Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Valli Produce

I've been wanting to showcase some of my favorite grocery stores around my little neighborhood for quite some time. I finally remembered my camera, so voilá, here's Valli Produce where I buy most of our produce. (Imagine that.) It's cheap. It's close. It's Italian. What's not to love?
The decor is to die for obviously. A nice Italian countryside.Also, they continually play old Italian songs--think Frank Sinatra in Italian with an accordion. Where else could I buy fresh green olives? Well, actually, there's several places around here, but whatever.But these green figs are definitely the only I've seen, in my life for that matter.
Here's snapshot of one aisle. Underneath the yellow squash there's flour--Five Roses in fact. Yeah, Canada!
Yum! Don't know what they are, but they certainly look interesting. (Okay, I know what rhubarb is.) They also sell dandelion greens here as well. Just FYI, if you ever have a craving.
I love the variety of people I see there too. When my mom came to visit she stopped some Hindu ladies complete with their saris to ask them how they cooked a peculiar two foot long, thin, green zucchini looking thing. They later stopped us to ask us how to pick out a good watermelon. I love my mom. She also asked a little girl how to eat this little olive-like fruit with a spiny peel, but the father came up hurriedly looking a little askew at Mom. Apparently he's not used to over-friendly people like my mom who have conversations all the time with complete strangers. Seriously, one time we stopped to buy some chocolate at a baking goods store and by the time we left, much later, her and the store owner had both been in tears sharing some spiritual experience. Another time, we had been eating icecream at a Jake's with a plethora of my nieces and nephews, and three college-aged men came in together. My mom gave them a lecture on how "this is what it's all about" gesturing towards all the young kids and told them all to go out and get married for heaven's sake.
Oh, and their bottled fish selection is the best. Not that I've tried it.
The Polish and Greek aisle.
Ah, where I buy my couscous and curry. The Italian aisle has more types of canned tomatoes than I believed possible. And just in case you want to catch up on your world gossip magazines. I really have no idea what language these are in, but I'd guess Polish.
And I saved the best for last. They have a to-die-for pastry selection. All kinds of delightful looking things. Cannoli is tasty. I always want to try something different, but Leo always wants to get what he already knows he likes. Hmm... They also sell Italian gelato. Yum. I like to get the free samples. (See, the lady glaring at me? I guess she thought I was some kind of psycho snapping pictures all over. Oh well.) Now this is my absolute favorite part. Chocolate from Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Poland, and several other countries I can't remember right now. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
Eventually, I'll showcase Wally's (the Polish store) and Las Rositas (where we buy little tacos for a dollar that are delicious) and there's also a Japanese store down the street a bit (it's actually bigger than the Jewel-Osco--that's Albertson's for anyone out West). Oh, and a friend of mine in the Spanish ward told me of a store that I have to go check out where she found Papas Criollas that are really good (she's from Colombia, so she should know). I about kissed her! I love Papa Criollas!! Anyway, goodnight for now. Come visit me in Chicago, and I'll be happy to show you around. :)

Friday, 26 September 2008

Chicago! In a week.

Ah, sorry for the loads of pictures, but I decided to fit a whole week of Chicago in one post. So, first off, Monday Leo and I (and Isabel) went on a date to the Science and Industry Museum while Jennae babysat Elena. Leo made a cute clown there. We rode the El--what we didn't realize though is that the museum is on the south side of Chicago, I mean the SOUTHSIDE Chicago (read it with a gansta accent and a couple hand signs). Umm, yeah, we had to walk several blocks--a good 45 min walk actually. I asked Leo the time once, only to discover he was no longer wearing his watch. He pointed out that he didn't grow up in Bogotá for nothing.

That's one of the first Benz's on the upper right, and an Aston Martin below. And upper left, Leo being a pirate with Isabel as his parrot. This is the actual German uboat, the U-505, that was captured by the U.S. during WWII. It's was Leo's favorite part, although he wouldn't pay the extra $5 to go inside. My favorite part was the exhibit on a few scientists now and their ideas for the future. That was fascinating. It was Leo's second favorite part by the way. Maybe I'll post more on them later. Oh, and just if anyone's planning a trip someday, the Science and Industry was one of the most kid friendly museums I've been to here.
On Tuesday we went to the Field Museum again. I could spend weeks there, happily. I saw several mummies, including the black weird one above (it was a child) and several falcon, vulture and cat mummies as well. Here's some of my favorite pieces in their Ancient Egypt collection. Doesn't the upper left make you think of The Mummy? Someone is going to have the undead chasing after them.
These ones were from the Colombian Ancient Americas collection. That was pretty cool. I'd like to take Ana there.
Some of the Mayan stuff I liked. Like I said I could spend weeks there. Maybe months.
Some Native American outfits.Loved this one. It was in the South Seas collection.More South Seas head-hunter stuff.This was a Maori temple. Pretty cool.When I travel the world, I'm going to collect musical instruments like this one from Tibet. Sweet.Then we went to the Adler Planetarium. Boring. Don't bother. Just spend all your time at the Field Museum instead. Good thing it was a free day and we didn't pay for it.
Wednesday, Jennae went into town and saw Wicked. I stayed home and rested. I needed it. Then on Thursday we took the El again and we went up the Sears tower. It was interesting, they had some cool information on the history of Chicago there.Then we walked around Chicago and ate at Ed's where if you're a really good customer, you'd order more. The Magnificent Mile was magnificent and we went in the American Girls store per Jennae's request. I've never seen a beauty parlor for dolls before.This picture's for Andrea and Kayli. And tomorrow we're going to the Botanical Gardens. Chau for now from Chicagoland.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Lake Michigan

Saturday Kayli and Brett went to the temple while Jennae and I took all seven kids to play at Lake Michigan. We had a really good time actually. I found a new profession. I think I should hire out as wet nurse. Basically, we got there, I changed Isabel's diaper, nursed her, then changed Talmage's diaper and nursed him. Hee. Hee. Then they were both really good and settled down and slept almost the rest of the time. Babies this age are so easy in that respect. By the way, Talmage is a good deal chunkier than Isabel this time. What a chunk! Leo and I were supposed to go to the temple too, but his plane was delayed three hours. Sad. Maybe Jennae won't mind babysitting this week...

Jumping In

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Whirling Dervishes

One of my life's dreams is now fulfilled. I've seen whirling dervishes in real life. Sweet.

Here's my own whirling dervish copying her lovely cousin Hazel-bean.

I love people watching in Chicago (you wouldn't believe all the scarves I saw! Among other weird things) and this Arabic line dancing was pretty swell too.

The World Music Festival

Kayli and Brett came up with their kids and we met at Millenium Park.
Ethne and Elena enjoyed chasing each other.
Cousins are so fun!Visting the Bean was a must.
Too bad Leo wasn't there. :( But Ana is so cute holding Isabel.
Then we ate dinner. Peanut butter and honey, yum. On the right of the picture is my friend Jennae, visiting from Utah. We have a lot planned for the coming week. I can't wait!And to top off the evening we stayed for the opening concert of the World Music Festival. Ensemble Al-Kindi with Sheikh Hamza Chakour from Syria was really good. We all liked that group. Hazel and Elena danced the whole time.
But the Whirling Dervishes from Damascus we got tired of pretty quick and came home.
All in all, it was a really fun evening. More to follow...

Saturday, 20 September 2008

This past week in brief...

Our ward campout was rained out--in fact half the greater Chicago area was flooded. So we went camping in our living room. I really hope Ana remembers the fun of sleeping in the tent in our living room instead of being burnt, crying because she disobeyed and so didn't get to roast marshmellows (we never roasted them anyway--we couldn't get the barquets to light, it was too wet outside, so we used the trusty microwave), and being upset because she was on dishes. Here's her burn.
She was standing right over Leo as he was trying to light the barquets with one of those long lighter things and he lifted it up and away and caught her squarely in the eye. I thought it had just startled her at first so I wasn't that sympathetic--then I felt bad after I realized how bad it was. Sigh.This is the girls in dresses that were mine when I was little. Funny eh? My mom kept four of my dresses and it's kind of funny that the sizes of three of them match up with my kids' sizes. So fun.

Another day, another scarf!

I tried to get a picture of Isabel smiling but it was hard to hold her and take a picture at a good angle, plus the lighting is bad. But she's still so cute!!! I just want to kiss her.