Thursday, August 30, 2012

I'm just a terrible person I think.

I can't believe I haven't blogged since Monday. I'm such a slacker. Monday was our one year anniversary, then Tuesday was my fantasy football draft and then Wednesday a client gave me great tickets to the Cubs game. And that's the fun stuff not the work stuff!! The work stuff has been very busy too, so there hasn't been much time to even READ blogs. Softball this weekend in Rockford! A 33 team tournament. Should be a blast. Happy Labor Day weekend everyone!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Joisey Ken Visit

So many things to write about from this trip...there's no way I can fit it all in. Here are some pictures and a video (!) though just so I have SOME of the memories recorded.
This particular picture has special meaning, not only because LL is in it with me, but because it's the bagel sandwich place that Ken and I discovered on the way to his lake house back in '07 or '08. It's still there and has moved across the  parking lot to a bigger location. When we pulled up (it's only sort of on the way as we have to take a slight detour off the highway and then make our way back to the highway) there was a for sale sign in front of the building! Fortunately I missed that sign and saw this one, otherwise I may have had a slight heart attack. Their bagels are delicious and I get them with egg, cheese and Taylor ham. Just wonderful

Pretty much all we did all weekend was eat and drink around some golf and some boating. This meal was prepared by Dawn, Ken's fantastic wife,  and was chicken fajitas with corn salad. Very tasty. Don't mind the beer cosy on my choices were Yankees or Vikings.

Over the weekend I also cooked ribs and we had crepes for breakfast twice which I also served up. I was just trying to earn my keep!!

Look at how close this family of deer gets! They know the Joisey Ken family, with 3 1/2 year old Stella, means bread for munching. The doe leads the way and comes within a few feet of the stairs while the fawns lay back a little. Nature up close!

 Look at where the doe is! That's insane! Stella was very happy to "toss" bread to her. Stella doesn't have the greatest arm though and much of the bread only went a foot or two. Ken plays catch with her and says "Don't throw like momma!" which I find hysterical.

Dawn, LL and Stella out in the water of Lake Wallenpaupack. It was a pretty nice day for being out in the lake and doing some tubing.

On the way down to the lake the first morning, LL and I were stopped in our tracks by this sight! We had to walk right past where he was standing. Not gonna happen. There was a second buck to the left in the picture, but because of the sun position, I couldn't tell if he was in frame or not. Guess not!

Ahhhh, the great fire from the last night there on Saturday. Sigh......

Ok, this picture is fuzzy, but bear with me. We were making s'mores, but without the graham cracker. What you do is get the jumbo marshmallows, not the ones that say "jumbo" but the ones that are REALLY jumbo like 2-3 of the normal jumbo. Toast as normal but then slide off the exterior shell in one piece! Then you can add some chocolate pieces into the marshmallow shell and boy is it tasty. You can re-toast the marshmallow again, but the same trick is hard to least without getting pretty messy!

And no trip to the lake house would be complete without fireworks. Turns out you can BUY fireworks in PA, but you have to sign something saying you are going to ANOTHER state to light them off. No shit, I'm not making this stuff up. How could I?  I'm not creative enough to make up something that stupid. It works in our favor though!  Thanks for a great, long weekend Ken and Dawn (and Stella!).

I"m back!

Pictures to follow later today!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Off to see Joisey Ken

 So all you get is pictures today.

Here's the Bears flag that Ken bought me. It looks awesome!!

My finger all bandaged up. It doesn't look too bad now, but I still have a band-aid on it just to make sure it doesn't catch on anything and tear.

From the last STHAG meeting (Season Ticket Holder Advisory Group). Part of the meeting was a tour of the facilities at Soldier Field (normally we meet at Halas Hall). This is the locker room of course.

The schedule down to the minute for the Denver game.

Fairly non-descript signage.

New this year: a solid metal Bears logo on the wall next to the exit to the field. The players all touch it on their way out. Very college-like.  It was actually DONATED by a metal fabricator. The Bears wouldn't let them put their name up though. A little odd......

Lovie's office....... about as plain as it gets. Normally, he's not here very long. They spend all their time at Halas Hall.

Chris the video guy. I told him if he made me look bad on video, I'd skewer him on the web. Haven't seen anything yet though.

Charity golf outing at the country club in my home town. Never got to play there as a kid.

Menacing clouds behind the old clock. We got a little rain, but you wouldn't believe how green the course was despite our drought this year. Lush.

Bears pregame with all the tailgaters. Good fun!  Benny Baseball made his first appearance of the year (next to Carm wearing #23). Blind Mender is on the left with Pam next to him. It was her first football game.

The ladies, LL and Pam, wanted crepes when we got home (around midnight) so chef Sutton obliged and made them some. Good eating anytime!!

Signing the waiver so I could be on TV. Won $130 bones!!! Nice.

Monday, August 20, 2012

How did I forget?

Moments before our guests were to arrive on Friday for game night, I was cleaning out some things from the refrigerator to make room for the new food and drinks we bought for the evening. In doing so, I pulled out a bottle of wine with about a half a glass left in it which I saved from the prior week. We have an air suction thingy that keeps the wine pretty fresh for a day or two, but not over a week by any means. So I took out the air plug and then started to take off the wine collar which I left on for the first time in memory.  But it was stuck. Now, wine collars don't really get stuck per se. Sometimes they are hard to get off, but not stuck. This one was actually STUCK though. It just wouldn't budge. Until it did...which I wasn't prepared for I guess and somehow the fingernail on my middle finger got rammed into something solid or sharp or whatever and ripped a nice big "J" shape down and through my email to the side. Ugh!! Did you just wince a little?  Yeah, everyone has done something like this. I bandaged it up, with LL's help, and went on with the evening. The next day we took off the bandage and examined it. It looked like the nail could be partially saved, preventing the exposure of the soft, soft tissue underneath the nail. So we bandaged it again and waited for Sunday to look further at it as we had to get ready for the Bears game (tailgating started at 3 for the 7:00 game). Sunday morning it looked like we could really save the nail, so LL went out and got some Superglue and I spread it on the break a couple of times to try and keep it on there for a while. We'll see what happens.

But it wasn't all pain and suffering this weekend. We had a friend of LL's staying with us, Pam, which is an inside joke because her name is Anupam and she goes by Anu and hates being called Pam. Well Pam is living in Carbondale currently (very far away) and has never been to a Bears game. Fortunately the guys who sit next to me, The Punkes, weren't going to be at the game and they offered me a few of their tickets which I gladly accepted. So Pam got to experience tailgating and a game! Good fun.

About halfway through the tailgate, a small group of people with microphones and a camera came by the tailgate and asked if I wanted a chance to win some money. Sure!! After finding a relatively quiet area in which to film the segment, the game was on. Turns out they are part of a new local show on one of our sports channels called "GasMoney" in which they ask you 3 questions and you get $10, then another $20 and finally play for another $100 ($130 in total) if you answer them right. Guess who got them all right? Yep! Though I did have some help from the people around (turns out you will draw a relatively large crowd if you start giving away money on television). All three questions were Bears questions and I knew the first two pretty quickly. For the third question he asked me to name one of the pro-bowl offensive linemen from the 1985 Bears, which I did quickly so he asked me to name two, which is where I got help from the crowd.  Hopefully the video will be posted soon and I'll post a link!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Still so busy

The crazy fun week has been pretty great. To recap: Cubs game, Bears advisory group meeting, pizza night, game night and the Bears game. Tomorrow is a charity golf outing in Naperville and then Wednesday we head to see Joisey Ken, so the busy-ness continues!!

While I've been so busy I've lost focus on some of the details of day-to-day living. For instance, last week in the midst of all the traveling and such, LL was going to work and our front door knob came off in her hands! How crazy is that?  Solving that problem, which is what husbands do, involved going to Home Depot, buying a new (and better) handle and deadbolt and getting someone to install it (because even if I DID have time, I wouldn't have done a good job)...enter MLM.

Then at Bill the Bear's wedding, which I missed the ceremony by the way due to traffic, I became VERY drunk and was telling Bill's ex-boss how "memorable the day would be for Bill" if she just walked up to him and kicked him in the nuts. Yeah, I said it....several times. At the time, it was freaking hysterical (if you were drunk). If you weren't, then not so much. Despite that portion of the evening it was a fun time!

We had game night on Friday in which we had two friends from my Morningstar days and two of LL's friends come over and drink, eat appetizers and pizza and play games. The games of choice were Celebrity Taboo (from like 1993 or something so think of answers like Karl Malden and Raquel Welch) and Catchphrase which was actually very fun. You basically have to get your partner(s) to say the catchphrase before the buzzer goes off. It's good fun, but some of the catchphrases (like "Drop the Chalupa") were questionable as real phrases.

Many pictures to post.....maybe I'll have them by Tuesday!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Busyness update

No, I'm not whining or complaining about all the fun things going on this week and next, but it is hectic! Last night was the Cubs game and LL and I went out to enjoy the crowd and the Cracker Jack.  Actually, we didn't buy any Cracker Jack, but we do love it! Naw, we ate at a bar that had recently changed ownership and was renamed.  Another bar, Johnny O'Hagans, was closed for renovations as it was purchased by a bar consortium.  I'm wondering if the turnover in bars has anything to do with the declining attendance at Wrigley Field due to the terrible product being put on the field?  LL and I invoked our own "slaughter rule" and left in the 7th inning when the Astros went up 10-0.  Double digit lead means we go home. It was sort of funny as the Astros player hit a home run to make it 10-0 and LL and I jumped up and said to our neighbors "We're out of here!".
"Just like that?" they said.
"Yep. They reached the slaughter rule. No reason to stay."
They just laughed. Living so close to the field makes it much easier to come and go and feel like it's not a crazy special night so we have to stay. Plus we have tickets to 8 games this year, which is a fair amount of bad baseball.

Tonight LL gets a bit of break, but I'm off to the Season Ticket Holder Advisory Group meeting for the Bears down at Soldier Field instead of Halas Hall. Should be an interesting evening. Here's the discussion topics for tonight:

  • Coming to the Game Communication
  • Parking – Ingress and Egress
  • Tailgating
  • Stadium Ingress (new security procedures)
  • In-Game Stadium Experience
  • Staff Performance
  • UnBEARable Behavior
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Gameday Entertainment

  • Interesting stuff. We'll see how it goes.

    In addition to everything else, we've invited a friend of LL's up from Carbondale, IL to spend Friday and Saturday and go to the game with us on Saturday night (she's never been). Plus we're getting a ticket for Benny Baseball's ex-girlfriend, who went with me to the first pre-season game. Benny has my other tickets for that game and that could prove to be a bit awkward, but I'm hoping everyone is an adult and has fun.  Hopefully that's not too much to ask!! The breakup was tough, but it was several years ago and she, Female Courtney (we call her that because we have a guy friend who we call Courtney), was dating a softball acquaintance of both Benny and me for at least 2 years before recently breaking up, so it should be fine. Sounds sort of like a soap opera!!

    Sunday, August 12, 2012

    Busyness coming to an end?

    Sunday afternoon has finally arrived and while I still have cleaning up to do from the tailgate and all over the last few days, the crazy schedule has calmed down a bit....or has it?

    First, I got to Rockford Saturday morning and we played and won our first game on schedule. Our next game wasn't for 2 hours, so I took a lunch break at McDonald's, which becomes a common lunch for me during tournaments because they are almost always within 5 minutes of the fields. It's not great, but the yogurt and granola is pretty good along with iced coffee.  Add in a power bar of some sort and it's not a bad lunch. Anyway, I headed back to the fields around 12:15 or so for our 1:00 game as sometimes the games can start 30 minutes early if there is a game stopped due to the run rule (one team is up by too many runs).  The game before ours though was just getting started! Then the  game went into extra innings and not just one, but 5! Finally around 1:45, the other field opened up and they started our game over there. It was against a team we play pretty often called Fury. They won their first game 23-0 and it was stopped after 3 innings. The team they beat were then getting 15-2 in their next game (the one before ours) before they kicked it into gear and the last I saw, it was 22-22 in the 12th.

    Anyway, we ended up beating Fury 20-9, but it was 3:30 by the time the game ended. Bill the Bear's wedding was at 5, and it was close to 2 hours away according to Google Maps. Along the way, there were two accidents which caused me to be even later. However, had I stopped to think about it, I probably could have played one more game, missed the happy hour and then arrived in time for dinner. But if there weren't accidents, I could have actually made the ceremony as the trip wasn't 2 hours. Oh well. The reception was great and we had a great time. The softball team ended up losing the game after I left, won the next one and then lost again in the finals to take 2nd. The one team beat us both times.

    My crazy schedule does not end though. Tuesday I have a Cubs game, Wednesday is another Bears season ticket holder meeting, Thursday is our monthly pizza night, Friday is game night with some friends and Saturday is the next Bears preseason game. Wow. Next Monday is a charity golf outing and then on Wednesday we head to Jersey to hook up with Joisey Ken for four days. Crazy busy August!!

    Friday, August 10, 2012

    Alive and Kicking

    I am alive and feeling better. Unfortunately, I'm really just going from one thing to the next throughout the day and haven't had time to write. After I finish this short update, I'm off to golf with Bill the Bear then I come home and pack for the weekend. Tomorrow is softball at 9 in Rockford (probably 2 games before I have to leave) then the wedding ceremony and reception. Sunday is finally a break as the tournament is only one day, which I'm unhappy about because I have to miss the last 3-4 games. Crap.

    Despite the rain last night, we had fun tailgating. LL didn't go so I brought my friend, female Courtney, who was a hit with the guys. Blind Mender showed up as well and his friend Liz 2 (apparently there was more than one Liz in his life at one point so he dubbed her Liz 2). We weren't able to park next to the guys we normally park next to and my buddy Doug is going to find out why before the season starts. He knows the parking lot attendant who ushered my car to a different area of the lot, even though he normally lets me go join Doug for a combined tailgate. This puts a damper on the tailgating experience: more people is always more fun.

    Tuesday, August 07, 2012

    The end of an era

    Last night I was able to sleep without the aid of Nyquil, which is always key when trying to recover from a cold. Unfortunately LL was stricken down now and had to take today off of work. She woke up at 7 to call in and then went back to bed and slept until noon! She's doing and sounding better this evening. Rest and liquids really do work!

    For me though, it was off to the office. Unfortunately we're closing the office so it was packing day as we boxed everything up, threw stuff out and took stuff home. Tomorrow the movers come to schlep things off to Hillsboro, OR, a hamlet outside of Portland where a sister company of sorts is setting up. It was a kind of a sad day with Ricardo and I ending an era of working together that lasted about 6 years. It was preceded by a few years of weekly meetings and planning for our world domination over coffee though, so it seems like a lot longer. Hopefully we'll work together again.

    So tomorrow is the move, Thursday is the Bears game and Friday is a golf outing with Bill the Bear, a prelude to his wedding on Saturday. Saturday morning is a softball tournament in Rockford, so I'll be there first and then head off to the wedding and reception where LL will meet me and back to Rockford, hopefully, Sunday morning. Busy, busy, busy!!

    Sunday, August 05, 2012

    The battle details

    So Monday or Tuesday of last week I started developing the signs of a cold.  While I was thinking I successfully had fought it off, Friday everything turned on its head. Unfortunately it started while I was at the Bears practice being held at Soldier Field. My friend Laurie had to suffer along with me while my nose refused to stop running all of the sudden. Then it got worse as I wasn't able to really sleep Friday night, which was unfortunate since I had to get up at 5:30 a.m. for a softball tournament in Rockford. 

    We had a reduced team (missing 7 guys by my count) and we were playing up a level in competition, so we lost both games for an early exit. Still, I was 4-6 hitting despite my lack of sleep. It started to catch up with me on the way home though and I ended up spending most of the rest of the day in bed. Saturday night was a little bit better with the help of Nyquil, but Sunday has been tough still. I'm going to try and make it through the day without Dayquil and then probably take Nyquil again tonight so that at least LL will get some sleep. Monday night is my 40 and over tournament, so hopefully I'll be rested enough for that and next weekend is a big tournament as well as Bill the Bear's wedding. Busy, busy, busy!!

    Saturday, August 04, 2012

    Lost the battle

    The cold has won. I feel like crap and sound worse. Ugh.

    Thursday, August 02, 2012

    Joe weighs in on Chick-Fil-A

    I had some different things to write about, but then someone posted the following on FB. Since it is a timely topic of what's going on, I thought I'd add my comments. Sorry if you're offended!  My comments are in red. By the way, I have many, many GLB friends and have lived in a GLB friendly neighborhood for 20 years. But I've been an American for 46 years and I absolutely support our right to free speech and to run a business. Here's the post:

    Nothing highlights privilege and apathy more then (sic) hearing people complain about being overwhelmed by the 
    coverage of the Chick-Fil-A situation and suggesting that people simply not eat there if they don't care for Dan Cathy's views.
    Really?  You can’t think of any analogy that better embodies privilege (which I’m not sure has anything to do with this topic at all) and apathy than this issue?  Me thinks you’re not really trying too hard to come up with examples.

     In 29 states you can be fired for being gay. In 75 countries it is illegal to be gay. In 9 of those countries, being gay is punishable by death.
    Other than the states issue, which you can be fired for any reason at all in Illinois and many states, it’s not the US. Not that we shouldn’t care, but we can’t solve the world’s problems. Women don’t have rights everywhere either.

    Dan Cathy from Chick-Fil-A has donated $5M to two organizations in the US who have been seeking to criminalize same-sex relations.
    Sorry, but there are tons of problematic organizations out there who get money from all sorts of people. It’s a free country. You can't legislate crazy.

    This is money that he has received because of consumers purchasing food from Chick-Fil-A.
    Consumers expressing their RIGHT to buy food where they want. And boy are those sandwiches good.

    This is more than a first amendment issue or a same-sex marriage issue, this is about taking a stand for human rights. Dan Cathy is spending millions of dollars specifically to deny certain humans of their rights, not the other way around. I have yet to hear of any same sex couples donating millions to deny rights to heterosexual couples.
    Are there any anti-heterosexual couple organizations?  Seems like a ridiculous comment. 

    To suggest that both sides are at fault is like saying that a bully and their victim are both to blame.
    Who is saying both sides are at fault? I think the argument is that Dan Cathy has a right to do what he wants with his money, as long as it’s legal. And what a horrible analogy. It gets worse though.

    It's a form of tacit approval for systematic oppression. We didn't tell the Jews to leave Germany or complain that they were "whining" when they were forced into concentration camps and we didn't suggest that African Americans move from the South when they were denied the right to vote, we supported them.
    Umm, what?  Did you really just try to equate the oppression of homosexuals to the oppression of Jews in WWII or slavery??  Yeah, you might want to rethink that discussion just a bit. Homosexuals aren’t being bused to extermination camps or routinely killed in the street.

    So in conclusion, this is personal, because personally, I'd stand up for you if your human rights were being denied. If you don't like hearing about this, then step outside of your privilege and try to understand how it feels to have your human rights questioned.
    Aww, how nice of you to try to make it personal! I doubt that you really would stand up for me personally if my rights were being denied (my gun rights in Chicago are currently being violated by the way, but that’s a separate issue).

    Wednesday, August 01, 2012


    Wow, I'm late with both writing and reading blogs!! Ugh.

    We had Bill the Bear's bachelor party this weekend and we went golfing on Friday and Saturday. Sunday was supposed to be a relaxing day, which it was, and we played a legit game of Risk, the game of world domination. Good fun! I was in good position to win until Ricardo and Markakis joined forces in a truce which meant they only had to fight and protect against two people instead of three. Oddly enough, they would have been eliminated early if they hadn't, but ended up finishing first and second.

    I drove home on Sunday night in order to go golfing again on Monday morning with some softball teammates from the past. Good guys and good fun, despite me playing like crap.

    Here's the group! Blind Mender is on the far left. Yep, he golfed!!

    My swing doesn't look too bad here.

    Unfortunately, Smitty was sick up at the cabin and I've come down with eerily similar symptoms. Ugh. I haven't been sick for almost 2 years and one weekend up there got me sick. Crap. Now I'm just fighting off the cold as best I can. Today though I had Cubs tickets which are too nice to let go to waste, so I went and probably drank too much. Let's hope tomorrow I recover more!!