Thursday, January 31, 2013


First, happy birthday to my wonderful wife LL! Love you!!

I've never been an early adopter of technology. There's no 3-D TV in the house. For the longest time I only had a cell phone for emergencies. There's still a VCR hooked up to our TV. They stopped supporting the model of receiver I use. You get the picture. Having an Iphone though has moved me down the "adopter" timeline. Because of my comfort with the phone and online transactions and such, I've changed my banking habits to...well, the recent decade at least as far as everyone else is concerned. Paying bills online, sending checks online and now...depositing checks through my phone. Yep, just like the commercials. Someone mentioned it to me the other day when I said I had a bunch of checks to deposit but hadn't made it to the bank yet. So I downloaded my bank's app and registered. All I had to do was enter the amount of the check, take a picture of the front and back and click "deposit". Not too shabby. The irony is that I had already gone to the bank and the bank's ATM rejected two of the checks as unreadable. Those two checks were the ones I deposited via my phone. Worked like a charm!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

A woman's touch

After doing my part for getting the baby's room done, LL sunk her teeth into it on Sunday. She washed and hung/folded a bunch of baby clothes and made a trip to Target to get some decorative storage items.

Looks pretty sweet! Nice job LL! These storage squares are not only functional, but decorative. One of them also hides a large eye screw and hanging wire. The screw is embedded into the wall and a stud, while the wire is threaded through a hole I drilled through one of the boards as well as the screw. It's solidly anchored now!

And here's the bird themed crib blanket and bedding. Very pretty.

Part of the reason for getting the baby's room done at this point is that LL's birthday is later this week. It was my gift to her. Success!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Super Saturday

You asked for them, you got them! Pictures of the baby's room!! Okay, you didn't really ask for them, although I guess at least one person did. Plus my parents want to see them I bet. LL had a chick day where she and a friend went out for mani-pedi's, had dinner at a swank (Michelin rated!) place in the burbs, and took in a movie, so after making us breakfast, I had the day to work on the baby's room. The task involved cleaning out the room, putting down and trimming the rug pad, putting down the rug, assembling the crib, assembling the chair, assembling the shelf and then moving it all into place. That's a day let me tell you. The Hawks were playing at 6, so I wanted to be done by then, but that didn't happen, so I DVR'd the game and started watching around 7 or so.

On to the pictures!

First, the before. Actually, this isn't totally the first before since we had already moved a cabinet and bed downstairs and had done some painting.

The radiator turned out really good. Very happy with the color. Just another before picture though.

And here's the finished closet shelf that I did the other week. I promised to post a picture of it.

And here's the finished product! The chair was refinished (from blue) and will serve as a nursing/sleeping chair. I slept in it for two weeks after shoulder surgery, so you know it's comfortable. Reupholstering it was not cheap, but cheaper than a new chair.

The shelving unit and crib which I assembled. Doesn't seem like much, but tons of pieces and annoying allen wrenches for each. Thank you Ikea.

The crib from the door. The rug is 8x10 and covers a crap load of space!!

LL's parents had painted this monstrosity a month or so ago and I did some finishing touches. It used to be completely dark brown with brass handles. Much more feminine now!

So to reward myself for a good day's work, I broiled a porterhouse with a blue cheese crust on top and made myself a whiskey and ginger ale with which to watch the Hawks game. A very relaxing evening at the end of the day.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Diet update

As you know I was trying out a gluten free diet (of sorts) since the beginning of the year.  Not much has happened in the way of weight loss though as I've come to the conclusion that I don't really eat too much in the way of gluten (though I was having PB&J for lunch most days) and that my real issue seems to be: 1) need to get back to cardio workouts 2) need to stop snacking while MAKING dinner and 3) just need to eat less in general. My weight has been the same and I mean REALLY the same, to the tenth of a pound (!) for about two weeks. So I'm going to work on the cardio side of things and see what happens.

A dusting of snow hit Chicago today along the lakefront, but nothing major. Tuesday it's supposed to be 55 degrees, so whatever is around then will be gone! Since I had PT yesterday and tomorrow, I was going to just hang out at home today. Ricardo called though and said he had a free ticket to a conference that was going on out by the airport and wanted to know if I wanted to join him. With the cold and little bit of snow going on, it was easy to say no, but the a few of the sessions seemed interesting and talked about the market into which we often sell. So I sucked it up, shaved, changed into worky clothes (dress pants/shirt/jacket) and made the trip. Ricardo and I arrived almost simultaneously so it was great timing to start things off. Lunch was first and was followed by a guy with some interesting info, but he just read the slides. Ugh. That was a tester as far as staying awake. Next up was a panel that discussed forecasts for 2013 and beyond. The consensus was that as long as unemployment is above 6.5% and inflation is in check, the Fed is going to keep interest rates at historical lows and that should be the case until 2015 at least. Interesting stuff.

The last panel was going to be followed by networking time, presentation of companies that are for sale, dinner and the keynote, all of which happened between 3 and 8.  Ricardo and I decided that 3 hours was good enough and bailed to beat traffic. Mission accomplished! It was good to hangout with Ricardo again (we used to work together every day) and we concluded that we need to do that more often.

Radiator painting takes place Friday morning and then I'll be putting together furniture for the baby's room over the weekend. Pictures to follow!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cold, cold, cold!

If the sky above you is clear tonight, check out Jupiter and how close it is to the moon. Should be cool.  (Okay, I was supposed to post this yesterday. Hopefully it will still be close!)

No progress on the baby's room this weekend as we're still waiting for the radiators to get painted. Granted, we just picked up the right spray paint on Saturday morning, so hopefully this week that gets done and we can put together furniture. The spray painting could get messy, so we don't want to assemble too much just in case. No pictures yet, but they are sure to come.

The cold weather has landed in Chicago! Bitter, bitter cold with a high of 10 degrees means I'm staying inside without feeling guilty.

On MLK Day, LL and I took in a matinee, Zero Dark Thirty, and got some sushi at our favorite place, realizing that they would be slow due to it being Monday and cold.  When it's slow, we get to talk to the owners more who are pretty nice people. There were only two other tables being occupied while we were there, so we were right. It was tasty and fun!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Busy, busy week

Wow, I've really fallen behind in the writing. This week I was using most of my spare time to work on the baby's room. There were four primary tasks: get spray paint for the radiator, paint and install handles on the chest, build a shelf and clothes rack in the closet and then finish the dresser with some acrylic to make the paint a little more durable or show less wear.

Most of the projects have gone well, though they all took more time than I thought. As it turns out, I don't need to use high temperature paint on the radiator as they don't get hot enough to make it necessary. That revelation, from two Sherwin Williams dealerships and the internet, made the search for spray paint a bit easier. We are hesitant to put together the rest of the room before getting the radiator spray painted due to the potential mess.

Since we have a bunch of baby clothes already, we're focusing on how to store them all. The big 9 drawer chest will hold the bulk, but there's still more to hang up, so we figured we'd add a hanging rod a little more than half way up the closet and then I put a shelf on top of the brackets. Since baby clothes are so small, we can easily hang twice the clothes now.

Thursday night we had batting practice for our new team out in the burbs in a training facility, so LL asked me to pick up a shelving unit from my nemesis store: IKEA. I make no bones about it: I don't like IKEA products because they are cheaply made and difficult to put together. Yeah, maybe you can save some bucks, but I'd rather have a solid piece of furniture that will last decades than something that won't last til the end of THIS decade. Anyway, this piece will look good in the room and do the job at the same time.

If you haven't been to IKEA, they have everything on display and then you go to another area of the store to actually pick it up. LL did her research and gave me the aisle and bin numbers to pick up the shelving unit, so I only got a little lost. When I arrived at the aisle and bin, the unit was in two boxes and they were huge.....and heavy. Doh! After a lengthy checkout process due to someone a few people ahead of me having problems with their bank, I took the unit out to the car. My Camry fits a lot of stuff, especially when you fold down the seats, but this was going to be trouble. After struggling with them for a while, in the cold, I managed to get them in car. It was a snug ride home.

LL is doing well, though we have to keep an eye on her blood pressure which has crept up a few days over the last two weeks. She's at 32 weeks on Sunday and we had a good ultrasound today. The baby is about 4.5 lbs which would translate to about 8 lbs at birth, though there can be a lot of variables. The big thing is to keep LL's blood pressure down, so we'll work on that over the next few weeks. Maybe getting the baby's room done will help!

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Last Tuesday we went to our second baby class at the hospital. This class is the first of three and discussed labor, pre-labor, giving birth, etc. for two and a half hours. Wow. It was....a....lot. As with any trip to the hospital, especially this year, there's a risk of getting sick. Getting sick I did, sort of. Wednesday night I had the shivers and Thursday morning my nose was running something fierce. As I braced for what was clearly the flu, something strange happened. I didn't get any more sick. By that evening, though a little tired, I had no symptoms, except for some heartburn. The next day, after sleeping pretty well, I was pretty good again, except still for some heartburn. Really, after the shivers and the runny nose, I was only a bit tired and had heartburn. Sweet! I did indeed have the flu shot a couple of months ago and if this is what happens if you catch the flu after getting a flu shot, everyone should get one!! Actually, you definitely should anyway as it has been shown to reduce your chance of having a heart attack.

The heart burn seemed like an odd symptom to attribute to the flu though right? Is that a normal thing? Though it's easy to find a bunch of stuff on the web about the stomach flu and heartburn, I didn't really see anything that linked the flu to heartburn or a heartburn-like feeling. It got me to wondering: could the heartburn be from something else?  What if the heartburn was from the stress of the birthing class on Tuesday. Was it a coincidence that the symptoms showed up when they did?  Correlation or causation?  Normally I wouldn't have linked the two, but I remembered the scene at our wedding reception when I couldn't eat the great food that we had picked out because nerves/anxiety/stress took over in anticipation of me singing to LL (as a surprise). If I got that messed up over a song that I had sung a hundred times, how might my body react to having a baby as we get closer and closer to the due date?  Could heartburn result? I'm thinking that's reasonable. We'll see. Another class on Tuesday!

Thursday, January 10, 2013


I went to bed last night and was relatively quickly hit with some shivers. Though I was fully covered and the room was running somewhere in the 70's (along with a humidifier), the shivers didn't stop until I put more clothes on. At the time, I thought it was just cold air from a small window being open in another room.  Alas, it was really me fighting something off.

So this morning rolled around and my nose was running...pretty much from the time I got up until I got coffee later...even in the shower!! With the flu going around, my first thought was that I was getting the flu which has been crushing local area hospitals. But if it is, at least so far, then my flu shot a few months ago maybe is helping to fight off the worst of it. Not sure. Today I'm a little tired, nose stopped running, appetite is good, drinking lots of liquids. It's not too bad. Wouldn't mind a nap, though that's pretty standard.  Just to be safe, I cancelled my physical therapy appointment for this afternoon, just so I wouldn't have to go outside for that long and then go through all that work.

Yesterday, while shopping for my no salt added black beans at Whole Foods, I decided to see what kind of gluten free snacks they carry. The first thing that grabbed my eyes were yogurt covered pretzels! Obviously the pretzels were made out of something other than wheat, but boy did they look delicious. Then there were just the regular gluten free pretzels. And finally, at least for me, popcorn. But not just ANY popcorn. Noooooo, bags of Chicago Mix popcorn: caramel corn and cheese corn mixed. Yum. These guys, G. H. Cretors, make several kinds actually. It seemed to compare very favorably to some of the better known popcorn places in Chicago like Garrett's. Cretors was $2 for 6.5 ounces, or $.31 an ounce. WELL worth it. Garrett's, sold online in 1 gallon containers (the smallest size at least) is $.33 per ounce (with shipping), so it's not a bad deal either. Just had to share this find with you! Delicious!

Monday, January 07, 2013

Alien life

Is there alien life forms out there? Carl Sagan posited that the numbers imply it's inevitable. In one of my two college astronomy courses, we went through the best numbers available at the time and they indicated that not only is life of SOME sort out there, but there is intelligent life out there somewhere.  The professor also noted that there is virtually NO CHANCE that we would ever come in contact with them as the sun will expand and swallow all the planets out to Mars before mutual contact is likely to be established.

So with that knowledge I read today that the current estimate is that there are 17 billion earth sized planets in OUR galaxy. 17 billion! I don't remember how many we thought there were 25 years ago in class as there were a lot of 10 to the nth powers being thrown around.  I think we were talking about 10% of suns having an earth sized planet and this revised figure indicates the number is closer to 17%.  Regardless, that's a pretty big number of planets the size of earth in just our galaxy. There are estimated to be 125 billion galaxies in the universe (don't get me started on theories of how many universes there are).  So math says there are 2.125 trillion planets the size of earth (given the assumption that other galaxies are similar to ours in size and relative density of earth sized planets.

So is there life out there? Yes. Is it like ours? Maybe. Will we establish contact with them? Well, it seems a bit more likely knowing there are likely 17 billion earth sized planets relatively nearby.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Baby Steps

It was a pretty busy weekend, but most of it took place on Sunday. I'm finding that LL and I will put off until the last "comfortable" minute pretty much anything we can. We won't wait until the LAST minute, just the last minute where as long as things go right, we'll finish in time. So Saturday we met up with our friend Anu and her brother and his friend at The Bongo Room again.  LL hasn't had many cravings at all, but the one she has had is pancakes so we satiated that craving for a bit I hope. After that, we generally didn't do much. In our defense, we were supposed to go over to Smitty's house for their annual 3 Kings celebration, but Smitty was getting over the flu so we were going to meet out. With the prospect of a "real party" off the table, Ricardo, who had been getting over the flu himself and is currently on the wagon until St. Patrick's Day, opted out. Then Bill the Bear's wife, Nadine, hurt her back so they couldn't make it. Party postponed. So as I said, I hit the gym and managed to strain a muscle in my upper back, the very muscles I was trying to work out and strengthen. Ugh.

Oh, Thursday I went to my first "dry needling" appointment. Some softball buddies of mine have done this to help stimulate muscles that have become dormant due to herniated discs.  My first session was fine, but not much progress. We'll see what happens in the follow up sessions.

Sunday, while I was at church, LL took down the Christmas tree decorations. We put a bag on it and I took it to the recycling center over by Wrigley Field. Very smooth and easy. I followed up that trip with starting to cook two racks of ribs. Yum!! They ended up being one of the best batches I've ever made. Awesome.

And finally, we solicited the help of my neighbor, Henning, to move our guest bed and some furniture downstairs to clear out the baby's room. We're at 30 weeks now....only 10 weeks left. LL goes back to work tomorrow and we had two weeks to move all of this stuff downstairs, but waited until today. The last comfortable minute of her vacation.

Speaking of her vacation, it's been awesome hanging out with LL everyday. Can't wait for retirement!!

Friday, January 04, 2013

Change that calendar!

Not much for the weekend posting, so I'll leave you with some pictures.

Our Christmas tree in the night! I post this because we are taking it down on Sunday. :-(  The Feast of the Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, is the traditional day when we take it down. So January 6th is the day! Though we may take it down on Saturday as we have to get the baby's room ready as well this weekend and there's only so much time!!

Here's one of our many Christmas gifts: another calendar of our wedding pictures! I love to look through these every month. It was an awesome event and the pictures of it bring back great memories.

We like them so much in fact, that we got two!! Now we have one upstairs and one downstairs. Yay us!! In this collage of pictures, our driver for the week, Jaime, is in the middle. Coincidentally, he texted us a very personalized happy new year's message which led to a nice text conversation. Hopefully we'll see him in again in the next 18 months. We'd like to take a trip back to Puerto Rico, maybe in the spring next year.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Years!!!

Well, I hope my readers had a great holiday break!! Relaxing has been the order of the day for the last week or so here at the Sutton household. Maybe we have one thing scheduled here or there during the day, but for the most part we've been laying low. It's great!! Real vacation like. LL is off all this week too, so we have.....nothing planned! Yay!!!

Last year, if you recall, I went 8-2 on NYE and New Year's Day college bowl games and won the coveted Sutton/Bailey Bowl Game Chalice pictured below. This year, LL started out a strong 4-0 on NYE, but I was within striking distance at 2-2 along with LL's sister. Her brother-in-law was a dismal 1-3 and finished at 1-9. Ugh. As the games went on, two games made the difference: South Carolina/Michigan and Wisconsin/Stanford.  While I picked the winners in both games, we play like we're in Vegas and you need to beat the point spread. South Carolina could have kicked an extra point and tied the spread at 6, but they went for a two point conversion instead and missed, handing me the loss. Then Stanford won 20-14, but were favored by 6 1/2 points so they didn't cover. Ugh. So LL went 7-3, her sister 6-4, me 5-5 and BiL went 1-9.  LL won the chalice!!

So I didn't retain the chalice, but it stays in the house at least.

We had a pretty tame NYE. We went to our favorite sushi place again and brought LL's friend  Erin along. Erin and I drank a bottle of champagne, while LL had some sparkling juice of some kind. Very low key and safe. Am I getting old??

Going forward, I'm looking to try a gluten free diet (though I may just do a reduced gluten diet) and see if I can lose 15 pounds over the next few months. We'll see how it goes. No beer (but wine and whiskey....I think), no pasta and cutting out the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at lunch. Lots of good protein, dairy, veggies and fruits. Should be healthy!!