Sunday, October 31, 2010

Anniversary/Birthday Dinner

Last night was my birthday and anniversary so my wife and I wanted to get all fancy pants.  We decided to go to a restaurant but we wanted to avoid falling into the trap of going to a usual easy place.  When you have four kids the oldest being five its easy to go on auto pilot sometimes.  We found a place called Courtrights.  Both of us had heard it was good, my wife found a good review from the Chicago Tribune.

The place was pretty cool.  It backed up to a wooded area so looking out the windows all you see is woods.  Supposedly its pretty common to see deer from your table.  If you read my last blog post you would know I was really wanting fish.  Lucky for me they had something I wanted, grilled sturgeon.  I hate when restaurants only offer salmon and no other fish dish.  I just cant get myself to order salmon in a restaurant.  Seems like a waste, its easy enough to make at home.

The appetizers were really good.  I had  warm brie & pistachios puff pastry with roasted pears and frisee salad.  It was beyond awesome, everything worked so well together.  My wife had snail cassolette with Prosciutto, Shallots, Fermented Black Garlic, Tarragon-Almond Butter.  She loved it.

For my main course I had grilled sturgeon with cauliflower parmesan compote, Dolmades of Arborio, grapes & black garlic, verjus sauce.  I really enjoyed this, I wanted fish and got exactly what I wanted.

My wife had butter poached lobster with vanilla black rice, sweet paprika pineapple-macadamia fricassee, Coconut Basil Sauce.  I think it would have been to sweet for me as a main course but my wife liked it so all is good!

Dessert was next and no I did not order multiple desserts.....I should have though.  My wife decided on a molten caramel chocolate cake with molasses gelato while I had anise poached pear, pecan & orange bottomless pie with Madagascar vanilla bean ice cream.

Everything was pretty damn good and it was nice to get out for a bit.  I love my kids to death but my sanity requires a few hours here and there without the craziness that is four kids that are five years old and under.  Now I can turn my attention fully to Halloween.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Yeah Birthday!

Today is my birthday!!! Yeah Me!!!  Or maybe not.  What I found out today is on your birthday you get a trillion happy birthday messages on facebook.  I tried to respond to some of them but they kept coming!  Egad, more just came in!  The funny part is I haven't talked to any of these people in a trillion years. Seriously, I don't mind.  I'm really just joking but still, a trillion. 

On to more important things.  While it's my birthday today, it's also my anniversary.  So that means a babysitter and dinner with my sweetie.  We are going to try a place called Courtrights.  I've heard its really good so I'm excited.  I love going to new restaurants, I hope they have some super awesome fish dish.  I'm really in the mood for a good piece of fish.  I cant remember the last time I've had any.  More importantly they are supposed to have awesome desserts and that's what I want....I wonder if I can order multiple desserts? Is that allowed?
Who cares? Its my birthday, right? Yes, multiple desserts for me!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween was better when I was a kid

Bravo Mayor Mark Eckhert of Belleville, Illinois.  You have decided that nobody in your town over 12 years old can trick-or-treat.  Why? Of course because nobody wants six foot tall kids coming to their door for candy.

According to this Mayor he gets tons of complaints from senior citizens.  Uh, I'm pretty sure they would have been scared of something anyway.  Nobody says they have to answer the door, it's their choice. He also gets complaints from single mothers.  So does that mean teenagers wanting candy scare single mothers more than single women? And how many six foot tall teenagers are there in this town?  I know it's not impossible but last time I dropped my daughter off at school the 8th graders were standing there and they all looked pretty short to me.  What does this say to those six foot tall 13 year olds?  It's like saying "Hey Freak, yeah you stretch, because you are such a freak and grew too tall nobody your age can trick-or-treat.  Oh by the way freak, you scare old people and moms.  Thanks a lot asshole."  This town needs to remember these are still kids.     It's all excuses so towns can put more limits on Halloween.

What's really happening is people just don't like Halloween anymore.  I swear it's like this country is becoming a huge population of downers.  Nobody wants to buy candy, nobody wants their doorbell ringing, blah blah blah.  It's Halloween, a holiday meant for kids.  I'm sorry but I still believe a 13 year old is a kid and shouldn't be banned from the candy.  I know when I was 13 I still liked the idea of free candy.  It pains me to see the curfews for trick-or-treating.  My town has decided that kids can trick-or-treat between 2:00pm and 6:00pm.  What the hell?  Only four hours on a Sunday?  When I was a kid a Saturday or Sunday Halloween meant we would be out all day.

I hope next time someone like Mayor Mark Eckhert utters the words "Kids grow up too quick nowadays" there is a person there to point out his contribution, by limiting the age of trick-or-treating, to the end of at least one childhood tradition. Well enough with my rant, time to go buy some Halloween candy.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Quick Ghost Update

So I'm going to try and post everything weird that happens from now on.  Its an easy way for me to keep track of the little things that happen in my house, like I said before its very easy to forget some stories.  I know there will be some people who read this and think its crap.  Ghosts don't exist, right?  You may be right, I don't know.  What I do know is that weird stuff happens in my house.  Things I haven't been able to explain and I do look for reasonable explanations.  Whether its a ghost, just coincidences or something else I'm still trying to figure it all out. Hopefully I wont be updating very often!

Just a little background info because this always comes up.  I built my house four years ago so there was no previous owners.  The land was farm land so no Indian burial grounds that I know of.  As far as I can tell my house is a perfectly normal house with no strings attached.  What I think is more relevant is the fact that this is not abnormal for my family.  There is a long history in my family of ghost type occurrences.  My mom had different types of experiences well into her adult life.  My sister believed her house to have a ghost for awhile. I can remember having experiences when I was really young which faded as I got older.  There seems to be a family predisposition to these kind of experiences.  While I haven't had one in a long time, I wonder if one of my children inherited the family trait.

So last night we came home somewhat late from my parents house.  We quickly got the kids to bed, my wife fell asleep in bed feeding the youngest.  I put him in his crib then went downstairs to shut the lights off and get the dog.  I turned everything off and got the dog, she ran upstairs.  Halfway up the stairs I heard a noise in the dining room.  It sounded like something being moved and falling over.  I stopped for a second to listen, I thought maybe a toy has fallen over.  This is something I didn't mention in my first blog about why I thought my house was haunted.  There have been times when the kids toys go on while I'm walking upstairs at night.  I was going to continue up when I heard what sounded like a footstep and then the same noise again.  The footstep is what alarmed me.  I got my wife out of bed and we searched the house.  At that point I was nervous about an intruder.  I know I heard the sound of someone walking.  We didn't find anything, not even a reason for the sound of something moving or falling over.  Everything was in place.  So thats it.  Nothing else happened, could have been nothing but still weird.  I will let you know if and when anything else happens.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Let me tell you, Junior Mints are a little piece of heaven.

So I got in an argument today with a coworker about how great Junior Mints are.  I'm not really sure if he's just plain dumb or maybe just a closet Junior Mint fan. All I know is Junior Mints are by far the best movie candy known to man.  Their cool minty goodness just melts in your mouth and in that moment you know all is good in the universe.  Hear that Jason? That's a lot to miss out on.

So anywho, I just want to highlight a couple of thing Junior Mints are better than.  First, Junior Mints are better that Whoppers and popcorn.  They are better than Reese's Pieces and popcorn and finally they are better than Sno Caps and popcorn.  I'm not saying I don't like Whoppers, Sno Caps or popcorn.  I do, I like them very much....too much.  They just don't stand up to the greatness that is the Junior Mint.  Let me tell you, Junior Mints are a little piece of heaven.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why I think my house is haunted.

If you know me then a ghost story as my first blog entry doesn't come as a surprise, I have tons of them and I love telling them.  Its no secret that I think my house is haunted.  Whether you are family, friend or just follow me on twitter I'm pretty sure you've heard some story of unexplained ghost shenanigans in my house.  I've never really taken the time to try and piece together everything that has happened.  I've been told I need to write down all these little events so I have some record of whats gone on in my house.  The problem is after telling someone about footsteps in the hallway or keys and cell phones moving around its easy to laugh it off and go on with your day.  Truth is I don't really want it to be true.  Even now I have doubt because doubt is more comfortable than truly believing you have a ghost in your house.  So when I thought about entering the world of blogging, which scares me more than any ghost could, I knew exactly what I would write about first. 

A lot of times things in your life just start, you aren't sure exactly how or when but you have a general idea.  Thats how it is with "Becky."  We named our ghost Becky, actually my daughter named our ghost Becky but Ill get to that in a bit.  The first thing I can remember being a bit odd happened in July 09.  We had just come home from Wisconsin and my wife went out with some friends while I got the kids in bed.  While unpacking the suitcases in my family room I had this weird feeling I was being watched.  That alone meant nothing, everybody gets that creepy feeling from time to time.  What spooked me was I kept seeing the figure of a child out of the corner of my eye.  Id say it looked to be a girl about 8 years old.  I convinced myself that I was tired and shadows were just playing tricks on my eyes.

That night I woke up and heard a kid running and giggling.  I figured one of my girls got up and was playing in the loft.  It wasn't uncommon for my oldest, 5 years old, to get up in the middle of the night.  I got out of bed and went into the loft, it was empty.  I went into my girls room and both were sound asleep.  I figured I must have been dreaming so I went back to sleep.  The next morning I told my wife what happened.  She thought I was screwing around with her and didn't believe me.  After she realized I was serious she told me that she also woke up to what she said was "little feet" running in the loft and heard a very soft "mommy."  My wife went into the loft and girls room to find exactly what I found, nothing.  I continued to hear this running sound off and on for the next 8 months. 

About three weeks later we were all eating McDonalds around our table.  I leaned the happy meal toys against a lamp next to the table.  A bit later my oldest noticed the toys were gone.  I found the toys placed the same way I put them but on the opposite side of the lamp.  Trust me when I say there is no way these things could have moved there on their own.  I still have no clue how that happened.

A couple weeks later at the dinner table we got the name Becky.  My wife was talking about her friend Becky.  My oldest daughter cut her off and announced that she had a friend named Becky too.  I asked her if that was a school friend.  She said "No, Becky doesn't go to school.  Becky comes into my room at night and likes to play with my Teddy Bears.  Becky is dead but don't worry because during the day she goes to heaven and it doesn't hurt."  Yeah, that's what she said.  When a 5 year old says that completely deadpan, it sends shivers through you.  
Other stuff has happened on a semi regular basis over the last year and a half.  There are times when nothing happens for months and there are times when lots happen all at once.  I'll hear a voice from time to time in my computer room.  The light bulb in that room seems to blow out quite a bit.  Ive had my shoe laces tied together a couple of times and I mean intricate knots.  My phone goes missing and turns up in weird places.  I get the feeling I can be a bit of a target.  I'm sure there is tons more but I just cant remember everything. What I've noticed so far is that I get messed with more than anybody else in the house.  It seems that most of the activity happens in the loft/bedroom area of our house.  I cant figure out why that is.  That's pretty much it so far, I'm sure Ill keep updating whoever reads this blog when new things happen. Id love to hear if anybodys had similar experiences.