Weekend notes, June

6/7: Mid-morning visitors from Rocky River, early-afternoon bike riding and climbering at Sunset Woods. Grand discussions of the hole in our garage roof, who should repair it and how, at the short-term expense of State Farm.  Afternoon flight to St. Louis. Should I have taken Amtrak? Yes. Sunday, flomming around the arched city in my new suit (which, though not particularly fancy, puts my other new suit, purchased four years ago before the same annual conference, to plasticky shame).

6/14: Hearty breakfasts and a round of standby PH Guatemalan. Road trip to bustling East Troy, Wisconsin for a weekend of sun(screen), life(jackets) and beer(coolers full of kids’ juice). First canoe, kayak and motor-propelled party-barge ride for each boy, each activity either generating grins or building character. “Hey kid, want to learn how to gut a fish?”

6/21: Saturday morning, gentle toast with no coffee at all, noting that the grown-up population is still recovering form a mid-week somethingvirus.  Garage cleaning, drying and folding protective plastic from the roof and attic, shuttling in-between outdoor toys up the stairs, sorting the heap of sundries on the garage’s continental shelf onto organized, smaller piles on the tall shelves.  E to gymnastics class mid-day.  Outside play followed abruptly by a spectacular afternoon thunderstorm, two inches of rain in an hour flooding Green Bay Road and revealing old landscape patterns: a lake in the neighbor’s front yard, a waterfall down the side yard, a stream diagonally across our back lot and toward the old wetlands two doors down, still featuring giant willows, before burbling down toward the ravines.  Still enough daylight, on this solstice day, for the birds to return afterwards before an 8:30 sunset and plenty of twilight thereafter.  Sunday, E to practise swimming at the city pool at 10:30 sharp, followed by lunch and then an afternoon exploration of the headwaters of the Chicago River at the Greenbelt preserve.  Cool, sunny, waterfowl and treefowl, little frogs, and the very end of our 2-mile loop closed by a solid (well, liquid) four feet of water.  In all, then, a longer walk than planned, but a nice view of waxwings and orioles, with a bonus signpost explaining the role of GBR as marking the sub-continental divide.

6/28: A largely relaxing Saturday, the house still reasonbly tidy from Thursday’s visit by Other Jeff. Everyone to gymnastics: E to participate, J to watch a bit of Wimbledon on the waiting room monitor and dig through a tome of baseball-themed fiction, L to run laps around the grassy field outside. An evening walk with Gordon around the Lincoln-Railtrail loop. Sunday, a morning beach trip to Park Ave., only to find the post-deluge bacteria warnings. Home for a bit of Catan Junior, basement play, an afternoon trip to the Aquapark, haircuts for everyone.

Weekend notes, May

5/3: Dirt. Also, Hansa Ethiopian. More dirt! A baker’s four yards, wheelbarrowed down the neighbors’ driveway, across the hostas and down to the back 40. The Fitzgerald & Pass albums, to exercise the new 1.7/4BST setup (still sans furniture). Sunday, outside play and delivery of the balance of the dirtpile to neighbors’ ground under repair. “Swimming practise” (a.k.a. swimming), followed by leftover kale salad and potato salad for noonsies. An introduction to Ticket to Ride. Completion of dirt rearranging, planting and transplanting. Carrots, chard, pole beans, cukes, peas, squashes from seed. Beets too, but those seeds looked suspiciously unlike beets. From seedlings, raised in the mud room since late winter, toms and tillos, asparagus, ground cherries, eggplants. Pencil sketch of layout, to appoximate scale, by young J.

5/10: Additional gardening, the usual Saturday routine complete with post-swim bagels from Once Upon.  Sunday, the usual 8am pickup for ORD-NRT and the rest of the weekend folded up in 38G.

5/17: Eastward jet-lag recovery (which, ugh, stretches well into the following week).  Grand discussions of period-appropriate replacement window designs.  Rearrangement of the GTI (in and out for its annual something-worth-$1000-breaks) and 944 (this time, an increasingly fiddly ignition cylinder and oops-is-this-battery-dead-or-just-discharged).

5/24: Super-bonus weekend, with both Friday and Monday dark at the office.  Grandparental visitors from the enchanted city, who joined us for Friday swim practise (i.e. pool play) and watched lessons on Saturday. Saturday night, a Saturday night! To wit, dinner for two at Atwood followed by Britten and Shostakovich (7) at the CSO’s house. Sunday, an early bike ride to Lakefront Dr. to examine the nature of Ride the Drive. (Registration fee and photo ops? Not exactly Critical Mass.) Following, bruches at Walker Bros. Monday, a morning hike and birding at Fort Sheridan, and a short adternoon playtime at the beach.

5/31: Saturday morning, french toast, coffee and cribbage. No swim, lessons having switched to weekdays given J,E’s promotion to levels 2,3.

Weekend notes, April

4/00: One of the authors is lain up with ebola.  Or maybe a cold.  The rest of us spend the weekend ploughing through fall overgrowth in the back 40 like Ozymandias through butter.

4/12: Saturday morning, a Guatemala Asobagri from Hansa.  Note to self: when in doubt, do not purchase central american coffees.  Swim lessons in the morning, bicycle riding and kite flying in a 70-degree southerly at Independence Grove.

Sunday’s update is a guest post, courtesy of a local citizen.

First, the name of our list: “E’s favorite things at the Field Museum”.  The dinosaur that maked noise.  You pushed a lever and then it would make a trumpeting noise.  That’s one.  Going to the pyramid.  I liked seeing the mummy.  Um, what do I tell about that?    It was under the pyramid, and it was sort of wrapped in a box (the mummy box).  I liked the teepee.  The teepee’s furniture was made out of a buffalo skin.  I liked the mammoths.  I liked playing around that I was plunging animals into sticky tar.  I liked seeing the totem poles.  It seems like that’s the end of my list.

4/18 and a three-day weekend, discounting the time Friday spent glued to my laptop. Saturday a Game of Life during mme’s long run; swim; backyard baseball; lumberyard trip with E, who delighted in the forklift. A ride to the shop for a satchel of Passion House’s Guatemala El Rincon. Easter scavenger hunt featuring plastic eggs of clues and jellybeans at the end. Much of the day outside, sodding and tilling for a new garden. Or, as reported by local neighbors, a garden once-upon-a-time that we’re recreating. Buried rebar posts confirm. Boxes for raised beds constructed and awaiting fill soil, before the tomatoes can be transplanted and report, we is risen.

4/26: Friday, an evening of genuine grown-up interactions in support of Community.  Saturday backyard baseball (citizens’ choice, nearly every time) and a mustache mug of RCS house blend.  Swim.  An afternoon drive to the local transducer shop, as a part of outfitting the living room for all senses and seasons.  A chilly family dog walk around the Sunset Park south loop.  Sunday, a morning bike ride (i.e run-beside) with E, and later morning swim with J, an afternoon bike ride with E and J.  Following, a superb stout (BA link) and some stretching of the bike-riding-teacher muscles.


Bicycle out. Every layer of clothing, also out.
Vegetables sprouting.
Freshly-washed rugs drying. Happy spring, backyard skunks!




Posted in VO2

Weekend notes, March

3/08: Friday evening pool practice: only 16 minutes worth before 7:00 close, but enough to wear things 1 and 2 for bedtime. Saturday morning with a press pot of Metropolis Falstaff and spring cleaning. It’s well below freezing, but it hit forty yesterday. J swim lesson, and the first time I’ve seen him crawl with breathing. Maybe breast with breathing too? L and I may have missed it, rolling a basketball around in the open gym.

3/22: Friday evening swim practice with the whole family. Saturday morning pourover of a Hansa Columbian. Paper airplane construction and elaborate flying contests. J swim lesson; E elected to come and watch, sitting in the viewing room with a High Five magazine. Backyard cleanup, 85% of grassland exposed; examining drainage patterns in order to plan garden placement. Seeds sown in the mudroom, no sprouts yet.

3/29: Friday evening nothing. Something. Bathtime? Boardgames? Maybe Catan Junior? All followed by late-night skunking in the backyard. Saturday morning pourover of Passion House Rwandan. E came along again to watch swim, this time reading a book about some numbers of animals. Lots of sprouts. A spring-like shopping trip for a new helmet for thing two and new steed for thing one, followed by riding practice at the park. Sunday stew, following usual practices.

Olympics, running commentary

Holding on to this one for perpetuity.

E: Is that a man or a lady?
J: That’s a man.
E: Then why is he wearing that shirt?
J: What do you mean?

E: If I did that, I would fall on my helmet.
J: How can you even *be* a beginner in this sport?
E: Whoa, she was pretty slow.
J: She’s from China. Now China is in nineteenth place.
E: And, she *doesn’t* have a beard.

Music in 2013

Some pop music highlights from last year.
Chvrches, The Blow, Lorde and Haim. Lily & Madeleine. Not Savages, although I see the attraction.
Bill Callahan, The National and San Fermin. And, if I fire up the stereo before breakfast, I can hop right on those vocal ranges.
Tim Hecker, Sigur Rós, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and one other brooding album of electronic soundscape. Was it Darkside? Playing these was easier than diagnosing that intermittent ground loop hum.

Only for the Callahan did I purchase an actual album (and, at that, only a direct-from-artist download). For everything else, it’s just a 320 kbit stream via MOG – a service that will be defunct shortly. Whither next year? I predict a seat on the vinyl renaissance bandwagon, complete with 7-foot-tall, reinforced, damped and big-boots-proof turntable stand.

Daft Punk took on more spins than any other record. (They’re new; you probably haven’t heard of them.) House-cleaning day, cocktail hour and dancy-dance time take up, altogether, an awful lot of stereo time – and those robots cover all three styles. On the occasion that more robots were needed, Deltron 3030 took some time in the rotation.

Where I find tunes:
Walking the dog, when I listen to Sound Opinions, All Songs, MTM or Musicheads.

Where I’ll find all the stuff I missed:
Pazz & Jop 2013
NPR Jazz critics’ poll
Pitchfork top 50

Weekend notes, February

Swim lesson practise Friday 6:15-7:00. Swim lesson Saturday 11:05-11:35, after shoveling gobs of early morning powder out of the van’s path. Our street is among first and more frequent on the plowing list, so there’s no hope beating the plow-in. Sunday 10:30-11:30, swim lesson practise again. It’s a we-like-swimming week; not all weeks are.

I woke up Sunday to the sounds of J and E playing cribbage and S brewing up some beans from Hansa. After breakfast, J scooted off to extract facts about Penguins from library books. E traces some dot-to-dots. L, recovering from a sniffly nose, became sleepy.

For the third or fourth consecitive week, Sunday temps decline steadily to a well-below-zero Monday morning. Unusually cold and snowy, the locals claim, as they slide their Teslas around town.

Photos 2

Recently, I went to Japan.  Then, I went to Korea, and then I went to Japan.  Finally, I went to Japan.

Here are some photos: [link to Flickr]

After my first dinner, I wrote down a list.  In retrospect, I think we were being impressed with Kaiseki-style meals.

Things I (think I) just ate

  • Unidentified tentacle
  • Unidentified tentacle, cooked
  • Sauteed squid
  • Grilled squid
  • Whelk
  • Liver of anglerfish
  • Uni
  • More Uni (I think I’m being offered more, because everyone’s enjoying my facial expressions)
  • Fin of pufferfish
  • Fin of pufferfish in sake
  • Sake