Better late than never.

We were late to the gardening game this year because we needed to do some prep work to build up the retaining walls to create a vegetable garden.  However, now that everything has been planted, and tended regularly, we’re starting to see the fruits of our labor.

Our jalapeno pepper plant has been steadily producing peppers all season.  It started in a pot so it had a bit of a head start on our other veggies.  Now, the yellow squash has started producing and we’ve already eaten two squash from that plant.  We have three more that are almost ready to be picked.  Soon, our tomato plants will be ready.  We have three different types of tomato plans and they all have green fruit on them.  Just a little bit longer until those are ripe and ready for picking. Lastly, we have four yellow pepper plants.  These plants still seem quite small and, until now, haven’t produced anything.  I was beginning to think they were a failure, but yesterday I noticed one very small but cute green pepper. I am assuming that it will turn a bright yellow when ripe and I can hardly wait.  Hopefully, more will follow!

When I was growing up, my family never had a garden.  In fact, we ate very few vegetables and those that we did eat came from a can. Now that I’ve developed my own tastes and preferences, I just can’t bring myself to eat canned vegetables anymore. I prefer fresh veggies (though can sometimes be persuaded to eat something that has been frozen).  As Cliff said to me this morning, it’s amazing to think that humans have been growing vegetables for years, but we’re just now experiencing the joy and satisfaction that comes from growing your own food and knowing exactly where those vegetables came from (and what has or hasn’t been sprayed on them)!

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Coffee shop culture

Every weekend, Cliff heads out on his group ride and leaves me a note, inviting me to meet him for coffee.  Our favorite place to meet, Italian Coffee Bar, closed so we’ve been meeting at The Brothers K instead. Over the past few weekends, I’ve started noticing some interesting culture at the coffee shop.

The outdoor seating area is a Mecca for socializing coffee drinkers. A particular group that I’ve noticed is a revolving group of older intellectuals from he neighborhood. One guy gets here early, stakes out a table, and as the morning progresses, people come and go from that table. They talk about societal issues, literature, technology, and gossip.

One man remains the same, but the other participants change regularly. The regular takes the time to introduce strangers and invites others to join the conversation. He seems to know many people and actively helps others to connect. It’s fascinating to watch!

And the one thing that stands out each weekend: none of these people are talking on their phones or working on computers. They leave the technology behind in favor of in person, real world connections.


We LOVED the plans we got back from the architect, but we likely won’t see them come to fruition.  When the bids came in, they were all way outside of our price range – in fact, two of the bids were 3 times our price range.  First, we just can’t afford to do it.  And second, even if we could afford it, the cost is just insane and we can’t rationalize it since we know there’s no way we’d see nearly that much return on our investment.

Now, we’re back to the drawing board.  The architect is going back to the contractors to ask them to rebid it after we’ve done some value engineering (paint grade wood trim instead of real wood trim that would be stained, etc).  I anticipate the bids will still come back quite high, so we’re also talking with one of the contractors to see whether it’s feasible to build out the space for our price range.  We’ll see what he says we can get for the price we’re able to pay.  And, lastly, we’ll start talking with some other architects/contractors to see whether we can add a bathroom and skylights in the existing space without building out dormers.  Ultimately, if the answer is “no” or “yes, but you’ll still have to pay through the nose”, we just won’t do it.

I’ve decided that Chicago bungalows are kind of racket in the real estate market.  Yes, it’s a great house with great bones, but most don’t have the attics built out because it seems too expensive to do that. But, realtors don’t tell you that part. They market the bungalow as “ready for expansion” but never really tell you that you’ll spend almost $100k to build out the attic. (Can you tell that I’m a little bitter and disappointed?)  Don’t get me wrong, I love our house. But, we might have made different decisions had we known how much it really costs to build out an attic.  Maybe.

2010 Glencoe Grand Prix – Professional National Criterium Championship

You might recall that, last year, a group of photographers and writers worked together to create a book commemorating the Glencoe Grand Prix and the surrounding events.  That book played a part in helping Glencoe secure the USA Cycling 2010 Professional National Criterium Championship. And, so, we’re putting together another book to commemorate this year’s events.

Tomorrow, I’ll spend the day in downtown Glencoe, photographing the event and part of my assignment includes covering defending GGP champion, Devon Haskell (TIBCO)!  I’ll also shoot the kids’ races and, of course, I’ll be there to see MS Racing team members compete in the earlier races.  It’s going to be a long day, on top of some already long days at work, but I’m really looking forward to it!