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Showing posts from February, 2015

Part II: Ice skating

As promised, the second half of our busy weekend. The kids had been nagging for awhile about ice skating. Which is one of those activities that has the potential to be a big waste-of-money bust with little ones. They hate it. They give up after 5 minutes. And at our indoor rink, without a season pass it's $7 per person per session with $3 skate rental.

But my son has been sitting in the ice arena with me while my daughter has ballet elsewhere in the rec center. So we've been spending our Saturday mornings watching some pretty awesome figure skaters practice. I'd say they're around 10-15 years old. All girls except for one little boy who is AMAZING. Really all of them twirl, spin, pose, and do their drills in a way that makes it look effortless. Which ended up being a wonderful lesson for my kids when we tried it ourselves. I've said over and over that it's hard. Even daddy can only skate forwards, not backwards. And after being on the ice themselves, my kids ca…

Neighborhood greenways & bike share station sites

It was our first Transportation Commission meeting in about 3 months last night and the topic was more of a Q&A session with planners rather than anything we were directly voting on to advise policy. We seven members gave feedback to staff as we move forward in the process of two bike-related items. The Village of Oak Park had the advocacy group Active Transportation Alliance (ATA) consult on a study for cycling in the community.

Neighborhood Greenways--
The first part of the presentation from ATA was a recommendation on how to implement neighborhood greenways. For those not familiar, these are different from bike lanes in that they try to appeal to more hesitant and vulnerable bicyclists. If the stated goal is to make streets appealing for cycling from ages 8-80, the target user here is someone who does not feel comfortable on a busier arterial street.

Neighborhood greenways take calmer, residential streets and reduce traffic volume/speed even further by giving priority to bikes.…

Part I: Recital costumes, Cermak Green Line station review, Chicago Auto Show

My goal for this weekend was to ditch the cabin fever and winter blues by staying active and out of the house. For the most part, it worked out nicely. So we pretty much spent no time inside just watching cartoons. 
Saturday morning was the now-regular ballet class for my daughter...only this one was special because they got their costumes. It's a flowery, frilly, puffy outfit with a label that says "Pretty Maid." And it came with special instructions from Ms. V about it "living" in mommy and daddy's closet until the recital. No tossing it in the dress up bin. No trying it on every day. It stays in the plastic wrap and only comes out for the performance. But they still had to try it on for size during class and the teacher asked parents to stay and help. For us, my son and I did our usual routine of sitting in the bleachers of the ice rink watching the figure skating class. So Mama was the one helping my daughter. They'd ordered her a small--which was t…

Job searching as a SAHD

I had a fantastic...long...interview yesterday to supervise a department at a large Chicago-area cultural non-profit. Seriously? Over an hour on the phone? I had to pee and my voice was giving out. (Plus this is just one stage before in-person interviews, background checks, etc.) It was partly my own fault for asking questions. But it was also a fair amount of those tedious human resources "scenario" questions and getting a detailed work history...despite the fact that they already asked all those questions on the application. The application I nearly quit filling out because it was so long and annoying. I'll save the side rant for another day about how businesses need to streamline hiring processes, take more chances on new employees, and quit being so picky.

Anyway, it was a great interview for more than just my ability to do this particular job though. I was fairly impressed that part of their normal process is giving time for me to explain my job search, what kind of…

Kona coffee--my honest review

A friend of The Mama had a deal too good to pass up. It was basically, "I'm going to buy 2 pounds of green Kona coffee. You roast one for me and ship it back. Keep the other for yourself." An especially nice offer considering it was not something I would have splurged on for myself. If you're reading, dear giver, I really appreciated the opportunity.

Kona is tricky. If you're not a coffee geek, you've probably seen things labeled "Kona" in stores. But these are often blends with very little actual Kona and mostly other beans. You'll know real 100% Kona when you see it by the price tag...often $30-50 per pound. Not uncommon to see packs with, say, 5 pounds from a grower in Hawaii retailing for $200. I've heard it can be quite good. I've also heard it can be quite mediocre. And I've also heard from my fellow geeks that Kona is currently in a down trend (like a few other areas) that will take time to recover.

A few observations...
It ha…

A funny story

After I'd visited the library the other day, my daughter came running into the living room proud that she'd gotten a heavy, thick, "grownup" book off the stack and managed to carry it into the living room. According to Amazon, it weighs nearly 3.5 pounds. A 450 page coffee table book with glossy photos that took all her strength to bring to me. She snuggled with me in the chair, smile on her face, and demanded I read it with her. Which, in her speak, means we flip the pages and she asks me about the images and wants me to tell her a little about the content of something daddy is interested in.

This book was Adam Danforth's Butchering Poultry, Rabbit, Lamb, Goat, and Pork: The Comprehensive Photographic Guide to Humane Slaughtering and Butchering. 

I managed to not be quite ready to settle down yet and went, amused, to share with The Mama what I saw as a funny tale. The Mama was less thrilled. Something along the lines of, "you're not going to read her that…

My son the civil rights leader

By 5:00pm yesterday, neither of my kids had naps and both were grumpy/tired to the point of a rather embarrassing incident in the local toy store while shopping for a birthday gift. We'd spent a busy morning out in the world and probably pushed them too far with an afternoon at a robotics competition later. The birthday shopping was only because the party is today. It was a long day.
If you'd seen us in that awkward moment of demands for their own birthdays (July and October), we probably looked miserable. All four of us. You'd never know that this week was actually one of the best parenting stretches we've had. 
I've said it before and I'll say it again...everybody makes a big deal out of newborns and how cute and awesome they are. The older they get, the more we complain as parents sometimes. But The Mama pointed out yesterday how it's so...weird...that we've reached the point of being proud of their independent actions rather than their simple existe…

Race registration season

I just came back inside after digging our car out from under about 20 inches of snow. The 5th worst blizzard in Chicago history. So it seems weird to be thinking about registering for a race. But it's that time of year. Many of the fall marathons either recently opened or are about to open for entry. Including Columbus Marathon registration that opened yesterday during the storm.

To complicate (or is it help?) matters, we just joined a gym again this weekend at the end of the New Year's deals that come up every January. We're back to the gym down the street. More expensive, but 24 hours during the week and we save the 20 minute drive to get there and find parking. So I now have access to treadmills, indoor pool, the whole thing. It makes my choices for this season wide open since I can begin training immediately.

And those Early Bird discount deadlines are coming up fast. Even though many triathlons have been open for entry since before Christmas, the prices keep going up …