As you know from my post a couple weeks ago, I enjoy honest home vittles, like Orlando's. Well, I did it again. It played with my heart. And my gut. Immediately after seeing almost three hours of Benjamin Buttons, no less.
Ben Buttons is a "slice of life" movie--which I do not care for, going slowly through a person;s life--like Forrest Gump, only Gump had humor. Buttons has none. A real yawner.
The Corner Bakery is a chain of eateries with a lovely décor, wonderful baked items, and scrumptious sandwiches and soups. I have been to several, and although some are small and cramped (I am thinking of the one on Wacker and Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago), the one in Geneva on Randall Road is super large and comfortable. It features many booths and tables, and although it gets slimed with Geneva Commons shoppers, there seems to always be a place to sit (finding a place to park, however, can be more challenging). I enjoyed a unique pretzel bread ham sandwich with homemade chicken noodle soup today. The bread is thin, and lightly salted, and is great for those of us that despise a thick bready sandwich. The soups are always hot, and the fresh entrees are brought out to your table quickly. We are all familiar with Panera and Atlanta Bread Company, but generally those places are small, have loads of people usurping tables to sip coffee and play wi-fi games, and reek of java. The Corner Bakery is, conversely, bright, airy, high-ceilinged and has only the smell of fresh breads. Also try the fruit cup, and if you are wicked hungry, they make a mean crunchy banana and strawberry oatmeal. Bon appétit!
A cozy spot where I feel good. A light that is not too bright, but bright enough to read and relax. A tufted footrest. A simple elegance. This decribes my reading niche, my reading nook, it is where I am typing this to you now. It looks out onto a gas fireplace and a sliding door to the patio, which happens to be with a foot of white snow just outside the glass now. I am here. I am inside. I am lucky to be warm tonight, when the temperature will hit 10 degrees F. You are fortunate to be in the warmth reading this now. I have a new book on my Kindle and now I will begin reading. I wish you season's greetings.
My wfe and I were traveling on Route 47 on Xmas Day and there was little, other than convenience stores with day old hot dogs, open--until we came over the highway and spotted a truck oasis with R's Bakery and Family Restaurant in Morris, Illinois packed to the gills with cars in the lot. In the land of the blind, the man with one eye is king--I know. But hey, it's open so we went. Kitschy interior with hanging stained glass lights and a couple chandeliers, very homey feel. Indeed, even today, it was full of truckers. It has that "elbows on the table" feel to it, but we ordered a salad bar trip along with complete turkey dinner (we opted out of the Ethel burger at 4 lbs of ground beef and if you eat it all it's free) and it was scrumptious: plenty of thin sliced turkey, potatos, stuffing, and medley of overcooked veggies. Juicy gravy, but not slathered on too heavily. A hugemongous portion, actually--trucker worthy, certainly. We could have split the thing and been perfectly satiated. There were some families, but mostly road weary travelers, as this place is at the Route 47, interstate junction. The store attached to it had everything from wiper blades to beer, so this is a must stop if you are on the roll. I would recommend this oasis for those needing gasoline, to pass gas, and to replentish the gizzard. Not bad. Not great either, though.
Lovely Christmas eve with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and our mutual family in quaint rural Oakwood, Illinois. Enjoyed their gorgeous home, with plenty of great vittles, including my favorite comfort food, macs and cheese. Everyone there--and there must have been 20 or so--seemed to really relax and enjoy themselves. That's what Xmas is all about. Spending plenty of time in the next couple weeks in central Illinnois and Chicagoland.
I cannot believe it--I ordered my Amazon Kindle reading device in November 2007, and here, more than a year later, I still read on it at least every 1-2 days. It is a wonderful device, and I won't get into the whats and whatfors about eInk reading and how it is not at all like reading on a laptop. Suffice it to say, the wireless downloading of books (no wi-fi required--it comes free over the Sprint network) makes this reader a winner. If you look closely through the flash, you can see what I am reading recently--typically I have about three books going at once. I am not a voracious reader, simply one that likes variety. Amazon.com has much more information and thousands of review on the reader, or you can see a video here for those who have never heard of this reader. Chicago Tribune with no ads, who can beat it!
The boy plays guitar. Night after night. Hour after hour. The rankling of electric twang eminates from the guitar room. The Schecter, the Dean Dimebag and the Fender. Eminating from the Marshall amp like a howl from a wounded fox. And yet, in the cacophony, there is a method. Tnere is a tune. There is some metal rock and roll. It is, in a word, good.
Spent some time on Third Street yesterday and the shops were in good spirit, and the Kane County Courthouse was with tree glistening and it was rapture to see all the unique little shops on the street. I look forward to studying each shop, one and a time. A cool mix of old and new.
(Read yesterday's blog entry first)
Hawaii was so outstanding in 2005 that we could not resist the temptation to return exactly one year later in 2006. Walking through a cozy art shop in the North Shore town of Haleiwa, I was startled to find a 3 foot by 4 foot original oil on their wall titled "Waimea Bay Breakers" by an artist named Lynne Boyer. I was thunderstruck. Could this be the painting from the mysterious artist I watched in 2005? I studied it intently, but could not be sure. When I arrived home, I Googled the artist, and sent her an email and even linked the photos of her that I took on the beach a year before. Her reply: Yes, that was me, and that was Waimea Bay Breakers! She asked if I had stayed around long enough that day to see the wind whip up and throw the painting off the easel and into the sand. The painting has real Waimea Bay sand in it. We spoke several times by telephone, and Lynne, who grew up on Oahu, has a true peaceful and happy island spirit. Turns out that Lynne Boyer is not only an exceptional artist, but she is also a retired championship professional surfer. In 1978 and 1979, she was the #1 female surfer in the world. I felt a kindred spirit to this painting--of my favorite beach no less--and purchased the original from Lynne and had it shipped to the states. It now graces my bedroom wall, with photos of the artist at work framed beneath it; each day I think of Hawaii when the morning light comes into my window onto this painting. Mahalo, Lynne.
Waimea Bay at the north shore of Oahu, HI. Truly paradise on earth. My wife introduced me to this slice of heaven in 2005, and it's now my favorite warm weather ocean beach. Huge rolling waves, in repeating lines like a wind-blown sailcloth, break violently against the sand. Of course, where there is a tsunami of surf, there are surfers; from Waimea to the Banzaii Pipeline just to the north, surfers abound. In 2005, while basking at the beach just after Christmas, we watched an artist set up her easel and begin to transform a large canvas into the lush Waimea vista, complete with signature church. Within an hour, the oil painting had taken shape, and I was so impressed with seeing an artist at work, that I snapped these two images. I never introduced myself to this woman and did not ask about her painting or background. She continued to paint as we packed and left for the day. My wife and I still spoke of her talent as we headed back to Ko Olina at the end of the morning. It was a glorious morning.
Not for the faint of heart, my son and I are off to see Slipknot once again in a few weeks. We saw them at the Mayhem Festival in Chicago during August 2008, along with many other favorite bands like Suicide Silence, Disturbed, Black Tide and Machine Head. It's true to say, though, that none are as exciting onstage as the nine-member, Grammy winning Slipknot. The show is loud. This past summer we were about 27 rows from the stage. For the upcoming show we scored some pre-sale tickets and will be in the standing area immediately in front of the stage. The energey of all the young people is truly a beautiful thing.
Hope I come home with all my teeth.
We have some super fine friends: one is my paddling buddy and the other is his talented glass artist wife. They live north of Chicago, and took us to a superb seafood dinner at Oakbrook Mall this past summer. It was a warm night, and we had just decided to start a life in Geneva at that time. They really went out of their way to come down and greet us. In addition, as an early housewarming gift, they gave us this one-of-a-kind modern art glass dish, which now resides on our fireplace mantle in Geneva. Thanks! Mi casa e su casa. Looking forward to having you both down for the weekend this springtime.
Youtubin', found this absolutely precious voice! Aimee Mann, of course, is a major player in the alt soft rock genre...heck, I remember downing suds and watching 'Til Tuesday rocking it out at Jumpin' Jack Flash in the Fenway. Got her autograph on a nappy at 2AM one night at the Rathskellar in Kenmore Square when I was there for a Fleshtones show. Anyhoo, Aimee has a Freeway remake contest, and this young lady didn't win! I cannot understand it, because her absolutely stunning voice performed Freeway better than Ms. Mann... at least threefold. And tenfold better than others who have covered this tune.
I look forward to seeing 16-year old Laura Carson break out into the mainstream. Watch her sing "Zombie" (you'll know the tune when you hear it) in the sidebar. Go, Laura!
I stood in front of the post office building in Geneva on Saturday morning and there was a ton of purple spirited souls next door at the court house ready to see off the wonderful and proud Geneva Viking team. I parked in the lot and noticed how historic this Geneva Post Office building really appears. Old brick and mortar, with a strong presence. The postal service is undergoing a change, as the volume of mail has dropped off precipitously in the recent years. Last year, for the first time ever, more people filed Federal income taxes online than by mail. A sea of change is coming. It is unclear if the post service will exist--other than for package mail--a decade from now. And with the stealthy Fed Ex box right in front of the post office, packages will likely not even be there for the USPS in the future. The internet has changed our means of communication from "snail mail" to the more immediate e-mail. "Ship your holiday gifts from here," the sign pleads. And like four horsemen, the blue boxes are ready to eat your holiday cards and letters and regurgitate them at Aunt Millie and Uncle Sinbad's houses.