to go down onto the field.

Here's a shot of the field from behind home plate.

Here's a picture of my softball buddy Bob with his two kids and wife walking on the warning track.

Here I am next to the Jackie Robinson portrait on the right field wall. Yes, that's my winter coat. It was freezing again.

Here's blind Mender who came to the game with his dad.  The door to the bullpen was open and we were contemplating running in and stealing baseballs.

I'm beginning the master bath renovations! Step one, tear up the old tile.

Just a picture of what it looked like. Sort of the "before" picture. The goal is to get it done before June 1!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Eye of the storm

The eye is the calm part of a storm or hurricane. Often people misuse this saying to describe chaos, but it's anything but. That's sort of today for me. Yesterday was pretty busy culminating in going to Wrigley to see the Cubs beat the Cardinals in extra innings (much to LL's chagrin). At least it wasn't as cold as last Sunday or two weeks ago, so we were comfortable the entire 10 innings.

Tomorrow I go to the Sox game with a group of guys and LL heads to Ann Arbor to visit a friend who is having head surgery as we speak to remove a little benign tumor that seems to be growing near her ear nerves and such. Friday night I'm going to Soldier Field with Markakis for the Bears draft party (it'll be round 2).  Then Saturday is a softball tournament down in Joliet.

For our trip to the Dominican (have I mentioned we're going to the Dominican Republic for a week?), I'm investigating getting a Sling Box. You hook one of these bad boys up to your DVR and to the internet and you can watch YOUR television on your iPad or computer from anywhere in the world in which you have internet access. Seems pretty awesome.   We're not going to be watching it all the time of course, but if we want a break from the sun or before we go to bed, it'll be nice to watch some shows we have saved or were just recorded.

If I want to do that though, I have to buy it and set it up Sunday, Monday or Tuesday!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

From bad to worse?

Went to see my cervical spine doctor today. Actually he's not MY doctor, but he's "A" doctor to whom I was referred by my orthopedic guy. This doctor, for being a spine surgeon, was much less impressive than my orthopedic guy. Anyway, after waiting for almost an hour, I was finally called in to see the assistant or whatever their right hand person is called. She seemed very dour, not the usual up beat folks I usually see. She didn't seem very positive about anything related to me and my disc, for instance saying it's not bulging, it's herniated. Seems worse and it is.

Think of a hard boiled egg. If you take the shell off and squeeze the egg a bit, that's a bulging disc. If you squeeze it too much and a little yolk comes out, that's a herniated disc. Sounds much worse to me. Anyway, the treatment is either continue doing what I'm doing as long as there isn't a lot of pain and hope the body absorbs some of the fluid around the disc and the herniation dries up and retreats. Or have surgery.

Surgery sounds bad, but it's a 90 minute, outpatient procedure. Not sure what the recovery is like though.  It was somewhat unsettling that the resident went to "surgery" pretty quickly.  For now though I'm just going to keep going to physical therapy and strengthen the necessary muscles and such. If however, the pain returns or my triceps doesn't gain strength, then surgery may be needed to prevent anything from becoming permanent.

That's where the neck stands. Is it worse? Well, it was feeling better before my visit!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012


It was a very cold weekend in Chicago, especially if you're playing softball or going to a baseball game. That's mostly what I did this weekend. Friday, LL and I went to Joliet to see her folks and to play in a cash softball tournament. Our team was one of eight invited to play at no charge with the chance to win $1,000.  We won our first game got to the championship game, but lost. No money. Boo. The worst part though was the temperature. It was in the upper 30's, low 40's with a gale blowing. That made it really, really cold! In fact, I had to break out Mr. Heater from my tailgates to help keep people warm. What made it worse was that I didn't even get to play! Long story short, there were 17 guys for 12 spots. It's really, really cold when you're not playing. 

Saturday, which was supposed to bring another tournament in Joliet, instead found us in Waukegan. The Joliet tournament didn't have enough teams, so north we went. Waukegan's about 75 minutes away or so for me, but closer to two hours for many guys on the team from the south burbs. The cold reigned again, but with the sun, it felt (and probably was) slightly warmer....not much though. In our first game, in which I only pinch hit, we lost on a two out, two run home run in the bottom of the last inning. Ugh. I did play in the next game, but only got two at bats as we were slaughtered by a team from Wisconsin who plays two levels above us (it was a crazy tournament). Anyway, it was another cold day and I was happy to come home to my lovely wife who had made a great dinner (baked chicken, sugar snap peas and a spinach with bacon salad). 

After the Blackhawks won in overtime on Saturday night/Sunday morning, Andy (aka Sausage) texted me an invite to the Cubs game Sunday with him, Blind Mender and Benny Baseball. Sounded fun so I said I would go. Benny and Mender bailed in the morning though so we scrambled to find replacements. LL was going to a birthday party, but we found JC and we just had an empty seat next to us. Actually there were several empty seats around us because it was still so damn cold, especially in the shade with the wind blowing. After the game, I came home and took a nice hot Jacuzzi bath. Actually the first bath I drew was tepid, so I went out to check the hot water heaters (yes, the building has two). One of the pilot lights had blown out, so we were only getting half the normal hot water. Once it was lit though, and after a trip to Starbucks for some coffee, I drew a much hotter bath. Good stuff. The chill has finally left my body!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Flo is created

So what has Joe been doing and why hasn't he been posting? Excellent question. It's my bi-monthly visit from my personal version of "Aunt Flo" called ESDNM. Actually, while he does make me tired, ornery and I'm usually bloated (from eating) after he leaves, there doesn't seem to be a hormonal change or a migraine. Pretty similar though huh?

This particular trip included an 8:00 a.m. breakfast meeting with a lawyer where we discussed ESOPs and their potential tax benefits. Yeahhhhh, that's not a great topic first thing in the morning....or even later in the day. We powered through though and went directly to a client meeting afterwards before going into the office for group work.

Tuesday night was the Blackhawks game, so LL and I got together with Markakis, Sausage and Skweres in a nearby bar where we had celebrated while the Hawks won the Stanley Cup a few years back. The game went into overtime and they ended up losing. They lost tonight as well, also in overtime (only the second time in NHL history that the first four games of a playoff series have gone into overtime). So our good vibe didn't help them win as planned.

Fortunately the next day was a late start (10:30) downtown, so I slept in. After two client meetings with a lunch at a previous clients' establishment, it was the end of the day....almost. ESDNM's daughter, A in A (see link to her blog on this page), happened to be in town from Amsterdam for work, so we went to dinner at Sapori. Once again they treated us wonderfully there not only in service with a smile, but a free glass of moscato for everyone and two free desserts. Fantastic. When we left I couldn't be more full and we had leftovers that made a whole other meal!!

Here we are in our "room" at Sapori. This is a great little area in which we like to sit if there's more than just the two of us as it is very conducive to conversation with few distractions and low noise level. Only maybe 6 other people can sit in the room, so normally I'm the loudest person (see Sunday's post).

Catching A in A with her wine glass and oh so much food. See the big bowl to her left? That was a big part of our dinner tonight! Oh, so was the rest of that bottle of wine. Ha!

So that's what's been keeping me busy and Flo's trip ended with a trip to the airport during rush hour this morning. It was an hour and a half there and back, but other than being tired, it wasn't awful. I was hoping that I would be able to get a nap in later in the day, but that never happened as I started to get caught up with everything else I've missed over the last few days.

This is a birthday gift from Joisey Ken! It's a huge Bears flag with my name on it. To give you some sense of scale, that's a sofa it is laying on! Awesome. Now I need to find a telescoping pole and I'm all set for the Bears games this fall. The schedule is out already and I'm thinking the can go 9-7 or 10-6. They play three times on Monday night, once on Sunday night and everyone plays once on Thursday night. Should be great fun!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Promise

Sorry for the lack of posts the last few nights! The reasons why are basically: Hawks, work and drinking....all mixed up together. Tomorrow, posts!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Who has a loud voice??

The weekend kicked off with Friday the 13th, but it was anything but ominous. We went to a new restaurant called Cooper's, which is really a bar that serves food. I discovered it while leaving after my MRI when I smelled heavenly barbecue. Apparently they've been in business for some time, like a decade, and despite being relatively close to our house, we've never been there or even really noticed it. They have a sampling platter called a mini-cooper that has shredded pork on a panini, barbecue brisket on a bun and half a slab of ribs. Pretty good food, but their ribs were drier than I like and not "fall off the bone". After dinner we watched Descendants, the George Clooney movie. It wasn't bad.

Oh, did I mention my MRI? Yeah, I had an MRI last week and the results came back saying that I have a bulging disc in my neck. The bulge is pinching the nerve and causing my issues. So in two weeks I go to a cervical spine expert who will help me decide the treatment method. Could be just keep with physical therapy or it could be a steroid shot, at least that are the most likely options. The third option we don't really want to talk about.

Saturday was a busy day getting stuff done that culminated with a visit to my softball buddy John's condo for fondue with him and his wife and 7 month old baby as well as another couple (Jack, with whom I play softball, and his girlfriend Leah). But there was also a Hawks game on at 9, which ended up not meshing well with the baby's need for sleep. Or maybe more accurately, my loud cheering didn't mesh well. Lots of good wine was consumed and much fondue was eaten. Finally though, we had to leave because the baby was unable to sleep (plus it was late), so the four of us went to a bar around the corner to finish watching the game. It was an exciting game that ended in overtime with a Blackhawks win! Obviously I was excited, along with many others in the bar, about the outcome, but the bartender made specific mention to me to "keep it down" when I went outside so as to not disturb the neighbors. Am I really that loud??

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bears visit

Yesterday was the first of 6 Season Ticket Holder Advisory Group meetings at Halas Hall in Lake Forest. It's a trip up there for me, so with the meeting at 5:45, I left at 4:15. Unfortunately, the Cubs game started early and so was ending early too. Literally I got in the car, turned on the radio and there were two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Dang. Anyone leaving early would be in their car already and people would soon be swarming the streets. I had to get out of dodge in a hurry. So I took a circuitous route that took me south and west instead of north and west, for a little bit, but avoided the Wrigley Field traffic. Now for rush hour.

It was pretty hairy fighting through rush hour traffic up 94 to get as far as I had to go, but I did it and I was even early. Figured I'd use the time to hang out at Halas Hall and see if I could see anyone famous. Why not right? So I drove up Field Drive and came upon a security guard at a gate that raises and lowers. He checked my name on a list and told me where to park and then how to get inside from I did.

Here's what I saw just outside the building:

Cool. I've never been to Halas Hall as they don't hold many events there and it is restricted access.

Inside the building there were a few of these groups on display, but I only took a picture of one. My bad. I'll get the others next time.

Also inside, greeting us, was the Chairman of the Board, George McCaskey (whom I had met once before). In fact, he and the President/CEO, Ted Phillips, sat with us for about a half an hour just answering whatever questions we wanted to ask.

We, in this context, was 10 veteran and 10 rookie season ticket holders. Veteran means they were there last year. They've decided that being in the group is a two year commitment with 10 people rotating out and 10 new people each year. I think it's a good system for getting feedback from a diverse, fresh group.

It was really fun to talk Bears with other die-hard fans. There was a good mix of people from various parts of the stadium, both men and women, with kids and without. Good job by the Bears for looking for their fans' feedback. We discussed the team's marketing slogan (has been "One city, one team") and a bunch of things related to tickets and the services the ticket folks provide. It was fun, but it went for about 3 hours, though they did include a sandwich dinner.

At the end, out in the main entry room, was George McCaskey. Still there waiting to say goodbye to each of us and thank us for participating. THAT'S a great statement to make. Nice job Bears.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Nothing's easy

The whole weekend had another interesting story developing. Joisey Ken, his wife Dawn and daughter, were going on a cruise from NY to the Bahamas with Ken's relatives. The cruise was to leave on Sunday and on Saturday Ken went to check in online, only to find out they needed a birth certificate with a raised seal. Unfortunately, they didn't even have a birth certificate! After she was born, Dawn got sick and Ken was working on rehabbing two homes and they just forgot about the certificate. Doh!

So they ran down to the department of vital records, but on a Saturday you can imagine how little progress they made. As they ran through their options, they settled on one person going on the cruise on Sunday and the other would take Stella back the records facility on Monday and get the certificate. Then on Tuesday, they would fly to Florida and meet the cruise there. Which parent would stay and which would go?? They decided to draw from a deck of cards with high card winning. Ken drew first and drew a 5. Guess who was staying? That's right, Dawn. She drew a 4!!

Ken spoke with the cruise company and at first they wouldn't let them join a cruise mid trip. Later though, they said they could, but it would be a $350 fine per person. Add that onto the cost of a last minute flight to Florida in the spring, and they were going to be out $1,500 easily. Still, it beats two of them not going at all! So Ken got on board on Sunday and Dawn and Stella joined on Tuesday without event. Now they are sunning themselves in the Bahamas, happy with their decision I'm sure!!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Easter Dinners

On Easter, we, like many married couples, had a busy day. It was a 7 a.m. wake-up so I could get to mass by 7:45 and LL could drive down to Joliet for service with her parents at 9:30. Then I drove down to meet them at her parents' house for lunch/dinner. Lots of good food and even an Easter basket! LL's mom is very nice and asked LL what kind of candy I liked and even put a shirt in my basket. Very nice and thoughtful! The shirt was to replace more candy and sweets as LL knows I'm mindful of my weight and try not to eat too many sweets.

Afterwards we drove to Naperville to my folks' place to see my relatives. They were just finishing eating and there was still plenty of fun to be had. Foremost, they were short one plastic egg from the egg hunt. My mom was POSITIVE she had 31 eggs and they were only able to find 29 of them. So LL and I hit the yard, but came up empty. Then my sisters and bros-in-law came out to search some more. One brother-in-law found another egg, but that was it. We searched and searched. Nothing. After another mom led auction of small gifts (always fun) and some more food and dessert, it was time to go. LL had to head back to Joliet to get our dog and I was just going to head home and meet her there later. In the garage though, on the way to the car, LL was walking past the garbage can and said, "did you count this one"? Yeah, it was a plastic egg that someone had opened and then tossed into the garbage!! Ugh!!! At least the mystery was solved.

That's it for today. I'll tell you the Joisey Ken story tomorrow.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Happy Easter Everyone!!

First off, happy Easter to everyone! I hope you had a great weekend culminating it a fantastic Sunday. This weekend is the most important celebration of the year to Christians. Friday was a particularly special day for those of us who attend St. Alphonsus Church here in Chicago. While the steeple is being repaired, the cross at the top of the steeple was also being re-laid with copper. Our Pastor, in his infinite wisdom, brought the cross into the church for our veneration of the cross ceremony on Good Friday. Here are a few pictures of the massive cross:

The cross itself has to be 12' high at least.

You may notice in this picture that there is a piece of copper protruding towards the camera extending from the cross. Because of the size of the cross, they couldn't safely put it right up against the kneeling area, so they were able to secure it further back and put this piece of copper extending towards those venerating the cross which would allow them to "touch" the cross, even if it's by association sort of. But that was really just for older, younger and shorter people. I was able to actually touch the cross AND a relic that was hanging around the cross: a small piece of the cross on which Jesus was crucified. Like many relics, there's probably some faith involved with whether this piece was from the original or not, but still pretty cool. I touched both just in case.

Before Friday mass at 7:30, we stopped in next door for dinner. They have an all you can eat fish fry for $12, but look at the size of the fish!! Yes, that's one piece and it's about a foot long or so....maybe more. Obviously it some kind of processed fish, though it was still flaky like regular fish so I don't know what it was. Tasty though and that's all that mattered!

Tomorrow: Easter dinner(s) and the tale of Joisey Ken.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Well THAT was disappointing.

Today was the Cubs home opener and my buddy, Blind Mender, who used to work at a radio station, was supposed to get me and several other guys free tickets to a rooftop to watch the game. Watching from a rooftop in April is infinitely better than going to the game itself because while you can still see the game, if you choose to remove yourself from the elements, you can! Plus you get free food and drinks as the tickets to rooftops are like $150 a piece or something crazy. Anyway, BM (which more appropriately stands for "Bowel Movement" here) came up empty on the tickets. The worst part to me is that he texted me three times in the morning and at no point did he write anything like "oh, BTW, I wasn't able to get us tickets." Crap!! So we spent the afternoon at a bar, Bernie's, which wasn't bad as I was able to catch with with a softball buddy who isn't playing with us this year, JC. We did meet up with Benny Baseball and some others who didn't believe BM and got their own tickets. It was a bit chilly, but it still would have been fun to get inside the stadium.

The Cubs blew the game in the 8th after their started went 7 2/3rds innings when Kerry Wood relieved and proceeded to walk three batters including the tying run. The next reliever gave up the lead with a double and a bloop single. The Cubs had a one out triple in the bottom of the ninth, but the next guy up swung at the first pitch and grounded a ball to the third basemen who threw it home to get the runner. A classic Cubs loss. I knew we were in trouble when a team that managed just 71 wins last year, only had two people starting this year that weren't on the team last year. Not good.

BTW, I'm not sure if I've mentioned that Benny Baseball is back among the boys, playing softball and going out and such. He went through a tough patch last fall, which I think I wrote about on more than one occasion. When we were in St. Louis for softball though he paid me money he owed me for Bears tickets from last year and fundraising efforts from the Super Bowl. Good stuff! He seems to be happy and going out with folks again, so I'm happy for him!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

What happened to my posts??

No,they weren't lost. They weren't created! Why though? Well, Monday LL and I went to dinner at our favorite sushi place around the corner and had a few glasses of wine since it's a byob. As you know, alcohol does not have a positive influence on my blogging.

Tuesday was LL's father's birthday, so we drove out to the burbs to celebrate with him at his restaurant of choice (Weber Grill). Good fun, but a hike back to town and a tiring day.

Speaking of LL, she has made it official and is changing jobs! She currently works for a healthcare consulting firm in the suburbs which can be anywhere from an hour to 90 minutes or more commute. Her new firm, the American College of Surgeons, is down on Michigan Avenue and is a quick bus ride from our home. So from a commuting standpoint, she'll come out way ahead. It seems her work will be more interesting as she'll be starting up an area for infants that is currently being done only for adults (that's about all I really know about it).

Changing jobs is a good thing for LL as her current manager is...let's say suspect. After a year's worth of feedback along the lines of "You're doing a great job" and "We couldn't hold this event without you" and "I love that I don't have to worry about your project getting done", her feedback in the review was "meets expectations", which at this company is really "below expectations". LL was VERY unhappy as she had been going in looking for more responsibility and a raise! It's management 101; there should be no surprises in an annual or more frequent review. So naturally I was pretty pissed off as I HATE to see bad management. Now I wasn't the best manager early on in my career (I was managing people at 25), but I worked on it and got much better by the time I left the conventional workforce.

Anyway, so changes are afoot. My pinched nerve is still a problem and I will be scheduling an MRI over the next week. It didn't stop me from running today, 3 miles in 32 minutes. Not bad, but a little more effort than it was a month ago. There's work to do!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

How about a little Shakespeare?

Friday was my mom's 75th birthday and we went out to the 'ville to take my folks out to dinner. We went out to Rosebud, which is a nice place with good food, but probably a little too loud for us in the least during dinner hours. It was still fun and much good food was eaten, but the noise makes it a little tougher for those with softer voices or not great hearing. My dad loves the eggplant Parmesan and my mom enjoyed her veal marsala. Of course, I forgot to take pictures. Doh!

Saturday was an interesting day. Two of the baristas at my Starbucks were in a Shakespeare play called Pericles. The play has five acts and each act was being done by a different theater group! Pretty cool. They could interpret their act anyway they wanted and the actors differed obviously in each act. The first act used little half masks and interesting lighting. The second group used only dance, no words! The third group was the "unrehearsed acting group" who performed like they did in Shakespearean days: where they would often be doing so many plays, sometimes 10 in a two week span, they used scrolls as prompters for their lines and really didn't know what the other actors were going to do. Back in the day, with that many performances of different plays, they often didn't have time to rehearse. Pretty fun. The other two groups were more conventional but good as as well and I even found myself really getting into the play. The theater, The Den Theater on Milwaukee, only seats about 30 people and the 2 p.m. matinee was not full, so we were able to sit front and center. Good stuff. I had to move my legs a few times for fear of the actors hitting them!! Plus they sold beer and I justified drinking in the middle of the day as "supporting a good cause".

We came home after the play and had a FaceTime call with Joisey Ken and his daughter Stella, who is celebrating a birthday today! LL had sent a gift using Amazon's expedited service and it arrived yesterday before her card, which I mailed during the week. It was fun to see them and chat with them on the phone, though Stella mostly yelled "thank you" into the phone. Ha!

After the call we warmed up leftovers from Friday's dinner and watched the Blackhawks in a great game against the Nashville Predators. The games all have playoff implications now, so they are even more exciting to watch. The Hawks went up 4-0 in the second and LL commented that it was great to blow them out like they did to us just last week. We joked that she jinxed them. Boom, Preds goal. Boom, another Preds goal. 4-2 now. Then another Preds goal and it was 4-3 now in the third. A Preds power play and another goal to tie it at 4-4!! Oh no! LL was saved by a timely Hawks goal and the game ended 5-4. Whew!

This morning we went to church for Palm Sunday and today I made my first palm leaf crosses ever!! You're never too old to learn. I did have the assistance of this youtube video though and what sounds like a youngster. That's ok, at least he teaches well!