Sunday, February 22, 2009

Jury Duty...

Slightly out of order...I had jury duty this past week. Between jury selection and the trial itself, I was at the courthouse in Rolling Meadows for two full days.

It wasn't a super juicy trial, just two counts of obstruction and resisting arrest.

Initially, I was irritated to have to miss work, but I embraced the experience and at the end, felt really good about the outcome and my role in the process.

Needless to say, I don't have great pictures but, as proof, here is a [poor] shot of my check—that's right...$17.20 a day for doing my civic duty.

Happy Birthday, Micah!

Micah's birthday parties have officially become stuff of legend. For those of you who don't know, each year Micah chooses a theme. One year it was "Texas." Last year, it was "The Eighties." This year, the theme was "Birthday Suits." No—we did not have to come naked, but we were asked to come in a suite of some sort.

While many people came in very dapper suits and more formal business suits, we chose to comes as card suits. Heath was clubs (the Jack of clubs to be exact), and I was diamonds (the Queen of diamonds). Our friend Susan and her law-school friend, Meredith, came as lawsuits—very cute!—with legal briefs pinned to their outfits.

[I made shirts for Heath and myself using iron-on transfers]

In addition to good conversation, drinks and snacks, Micah usually extends an invitation to his guests to perform in some way—music, poetry, comedy, etc.

This year's performers really upped the ante. Heath opened the show with a presentation on the meaning of life. He was followed by comedy from Pablo and Tom, funny stories from Ryan and Marta, then music from Jen and Sarah. There was some poetry, a hilarious skit written and performed by Micah, Keith and Nora, and then Keith and Ben brought us home with this fantastic version of Johnny Cash's "Walk the Line," with custom Micah lyrics.

It was a lot of fun. You can see videos from some of the performances below.

[heath's presentation]

[pablo's memos from a corporate dad]

[jen and sarah's classical/acoustic take on britney's "hit me baby one more time"]

[brandon's punky version of "heaven is a place on earth"]

[keith and ben's version of "walk the line," adapted just for micah]

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's with Lisa C.

Lucky for us, Valentine's Day weekend coincided with a President's Day holiday for me. With the extra day just begging for us to take a road trip, we decided to head up to Grand Rapids to relax and catch up with Lisa.

There were many late nights, hot topics and tasty food. There were also two fantastic movies: Last Chance Harvey and The Reader. Both were good, but The Reader stands out as truly remarkable—it's the type of film you just can't stop talking about because the questions it asks are so complex. Loved it!!

We hit up the usual GR hot spots, Wolfgang's and The Sparrows.
[you can click on the little collages to see the images bigger]

Some shots from Wolfgang's...there was a gooey, delicious cinnamon roll on that plate.

Some shots from The Sparrows...great atmosphere, even better coffee.

A dozen of us also ventured to a new place, the Winchester, for lunch one afternoon. A cozy gastro-pub, the menu featured all sorts of locally grown, yummy sandwiches and entrees.

Lisa and I tried our hand at dessert on Valentine's evening. She made a delicious plum and goat cheese terrine (dubbed by Heath as the bourgeois dessert) and I made double chocolate chip cookies (requested by Heath as the proletariat counterpart).

Thanks, Lisa, for always being a wonderful hostess!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Warm Front in Chicago

[let me start out by saying, we're on kind of a roll in terms of regular posting]

While the weather reverted back to cold and gross today, the weekend and first part of this week were quite lovely—it actually got up to 62° on Tuesday!

Finally, all of our accumulated snow has melted! And, while the picture below still looks a bit dreary and the ground was quite mushy, the shift in weather warranted an official romp in the park with Violet.

We walked over to Chase Park and let our puppy loose. She, of course, loved it. Did she get kind of gross? Yes. But what are a few muddy paws compared to an hour of quality frolicking?

Our new family pic was taken on the playground with the camera resting on one of those stone checker-top tables.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sewing Project 2 | Simple Tote Bag

So, before I post the only picture I have of my little bag, I have to tell you why there is only one picture...

Heath was out with some friends while I was working away. I had just completed the bag when I went to go get the camera from the other room. On my way back into the living room I tripped on a bump in the carpet and dropped the camera. Not only did I drop it, I dropped it right into a glass of water! I was mortified.

So, the camera is ka-put for now and I had to use the camera on my (not nearly as high-tech as an iPhone) cell.

But there you have it, my first bag. Congrats, friends—you won't just be getting pillows and baby blankets for birthdays and holidays. :-)

UPDATE | It's a miracle! Our camera is working again! Here are some additional pictures of the bag which offer a better take on its colors.

Friday, February 6, 2009

CB2 Chairs

This is a shout-out for our wonderful families who donated money to the "Actually Get Thais and Heath Chairs Fund."

As some of you know, when we bought our new table we went the benches route, which we love. The only problem is, when we extend the table to full capacity (12 to 14 people), the benches just don't cut it. We needed extra chairs.

So, thanks to the generosity of the Carters, my mom and dad and Aunt Renee, we purchased these lovely chairs—Diego chairs to be specific—this past weekend:

They're actually a step up from the ones we had planned to get—definitely the right decision!

If you're really into chairs, you can read about them here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sewing Project 1 | Baby Blanket

Since I hope to be putting up a variety of sewing projects in the coming weeks and months, witness my first project since Sewing 101: My baby blanket.

The stitches along the border aren't perfect but for the most part, I'm quite proud of it. I think the interior pattern is very cute with all round, little animal faces. I hope to use this skill towards more personalized gift giving moving forward.

As an update, Lisa A. posted some pics from our original Sewing 101 experience here. Check them out.

And, to give you a head's up as to what comes next for Janice (my sewing machine) and I, I picked up this book at The Needle Shop:

Lotta Jansdotter's "Simple Sewing"

Internationally celebrated designer Lotta Jansdotter collects 24 of her most popular sewing patterns into one irresistible collection. Our innovative packaging makes for easy use reusable pattern sheets are neatly tucked into a folder inside this full-color, lay-flat spiral bound book. Lotta has included patterns for handy tote bags, smart aprons, chic bed linens, and much more. Each project is paired with step-by-step instructions, charming photographs, inspiring design ideas, and helpful, hand-drawn how-to illustrations everything you need to make whimsical pieces for the home and beyond. Best of all, there's nothing complicated about the projects. Never has simplicity looked so sophisticated.

I hope to have all sorts of new things to share with you in the near future!

UPDATE | Heath's Broken Heart

Since some of you asked...

Heath is feeling much better. The beginning of last week was a little rough since his body was adjusting to a slower heart rate. He was feeling kind of lethargic and light headed at times. Eventually, his body got in step.

Since leaving the hospital he's seen both his primary care physician and cardiologist. It looks like they might lower the dose of his meds after he's done with this first round.

There are still questions as to cause, but that's the case for many people with A-Fib—or so the doctors say. We don't know when it will happen again, but the doctors assure us it probably will. The important thing is that now we know what's happening and the best ways to respond.

Thanks for all your prayers and calls!