Go buy this Aaron Lee Tasjan record.
Poorly plated but delicious nonetheless dinner of roast leg of lamb with Greek potatoes and zucchini.
Go buy this Aaron Lee Tasjan record.
Poorly plated but delicious nonetheless dinner of roast leg of lamb with Greek potatoes and zucchini.
For God's sake...she brought a tea towel, was charming and funny, sang incredible songs, sounded great, put up with our grumpy cat and our couch, and the next morning she let Owen use her 12 string guitar while she went to get her oil changed.
It doesn't get better than that.
We love you with all our heart Amy! We are always here for you.
Thanks to all that came....so good to share this with you... She is so special.
I had a truly lousy day yesterday.
Just work stuff, but as Owen said, in one of my favorite videos of him, "It did NOT feel good!"
At one point, during a deeply uncomfortable session in which I was trying to be impassive because I couldn't come up with any other appropriate emotion, I looked down at my shirt and realized that I had huge stain on the front of it. I tried to flip it around so it didn't show but it didn't really work.
After work Ernie bought me glass of wine at Fries and Peanuts and our beloved Roger and Ceal cheered me up. They even shared some of the Cracker Jack that they were serving with hot dogs in honor of Cubs game. You gotta love the Esquire.
Amy Rigby can't be here soon enough.
Tonight I will be making beef broth for the Key Wat, Ethiopian stew that I am serving on Friday. We made a trial batch on Sunday and it was damned good. I hope I haven't cursed myself. Of course when I found the recipe I thought it looked like a good companion to the Ethiopian vegetable stew I am making. It called for berbere and I figured this was a great excuse to do an order from Penzeys. So I happily went to their website and stocked up on smoked paprika and a few other things. Then I saw that I only needed to add another $10 to get free shipping so I did that....then I saw if I ordered two more things I'd get some freebies so I happily placed my order.
I forgot the berbere...the whole reason I was making the order. Sigh. So when Ernie went to make it the other day he had to mix up the berbere by hand. To do that he needed to go to World Harvest and get some spices. And as is typical in our spice cabinet he got some that we already had, so anybody needs some fenugreek....just hit me up. I now have enough spices for the millenium.
The berbere spice mix is gorgeous though....and smelled the same....
And yes, I did eat it from a chipped bowl while sitting on the couch watching tv because sometimes, that's just what you have to do.
I'll be making this stew for Friday night's house concert with Amy, and a vegetarian stew with a big bowl of couscous to serve it on. If you're coming and feel like bringing something, any thing is welcome! Even if you can't bring anything, do come early though---it's nice to get a chance to hang out with folks!
I can't believe this video is from 7 years ago! It will be so good to have her back!
It was a quick weekend as I worked most of the day on Saturday. Sunday was lovely and quiet though. No, I didn't do all the things I should have done, instead I had a lovely breakfast from the Eggmaster, read the paper, nagged Ernie and Owen to hang the last sign on the all, took Leo to International Galleries in Lincoln Square (got to see the lovely Debbie Stewart too) to frame the old train ad we gave him last Christmas (TEN months as Leo pointed out), dragged him out to Country Arbors to get some mums, took him out for lunch at Fries and Peanuts, sat in the front yard with a fire before making dinner. Not bad, huh?
The boys have a three day week which makes me jealous. We've got parent/teacher conferences on Thursday evening and Friday morning. Always interesting.... and FRIDAY is AMY RIGBY!!! Can't wait!
leftover salmon with spinach and scrambled egg....pretty great....
Owen and my boss, Kimiko, in 2007. He was wearing yukata so he could present bunraku performers with flowers after the show. He'd run into something on the playground that week, hence the cuts on his face. After he presented the flowers on stage, he said to me, "Mommy, isn't it great I'm a star?"
If you go to about the 5:00 minute mark you can see Owen in all his glory.
And yesterday, again with Kimiko, my now retired former boss.
I can't wait to have Amy Rigby here next Friday. Amy is an extraordinary songwriter and she's celebrating the 20th anniversary of her classic album, Diary of a Mod Housewife, and the first time, will have it available on VINYL. Yes, life IS good...complicated and messy and puzzling....all of which Amy writes about, but good.
Here are two different songs that are classic Amy....
O.k....I can't decide which version of Do You Remember That to use....so I'll use both. It's a great song about when she and her husband, Wreckless Eric, got together.
God I love her.
I'm thinking of making a couple of stews.....Ethiopian vegetables and perhaps an Ethiopian beef stew. Why Ethiopian? Damned if I know. Oh, and please come and join us for the potluck even if you don't have a chance to bring anything. There's always plenty. $15 to $20 donation....all goes to the artist of course. Just yell if you need info or directions, etc.
Late day fall morning glories.....they just glow....
One of Leo's birthday presents arrived from England. I think we can say he was pleased with it as he actually willingly let me take a picture of him. I love that boy. I think he has something of my father's face.
Open House today at work. Natsume, or tea caddies, in their cloth bags.
Breakfast with Ernie and Owen this morning (even got a quick hello to our beloved Richard Hill and Susan Singer!). Afterwards the guys dropped me off at work and took off to Springfield where Owen was going to pick up some vintage speakers.
I said to Owen, "ohhhh, you're wearing the LAMF button!" He shook his head and said, "Most mothers wouldn't be happy about that." I didn't point out to him that I wore it first. It's good to let them think they're first sometimes. Actually Owen seems to feel that Ernie and I have led an incredibly romantic life....he waxes almost nostalgically about what great times we have had. He makes it sound like we were in Paris in the 20's. Of course he also make it sound like our lives are over. I love that boy.
Owen's Instagram page. He cracks me up. Shake Some Action indeed. Leo, of course, does not partake in social media, although he just updated his website. My babies, my sweet babies.
The Ian Hunter box set was released this week. Sniff, sniff. I just can't afford. Ahhh...I know I can't complain.
And lastly.....a random shot of my desk at work.
Onward.....hope your weekend is a good one....
Friday afternoon....Negangard Pumpkin Patch...they were getting low but we persevered...
Friday night we actually went to a party. I know. I was shocked too, but it was lovely. Bad picture, but three guys I like.
Saturday was messing on the computer until I had to go to work, then afterward a lovely time at Fries and Peanuts with Roger and Ceal. And that evil woman gave us a jar of peanuts and candy corn. I'm not even the hugest fan of candy corn....but with the peanuts? Uh huh. The Cubs game started to fill up the place so we took off. Side note: I'm delighted with the Cubs win however.
This morning the guys helped Ernie put the signs back up on our newly painted wall.
A good weekend. Monday tomorrow, but that's ok...lots of good times in my pocket.
Damn...I gotta see Ian in Cleveland next time he plays there.... A good week....
After the Ian Hunter show Ernie and I headed back to our hotel....the one I'd booked by mistake you'll recall. We listened to jets from Midway all night and I tossed and turned and couldn't sleep. It's just like post house concert...too much adrenalin. The next morning we had no set plans. We found a place for a greasy breakfast...no healthy eating on this trip...and I surrendered to the lure of a gyros skillet...potatoes, tomato, feta, gyros and eggs over easy. Slightly inept service, chipped dishes, but it all seemed right.
For some reason I felt the pull of going out to Lisle. My parents moved from there in 2000 when Leo was about a year old, and I don't think I've seen the downtown since then, or for awhile before that actually. I've driven by the house since then but nowhere else. I was feeling nostalgic though so we lurched into the car from our diner and just headed out on Ogden Avenue.... I hadn't driven that way in years....it all felt so familiar and so different. I didn't even stop and take pictures, except for one....I couldn't resist the House of Doors delightful signage...
We stopped in downtown Lisle. It looked very much the same and of course very different. The only things downtown that really looked the same were Lisle Savings Bank (my first savings account complete with the little paper passbook they would stamp when you made a deposit) and the Fox Restaurant. The Fox used to be the Minuette (sp?)...don't know when it became the Fox. I remember going there for lunch with my folks...and sometimes for breakfast with my Dad after church. My Dad was one of the group who started the Lisle Library in the lower level of that building. Later it moved into an old building on Front Street...eventually to what I can't help but still call the 'new library' off of...mmmm Kingston Street maybe? (Updated add that while my Dad was on the Library Board, it was my MOTHER and the Lisle Women's Club that started the library. Thank you big sister for the correction!)
I think behind this is the white building that was my Dad's law office. A tad different these days.
The Book Nook, with its bank of jars of penny candy is called the Nook and sells yarn and serves food. It looked so different I didn't go in. I tried to guess where the Ben Franklin had been, and Leo's Cleaners, the bakery and the like.
We drove out to my folks' house noticing there'd been some tear downs with big new houses inserted. Our neighborhood looked pretty much the same with just a few newer houses down the street. The house looked good. It's not red any longer and they got rid of the shutters and the white picket fence. Mom's little pine grove that Dad planted for her because she missed New England towers over the neighborhood now. I suppose the little stone wall he built for her in front of it is gone too but the back yard is fenced in so I couldn't tell.
I looked around the neighborhood and marveled that the steep hills in some of the neighbors' yards were barely even slopes. The neighbors' houses looked good.... It all looked good but small in that not a child anymore kind of way.
It affected me somewhat deeply. It's funny how timing changes these things. I've driven by the house before and not had it hit me so hard. It all depends where you are in life though. I remember going to one of the Vertebrats reunions in the early 90's and having a great time but not having it be the emotional hit that the following ones have been for me. I suppose part of it is this is the first time I've been by these spots in Lisle now that Debbie and I are the only ones left.
We drove up and got on 355 S just as we had so many times before leaving my parents and heading back to Champaign. We got off on Route 47 and drove through the fields in the process of being harvested. Ernie drove and I sat and looked at my pictures from the Ian Hunter show and we talked about the other times we'd seen him. It's funny how these things become markers. I thought about all the different ages and phases in which I'd seen him play. When I was 17 and driving my folks' white and maroon mid 70's Thunderbird to the International Amphitheatre in Chicago in 1980, then in 81 or 82 at Northwestern with my cute record store boyfriend Ernie....at the Riviera in the late 80's or maybe 1990 when we lived in Chicago....House of Blues when the boys were small, and then a few years back at the City Winery, then Park West with Teri and Annette, and then again this week. Of course there were the three times I bought tickets and couldn't go....once sometime in the late 80's/early 90's at Merrillville, Indiana...when my purse, with tickets inside, was stolen at a bar in the Monadnock Building where I'd gone for an after work drink before heading to the show. In I had tickets for a casino in Wisconsin where I was going to meet V'ron but that was the week my sister ended up in the hospital and I had to drive to South Carolina where we heard the bile duct cancer diagnosis. A few years ago I had tickets for the City Winery Show and my beloved Amy Rigby was even opening with her husband Wreckless Eric...but between work and the kids etc. we had to skip it.
So many different stages of my life and he's seen me through them all with his music. This week we left the boys on their own and didn't even worry about them and they did fine getting themselves off to school and back. I don't think I could have imagined any of these stages when I was 17 at that Heart concert watching the opening band whom I'd never heard of before...the Hunter Ronson Band.... I never could have imagined all those stages when I was in that house in Lisle. It's amazing where life takes you.
I'm looking forward to the next Ian show whenever it is, but I don't think I'll go back to Lisle for awhile. This was enough.
Good God but Ian Hunter does my heart good. We snuck up to Chicago on Wednesday to see him at his second night at City Winery. It was an expensive splurge for us between the tickets and drinks and the hotel but I'd do it again this second if I could. It was glorious.
He is just so fucking rock and roll.
Ernie picked me up from work early afternoon and we spent the next three hours driving in rain so thick you could barely see the road. Not the most relaxing but we made it there without incident so can't really complain. Then we drove down West Randolph and went around various blocks a stupid amount of times as we tried to decide what to do and where to park. Finally we landed a spot pretty close to City Winery. It was still early so we headed over to bellyQ to hang out a bit. Can't argue with happy hour pricing....$5 for sake or the Kirin Ernie had. We nibbled a couple of plates for $5 each too...a kale and green papaya salad, which was good but more kale than green papaya, and some Asian glazed rib tips. We snuggled into some comfortable chairs and watched people walk by with umbrellas. Then our beloved Annette joined us. I love that woman. Just love her. She had managed to win tickets. She's always winning tickets. I asked her how she does that and she replied, "I'm persistent." Can't argue with that. She ordered some food that blew our away....a broccoli dish and an eggplant dish. Truly delightful, so definitely yes to bellyQ. She took off to pick up her friend and we meandered over to City Winery.
Our seats at City Winery were great and the people we were sitting with were delightful, which is a good thing as you're pretty much smashed together. It's nice when you can tell you're all kindred spirits.... Opening was Gerald Dowd, who I hadn't been familiar with. He's got an album on Bloodshot though (and has played with tons of folks). Great voice and good songs. He had Robbie Fulks with him. I'm not the hugest Robbie Fulks fan even though he's crazy talented but he didn't irritate me particularly so all was good. Oh, and two seats next to me were empty so we convinced Annette and Steve Krakow to sit with us....kicking my happiness into overdrive.
And then, after some more wine and some more chat, and some more of me getting tense with excitement.....we got Ian and the Rant Band. The band is so freaking great....soooo tight....they truly all seem like different parts of one being. And Ian. Well, Ian just still has it...and always will.
Set list was great....I grabbed this online but it looks right to me....
That's When the Trouble Starts
Once Bitten Twice Shy
When I'm President
The Truth, the Whole Truth, Nuthin' but the Truth
All American Alien Boy
23A Swan Hill
All the Way From Memphis
All the Young Dudes
I'm always happy with whatever he plays but The Truth, the Whole Truth, Nuthin' But the Truth, All American Alien Baoy and 23A Swan Hill made me incredibly happy....and I thought it was a particularly moving version of Michael Picasso. There's so much loss and poignancy in that song...always makes me think of my sister Judi.
The whole set flew by. And it wasn't just the songs and the voice...it was his wry grins, the way his collar stood up and he flicked it to make sure it was still up every so often...the way he fluffed his hair midway....it all made me inordinately happy. Honestly....I felt such joy. He just brings me great, great joy. At the very end, after the band had filed off, he came to the very front of the stage and leaned out to shake some hands. Then he stood back, looked at the crowd and waved and all I could think was, "Now, THAT'S a fucking rock star.