Friday, December 4, 2009

just for the sake of saying i wrote today...

i'm so, so grateful for...

  1. friends. book club friends. library friends. roberta. peggy. carolyn. nans. my little sister cyndi. nancy k. irene. so many more. how did i ever manage to deserve such collegial bounty?
  2. my job. the opportunities it presents. books. programs. trips. people. i live my dream each day of the week. and i get paid for it.
  3. my husband. my high school sweetheart. his love. his support and help. the fact that at 6 a.m. he got up and shovelled the drive and then came in and cleaned our bathroom. i'm such a slob and he's my absolute perfecto polar opposite. but he always says "we make a great team." i love you D.
  4. coming home tonight after a wintry wonderful bus trip day to a quiet house, a glass of pinot (or three) white cheddar popcorn and a good book (wideacre - philippa gregory's first novel - cheezy, but i'm in my "free read" zone)
  5. looking forward to my annual holiday book club luncheon tomorrow - amazingly wonderful women who are SO MUCH fun to be with. i. simply. can't. wait.
  6. writing. because when you do it, you can do it however you want. simple, or complex.
  7. thinking each day that, although i don't always write, it's there waiting for me for when i allow the time.
  8. seeing the pabst mansion for the very first time and feeling alive with inspiration at what surrounded me.
  9. my antique shop steals - two shiver my spine pictures that hid away in wait, only for me to find them.
  10. the fact that my friends won't let my granola dream die, no matter how much i push it off. thank you.

my slightly wine-soaked head's headed for the sofa. my favorite christmas quilt. a pillow to rest my head. those cheezy "fa la la la la lifetime" christmas movies. and quiet. peace in my life. rest. and getting ready for tomorrow when i celebrate with friends. friends in books. what better friends could there be.

tomorrow is st. nicholas eve. get your list ready:)



Friday, November 20, 2009

right here, right now is the only place i wanna be...

i'm awed by those moments in life where the universe expresses to me that right now, right here, i'm exactly where i'm meant to be and doing what i'm meant to do. without a doubt, just me here, right now, living this life. this whole week, the last few in fact, have been a succession of just such days. i'm at such peace with this right now and i'm ever so grateful for the realization. grateful for so very much these days. but today, especially grateful for this.

"that is happiness; to be dissolved into something that is completely great."
willa cather

-t. taken with love by me, setting courtesy of the mighty one
lakewood forest preserve on a frosty fall morning

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

pancakes as promised...

to accompany this post, i wish i had a nice picture of the steamy good stack of pancakes i stirred up yesterday morning. sadly those babies are gone, except for a single two stack serving which i'll lovingly serve to the huz this morning for breakfast. i know i'm really talking it up big about these pancakes, but they're worth every word of praise. when it comes to my cooking, there's a few things i'll really crow about - my way with conjuring up soups you'd steal for, of course my granola:), my fricking ridiculous giardelli bliss bars and last, but certainly not least, my pancakes. they're my ultimate comfort food. every time i eat them i say right out loud to whoever's listening, "i make the best pancakes. i love my pancakes."

now i know there are those dishes where, when prepared, you're the star of the show in your kitchen - admit it! there are just some things you create that deserve a standing ovation. give yourself the applause you deserve and the next time you bless your loved ones with the gift of enjoying the fruit of your culinary labors, say it out loud - DAMN I'M GOOD. THIS IS BEST_______I'VE EVER HAD! YOU ALL ARE LUCKY TO BE EATING THIS RIGHT NOW, WOULDN'T YOU AGREE??? never mind the silly look they give, you know you're the cat's ass of your kitchen domain. goes, my recipe for healthy, delicious, satisfying, stick with you, honestly good for you pancakes. my own recipe, made by altering, adding to, subtracting from other recipes i've found over time. at the end i've added additional ideas for making these little love cakes even more healthy, more good for you.

terri's good-for-you whole wheat pancakes

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup non-fat milk (i use plain soy milk, but dairy is fine too)
1/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 T. sugar (use a T - what looks to you like half is half)
1 t. vanilla
1 egg white
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
chopped apples, pears, blueberries, strawberries - whatever you have on hand
cheese slices - cheddar, jack, or what have you

blend all ingredients together in a medium size bowl (by hand, don't use a mixer). brush a pancake griddle, skillet, or whatever pan you use for pancake with a little olive oil. pour batter onto griddle - each pancake is a scant 1/4 of batter. as soon as you pour the batter out, sprinkle your fruit onto each pancake. flip when ready. now get ready, here's the secret - between each two pancake stack, insert a hearty slice of cheese. sharp or regular cheddar works best, don't use american cheese - yuk! one serving equals two pancakes with your cheese tucked between the two. top cakes off with BONAFIDE maple syrup (life's too short to eat the fake stuff, i don't care how nice mrs. butterworth is)

healthy heart version (which i made yesterday) to recipe add 1/4 cup quick oats and 2 T oat bran. spill a little more milk into the recipe - about 1/4 cup. what a boost and SOOO good for your heart.

note - you can top your cakes with the cheese slice right after you've flipped the cakes. these little gems go really well with the chicken/apple/maple breakfast links that whole foods sells in their fresh meat department. YUM!! i've typed this out so fast this morning, so if i haven't made things clear to you please post your questions and i'll answer them. or call me at the library:) speaking of the library, i've gotta get my butt in gear! time to get ready for my day...whip up today's breakfasts and lunches (i've had brown rice cooking away as i write - i love adding a half cup to my salad, a big nutrition punch), kiss the huz out the door, head out for my walk in the woods, then home to get ready for work.

wishing you a wondrous wednesday
and happy stacks of pancakes...


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"a casa in natura..."

most mornings these past few weeks (say 6 out of 7)
i've been skipping the gym and hitting the trails
of the forest preserve that's right in my back yard.
for me it's church, sanctuary,
connection with He who is far larger than me.

this morning i parked the car, grabbed my camera,
took a deep breath and felt a smile warm up my face.
in the field off to the right of the path, an enormous
gaggle of geese were hanging out, snacking on felled
soybeans left by the recent swoosh of a thresher.
i put on my long lost ten year old self and like a crazy
person ran through the field chasing up the geese.
boy did they give me a telling off, honking in shouts
for me to get off their turf.
they honked, i laughed, and i like to think
that we all had a spot of fun together
on the dawn of this blessed blue grey autumn day.

i never worry about walking on my own
because i know that wherever i go, i'm not alone.

the wind rustling through the now bare trees,
dried grasses and rushes plays a symphony
for me of movement, music, sight, sound.

here i find peace, prayer, creativity.
i hear my voice and the voice of my maker.
this is my heaven right here on earth where
i'm humbled, blessed, listened to and loved.
ever changing, always alive,
just waiting for me to step on the path.

in gratitude and love,

p.s. coming tomorrow (and i promise) my recipe for the best pancakes on the planet
which i enjoyed following my walk in wonder this morning. happy day to you today:)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"she is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain..."

i'm babying my gym-sore muscles and keeping to my kitchen on this fog-blind rainy morning. it's my favorite sort of stay at home day - a rainy, grey, tuck yourself inside sort of day. i'm only home for the morning though. i'll be working a noon to niner because tonight i have book club. my favorite, no contest FAVORITE part of my job at the library. and this morning, in addition to finishing up the book we'll be discussing tonight - Shutter Island by Dennis LaHane (must use caps properly when referring to books and authors) - i'm working on our 2010 reading lists. i've got my titles narrowed down. rounding the bend to having it all wrapped up.

selecting titles for my two reading clubs is a task i'm uber serious about, hashing, rehashing, erasing, adding, scribbling notes on genre, place, characters, timing. and although so much work goes into it, this is a honest labor of love. crazy love. i'm certifiably nuts over books. always have been. the day i learned to read is pretty much paramount (to me, a bibiophile) to the day i took my first breath. i find life in books. stories. call me a bonafide book geek, cuz they're my number one hobby.

so as i finish up this process of honoring my "book club endorsement" to 22 titles that my 2 books clubs will pour through in the upcoming year, i do so with a big smile. a strong feeling of contentment and gratitude. for this grey morning (which if i were a better writer, i'd have a really cool metaphorical description of). my lists (something else i'm passionate about as a fervent reader - reading lists - and mine are the BEST in my humble opinion). a candle burning. a big fat mug of hot coffee. the cat lying next to me. and the thought of all those months ahead...sharing the joy of the story and of all the places we'll go together, my book club friends and i, on the wings of a book.

love from my kitchen on a tuesday morning,
"read, read, read."
william faulkner

Sunday, October 18, 2009

tuesday, october 27th...

i've been so frustrated with myself lately regarding my writing. through the course of a day there are so many things that inspire me to write, but for some reason those thoughts have a tough time making their way from my brain to the keyboard. i get all inspired, log on to blogger, start writing and then just sit and...well, just sit. not much more.

but today is different. i want to get this down quick, it's early in the morning. busy time for me, and for most everyone else too. getting the healthy lunch packed, cats fed, pouring coffee down my throat, getting my butt to the gym before the work day (sure fire stress buster-i'm back in the zone after a long hiatus). but today i wanted to make sure to get this one story down. this one thought.

yesterday while going through my morning paces (mentioned above) my brain was doing it's best to try to talk me out of going to the gym. i'm so glad i didn't listen. got to the gym, stowed away my bag, plugged into my ipod and got busy on the treadmill. as i was warming up i noticed larry, an old fella who's at the gym most every morning. health wise, larry's had some pretty close calls over the past couple of years. he keeps up with his exercise though. he and his wife. when i don't see him there for more than a few days in a row i get concerned that everything's okay with him.

this summer though, i haven't seen larry much. i've opted for outdoor exercise in the morning...walks in the woods, riding my bike, running, so i've been kind of scarce at the y. i'm back on track though and as usual, as i was climbing up on the treadmill yesterday i noticed larry, and of course i gave a wave and a smile. i didn't think too much of our exchange after that, just huffed and puffed my way through the first course of my workout. after 20 minutes i switched machines, again doing my best to talk myself through a few miles of running (without the benefit of a sunrise, the smell of the woods, the beauty all around me).

it was beauty of a different nature that took me by surprise as i made my way into mile two. as i saw larry approaching i disengaged my earplugs for a quick "hi larry, how're you today? it's good to see you!" this was his response back to me..."terri, i want you to know how much it means to me when you say hello to me every morning. it really makes my day. your bright smile, your energy...well, it really makes a difference to me in the morning. your friendliness and positive outlook really mean a lot to me and i wanted you to know that."

i'm not trying to engage my audience in loud applause, not writing this to give myself a hearty pat on the back. i will say though that i am a pretty positive person. almost annoyingly so. the reason i share this story is because i think it's important to remind ourselves of the affect we have on others without paying notice. it's funny how we don't even realize how a kind, heartfelt "hi, how are you" can be a real difference maker in someone's life, how our attitude - positive or otherwise might affect another. and furthermore, how infinitely important it is to pay mind to the fact that "an old fella at the gym" isn't just an old fella, but another heart, another soul to connect to if only with a simple smile and hello.

today is particularly significant with respect to what i'm speaking of. there was another instance, another person who touched my life in just such a way. a library patron with an enormous heart, a beautiful spirit, who really made a difference in my day whenever i saw her at the library. she always took the time to say hello, how are you doing my dear, how's your dad, your family, how's that grandson doing? through these casual exchanges we became friends - an unlikely friendship, her being in her seventies and me on the fun side of forty. in the course of our friendship, "my miss nancy bebarski" helped me through a very difficult time in my life.

my miss nancy moved away a couple of years ago. before she left we met for breakfast. one last time enjoying the company of one another. it was so hard to say goodbye that morning. actually, i don't think we even said it. we just hugged. a long hug. as i walked to my car i felt the tears come on, and before i drove off i sat and had a good cry. i think she did too. her car didn't leave the parking lot any quicker than mine did. we both knew that would be the last time we'd see each other.

my miss nancy bebarski is an angel in heaven now. i'll be attending her visitation later today, seeing her for the final time and wishing so much that i could hear her voice again, but feeling so blessed that i can still hear it in my mind. and i'll say to her, miss nancy? i just want you to know how much it meant to me to see you in the library. you always made my day. your beautiful smile. your gentle, caring way. your confidence in me. you really meant a lot to me, and i just wanted you to know that.

a lady. at my library. a relationship that began with a casual greeting but developing into so much more. you never know the impact your presence can make in the life of someone else. thank you larry. thanks miss nancy. you've "made" so many of my days.


Monday, October 12, 2009

turning corners, changing directions...

isn't this pic the coolest? i love it. it was taken on lake pepin in stockholm wisconsin on a recent visit. huz and i visited the most beautiful place i think i've ever seen. honestly, we both agreed that maui had nothing on this little hidden gem of a hamlet up in the mississippi river just a breath south of minnesota. we hit the road to escape the stress of a most uncertain reality, both in our personal, and also our professional lives. we needed to connect. with ourselves. with each other. since our visit, i feel myself coming back to life a bit. huz has a new direction on his life map - a new job, which he is very excited over. me too. we needed this. a new place. new faces. new opportunities and a new point of interest on the map that is our lives. this has been the happiest, scariest, sometimes saddest, most misunderstood summer of our married life. but we made it. us two. and now? we're feeling pretty good together. so excited for each other. huz with his new job (yay god - thanks to his blessings, and of course to good friends for pointing us toward new directions) me with my kick ass library job and my new granola gig. life's pretty good if you just give it a chance, you know?

this summer we've experienced some very trying times. but with a true and honest love, a firm foundation and blessings from above, we're sure to make it through. when i look at my husband, i see the future. and from where i stand, it looks pretty good. like the beach. at sunset. through the eyes of a child. innocence. trusting love. what more is there to life, when it all comes down to it? being there for each other. the way we promised to be, oh so long sickness and in health, in good times and in bad. you know the verse. and it's through the test of time that those words come to mean so much more...the promise of a lifetime.
wifely words of wisdom (and learning and growing each day)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


from my life as i knew it. seems like from my own self these days. just not there. somewhere else. wishing i could get back. not knowing which way out from what's keeping me from being "happy, sun-shiney" me. read this here friends, this is no call for sympathy or concern. i'm just weathering times right now that test the will, the strength, the ability to move forward and leave what's done behind me. we've all had times such as this, and i know i've said that before. here. and we all get through eventually, don't we? but despite that, it doesn't make a rough road much smoother, does it?

i've missed writing, but i've been kind of hiding out. keeping away, not sharing words that might give clue to the feelings i just can't express right now. i'm hopeful. always, i'm that. if there's one thing about me, it's that terminal positivity which makes me, well me i guess. it's there, somewhere. but right now i'm just doing. doing my best to recognize and give thanks for the blessings that come with each day. trying to see my way ahead of the uncertainty that lies before me. trying to convince myself that i can trust, believe, "move forward."

i'm writing tonight by request. someone i love very much has missed my words, and for that i'm touched and so grateful. hang in there with me, okay? it's just a time, like others and certainly not the last. trust. move forward. believe. be at peace. just words? or can i finally believe?

as i sit here and listen to the wind blowing change in all directions outside my window, i'm wondering where it will take me. i wish i could just grab onto a windy coat tail. ride away to destinations unknown. where winter is just another sunny day, no bone chilling days forcing me to stay hidden indoors.
a short story - life being stranger than fiction,

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Paying mind to precious time...

With all that is going on in my life right now, I'm realizing the necessity of minding my time. Prioritizing any given moment. I was saying to my husband this morning that it almost scares me how quickly my little kitchen business is taking off. "Be careful what you wish for, right?" I said to him, and his reply was "that's exactly what I was thinking."

This was as I was pushing yet another batch of banana chocolate chip bread into my oven before dawn. As the banana bread aroma swirled through my house I was busy mixing up a batch of granola. The cool thing about what I'm doing is that it allows me time to think while being creative. My thoughts this morning center on the absolute importance of staying on track, organizing my time properly. An hour sidetracked for me at this point is trouble - be it for one of my book clubs, my kitchen business, or my library job.

One thing I want to be very careful of though, is to make sure that my busy-ness doesn't take me away from what's true in my life - the people that I love. My husband, kids, grandbabies, my parents, and my amazing friends. If it weren't for those people then I wouldn't be who I am. It's with their support and love that I have the gumption to do what I do. And what is it all worth if I become too busy to carve out time to be with those I love?

I remind myself constantly - it doesn't take much, it need not be a big planned out production just to get together with friends and family. Just a quick phone call to say meet me for breakfast, I'm going grocery shopping, what to come with? Let's do lunch - I have an hour. Come for dinner, it won't be anything special but I just want to be with you. That quick phone call quickly manifests into golden minutes, a precious hour or two.

I want to be so careful about this - taking time with the beautiful people I'm blessed with in life. An impromptu dinner with my folks, re-working my Friday schedule so that I can grab a precious half hour with my grandson and get him on the bus, taking an hour lunch and staying a half hour later in the work day so that I can squeeze in lunch with a friend...I don't want to lose sight of how essential these moments are. And I don't want for a second for take for granted that people will just always be there, that there will be "enough time later for that." My friend Mary taught me well there.

Call a friend and say "I love you." A cherished friend did just that last night, those words meant so much. The next time a request for your time is made, eek out a spot. I was talking with yet another friend at work yesterday about the richness of life right now, in this moment. How happy we are with the simple, yet abundant lives we're leading, despite challenges we're both dealing with. And I said to her, you know Kelly, these are the days, just like the Natalie Merchant song. Because they are. Right now. Today. As long as we have today, what more do we need?

"Kiss your life. Accept it. Just as it is. Today. Now.
So that those moments of happiness you're waiting for
don't pass you by."
p.s. In mention of the amazing people in my life, Iwant to thank my beautiful sister, my best friend always in my life. Without her i'm just a bump on a log. Thank you Cyndi - I love you.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lucky me, lucky us...

I am basking in the warmth of my kitchen, the oven giving off the last of it's heat from one more marathon baking session. The aroma of baking bread remains in the air. I couldn't resist stealing a moment to write before the second round of busy-ness takes over my day.

We're off to do the Richmond Farmers' Market this morning, only this time the fruits of my labor and love go on without me. I have to work "the real job" today - the library. My husband, my wonderful husband, is taking my place today. He has his notes - bread made from organic multi grain flour, granola sweetened with honey and fruit juice, all of that. Last night he created and printed labels for my products. This morning as the last loaves were coming out of the oven he was busy tallying up my inventory for today's market. Then, with a packed truck, the camera, a banana, a granola bar and a mug of coffee in tow, he was on his way.

My sister Cyndi (the best sister a gal could ever hope for) will meet Don up at the market. Together they'll wrap breads, arrange my granolas, set up my booth and sell the beautiful fruits of my labor. With my hands, with my heart, I put my love into what I do. And for my husband, my sister, to help me out in such a big way...well, how does one say thank you enough? Just knowing how they believe in me, in what I'm doing, the support they're giving me - there are no words to express my feelings of gratitude.

As my husband was leaving I gave him a hug and a kiss and thanked him for doing this for me. He replied by saying "Thank YOU for doing this!" And as he was backing out of the driving he added, "This is about us." What a huge statement. What a giving man. I wish I could be a mouse in his pocket today - to watch as he and my sister work together on my "wish and a dream."

My husband and I have had quite a summer together - with his unemployment we've spent more time together than ever before in our almost 32 year marriage. It's almost as if we've been reintroduced to each other after all of this time raising kids, taking care of a home, working. And each day we grow closer together, happier each day. This is the definition of a "good marriage." Over coming obstacles, weathering storms, loving without fail (especially when your at your worst), supporting and believing in each other.

I can't believe Don's doing this for me today (for us, actually). This is something that's completely out of his comfort zone. But then again, he's learned lots about himself through all of this, and has challenged himself in new ways. I think he's learned a lot about me too. He knows as I do that when the two of us work together amazing things happen (our family is proof of that!). And we both know that no matter what, we have each other. That's all we've ever needed. That's all it takes...

much love to beautiful sister and "hollywood handsome" huz...
Photo is from a date Don and I went on over the summer.
Out on Lake Michigan on a "full moon" lit night.
One more happy memory in a lifetime full of blessings.

Friday, September 4, 2009

This morning I write with a heart full of the bittersweet. I'm sitting in the sun feeling the gentle rocking of the boat. Every few moments my skin is tickled with cool droplets of water; the spray off the fishing line as my husband makes his casts onto the water. And the sun, warm, but with a cool and comforting breeze blowing by, sending me into a delirious peaceful calm on this gorgeous Friday morning.

This is the blessing. Being here, right now in this moment with my handsome husband. Hearing the birds sing-songing, the crickets buzzing, the bubbly sort of sounds of the water as it laps at the sides of our boat. My heart is overwhelmed by the honest and true blessing of this very moment. This day, which Don and I have promised to spend together. And knowing that in our lives, at any given moment, the tides can swiftly turn.

Such is the case with a family we know well of. A woman, a wondrous soul, who just a few short months ago appeared to us happy, healthy, and involved up to her ears in the life of her family. Constantly giving of herself, of her time, her resources, Mary appeared to me tireless in her efforts to be the ultimate mother, wife, whatever the situation called upon for her to be.

Mary was Team Mom for my son Nick's college lacrosse team. Her accomplishments went far beyond what I could imagine doing: coordinating team dinners, cook outs, team apparel sales,
hosting the entire team and coaching staff for meals, making sure that the boys had snack bags, restaurant meals and all creature comforts as they traveled over seven states competing in their inaugural NCAA lacrosse season. And as if that wasn't enough, she even made sure that our visiting competitors were fed as well!

Mary was the heart and soul of the team - a true Team Mom in every sense of the term. In all the years that I held the same title, I know as God's honest that I couldn't have held a candle to Mary's efforts and accomplishments. This wonderful little blue eyed, strawberry blonde lady was a giving, loving, one-woman power house.

In an email sent from her son to our son Nick, we learned in late July that Mary had been diagnosed with stage IV colon and liver cancer. I last saw her at the celebratory team dinner in May. She was the highest (and to be truthful, only) bidder for a necklace and earring set which I had made and donated to the silent auction fundraiser for the team. She seemed thrilled to have "won" my humble creations - "they're just my color!" she happily exclaimed. She put the necklace on at once and wore it throughout the afternoon.

Seeing her that day. Thanking her for all of her hard work. Leaving her with the words " me if you need help Mary. With anything. We'll be there." I would have never for an instant thought that would be the last time we would ever speak with her.

Yesterday we received word that Mary had passed away. We were stunned. Still are. And as I sit writing we are only just now receiving word of the arrangements being made to honor and remember Mary. The wake will be this evening. We'll be there, along with our son, to remember and celebrate this marvelous life - a life of love and giving, and to offer our condolences to her family. A husband. Two sons. A daughter. Seven weeks. From diagnosis to the end. Gone.

For those of you who know me well, you know that I'm a girl of simple pleasures. One who sees the blessing of a hazy moonlit night (last night. I just had to get up and watch out the window.) The blessing of the wind dancing my tangly hair into knots. Realizing the blessing of looking into the eyes of the people I meet, and reaching even further to see into their heart. For Mary, I don't want to waste a moment, miss a blessing, pass up a chance to drink in the simple abundance of a day. Feeling the breeze. The warmth of the sun. The sound of the water. Having the man I love a short and simple arm's reach away. This is true wealth. Being here. Living, loving, and giving.

God must have had a pretty important job up in the realm of His Heavens to have needed to call such a special angel. God bless you Mary. And thank you for all you have done.

Today. Don't wast a second on ill feelings, regrets, anger, hate, disappointment. Reach out. Love that husband. Kiss your kids. Wrap your arms around yourself and give yourself some love. You have today. Don't let a minute of it pass you by without being grateful.
For. Just. This.

grateful for this present moment...
Later...wrote this post earlier today, but wanted to record it here just as it was written this morning. It's after dinner. Don cooked up his "nothing else can compare" fish fry for Nick and I on this, Nick's last night at home before he returns to school. Words cannot express how good it was to just come home and be together after attending Mary's wake. The visitation was held at a HUGE Catholic Church in Northbrook. The line of those waiting to pay their respects to Mary and her family formed to the back of the church and out the door - more than a hundred at least waiting their turn. It was early, there were still hundreds I'm sure yet to attend. The picture that stands out foremost in my mind is of her husband, now standing alone without his bride by his side. Another, that of her college age son, sitting in the pew, surrounded by his friends, his girlfriend at his side, her hand tightly entwined with his own. I look at my men tonight, my husband, my son. I listen to their voices, their shared conversations. And I am thanking my God that I am here with them, tonight. Not taking a minute of this blessing for granted.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

meet me at the bongo room...

the rainy nighttime breeze blows through my kitchen window
meeting up with the scents of banana, chocolate, cinnamon
tantalizing my senses this end of summer night.
tomorrow is a big day for me.
i'm meeting with a marketing rep
from till creative in the city
to share my dreams.
i don't yet know quite how to describe them
but i can say they involve my kitchen.
my love of cooking, being creative.
my love of entertaining, cooking for people.
my passion for healthy, life sustaining foods.
this is the first item on my list:

1. turn my passion for food and cooking
into something more.

i'm not so sure right now what that something more is.
i had a spot up at the richmond farmers' market last
weekend and fared far better than i had dreamed i would.
i am inspired.
i'm so excited, and nervous at the same time.
i can't wait to sit down with jessica tomorrow
and spill my dreams out to her.

i'll be up in richmond again this weekend. can't wait.
and from now til then i'll be busy in my kitchen.
my absolutely favorite place to be:)

living my life one measuring cup at a time...

title? that's where we'll be meeting, jessie and i.
at the bongo room in bucktown.
home of pancakes so good they make you want to cry.
i'm having the lemon ricotta - i can taste them already!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

to market, to market...

am into hour six of making granola
labels have been designed
packages filled
chocolate, banana, apples, pecans,
walnuts, almonds, blueberries
cinnamon, it's spicy, irresistible scent,
wafting through my kitchen
windows open to an august night
that whispers october
on the boob-tube in my kitchen
kevin bacon dances to footloose
in the oven goes the last batch of granola
for the night...
while a dozen loaves of zucchini bread
wait their for a spot inside my overworked oven
cats snuggled up in a chair in a corner
of the kitchen
tomorrow i take the first steps
toward a number on my list
farmers' market in richmond
and after that, tyler's birthday party
and of course, as tradition rules,
the birthday cake which is my creation
transformers optimus prime
the flat-bed super hero of my little
grandson's heart
timer's ringing
time to stir a batch
of blueberry pecan crumble granola
my own creation
my own dream...
thanks cyndi for participating in "grocery gauntlet"
thanks girls for last night...
julie & julia, dinner at d&j bistro, a waltz through
williams sonoma,
snapshots of a simply perfect evening:)
thanks hubby for disappearing for the weekend
so that i could just be me:)

Monday, August 17, 2009

monday night football, a good book and a grilled cheese sandwich...

geez, i'm pooped tonight. after a LONG day at work going through selection journals (tough job selecting my favorite thing in the world - books, but hey, someone has to do it) D and i took a drive around looking at houses. actually looked at one on bangs lake. big time fizzer upper. went home, assessed blessing we have in house we already have. discussed refinishing the basement. sounded like too much work to me:) then i made grilled cheese, we opened a bottle of two buck chuck red and i've been sunk in my teen read (leaving paradise by simone elkeles) ever since. so, guess i'm saying good night. hope you had a good start to your week. i know i did. now i'm headed off to "smells like teen spirit" teen read. am loving it. i'm working on booking the author for an appearance at our local high school during teen read week in october. can't wait. looking for something good to read? take a step back in time and read for yourself. i bet you'll like it as much as i do. leaving paradise is a VERY good story.

thank god for monday night football. D is busy, engrossed in the game. i'm sneaking off to bed with my book tucked under my arm. happy monday many more hours 'til friday??


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Notes from a REALLY hot kitchen...

Okay, promises, promises. Or did I say "I promise?" My list is in my head. And I've worked this weekend on some of the projects that will go on my list. Hint...I'm up to my neck in granola. Batches are cooling on the counter (cranberry vanilla almond). Batches are in the oven with more lined up on the counter waiting for their opportunity to add to the ungodly temperature in my kitchen right now (blueberry pecan crisp). I've worked hours on my friend K's diet and meal plans...don't want to give any more away. Just wanted to touch base and say "I'm working on it."

How are your plans coming along? Are you making a list? Did you have a good weekend? I know I sure did. More to list is in the making. I promise, really, truly promise, to have it done this week. This is serious stuff though, right? I mean I don't' want to just go and put something "out there" without honestly meaning it.

Enjoying the last remaining hours of the weekend...

Saturday, August 15, 2009


list is "in process."
meant to post it today but am
enjoying a glorious saturday at home with huz.
errands this morning.
fussing around the house all afternoon.
margaritas, quac and chips, cooking out
this evening.
enjoying being with my guy
and the beauty of a perfect
summer day.
air conditioning is NOT on.
am loving the breeze, the buzzing sounds
of cicadas singing songs of summer love.
happy saturday loves...
will post list tomorrow, i think :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

someone i think you should meet...

"there's a moment, like tonight,
a profound and transcendent experience,
the feeling as if a door has opened,
and it's all because of that music,
that magic, incredible music..."

a perfect description of my thursday night.
last night at the library i hosted the final concert
in my summer concert series.
and for a finale', my patrons and i
were treated to a magical performance
by my very, very favorite musicians,
julie and bruce hecksel - patchouli.

their music transcends description,
mere words by this linguistically challenged writer
cannot express the perfection in their performing.
i cannot do them justice by simply saying
magnificent, wonderful, captivating, entertaining.
those words just aren't enough.

i can only describe the music of patchouli in feeling.
the feeling of my heart when it grabs onto
the melody, the soul, the energy
that comes from the listening.
it touches my heart. speaks to my soul,
takes me to a place of happiness and peace,
stirring my emotions such that it brings me to tears.
their music is a gift they share freely
and with so much love.

this music is simple. simply perfect.
julie's voice so smooth and rich.
bruce's guitar playing simply masterful.
i don't think i'll ever hear another guitarist
to compare with bruce. he's simply incredible.
and ifrom the comments i received
following the concert at my library last night,
i know there are many who feel the same as i do.

do yourself a big favor this weekend, the last of a few
in our glorious midwest summer.
visit long grove this sunday - it's arts fest weekend there.
patchouli is playing from 12:30 to 2:30.
sit down. treat yourself to a listen.
and i'll bet you'll discover a new favorite group.

i promise you'll be glad you went.
and when you do, tell them hello
from terri at wauconda library.
happy weekend!

if you can't make it to long grove,
pay bruce and julie a visit at
but as my daughter lindsey said,
"listening to them on cd is one thing,
but it's when you see them perform
that you truly understand just how
awesome they are."

coming tomorrow..."the list"
get yours ready!
boy, do i have my work cut out for me tonight:)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

tea tag wisdom wednesday...

When ego is lost, limit is lost.

Recognize that you are the truth.

Mighty powerful statements found on my Yogi tea tags.

And it's funny how these little messages seem to

pop up at just the right time in my life.

When I most need to hear them.

Most days I find it easy to be upbeat, positive.

Its just my nature. Its who I am.

But other days are like a dark room with no sun.

Like today.

We all have days like this, and can take comfort in knowing

that they can change like a switch in the wind.

By listening to peaceful music.

(gregorian chant is pouring out of my radio as i write)

By connecting with nature, moving the body.

(i'm headed out to the forest preserve as soon as i'm finished here.)

By diving into life and focusing on the positive.

(busy day ahead of me. fun projects. purpose. good people.)

By finding a creative outlet.

(here. writing. sharing. connecting.)

I'm not going to let a blue mood rob me of a potentially joyful day.

I feel much better already:)


photos - the gorgeous sky, taken while on vacation in july

ahead...getting my list ready. will post that list on saturday morning.

apology...blogger and i have spacing issues.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

August weekend...

The past three days in my life have been all about people.
The people that fill my life.
Celebrating professional success with the people
I'm incredibly fortunate to work with.
My writing group...seeing inside ourselves
and finding something new within,
something we'd never imagined we possessed -
the ability, the urge, a fresh voice.
Finding words we never new we had.

My son, his friends, who are like sons to me.
And I am so loving this time with him, what little I seem
to have had, during his break from school this summer.
Unlike his college buddies, he's been the lucky one this summer.
He has a job. And this couldn't mean more under our present circumstances.
Summer days are winding down, and before I know it
I'll be hugging him goodbye as he heads back to school.
A junior in college. Goodness, how time flies.
I've always said, time flies when you have kids. True, no?

Sunday began with a walk through the woods with my husband.
Talking, walking, sharing a classic summer morning.
Hazy sunshine making its way through the tree tops.
Spotting deer around every corner - mamas and babies.
It was honestly the coolest.
And spending the afternoon with my parents, my sister.
Just sitting around the kitchen table,
enjoying a few hours of over the table chit chat, precious time.
I'm so glad for that time well spent.

Stopping by a good farm stand
on the way home from my parents' place.
Drinking in the view, music dancing through my mind...
pieces found on the soundtrack from the movie The Hours
playing on my favorite radio station.
( - classical. the music of my heart.)
I was really caught up in the moment,
thinking about how lucky I am,
how grateful I am to be living my life, a true blessing.
As I came into the house carrying my "fresh from the fields" treasures,
my husband informed me that
we'd be heading over to our daughter's house
for an impromptu Sunday dinner with our kids.

I thought, what a perfect way to end a perfect weekend.
The proverbial icing on the cake.
A weekend spent in communion...
with those that I love.
In nature.
I really mean it when I say that this is all I need.
This life. These people.
Nothing more.
Just that.

And that's the way I began my day today.

In nature, on the forest preserve path with my husband.

Talking it all out as we walked in what feels these days

like the Garden of Eden.

And feeling so much gratitude, that it made me cry.


photos - on the way home from the farm stand I just had to head back
to the forest preserve to capture these glorious dancing beauties.
Perhaps it's just me, but aren't the Queen Anne's Lace
especially pretty this year?
I think they're my favorite summer flower:)
And one more thing...I was having lots of trouble
aligning and spacing my text in blogger today.
I hope it didn't detract from the writing!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

thoughts running wild...

Okay, this is going to be a rant, so reader - consider yourself warned. And I'm certainly not following any sort of rules on proper paragraph alignment, grammar, whatever. This is a no holds barred thoughts spilling out onto the page post. So here goes...

Since beginning this blog I've searched for some sort of direction, or meaning, for doing what I do here. I've shared a little of my life, what I love, who I love, what I love to do, all of that. But something's been picking at me, a little voice in my head telling me to use this space for a purpose. To share, to grow, to cry out and let others cry out with me. To inspire, to teach, to share the journey with all of you who read along with me. And trust me, I know there's no cast of thousands here, just a few loyal friends and readers who peak in on my life on a regular basis (and boy, do I feel honored that you do. Truly.)

But that being said, I feel I must share with you the task, the idea, the revelation of what has been given to me. On my early morning forest preserve runs, while I'm pedaling my bike as the sun comes up. As I lie awake at night solving the problems of the world, praying for order, answers, peace. And today, again, running in the forest preserve, a voice saying "Do this. Now. Go home, kick the huz off the computer and write." Today being a notable day, as this is the day that I was supposed to be setting off on my wild west canoe camping free to be me trip which I cancelled for a host of reasons, and wisely so as the huz has been out of work for going on 3 months now. Wise money choice. But that decision remains a bit of a sore spot with me.

I was thinking today about how I've been running around the same mile loop at the forest preserve for the past 5 five years. Around and around, mile after mile. Staying on the same track. And I thought about how that applies to my life as well. Same track, mile after mile, going over the same things I want to change in my life, or make better. And I thought about how we're all pretty much on the same track as far as that goes. We all have those issues in our life - things we know we need to do, or want to do, that would make us healthier, happier, give us personal pride - be it in writing, decorating, painting a picture, getting our body in healthy shape - feeling our absolute best - whatever it is that nags the back of our minds, screaming at us for attention.

Why is it that we put our heart's desire aside, continually, being too busy, not staying the course, not taking action, not allowing ourselves to be important enough? I'm afraid of getting to the end of my life and having a long list of things that I wished I'd done. Actions I wished I'd taken. Places I should have gone. People who I allowed to hurt me that I never stood up to. I know you feel the same way. Deep down we all do.

So here's my plan. In 226 days I will be 50 years old. Whoa. That sounds scary. But its also very exciting. A whole new decade of my life. And when I get there I don't want to be making excuses any more. I want to spend the next 226 days gearing up to celebrate. With you. Us together. I have my list of "Ter Improvements," my goals for myself. Things I want to accomplish and celebrate. If you're in with me, you make a list too. We'll check in with each other, cheer each other on - celebrate the journey of becoming the women our spirit calls us to be. And next March - on the day of the spring equinox (synchronicity or what -rebirth, new life) we'll celebrate our successes together.

I'm going to count the days off in my planner. Number them one by one. Somedays will be easy, others not so much. But I'll be here for you, and you can be here for me. We'll do it together. Make your list. Light a candle for yourself and say a prayer. Most of you see me throughout the month. Let me know if you're in. I'll be your cheerleader. Let's get healthy, clean out our mental closets. Plan a dream. Make it happen. And we'll celebrate together. I'm hoping it'll be a huge party for all of us.

For my part, I'll do my best to inspire both of us. You and me. I'll share my dreams with you, and if you're comfortable in doing so, you can share your dreams with me. I've actually begun the process of taking one of my dreams to the planning table. I'll share more about that with you in the next couple of days. And I hope you'll be inspired to do the same, and in the process inspire me as well.

In closing, because this is such a LONG post (and God bless you for sticking with me here) I just want to encourage you to believe in yourself. Believe in the power of what you can do when you put your mind to it. And believe in what we can do, in the company of friends, together.

In all honestly, just putting this down in words was really scary. But I'm glad I did. There, that's one thing checked off my list:)

growing day by day,
photo - a narrow walkway between two gorgeous homes in wicker park.
i snapped this photo last saturday on a wonderful visit to bucktown and wicker park.
somehow i just thought it fit my topic.
open the gate.
step into the narrows.
abundance lies in wait on the other side of the fence.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

friends are like windows...

through which you see

out into the world

and back into yourself.

last night i was blessed by being in the company
of three of my very favorite friends.
friends who make me laugh.
friends i've cried along with.
friends who have been there for me,
as i have been for them
and always will be.
friends which i've been missing
as it's been far too long since we've last met.
no matter the time, the odd directions our lives take
when one of us calls, we answer with love.
we're friends for sure, bonafide.
life will push and then it will pull
but when it comes right down to it
we'll all clear a spot on our calendars
to share an evening, an afternoon,
a movie, a shopping trip
making time for each other...
friends, us four,
close as ever
and lucky, so lucky
to have found each other.

roberta, kim, irene -
thank you for a perfect summer evening.
thank you for being my friend.



Sunday, July 26, 2009

two magical hours swept away...

i made an agreement with myself earlier in the week
to keep a date with artist's date.
so for two hours last friday i set out around town,
with camera in tow, to see what i could see.
i peeked in the windows, then went inside
"...i have my camera, i'd like to take pictures, do you mind?"
the friendly shop owners only too welcoming replied,
"take your time, have fun, and if we can be of help just ask."

from there i slipped into another life
a photographer's life, an artist's life
while my eyes excavated treasures i'd never imagined

crystals casting rainbows inside my imagination

shapes, form, texture
mixed elements giving way to the softness
of the feminine form

i wasn't only seeing, but feeling, hearing
the gentle spirit of another time

where a woman is a lady,
and a man a handsome knight in shining armor

my head swirled in the beauty
shining dance floors lit with crystal magic
and i imagined grand couples spinning in waltzes
as i heard long ago music playing

i heard the wisdom of the ages
in a voice whispered by a funny little china man
transfixed by his stare
he became my model, standing ever so still
allowing me and my camera the pleasure of his company

and in a turn i was stopped still by a look of innocence
who is this child? where did she come from?
is she yours, is she mine?

i glanced down at my everyday summer skirt
and wished, oh how i wished
that i could dress in such beauty each day
wondering how it really was in another time
a time when a woman was allowed her femininity
and a man wasn't completely dressed without a tie and a hat

soft color, muted tones, the bliss i was in
who needs new things
when such treasures can be found
i made a promise to shop resale, antique, flea markets
to fill the empty corners in my home

if one listens closely the objects have stories to share
sitting pretty on the dressing table
of a lady oh so fair
dances, parties, midnight interludes
who knows what shadows of long ago tales remain
sitting silently waiting for me only to put my ear to
and just listen

i got down on my knees
looking at pictures like i did as a child
i crawled right inside the scenery
and pretended i was there

and for a time i was, for those two hours i spent
two hours set aside to open my eyes, my mind
to something quiet deep inside me
my creativity, my artist's heart
right there all the time waiting for me
i took such peace in reminding myself
that when i seek, i will find.

this week, go searching yourself
i bet you'll be thrilled with what you discover!


Friday, July 24, 2009

are we having fun yet...

well, are we?
are you genuinely having a good time
just living your life?
can you admit to yourself
", mine, is just plain fun?"
can you say with honesty
that you're truly, simply, happy?
i was thinking about this, being happy, having fun
on my way to work this morning.
i was experiencing the joy i get out of just gazing around
the crazy, wonderful, down home town
i live in, work in, play in.
people dropping their dogs off at the doggie salon
folks sitting outside the local coffee shop
soaking up a precious summer morning
our local barber sweeping yesterday's dust off his front step
runners, bikers, moms pushing strollers - happy babies tucked inside
coaches whistles blowing,
waking the boys from summer slumber,
preparing them for another grueling year
of competition on our high school football stadium
seeing the boys on the practice field, lining up, running drills
...and for a moment slipping back myself to days when it was my boy
who'd grumble his way to those early summer practices
while, little did he know, it was then, those times,
that taught him lessons he'd be using for the rest of his life.
and i thought to myself, for me this is it.
just this. i'm having fun. doing nothing more than just living my life.
i don't need fancy restaurants or jet planes flying me here or there
(though i admit i'm grateful when those infrequent opportunities arise)
i don't need an expensive wardrobe
my home is just that, a home, filled with bumped up, banged up furniture
pictures of purple monkeys, rainbows, quotations that move me
covering my monstrous frigidaire (bought second hand, of course)
and i have fun, bona fide, true, honest fun
just living my life...
asking for nothing more.
how about you,
are you in need of a "fun check?"
if you're lacking, do something about it
now, don't wait.
the clock is ticking, life in all it's glorious simplicity
is too rich to miss.

with a smile and a wish for a happy weekend...

this afternoon i'm looking forward to the fun i'll have on my very first
personal artist's date. just me and my camera and a two hour trip
through the antique shops in my town.
two places i've longed to visit but never taken the time.
i can't wait:)
and isn't the photo the coolest? it's a vintage postcard photo of my town,
main street, wauconda from the u.s. war archives. see? fun!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

the virtue of discipline...

establish a life of simplicity
do what you can to reduce meaningless activity

once steps toward a simpler life are taken,
we can live a life of joy when focusing on what
we feed our mind, how we exercise,
and how we rest our mind, body and spirit

people who greatly enjoy life tend to be those
who are involved in the disciplines of service
and meaningful work balanced with fun

-lindsey o'connor-
from "if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy"
read it over, read it again, and then over again

it sounds so simple, doesn't it?

photos - shining stars captured by my camera on an early morning walk in my garden

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"your intuition is your best friend"
"you are unlimited"

"there is nothing more precious than the self"
"when ego is lost, limit is lost. you become infinite, kind, beautiful."

"travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light..."

these are the little messages that are printed out on the
tabs of my favorite brand of tea - yogi.
i've saved lots of them, pinning them around my office cube
reminding me daily of universal truths
that effect me, and you too
i just opened a box of my new favorite, peppermint
it rests next to my old favorite, super-antioxidant green
little packages of warm tea and soothing wisdom
lying wait in my desk drawer
to savor, to heal,
to give cause for a smile and peaceful thoughts.

if you're a tea drinker like me, you should try some
even if you don't, i'll bet you'll be glad you did:)


Friday, July 17, 2009

it's a little after three on a friday afternoon
and i'm wishing so bad that it was a little after five.
what a long, very long few weeks i've had.
no complaints really, a vacation, a weekend in the city,
it's just that i need a serious dose of HOME.
i haven't had a do nothing, no plans,
normal weekend at home since the beginning of june.
my home looks unloved.
there's unattended piles of stuff everywhere.
there's windows to look out of,
bringing in the sweet scent of fresh air.
my eyes are longing to escape the tedious view
of the nine to five workspace
and just soak up the homeplace.
i'm on my own and home alone this weekend.
husband is away, son will be working.
and i'm going to be catching up...
dusting off, restocking, re-arranging.
but tonight it'll be just me,
that crazy paperback romance novel i'm into,
a bottle of wine and a dish of cheezits
and the weekend before me giving me time
to reconnect,
settle down and sink in,
rest and reflect
on the healing effects of being home...
ah...that was round about three hours ago.
now i'm here
black and white on the tv, you'd crack up...
tcm is running a ma and pa kettle series.
i'm lovin' it.
the laundry is going, my grocery list is ready
in the morning i'll run fun errands
picking up groceries and all sundry
from my fave here-and-theres'
but right now
the candles are glowing in my home on this
i have this, right now, this moment
who could ask for more?

happy weekend angel readers...

photo was taken the last time i hung out at home - peonis...
it's been a while:)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

sending positive thoughts...

your way. and sending them to others as well. since i've become wrapped up in a cocoon of reading which encourages self improvement and self awareness, i've become acutely aware of how i perceive others. i've become more aware of how i see people and more aware of those nasty little snap judgements i/we make about others as we go about our lives. you know the kind, those nasty little thoughts you have about others - does she realize how bad those pants look on her, get out of my way jerk - i have places to go, if this cashier would move just a little bit quicker i'd really appreciate it, do my coworkers HAVE to talk so loud? don't they know i'm trying to concentrate?? - those kind of thoughts. we have a million of them a day. or maybe i do, i shouldn't assume you do too. but we're human. we can't help it. or maybe we can.

i've become more aware of those negative thoughts, about how they destroy, the negative energy they create, how they demean and make me feel like a lesser person. i'm doing something about it. beginning with my early morning trips to the gym, with every person i see i try to connect a positive word or a positive thought. because really, people are amazingly beautiful, incredibly wonderful, perfectly unique. it's so much fun to look at a person and think to myself - beautiful hair, friendly face, gorgeous smile, cute outfit, warm and friendly voice, good friend. what a difference a positive thought makes! and hopefully that extraordinary energy will make a difference for the blessed person on which intentions are sent.

it's a cool practice, and really, a challenge. which leads me to my next thought which is that we should be doing the same for ourselves. for our own inner angel. crush the ego that says we can't accomplish much, that we can't write, can't sing, can't draw, are out of shape, our thoughts don't matter. turn it around on ourselves. you can accomplish the world if you believe in yourself. there's a writer in you waiting to be discovered. you have a voice - speak, sing, laugh out loud. draw yourself a rainbow, paint a picture. you're beautiful, you can be healthy, you can run a mile. what you think, what you matters.

look around you. see the beauty. look in the mirror and see the beauty looking right back at you. look inside yourself and unlock your potential. share kind thoughts - give them away a million times a day. and be kind to yourself. be aware of the beauty and talent that is yours alone.

happy wednesday my friends...


Monday, July 13, 2009

what about bob...

days happen as the ebb and flow of the tide. one minute you're riding the tip of the wave, the next minute your bikini bottoms are full of sand. such is today, my monday. this morning i woke up hoarse, my voice tired from the singing, screaming, cheering i did at the styx concert at mil park last night. my sis nans and i had NO IDEA what we were in for when we grabbed a cab from our south side hotel. our plan was, after a literally literary day at the ala conference to head over to mil park for the sights and sounds of a gorgeous summer night in the city.

we popped out of the cab and were instantly hypnotized by the sheer beauty swimming in a cultural soup at the crown fountain. indian, mexican, asian, african american...all the children running, splashing, laughing - what a sight for the eyes, an incomparable song for the ears. and the skyline, how do you describe the beauty of the chicago skyline at sunset on a warm and perfect july night? as the energy of our surroundings swirled around us, our ears perked to the tune of "lady" as can only be sung by dennis de young just a short walk across the park at the pritzker pavilion. we thought, no, no frigging way!! but there he was, crooning out a tune that instantly took me back to the steamy backseat of my boyfriends car during my sophomore year as a carmel high school fudgie. and it was him, them, STYX in the flesh!

after gathering the details of "is this really happening, yes it is, what time does it start, we have to hurry back to get our seats" nans and i scouted out reinforcements (food, drink) in preparation for the show. our thought was to grab take away, but we instead opted for the draw of a cool watering hole - pazano's. three beers, a "vegas bomb" shot, a basket of calamari and a platter of the best damn quesadillas later we were prepped, primed and ready to rock. and rock we did. singing, dancing, swinging the flame of a bic lighter over my head (thanks to the guy behind me who heard me say "now all i need is a lighter nans!!), dancing, belting out come sail away, domo origato mr. roboto - the evening was, indeed, "the best of times."

and we weren't even expecting it. we just popped in the car with a plan for nothing more than a walk through the park and a quick bite to eat. but it was a night i'll remember FOREVER.

flip side, fast forward. after a WAY less than favorable experience (back in may) at a local restaurant on the lake in wauconda that's located in a big yellow house, and which recently added a huge new tiki bar deck to draw the thirsty to their bar stools to empty their wallets on over priced drinks, i was personally invited by the operations manager to come in and enjoy a meal on the house. this gentleman promised me that he wanted to give me "a most positive dining experience." his words were "come enjoy dinner on the house, bring your friends back so that we can make things right with you."

well, after a very trying day for the hubby, i wanted to treat him to a nice meal on a gorgeous night. today he went on his first job interview in more years than we can even remember. this is in attempt to be reemployed after losing his job of nearly 26 years. i thought hey, let's go celebrate your awesome interview, let's do something romantic. let's have some fun. so we went to that said restaurant in the big yellow house on the lake. the one right on 176. long story short, the manager forgot the promise he made to me. and then he remembered. and then he forgot to tell the manager who took his place after he left for the day. and i ended up embarrassed, treated EXTREMELY poorly by the said manager and vowing to myself to NEVER set foot in that place again. the confusion, the bad energy, all of it made for a most unpleasant experience and certainly not the nice, celebratory plans i had in mind for my husband and i.

i shake my head when i think of how nans and i were in the city all weekend long. china town, south side, north side, hotels, restaurants, cab drivers, wait staff, bus staff, housekeeping...and NOT ONCE were we treated in the same poor sorry ass manner as we were at the local restaurant in my own home town. pa-fricking-thetic!! everyone we encountered during our visit to the city of big shoulders treated us like a friend, like family, like their home was our home. i remember when that (local) restaurant was owned by the mers family. you were NEVER treated like that. you were family. you were served a great meal, and you were made to feel welcome. not the case now, certainly.

that said, back to our visit to the city. we saw authors: eloisa james, marjorie liu, debbie macomber, laura caldwell, cathie linz, nevada barr, richard peck, carrie host, and so many more. we raked in loads of free books by pulitzer, newberry and caldecott honor authors. we toured china town, eating like asian royalty. we laughed our asses off, walked everywhere, drank it all in like a tall glass of water after a stretch in the desert. a perfect weekend - fave friends us two - making a memory that'll last a lifetime. and then that concert. who knew? and only, ONLY in the city of chicago!! the only bad thing was that I FORGOT THE BATTERY CHARGER FOR MY STUPID CAMERA SO I DIDN'T GET ANY PICTURES!! except the one above. and that was the sky, a kiss from above as we sailed away...
so the story goes
my best friend and i.

the title of my post? an inside joke between two friends.