Tuesday, 31 March 2009


Last night I read on BBC that women are more likely to buy things impulsively during the ten days before their period starts then any other time. (They needed research to back this up?!?) Frequently the budget-breaking items are "adornment" pieces, such as jewelry, clothes, makeup, high-heel shoes, etc. The researchers studying this attributed it to two things: 1) Women self-medicate themselves by shopping. Basically, during this time women use the perk of buying something new and making themselves look nice to combat the negative emotions they may feel due to the extreme fluctuations in hormones. (I never do this by the way, as any long time reader of this blog would know!) 2) This is also the period when women are most fertile so they "adorn" themselves to become more attractive to men. The article also mentioned that women most often regretted these purchases. Fascinating, eh?

Which brings me to my purpose: I have set up a plan with my hus
band to curve my ahem, unwanted impulsive shopping. I made a list of things I want/need to buy in the next couple months and assigned each a month in which to buy it. Hopefully, this will help because then I can think, no, I'm already buying this item this month so I can't buy that. Anyway, if that made any sense at all, my item for April is a new swimsuit for me. Yeah! I actually have three swimsuits, but one is a maternity one and the other I bought when I weighed the least I've ever weighed since junior high. (140 lbs.) Leo says I look sickly when he sees pictures of me then, although at the time he never said anything. Anyway, it does not fit any longer--especially with me still nursing. In fact, I weigh now what I did when I was nine months pregnant with Elena. I try not to think about that. Anyway, my other swimsuit I've had since 9th grade and it is threadbare. Literally.

So, since I am horribly undecisive (except when I'm impulsive) I decided to ask for anyone's and everyone's input. Besides, as my sister Andrea and I have found, it's fun shopping together, while thousands miles apart on the internet. :)
So, I really like the above one with the skirt. And my honey liked it too. But I really don't think brown is my color. And, as my mom pointed out, if I'm not happy with the color now, I probably never will be. So I think this one is out. I had already downloaded the photos when I decided that though.
This one is on sale. I love the colors and the price. But I think with kids that halter top may not be the most practical choice.
I just liked the print on this one. The rest is kind of whatever.

I love the style of this one, so retro and the back is cool. And the print is colorful, so this is definitely one of my favorites. Sorry I couldn't get a bigger picture of the front. Errr...
I'd have to be pretty tan to pull this one off, plus it's white and that plus kids is trouble. But I still love it. But not going to make the cut I think.
So this one is pretty practical and looks child resistant. I love fuchsia, but the orange not so much.

I like this one. I love the color. I do the criss-cross back cause of the kiddos.

Okay so I love this one too. I love the retro styling and that it looks so feminine. But do you think it's a little too matronly for me? I think this is one of my favorites.

Ahhhh.... choices, choices. I can't decide. Please help.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Churches--My friend sent me this forward

And I thought it interesting enough to share again. I have to admit that with a short search, I found the source of this on another blog. Here's the blog and the credit to them. They have some other interesting and funny stuff. You should check it out. Oh, and I've driven past the one in Chicago---it is really cool!


Harajuku: Japanese Futuristic Church

This futuristic protestant church is located in Tokyo and it was first unveiled by the design firm of Ciel Rouge Creation in 2005. The ceiling is specially made to reverberate natural sound for 2 seconds to provide a unique listening experience for worshipers and tourists.

Harajuku Futuristic Church

Saint Basil's Cathedral: The Red Square 's Colorful Church

Saint Basil's Cathedral

The St. Basil's Cathedral is located on the Red Square in Moscow , Russia . A Russian Orthodox church, the Cathedral sports a series of colorful bulbous domes that taper to a point, aptly named onion domes, that are part of Moscow's Kremlin skyline.

The cathedral was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible to commemorate the capture of the Khanate of Kazan . In 1588 Tsar Fedor Ivanovich had a chapel added on the eastern side above the grave of Basil Fool for Christ, a Russian Orthodox saint after whom the cathedral was popularly named.

Hallgrímskirkja: Iceland 's Most Amazing Church

Church of HallgrÃfÆ'Ãfâ? ÃfÆ'Ãfâ? ÃfÆ'Ãfâ? ÃfÆ'Ãf¢ Ãfâ?s­mur

The Hallgrímskirkja (literally, the church of Hallgrímur) is a Lutheran parish church located in Reykjavík, Iceland. At 74.5 metres (244 ft), it is the fourth tallest architectural structure in Iceland. The church is named after the Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614 to 1674), author of the Passion Hymns. State Architect Guðjón Samúelsson's design of the church was commissioned in 1937; it took 38 years to build it.

Temppeliaukio Kirkko: The Rock Church

Temppeliaukio - The Rock Church

The Temppeliaukio Kirkko ( Rock Church ) is a thrilling work of modern architecture in Helsinki . Completed in 1952, it is built entirely underground and has a ceiling made of copper wire. It was designed by architect brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen and completed in 1969. They chose a rocky outcrop rising about 40 feet above street level, and blasted out the walls from the inside. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Helsinki and frequently full of visitors.

Cathedral of Brasília: The Modern Church of architect Oscar Niemeyer

Cathedral of BrasÃfÆ'Ãfâ? ÃfÆ'Ãfâ? ÃfÆ'Ãfâ? ÃfÆ'Ãf¢ Ãfâ?s­lia

The Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida in the capital of Brazil is an expression of the architect Oscar Niemeyer. This concrete-framed hyperboloid structure, seems with its glass roof to be reaching up, open, to heaven. On 31 May 1970, the Cathedral's structure was finished, and only the 70 m diameter of the circular area were visible. Niemeyer's project of Cathedral of Brasília is based in the hyperboloid of revolution which sections are asymmetric. The hyperboloid structure itself is a result of 16 identical assembled concrete columns. These columns, having hyperbolic section and weighing 90 t, represent two hands moving upwards to heaven. The Cathedral was dedicated on 31 May 1970.

Borgund Church: Best Preserved Stave Church

Borgund Stave Church

The Borgund Stave Church in Lærdal is the best preserved of Norway 's 28 extant stave churches. This wooden church, probably built in the end of the 12th century, has not changed structure or had a major reconstruction since the date it was built. The church is also featured as a Wonder for the Viking civilization in the video game Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings.

Las Lajas Cathedral: A Gothic Church Worthy of a Fairy Tale

Las Lajas Cathedral


The Las Lajas Cathedral is located in southern Colombia and built in 1916 inside the canyon of the Guaitara River. According to the legend, this was the place where an indian woman named María Mueses de Quiñones was carrying her deaf-mute daughter Rosa on her back near Las Lajas ("The Rocks"). Weary of the climb, the María sat down on a rock when Rosa spoke (for the first time) about an apparition in a cave.

Later on, a mysterious painting of the Virgin Mary carrying a baby was discovered on the wall of the cave. Supposedly, studies of the painting showed no proof of paint or pigments on the rock - instead, when a core sample was taken, it was found that the colors were impregnated in the rock itself to a depth of several feet. Whether true or not, the legend spurred the building of this amazing church.

St. Joseph Church: Known for its Thirteen Gold Domed Roof

The St. Joseph The Betrothed is an Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in Chicago . Built in 1956, it is most known for its ultra-modern thirteen gold domed roof symbolizing the twelve apostles and Jesus Christ as the largest center dome. The interior of the church is completely adorned with Byzantine style icons (frescoes). Unfortunately the iconographer was deported back to his homeland before he was able to write the names of all the saints as prescribed by iconographic traditions.

Ru¸ica Church: Where Chandeliers are made of Bullet Shells

RuÃfÆ'Ãfâ? ÃfÆ'Ãfâ? ÃfÆ'Ãfâ? ÃfÆ'Ãf¢ ÃfÆ'Ãfâ? ÃfÆ'Ãfâ? ÃfÆ'Ãfâ? ÃfÆ'Ãf¢ ica Church

Located over the Kalemegdan Fortress in Belgrade, Serbia, the Ru¸ica Church is a small chapel decorated with... with trench art! Its chandeliers are entirely made of spent bullet casing, swords, and cannon parts.

The space the church now occupies was used by the Turks as gunpowder storage for over 100 years and it had to be largely rebuilt in 1920 after WWI. Though damaged by bombings there was an upshot to the terrible carnage of The Great War. While fighting alongside England and the US , Serbian soldiers on the Thessaloniki front took the time to put together these amazing chandeliers. It is one of the world's finest examples of trench art.

Chapel of St-Gildas: Built into the base of a bare rocky cliff

Chapel of St-Gildas

The Chapel of St-Gildas sits upon the bank of the Canal du Blavet in Brittany , France Built like a stone barn into the base of a bare rocky cliff, this was once a holy place of the Druids. Gildas appears to have travelled widely throughout the Celtic world of Corwall, Wales , Ireland and Scotland . He arrived in Brittany in about AD 540 and is said to have preached Christianity to the people from a rough pulpit, now contained within the chapel.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

In Poor Taste

But I still laughed.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Period Dramas--Can't live without them.

Lately I've discovered Elizabeth Gaskell. And while yes, I should actually read her books, I like the BBC adaptions just as well. Because then I can see their dresses. Yes, I realize I am pathetic. But if you love Pride and Prejudice, try these.My favorite, North and South, reminds me of a mixture of a Charles Dickens and Wuthering Heights. The main guy is far less refined than Mr. Darcy, that's for sure, far more a Bronte-type of man. I absolutely loved it.

Can't you just feel the romantic tension while looking at this photo? Yeah, I can't believe I just wrote that sentence either.
Cranford, on the other hand, had me laughing out loud in places. More of a Anne of Green Gables feel to it. The old ladies are so funny in their absolute propriety. Hee. Hee.
And of course, I nice dash of romance thrown in.
Wives and Daughters was my least favorite, but still good nonetheless. It was just more predictable, a Cinderella tale really.
Okay, this isn't Gaskell, it's Dickens, but wow, Bleak House is so much better this way than slogging through the book. Trust me, I HAVE read the book. Dickens takes so long to say anything. So annoying. But the story is so good.
My friend Jenny--who's mother lent me Cranford before going back to England--says her husband calls Bleak House, "Freak House." My husband, without ever having laid eyes on the movie, agreed. Errr.... At least I have Jenny to discuss them with.

I forgot.

I meant to post this about Las Tablas and I forgot. On the menu it had a frequently asked question page which had the question, "Where are the chips and salsa?" and the answer was, "At the Mexican restaurant down the street." Hee. Hee. So funny.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Las Tablas

Leo took me on a date last Saturday to Las Tablas. (Not the above location, but the one below.) It's a Colombian Steak House. It was so delicious!!!! Now you might question us on the veracity of that claim, because we, at least Leo might be a little prejudiced. However, it is rated as one of the top 20 best steak houses in ALL of Chicago. And Chicago has a lot of steak houses!
We were expecting a shabby place, no offense, like most ethnic food restaurants you see. Like Los Llanos, another Colombian restaurant we passed on the way, or the Ecuadorian restaurant I saw recently. (We also passed a German, Polish, Indian, Greek, East African, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Mongolian, Italian, French, Mexican, and Moroccan restuarants on our drive there, and I've seen Persian, Mediterranean, Malaysian, Chilean, and Israeli retaurants other places among ones I've forgotten.) When we arrived we were worried we had picked too expensively for our wallets. It was really chic. It was decorated all in Botero prints and copies of Colombian native gold figurines. Really nice and upscale. There's live music on the weekends too.
And this is what we ordered. Now, don't judge it till you try it. The steak is to die for. So tasty. Leo's right, it's some of the best steak I've ever had. The tabla (platter) comes with Entraña skirt steak (house specialty), rib-eye steak, pork loin, and chicken breast all grilled and sliced into small pieces. Also comes with homemade chorizo, pork ribs, arepa, crunchy green plantain, fried sweet plantain, yuca and potato. It's completely authentic Colombian food. Leo was in heaven. I was surprised they didn't have Pony Malta or papas criollas on the menu though.

Okay, I do have to admit that after all those carbs and meats, I was dying for something green or fruity, but then usually they serve a fruit dish for dessert, we just didn't order one. Anyway, we ate all of ours. The waiter said did a good job. Hee. Hee. I guess he's not used to how much a skinny guy like Leo can eat.

Also, Leo told me a funny story while we were there. They serve a drink called Refajo, which is a mixture of a light beer and Colombiana (my favorite pop ever). Leo said when he was a kid that was what his mom used to send in his lunch bag with him to school. I laughed so hard, I mean just think, a little Catholic uniformed school boy, drinking his beer with his empanadas for lunch. Hee. Hee.

Well, anyway, another reason to come visit me--we might go out for some authentic Colombian food. Or I can just make you pandequeso at home as I've promised to do for Kayli every time she comes from now on.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

A Bit of Chicago--and a million photos

Today, we went to the Garfield Park Conservatory. (Doesn't it make you feel British to say "conservatory"? Maybe that's just me.) It was a church activity and we went with the 8-11 yr old boys and girls. It was fun. I printed out random directions from Mapquest though, and ended up taking regular streets the whole way instead of the Expressway. Here's a little taste of what we passed.
This is a movie theater from the Art Deco era. It's fabulous. I really need to go to a movie there someday, it's not too far from our apartment.
Here's the Carl Schurz High School that we drove by. It was a really cool building. If you could see this picture close up, the roof has red tiles, and has an Asian looking design to it. It was just interesting altogether. I read online that it was built in 1910 and is the 3rd largest high school in IL. It reminded me of OHS (not in size though). See, here's Ogden High School. I never went there, although my sister graduated from there. Just another cool building.
The Field House. We drove by, I just stole this picture off the internet. Close to the Conservatory it was pretty scary going though. Not a place I would like to be out walking. Not at all. Casey and Ana started discussing what "hobo" meant, if that gives you a clue. The Conservatory guide says the area is "redeveloping." They put it so nicely. It's actually supposed to be going through "gentrification," but apparently the recession has halted that. Ana and Casey didn't want to get out of the car when we finally arrived, they thought I had mixed up the directions. Yeah, it was that bad.

The Garfield Park Conservatory. (The front of it anyway from the side.) It was completed in 1908 and was the largest conservatory in the world, at that time. I had to add this photo of a chocolate tree. Later Elena played forever in some chocolate bean shells. They smelled so tasty!!!
My camera was fogging up in the Palm House. This is Ana and Casey. So beautiful! I feel so elegant even walking through such a historic place. Carolina, one of the girls in my Sunday School class.
Hermana Blanca and Isabel. She holds Isabel for me every Sunday. Her and her daughters are crazy about her. :)
Oh, I love Chihuly. I saw and exhibit of his at the 2002 Olympics, and then toured the Belagio in Las Vegas where he did a ceiling/skylight sculpture, and I've seen some of his work in Scottsdale. Love it here most of all though. Anything paired with nature is just 20x's better.
The Arid House.
Hey Mr. Tallyman, tally me bananas.
Ana was enthralled with a boa constrictor, and petted it for a long
Even Elena petted it.Okay, this is my absolutely favorite thing at the Conservatory. It was made by a Moroccan artist. Isn't the tile work exquisite? Someday I will go to Morocco. I've always wanted to.
I love orchids. So beautiful.
My favorite part, the Fern Room.
Elena wore out after a while.
Ana enjoying the waterfall.
It was absolutely beautiful. I loved it!
Elena loved the goldfish.
An Abraham Lincoln statue for you all, after all, this is the Land of Lincoln. Now, Obamaland.
If you can look close you can see the ugly cramped together houses of Chicago. I'll never get used to that. Notice also, that I was at a dead stop on the "Expressway." Joy. Chicago traffic, and it was almost 7 PM.
You know how there's Chicago style hot dogs? For your edification, a Chicago style hot dog consists of:mustard, onion, sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices or wedges, pickled sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt; sometimes, but not always, cucumber slices. I never realized how popular that was until I moved here. If you can make it out, that's a hot dog sign. There are actually more hot dog fast food places here than Wendy's, Burger King, and McDonald's combined. I'm serious. So weird. I love gyros though and they usually serve those too, so all's good.
Maybe that's Leo flying in. Maybe. It was a United Express plane.
Some days, I really like Chicago and think I will miss it, possibly because of these delicious cookies from Germany that I bought in a nearby store. Yum... sorry, the little Keebler elves have nothing to compare to this. On a side note, when Brett and Kayli were here recently, Brett asked me if I only shop at ethnic stores. It made me laugh. I told him that mostly I do, except for Meijer and Walmart. Anyway, he asked if I was sure they were selling me the meat that they said they were. To which I pointed out that he better hope so, as the "beef" he was eating at the moment was from Fiesta Market. Hee. Hee.