Monday, January 3, 2011

Monday Morning Staff Meeting

It's been forever since we've held a Monday morning staff meeting. I promise you that it's been a case of benign neglect. Things have been hopping around here during the holidays and the final party of the season is next weekend. Whew.... I'm worn out, how about you?

All I have for you this morning is leftover pizza.


But it IS authentic Chicago pizza, guaranteed to be good hot, cold or anywhere in between. We do live at the very outer edge of the greater Chicagoland area. And I do mean outer. We are actually one of the last houses before the vast expanse of corn and soybean fields rule. That's 50 miles outside of the city. That's how large the Chicago area extends.

Just let me know if you want the pizza cold or hot. I never reheat pizza in a microwave but give it a few minutes in a very hot oven.

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Here's the holiday recap here At Home:

We celebrated Christmas the day after, on the 26th. My son works at a facility for disabled young adults, mostly have Cerebral Palsy. He was scheduled Christmas Eve day and Christmas and therefore we moved our celebration to Sunday. No problem.

Our traditional Christmas dinner menu includes crab cakes, steamed mussels (the Farmer is in charge of the steaming), salad, baked potatoes and thick filet mignons overnighted by our Arkansas friends from a place in Kansas City. Yeah, Kansas knows their beef. The filets are grilled over very hot coals.

We must first dig out the grill. Here's our daughter taking on the task.


Our son always serves as Santa.


There were some great gifts under the tree. The Farmer got a new TV. Our old one is an electronic dinosaur.

My daughter and I both got E-readers! What fun we had setting them up. I had preloaded a book into hers and she started reading right away.


We both wondered if our eyes would rebel after reading 10 pages, but that is not the case. I was skeptical but I love the reader. It's a colored version (not Kindle or Nook but a Pandigital Novel reader). It's in partnership with Barnes and Noble and we can connect via our network and download books instantly. They also include several books for free.

Here's my digital bookshelf:


It will never, ever replace my paper and ink books but it's a fun and convenient way to carry a book. It's great at night because I no longer have to read by flashlight while the Farmer tries to sleep. It's also got a calendar, an alarm and some other features.

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The Farmer and I went to see True Grit. I wasn't too excited about the fact that they'd remade The Duke's classic movie, but it was very, very good. It was truer to the book and truly gritty. There was lots of dry humor, I laughed alot. The Coen brothers kept their over-the-top wierdness and violence to a minimum (think Fargo and the Big Lebowski) and treated the material with loving respect.

The closing song, sung by Iris DeMent was terrific. An old gospel hymn, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms. OH MY GOSH.... I remember this from my childhood and Iris's voice has that wonderful southern quality. At first I thought it was Emmylou Harris but investigation revealed it was DeMent.


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About New Years Eve - there was no Corn Drop this year. Sigh. You can read about the Corn Drop here:



That one is minus the videos. I have no idea where they went. The ghost in the machine, I suppose.

It's a tremendous amount of work to create such an event and we are forever grateful to neighbors Ed and Betty for providing many, many wonderful memories.

Here's a photo from 2008. Ed and Betty's niece and her husband had just moved to Chicago from Sacramento. This was their first snowfall and they danced in the snow! They recently welcomed their first child into the world.

Thanks again to Ed and Betty for those great experiences!!

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This New Years Eve we went out to the historic Hotel Baker.

My grandmother and her friends used to drive out from Chicago to spend the evening dining and dancing. The Baker is a beautiful example of the Moorish architecture of the time.

Here's my grandmother and her friend Martha, all dolled up and sitting in the lobby of the Baker.



It's right on the river and we had a wonderful view from the dining room. The best thing was that there were people of all age groups celebrating; young, old and everything in between. The beautiful dancefloor in the Rainbow Room was packed with multi-generational party goers, all having fun and enjoying each other. One man was 90 years old if he was a day and there were young people my children's age.

There were some interesting stories from the evening. Two of our neighbors wore their tuxedos. They had purchased them several years ago and have gotten good use of them, at weddings, on cruises and other formal affairs. One of the men suddenly realized that he'd lost his cumberbund and we searched the dance floor in vain. The place was packed and the floor was littered with confetti and busted balloons. Later he discovered that in his dancing frenzy the cumberbund had simply twisted around and the wide part was acutally in the back! Not lost, just relocated.

And, I lost my bra. Well, not at the party. After all, I'd only had two gin and tonics and I was not a party animal but for two days after New Years I could not find the bra I'd worn that evening!!! Makes for a good story but in reality it was simply hiding under some other items in my lingerie drawer.

Time marches on. I hope your holiday was terrific and that you were able to keep the stress to a minimum.

I now turn the meeting over to you. What's new in your world?


Vee said...

Your blog didn't update and that's my excuse for being late and you do know that Longfellow was from my corner and all, right? Good heavens!

What a powerful rendition of Leaning...I'm sitting here misty-eyed. Must put True Grit on my list of want to sees right after Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I loved the first one.

Christmas is when everyone can be there and so a Sunday Christmas sounds perfect for your family. My goodness does your son ever resemble his dad in that picture!

You made me laugh with the cumberbund/bra stories. You're a hoot!

Susan said...

Loved reading this, Suzane. Happy New Year. Just need to comment about Iris DeMent!! We love her voice. Have been fans for many years...since she was on Prairie Home Companion ages ago. Have almost all her CD's. Very, very unique and beautiful voice.

Anonymous said...

Happy New year, it sounds like you had a wonderful time bringing in the new year.
I have been reading good things about True Grit., maybe I should venture to the theatre, haven't been to one in years.
Loved the pizza.

At Home in English Valley said...

Hi Suzanne, Sorry about the Corn Drop. I love ho-made traditions like that. Sounds like fun. Seems like everyone had to cut back this year, I know we did!
We drove our son back to the Loop at 5:30am on Christmas Day, so he could get back to work and we could all be together on Christmas Eve. Wouldn't have been Christmas without him.
Happy New Year, good health and happiness to you and yours. Love, Penny

Lisa D. said...

Mmmm, leftover pizza is the best breakfast! I would like mine reheated please. I'm sure it is much better reheated in the oven, but I always go with the microwave - I don't want to wait for the oven.
I love your Christmas dinner. Sounds delicious. And your Christmas tree. I guess I was wrong about my tree - I thought I'd put all the decorations I could fit on it, but compared to yours I was only about half done :)
I've had the same concerns about the e-reader. I've seen them, but I didn't think I could handle reading from one for more than about 10 minutes. Good to know it's not so bad. It would be very handy for a trip. You could have all the books you might want to read, without having to pack or carry them.

LeslieT. said...

I love your Christmas menu. And your New Years Eve celebration sounds like it was fabulous!
So sad about the Corn Drop, but I'm glad to hear that you managed to come up with a wonderful night out to replace it. The Baker Hotel sounds very elegant, and I love the picture of your grandmother and her friend! Two gorgeous hot gals out for a night of revelry!
So glad that you located your bra. It can be worrisome when one can't recall where they last had their lingerie. :)
Regarding lost items and backwards attire, a few years ago at my niece's wedding, I danced my heart out and had a blast, and after we left there (around 10 p.m.) my husband and I stopped at a restaurant to listen to some live music (because apparently I hadn't had enough partying). The waitress came by and we ordered some coffee, and she said, "Oh, it looks like you've been to a wedding." Since I had a lovely dress on, I didn't think anything of it and replied that yes, we'd been to my niece's wedding. I then went into the bathroom to check my hair, and realized that my beautiful dress was practically on sideways! How did this fact escape me? I have no idea. I was stone cold sober, so I have no excuse. I had danced myself to the point of twisting my entire dress sideways, and didn't even realize it.
I didn't even have the grace to be embarrassed about it, I just adjusted things and went back out to enjoy my coffee. It was a blast of a night and I felt no need to indulge in embarrassment!
I'm glad to hear that you had a terrific New Years Eve which was so fun it involved garment mishaps!
Happy New Year Suzanne! May it be a year filled with many more wonderful blog posts from you!

chocolatechic said...

I do not microwave my pizza either.

I like to heat it up on the stove. Turn your cast iron skillet on high and get it nice a warm. Turn the heat to medium and put your pizza in. Cover for about 5 minutes and voila...tastes fresh from the oven.

Marilyn said...

It looks like you had a wonderful holiday and I am SO jealous of you e-reader!
Happy New Year!

Terri said...

Love my Kindle and now, my iPhone but I still like holding a book. Chicago Pizza is my all time favorite and I eat it however I can get it. Are you sure those steaks aren't from Missouri?

I want to go to the Baker Hotel now! I am at school working so I will wait to hear Leaning.. too many chances that I will cry!

Anonymous said...

Iris DeMent also sings in the movie SONGCATCHER, which you will love if you haven't already seen it. Full of these songs. Check YouTube for clips of her.

Anonymous said...

I miss Chicago style pizza terribly out here on the east coast. Wonderful pictures! You did not say what you got for Christmas. The night out at the Baker Hotel looks just wonderful. I love an old fashioned hotel. I don't see the picture of the couple dancing in the snow however. Perhaps repost that one soon. Happy New Year to you and yours.
Marilyn from Norfolk

Lovella ♥ said...

No snow for us ..and I'm literally green with envy for such a white christmas.
We often celebrate Christmas the day after to accomodate the inlaw families.
Such an enjoyable read. .thank you.

Mary Rex said...

Oh Suzanne! That cummerbund story is priceless. And a fine post all around I dare say. I just love reading your blog.
I do want to give you a somewhat cautionary tale, if I may. I strongly recommend that you DO NOT read "The Girl w/the Dragon Tatoo" unless you have a secret hideously sadistic side. I looked so forward to reading it myself...all the great reviews etc. I love a good mystery, and paid full price for this book! I was horrified by the violence against women and the gruesome scenes depicted involving animals. Steig Larsson was a sadist. I am just surprised to find that so many people have actually read more than 1 of his books.

Mama Koch said...

We didn't have a milo I feel your pain.

We saw the movie and I SWORE it was EmmyLou. Thanks for posting this. Love the voice.