Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Kind Of Town

I shamelessly admit that I have lived within driving distance of Chicago for my whole entire life. And I LOVE it! Granted, I probably love it so much because I don't actually have to live in the city but I still love it.

Today we took the girls to the American Girl Doll Store in downtown Chicago, otherwise known as "The Money Trap". But my girls had such a wonderful time. We got their doll's hair done in the salon (at $20.00 per doll!! Grandma thought that this was a wonderful idea but I wasn't really convinced, so she paid because I said "No".) Just FYI, if you ever go to the store to have your doll's hair done, we waited 2 hours for this. Prepare to wait. We heard from one Mom in line that they waited five hours one time just to have the dolls hair done. CRAZY!! We dropped our dolls off, went to have lunch, stopped at the Hershey store, and then picked up the dolls.

We ate lunch at California Pizza Kitchen in Watertower Place. As a die hard Chicago area native, I am a pizza purist. I like mine either extra thin and crispy or Chicago Style deep dish with only the traditional toppings (but no pepperoni for me, please). New York and L.A. style is just a Chicago code word for "Bad Pizza". ;) It felt like a crime against Chicago to walk into that restaurant instead of a place like Giordano's or Gino's East. I mean, if you are going to do a tourist pizza at least stick with the Chicago icons. I was dubious at best, but my kiddos wanted to eat at CPK so that is where we went. I ordered the Carne Asada pizza and I have got to tell you that it was absolutely DELICIOUS!! I mean it was really really really really good. Good as in "I ate the whole entire pizza until my stomach hurt because I just couldn't stop eating it" good. I will be craving that pizza for quite some time. I am a convert, although I will never admit that to my fellow Chicago Pizza loving friends.

Our next stop, which we walked to very slowly while I was nursing my bulging and aching belly, was the Hershey Store. We've been there before, but I never fail to be amazed at all of the delicious chocolaty things all in one place. We hit the bakery shop where you can get chocolate chip cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and truffles all made with Hershey's Chocolate. I took my Mint Chocolate brownie to go because there was no way that I was going to fit another bite of anything, no matter how delicious and chocolaty, into my painfully full tummy. I know that it will be sinfully delicious when my belly finally recovers enough for me to be able to eat it.

Then it was back to the American Girl Doll Store to pick up our beloved dolls. I have never seen so many little girls walking around clutching dolls as I have seen in that store and all over the streets around that store. We started out the day saying to the girls while we were walking to the store "Oh look, she must be going to the American Girl Store". But it literally seemed like we were saying that about EVERY single little girl that was walking around that area of Chicago, so we gave up. Words cannot express how crowded that store was. I thought that it was bad when we got there at 11:00, but it was even worse after lunch. I was kind of happy to leave that craziness.

We drove home after that, with a few minor family related stops along the way. I am now completely exhausted and ready for bed. But the girls got to enjoy a day of Chicago tourism and I had a great time. I can hardly wait for the next time that we go, because there will definitely be a next time.

Have a great night!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Famous Catch-Up Post

I think that all of us who blog have been here before. You know, the "Where am I and what have been doing" post. So, here's mine to try to make up for my lack of posting in recent weeks. :)

Let's start from the present and go backwards, just for a change of pace. I became an official Catholic at the Easter Vigil last Saturday. It was a wonderful, beautiful, and oddly fun but very long service. I really had planned to do a profound post on why I chose this path, but that may have to wait a bit before I have time to do it.

My kiddos are on Easter Break. YAY!!! It feels so good to just stay home and get stuff done. I am trying to cram in a TON of spring cleaning, a journey to the bottom of Mt. Washmore, a trip to downtown Chicago (just for fun, cuz you can't be all work and no play), and some serious gardening chores before we have to return to the daily grind on Monday. Wish me luck. The days go by much too quickly.

We ended up having the Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner and Late Nite Catechism show. I won't lie, we lost money but we had a GREAT time and we got rave reviews for the food and the entertainment that we had lined up. Our Priest decided that we just shouldn't let a few loud people break our spirit. So, we came together as a parish and enjoyed some food, fun, and fellowship. It was more like a huge St. Patty's day party than a fundraiser, but that's ok when you look at the big picture. Folks who atteneded were blown away by the spirit of the event and many of those who didn't come expressed their regret to me for not being there. The stage is set for next year so that it can be bigger, better, and maybe have a great crowd show up! The Bishop of our diocese, who is very aware of the events that have been brewing at our parish, was so impressed with our efforts to bring people together in a positive atmosphere despite the turmoil that he wrote our Priest a letter praising the event.

My seedlings are coming along just fine. I hope that I will be able to get out into the garden soon, but my soil is just too wet right now. I risk compacting my soil if I work it too soon.

Anyway, that is all the time that I have left for this post. Hope that everyone had a great Easter!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

As far as I know, I am exactly 0% Irish. (German, Dutch, English, and Native American is what my pedigree reads. I am a mutt.) But My hubby has some strong Irish roots in his family tree, my youngest DD has one of the most Irish of first names, I do cook a mean corned beef roast, and I make boxty to die for. So I guess that I can post this little quiz in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

What Your Shamrock Says About You

You are a high achiever. Success comes fairly easy for you.

At times, you can be slow to act. You don't like to be outside your comfort zone.

You don't really consider yourself a lucky person. In your view, people create their own luck.

You are stylish, in a classic sort of way. You are particular about how you like things.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Forgive and Forget

There was a very heated school board meeting last night. If there were ever a reason for me to consider homeschooling, the actions of some people who were attending last night's meeting would rank really high. The head of the athletic board raked our poor priest over the coals. Father didn't deserve it at all, but he took blow after blow with a humbleness and kindness that will be legendary someday. He even shook the hand of the man that accused him of so many things after the meeting. He is a true Vicar of Christ.

Change is hard. Our parish has gone through some shocking changes over the last 2 or 3 years that would be hard for any group of people to process: the sudden and shocking death of two veteran and well-loved faculty members from cancer, the retirement of the Priest that had been with our parish since 1993 and the arrival of our new Priest who has new and different ideas of what we should be as a parish, a beloved teacher leaving because of the birth of her first child, the Principal announcing his retirement, a new Bishop for our Diocese and the many shocking changes and budget cuts that often come along with a new Bishop. The list goes on. People are hurt and confused. So we are lashing out at each other instead of figuring out how to move on together in a new direction. You could just see the pain in the room last night. Change is HARD, but it is a fact of life. It is my hope that last night helped people begin to release some of the hurt and resentment that they were holding inside. I really want to be hurt and angry over everything that has happened over the last few months. But I know in my heart that most people were just running on pure emotion rather than logic. When you are hurt, the knee-jerk reaction is to lash out. I understand this; I spent 5 years in college majoring in psychology. It's just hard to be on the receiving end of all that lashing.

The only hope that we have as a school and church is to forgive and forget and move on from this sad and horrible place that we are at. I can't control what other people do, but I can make the decision to forgive and grow myself. So that is what I am going to do starting right now.

Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


It looks like we are going to cancel the Late Nite Catechism 2 show because of lack of interest. Although it does hurt my heart, I know that I did everything that I could to sell tickets and it was just out of my hands.

Hear that? That's me getting ready to breathe a big sigh of relief. Although canceling the show gives those who were boycotting it the smug satisfaction of knowing that they, in fact, were able to destroy it I also have the smug satisfaction of not having to deal with those folks who were trying to ruin it anymore. I guess sometimes you just have to cut your losses. Lesson learned.

Have a great day, everyone. I am off to clean my house.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Little Miss Sunshine

Although I am a bit late, I am going to add "complaining about my current state of fundraiser affairs" to the list of things that I am giving up for Lent. But please, dear readers, forgive me if I stumble on that one because this truly feels like my only outlet right now.

I have come up with a new publicity scheme. I sent two tickets over to the local AM radio station for them to give away as a freebie in the hopes that it will drum up some publicity. Desperate times, my friends. Desperate times.

What is not so desperate is my windowsill garden. I am very pleased to report that my cheating heart has produced some very lovely seedlings. I have some lovely broccoli sprouts, some cauliflower, spinach, cos lettuce, and my tomatoes and jalapenos are just starting to break the surface. I know that I will probably have to re pot the tomatoes and jalapenos before I finally get to plant those outside. As a general rule, I never plant my toms and peppers before Mother's Day. It's just to risky in my area.

Are you thinking about your garden right now like I am? I just can't wait to get out there and get my hands dirty. Just remember, don't begin to prepare your soil (for in ground gardens, not containers) until it had dried a bit. If you till or dig while your soil is still too wet, it will dry into nasty clumps that you will spend hours trying to break up. Trust me, it is not fun. This year looks like it might be a bit of a late start for me outside because we have had so much snow that we may have to go through quite a spring thaw. I have to wait a few weeks to see how the weather goes, but I have mentally prepared myself in case I have to wait extra long this year. But I have the worst case of Spring Fever that I have ever had before!

Well, I must go mix my meatloaf. Yum! LOL! I needed a quick dinner idea. My lunchroom shift ran late today so I didn't make it to the grocery store. Oh well, at least it is food.

Have a great night!

Still not Better

Someone came up to me after Mass yesterday and said "Boy, you guys sure aren't on the ball with this whole corned beef and cabbage thing." It was a person that I had previously considered a friend. I could feel my heart just sink. We have worked so hard and have done EVERYTHING in our power that we could to help promote this thing. We have been working on it since September. There is a little click thing going on at school made up of folks who have been there for a long time and have planned every church and school event. This person who said that to me is the "Queen Bee", so I fear that we have stepped on some toes by agreeing to do this rather than pass it on to them. But we were asked to do it and the Queen Bee announced early in the year that she was stepping back and letting other people do things in that school and church. We really didn't know that she didn't mean what she said. Oh well, too late now.

I am keeping on keeping on, though. If I fail, at least it won't be because I didn't try my very best.

I'm going to look at my seedling and plant a few more to help cheer myself up. Have a great day!!