Saturday, November 29, 2008

You know it's Christmas when...

...the nativity scene goes up!

As part of our personal kicking-off of the holiday season, we avoided the madness of Black Friday and instead, put up our nativity scene.

[the close-ups]

Thanksgiving Festivities

Originally, we had planned to trek out to Northern VA for Thanksgiving, but in light of Heath's upcoming exams and my trip to NYC, it seemed best to hang loose here in Chicago and spend the day with our friends, John, Susan and Micah, at the Decostanza's place in South Shore.

John and Susan took care of the turkey, stuffing and this phenomenal sweet potato side. We brought green bean casserole, cherry salad and rolls (including dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls). John did a fantastic job with the had been brined for 48 hours, which led to a very tender, juicy, delicious meat.

[turkey stages]

[making dinner happen]

While John was carving the turkey, Violet started eating some of the little pieces that fell off the counter. Then, turkey juice started dripping on her head a bit. Rather than move out of the way, she basked in it—literally. Our little pup's head was drenched in turkey juice and she couldn't have been happier. During dinner, we had to distract her with a treat and after dinner, Susan gave her a mini-bath.

[violet gets juiced]

Everything was delicious, the company and conversation were excellent, and a rousing game of Settlers of Cattan rounded out the evening. We are thankful for so many things this year including our friends around the country, our community in Chicago, our families, our work and one another. It's been a rough year at points, but God has been good to us and we are grateful.

[other shots from the day]

RetroPost | Love My Staff

After two extremely crazy, deadline-packed weeks I decided to whip up a few treats for my fantastic staff at work.

Behold, a mix of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and no-bake cookies.

(for those of you who don't know, no-bake cookies are lumps of chocolate-y, peanut buttery goodness)

RetroPost | AAR and Piece

We meant to post these pics a while back. The American Academy of Religion conference was in Chicago this year and that meant visits from some of our favorite people, including Steve Okey and Lisa Cockrel, as well as a new friend, Bethany, who knew Micah in California and stayed with us while here for the conference.

We were fortunate enough to join Lisa, Bethany, Micah and Lisa Anderson for dinner at Piece—a fun, New Haven-style pizza place—in Bucktown. Our special guest was John Wilson, the editor in chief for Books & Culture, a publication Heath would love to write for one day.

We had a great time!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It's snowing in Chicago...

And in this moment there is no gross icy sludge or sub-zero temperatures to ruin it.

A beautiful evening.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Election Day/Night 2008

Heath and I woke up Tuesday morning and headed to our polling place at Chase Park first thing. The lines weren't too bad—we waited for about an hour—but there was definitely a lot of energy and excitement. According to the woman working our location, more than 20% of our precinct voted before 9am.

After a distracted day at work (and the Grind), we picked up some Chinese food and headed to Aaron and Lenore's place...a.k.a. Election Central. We had MSNBC and multiple blogs/websites going to keep us well-informed. Lisa joined us there to watch the early returns come in. Once Ohio and New Mexico came in for Obama, we knew it was time to head downtown.

More than 250,000 people converged on Grant Park—it was amazing! And although we weren't in the ticketed part of the park, we joined thousands of others watching jumbo-tron screens throughout the area. Micah and Keith met up with us and we all stood together to watch Barack's speech. There was laughing, crying, dancing, and many chanting, "Yes, we can," and later in the evening, "Yes, we did."

Our beautiful city came out in full force. From Oprah to frat boys from Lincoln Park, mothers from Englewood, Hindu fathers from Devon Street, young, old, rich, poor...everyone was there. Michigan Avenue (the Magnificent Mile) was shut down with people walking and cheering in the streets. It was very special to be downtown and watch history being made.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Summing it up...

I suggest reading this article from Slate. Pictures from the amazing experience that was Grant Park last night will follow later today.

[the Chicago Tribune this morning]

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pietrangelos for Obama

This might be the most involved my family has ever been in an election.

Mom, dad, Tiara and Aunt Renee are all voting Obama tomorrow! Yeah! And, while Auntie's vote will be cast in DC, not VA, she did her part, canvassing in our dear purple state. Mom, for her part, made phone calls to undecided voters—very cool!

Tiara, however, has the best story...she got to see Obama live at JMU! I am very jealous, but also very proud. It's cool to see everyone so engaged. Check out her pics below and—of course—don't forget to vote tomorrow!

[Tiara and her roomie, Amanda]

[The lines outside]

[The crowds inside]