Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Reunion Weekend | The Day After

After sleeping in, we spend Sunday spending time with various SoCal friends.

[our very cool, very blue rental car]

First up: Jared. We were able to pick up some coffee and hang out at Jared's place on Lake Mission Viejo. It was a very chill, beautiful morning and great to catch up.

Next: We headed to one of the beaches in Dana Point. As amazing as Lake Michigan is, the Pacific is definitely in a class of its own. We threw on our bathing suits and walked along the beach — very romantic.

Third: We made the short drive over to Bev's to spend time with her, Brandy and Jacen. Heath tutored Brandy way back when and she was the one who created the artwork for teh "guest book" matte at our wedding. Jacen is almost 8 and increasingly cute and ready to climb.

For dinner: We headed to the one-of-a-kind In-n-Out for a burger and fries. Cindy and Barnali met up with us and the Mission Viejo alum debriefed on the good, the bad and the ugly from the night before.

Last, but not least: We headed to, believe it or not, another In-n-Out halfway between Mission Viejo and LA to have shakes with Jenny and Tyler. An hour quickly turned into two before we realized how late it was. Time flies when you're having fun!

The next morning, we headed back to LAX and caught our flight back to Chi-town. Just in time for a few 90° days. :-)

Reunion Weekend | The Event

After a brief stop in DC for family time and a dental hygiene conference, I flew out to meet Heath in sunny Southern California for his 10-year high school reunion. He was already in full hang-out mode with Barnali and Cindy — which meant terrorizing them at all hours of the day and night — when they came to pick me up at the airport and then headed out to lunch over at the Spectrum.

After lunch we dropped our stuff off at the Riggs' place, caught up with John and Robbie, and then got coiffed and costumed for the big event.

The reunion was held in the typical non-descript hotel conference room with so-so food and '90s soundtrack. Regardless of the setting, the class of '99 was in high sprits and the catching up exceeded Heath's expectations. He especially enjoyed spending time with some of the folks he had known since 4th grade.

After the main event we headed over to Malarkey's in Newport Beach, a real meat market of a bar, to see some of the local guys who hadn't made it out to the hotel for the official festivities.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Welcome Lina Teresa!

As some of you know, our close friends John and Susan have been on an adoption journey for quite some time. There were many ups and downs and almosts, but yesterday that all came to a beautiful end when they brought home Lina Teresa.

She was born on June 12 and is a happy, healthy baby girl of Puerto Rican and Italian descent. In addition to being adorable, she's very chill — needless to say, we weren't there for any middle of the night feedings.

We did get to enjoy an impromptu celebratory dinner with the Decostanzas and Susan's parents, Phyllis and Andy. We are so excited that Miss Lina has arrived!

Final Cristo Rey Graduation

As many of you remember, four years ago Heath taught at Cristo Rey Jesuit Highschool. This year, the last of his students are graduating. He was at the ceremony Friday to celebrate with them and their families.

Teaching at the Newberry

Heath continues to spend plenty of time in the bowels of various libraries, scanning microfiche and pulling characters for his dissertation, but in an effort to get him out of the stacks, he is teaching a class at the Newberry Library this summer.

The Newberry Library is an independent research library in my old neighborhood, teh Gold Coast. Known mostly for offering exhibits based on its outstanding collections, musical and theatrical performances, and lectures, the library also has a great seminar program...

The Newberry Library Seminars Program offers a stimulating series of non-credit, adult education classes that encourage conversation on subjects in the humanities, and the on-going use of the Newberry's vast resources. The Seminars Program provides an ideal setting for learning because experts in their field teach what they love, and participants study exactly those subjects in literature, music, history, philosophy, genealogy and creative writing which most interest them--all in the classrooms of one of the premier research and reference libraries in the world.

Heath is one of the "experts in his field," teaching a class called: A People's History of Chicago. His goal is to talk about key moments in Chicago history through the lens of historical fiction. His class has 22 people, all eager to dive into the reading list which includes...

...and other Chicago classics.

Birthdays and Goodbyes

Last week had us going from one celebration to another.

It all kicked off with John's 30th birthday weekend. He had known about his upcoming party coming up on Sunday, but was unaware that Heath and I would be picking up his parents who had flown in from Delaware for dinner on Friday night. It was a surprise that we all enjoyed, in large part because Marie (John's mom) brought plenty of baby and awkward teen pictures for us to see. The party itself had plenty of food, people and the new summer obsession: Ladder Golf, a spin-off of "bags," also known as "cornhole." Off the bat, Heath is way better than I am, but I have a few more months to catch up.

[pics of the birthday boy and ladder golf]

On Monday night we met up with friends at Piece, a pizza place I've mentioned in previous blogs, to bid a final farewell to Adam and Sarah who are moving to Washington, DC. Adam got a job with the ONE campaign towards the end of last year and he and Sarah have been apart for about 7 months while she finished up her teaching gig here in Chicago. While we're glad that they'll be reunited we'll definitely miss them.

Tuesday night Heath picked me up after his first class at the Newberry (more on that to come), and we met up in Welles Park to celebrate Dena's birthday. It was a little chilly for a June evening, but party-goers prevailed with frisbee, bocce and, yes, Ladder Golf. Finger foods and little live music courtesy of The School of Rock made it a lovely night despite the low temps.

[birthday girl on the right]

Monday, June 8, 2009


For those of you who have been following, the house that we were planning on purchasing is now a non-option. Heath and John had a meeting with the house inspector today who showed them over $100,000 worth of structural damage that the developer had tried to cover with paint and some nice finishes.

We've pulled out of the contract and hope to start looking at a new spate of homes this weekend.

It's sad to say goodbye to 3510 W. Walnut, but we're relieved that we didn't end up with a money pit sold to us by a shady developer.

Wish us luck!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Mac's Visit

It's been kind of a crazy week, so there's been a slight delay to our post about Mackensey's visit last week. She flew in on Thursday night, just in time to take dinner over to the Johnsons and Elijah with us and the Decostanzas. It was wonderful to see the beautiful new family settling in at home.

Friday, Mac and Heath had a pretty chill day, hanging out and having lunch at Potbelly before running a few errands and then heading over to RB's birthday (see previous post).

Saturday morning was busy with a few pre-Mac engagements, but by late afternoon we were ready for dinner at the Art Pizza Cafe with Micah and then the late show at Second City's ETC stage. Between musicals about Mayor Daley and other ripped from the headlines humor, it was a great night.

Sunday we had church and then met up with John and Susan for brunch/lunch at Edna's, this amazing soul food restaurant near our new place in Garfield Park. We took Mac on a tour of the new neighborhood and walked by 3510 W. Walnut, which will be our new home in August.

[the park that will serve as the de-facto front lawn of our new home]

That night, we went to 5 Guys for burgers (because of Heath, not Obama), and then Mackensey introduced us to Sporcle, an online test of random knowledge. Many of you will be completely un-surprised by the fact that Heath was most keen on the games that required filling in the names of countries in various world regions.

A short visit, but any Mackensey time is good Mackensey time.

[we were slow on the picture-taking uptake this time around, so most of the pics are courtesy of Mackensey]