Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Two years ago today

I looked like this:

Now I'm old and married. :)

And mired in a meltdown of our financial system.

At least I'm still in love.

Happy Anniversary Alex!

Will write more when they let me escape for vacation...

...to these places. :) Click here to read more!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

One more thing

I would be remiss if I didn't post this picture. Even if Chris has terrible taste in hot dogs, at least he's good for a laugh...

Click here to read more!

One of my favorite things about Chicago - Hot Doug's

What a week it has been! I don't write too much about my job here, but wow has it consumed me since I last wrote. All I will say is that I spent the early part of the week annoyed with our government's willingness to save anyone and everyone from financial disaster (or so it seemed) and the end of the week proud to be a taxpayer. The US government made a statement with the AIG deal. It is only going to be a lender of last resort (L+850, secured, + 80% of the business! - woo hoo!) from here on. I hope.

More pride in the USA and lots of work aside, I haven't done that much this week. But Alex and I did decide to treat ourselves, after a stressful week, to a special lunch yesterday. At a special place. Where they make special fries on the weekend. And after which we were especially full.

Directions to happiness; Self-portrait inside the happiest place in Chicago

We went to Hot Doug's, the Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium. Doesn't its full name just sound wonderful?

Walking up to Hot Doug's for the first time, you can't help but notice the impossibly long line. How could anyone wait in a line that long for hot dogs?, you ask. But then you remember my #1 rule for finding wonderful things: if people are willing to wait in an impossibly long line for something, there must be a reason.

(Note: Kathleen's #1 rule for finding wonderful things does not apply to the Social Security Office, the DMV or any other government institution.)

Alex surviving the line, eager for some dogs!

Hot Doug's is owned and operated by Doug Sohn, a culinary school graduate who has made the hot dog and its myriad encased meat friends his life's work. Doug is one of my favorite parts of the Hot Doug's experience. He's friendly. He takes your order. He smiles. He jokes around with you. He collects sausage paraphernalia.

The menu of his fine establishment includes the regulars (hot dog, polish, bratwurst, italian, andouille, thuringer, veggie dogs, chicken sausage, and my personal favorite: the corn dog) and specialty sausages like ribeye steak, Jamaican jerk pork sausage, gyros sausage and the "Game of the week" (this week's was three-chili wild boar sausage with chipotle dijonnaise and cheese-stuffed hot peppers). Most importantly, though, on Fridays and Saturdays the menu includes duck fat fries, in addition to the regular variety.

Yeah, I don't eat so healthy there. Wanna make something of it? :) Alex and I love it. It's our guilty pleasure. My brothers...not so much. But they are dumb. (Sorry guys, you're just wrong on this one.)
Click here to read more!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Presto change-o!

This all happened very fast. It was only 11 days ago that we were sitting in our car in the loop waiting for a tow. I suppose it was the straw that broke the camel's back.

Over the three years we have owned our car, we learned a lot. While it was not the first car we had driven, it was the first car either Alex or I had owned. And it was the first car either of us had driven for any extended period of time in the city.

We learned things like big engines and sport packages sound cool and are fun to play with on suburban streets and highways, but are totally impractical in the city. We learned rear wheel drive cars are just as terrible in the winter as people say they are. We learned that low profile tires are just begging to be flat. We learned that when it snows, no one plows our alley. We learned that normal sized people don't fit in our back seat.

And we thought about all those lessons as we sat in our car in the loop waiting for a tow.

In the days that passed after we got our car back, Alex convinced me it was time to look at new cars... er, new used cars? (It was one of those things that came up early in our relationship - mutual distaste for buying new cars.) It was time to look for another car. He's right; I couldn't handle another winter with our car.

Today is m
y mom's birthday. (Happy Birthday Mom!) Since we had planned to start scoping out cars today, we decided to meet up with my mom for breakfast before heading to Schaumburg to see what we liked. It was a fact finding mission. No checkbooks were brought. No title or extra keys to our car made the journey.

And yet somehow we came home in a different car than we started with. :)

Bye, bye car. We will miss you.
Click here to read more!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I've joined the ranks

My brothers are younger than me, quite a bit younger in fact (8.5 and 11.5 yrs). People often ask whether my brothers see me as a sister or as a mother. I like to respond that they see me as a little of both. A nice, even, 50/50 split. I'm a mother-sister, but not the creepy/weird kind.

The older generation/mother part of the equation was highlighted a couple years ago when I innocently asked my brothers if I should join facebook. Not only was I discouraged, I was told that I was too old and that if I joined, I would be a creepy old person lurking among the younger, cooler kids.

Yikes! It's one of my life's goals to never be creepy-and-old. I mean, old is unavoidable. I'll do my best, though, to keep creepy in combination with old out of my dossier. Actually, you know what? I just don't ever want to be creepy. Creepy-and-young or creepy-and-middle-aged can go right along with creepy-and-old in the there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-I box.

So I didn't join. I stayed away. And then a friend withheld pictures. I love pictures. How would I remember what I have done if I didn't take pictures? He told me he would only post the pictures I wanted to see on facebook. Join or else.

And I did. I took the plunge. Young and cool kids of the world look out! I'm on facebook!

And true to half-mother/half-sister form, half of my brothers agreed to be my friend (because I'm his sister) and the other half ignored my request (because he doesn't want me all up in his business. or maybe because I say things like "he doesn't want me all up in his business." because it would be like having your mom as your friend on facebook.).

Whatever. Mom, if you want to join facebook, I will be your friend. :)
Click here to read more!


We made it home at 1am last night, five hours after we set out to leave.

In all, it was a miserable night, from which we will take away no lessons and for which we will be no stronger (Kanye, my friend, it seems that those things that don't kill us don't always make us stronger).

Really unhappy

It turns out we were right to not leave our car with faulty-tow-truck-guy. By the time the second driver came to save us, the first guy had gone rogue. No telling whether he would have delivered our car to the dealership or taken it home with him for funsies.

Fortunately, though, Alex is a good broken-down-car-buddy. Our marriage survived and we didn't even try to kill each other. :) And we did have a dinner together that I'm certain we will not soon forget. Even if we want to.

Extremely unhappy

PS - Blogging was extremely therapeutic. Thanks for listening.
Click here to read more!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Four long hours with no end in sight

So after waiting 2.5 hours for a tow truck, we finally saw one coming toward us. It was even ours! Hooray!

Only apparently they thought it would be a good idea to send the kind of tow truck that tries to rip bumpers off of small cars like ours. We disagreed.

All was not lost, though. Our driver did leave us with some warm fuzzies about our educations. Without them, we too would be driving crappy tow trucks that don't pivot correctly and instead try to rip the bumpers off of small cars.

So we got that going for us, which is nice.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, the answer is yes, I did wake up at 5am today to work out.
Click here to read more!

Three hours and counting

For those of you who care, we're still enjoying some quality one-on-one time in Chicago's loop. Click here to read more!

Romantic dinner with my husband

Alex and I just finished a lovely dinner, very romantic. We had a picnic right by Chicago's Millenium Park. (beautiful) We chatted and lingered over each bite to make the dinner last as long as possible. (very sweet) We dined on tasty Mexican food. (ok) From Chipotle. (um) We ate standing and used the trunk of our car as a makeshift table. (gross!) A few homeless people checked in to see how we were doing. (nice?)

Yeah, Alex picked me up tonight to go to dinner. The price of gas being what it is and Alex being a big time conservationist ;) Alex turned the car off. And then it wouldn't start.

We called for help. Even though we said that we would likely need a tow truck (the car wasn't even making noise when we tried to start it), they
sent someone to jump start the car. So we waited about an hour to be told we were right and that a tow truck would be here in 70 minutes.

We just hit two hours of waiting.

Hope you've all had better nights than this. :)
Click here to read more!