• A Night at the Opera

    I just returned from the first opera in my series for this year. It was La Boheme and I enjoyed it. Not the best opera I’ve ever seen, but good nonetheless. I’ve decided that great operas have three things going for them, great music/singing, a great story and great sets. This one only had great sets. They were truly beautiful. The story is dumb, boy meets girl, they fall in love, girl dies. Nothing too interesting there. The singers were good, but not great. I had a hard time hearing them, at times, over the orchestra. Great singers are always easily heard. Still, overall I enjoyed it. It’s not like I left early. Though, this one had two intermissions and as far as I can tell, they were to change the very elaborate set, which was very cool. The sequence was the first two acts, intermission, the third act, intermission, the fourth act. The third and fourth acts seemed really short to me, but that’s all they needed before changing sets. So that’s the way it goes.

  • Crazy Marathon Day!

    Today was the Chicago Marathon. My sister Julie and I made signs for the people we knew running and went downtown to watch it. It was a bit hot, but as spectators, we stayed in the shade most of the time. We spent the a couple of hours at the halfway point (13.1 miles) where we saw our cousin Greg and Julie’s coworker Cheryl. Then, we biked down to Archer and met up with our brother Paul to watch some more. We saw Greg and Cheryl again and Paul’s boss Roberta. We were heading up to catch up with our cousin who was watching her daughter when we heard that the race had been cancelled. One guy died and a bunch of people ended up getting sick from the heat. I felt bad for the people who did all that training and didn’t get a chance to finish, but it was probably better to stop than to get hurt from the heat.

  • Happy Birthday to Me!

    Today is my birthday, and the annual Mary tradition is to not work, so I’m keeping that one today. I had great plans to go and do something fantastic, but those plans all fell through. So, I’m going to do my usual thing and go downtown to hang out. I also want to go to this new store:

  • Last Day in NYC

    Today is our last full day in New York. It’s been a good trip. I saw two good plays, “Curtains” and “The Year of Magical Thinking”, went jogging in Central Park, visited the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum and saw some great tennis yesterday. The jogging was cool, though my knee started to hurt A LOT after about three miles, so I didn’t really run all that much in Central Park. Plus, it then hurt for the rest of Sunday, which wasn’t cool for all the walking around that I wanted to do. But, with downing copious amounts of ibuprofen and icing it when possible, I made it through the day.

  • A Year of Magical Thinking

    I’ve just returned from the play “A Year of Magical Thinking” and wanted to put the ideas floating through my mind down before they left me. This will sound jumbled, but I want to get them all down.

  • Best $3 Spent in NYC

    I’m writing from my hotel room in Times Square. Resting up before going to see the closing performance of Vanessa Redgrave in The Year of Magical Thinking. It should be a good show. Last night, we saw Curtains, which was excellent. A big, brash musical. Tonight should be a bit more subdued, which should make a nice contrast.

  • Paul’s Show

    My little brother is in a band and is currently putting on a show that lets a bunch of bands play short sets and some visual artists display their work as well. I went to the first night at The Empty Bottle and it was really good. I liked most of the bands more than I thought I would have. I’m going again tonight with some friends and may go on Saturday as well.

  • Next.

    The more I think about it, the happier I am that I did the half-marathon. I definitely want to train to do another one, but this time to do it for time. I’m pretty sure that I could do it in less than 3 hours, so I’d like to try for that.

  • It’s Over

    Today, I am not working. I took the day off, thinking I would need it to recover from the half-marathon that I ran yesterday. Turns out that I really don’t need it. My muscles are a little sore, but I feel fine. We did not go fast at all in the half-marathon, my time was around 3:18. In fact, I felt so good yesterday that I cleaned out my entire living and dining room, threw out my old couches and went and bought a new one.

  • Glass Block Window Installation

    The glass block window went in really easily. John, Janet and I had it in and mortarted in about two hours. I saved about $500 by doing it myself instead of hiring the guys I called.

  • Catching Up

    As soon as I get some time, I’ll post the pictures from Bloomington. I didn’t take too many because the battery on my camera died on the first day and I forgot to bring my charger. But I’ll have Jack’s and Em’s pictures to put up as well.

  • My Bloomington-Normal Trip with Emily and Jack

    We are sitting in our hotel room in Bloomington, waiting for a pizza for dinner. Here is Em and Jack’s narrative of the trip so far:

  • Another Route

    Rode the #74 Fullerton bus today, en route to my cousin Janet’s house to pick up her car. I picked it up in Lincoln Park, by DePaul and rode it to California.

  • My House Has a Hole

    I finally took the old, rotted window out of my bathroom. This left me with this hole.

  • Add a Route

    After returning my cousin Janet’s car to her house, I took the bus home. Pleasantly, this involved taking a new bus route. So, I can now cross off the #52 California/Kedzie bus off my list of routes. I took it from Logan Blvd to 36th. Then transferred from to the #35 which brought me home. Total travel time: 1 hour

  • My Runs

    The Nike Plus website is letting me share my last 5 runs with the world. So, I’ve copied the code and am posting it here to see how it looks.

  • My Longest Run

    Yesterday, after work, I put on my new Brooks running shoes and went for a long run. (Note: It was raining pretty hard, though not when I started.) I was shooting to go around 4 miles because that’s my long distance these days. I ran from my corner to the park and then three times around the park. I thought I’d also run home too, but my calves were feeling really sore and I thought it best to stop there. Turns out that I ran 4 1/2 miles! I had run for over an hour, as I still go pretty slow, averaging a just under a 14 minute mile. Not fast, but not bad, in my opinion. Needless to say, after walking home, I was incredibly sore. The muscles in my legs got really stiff. And they were pretty stiff this morning as well. Later in the day, they got better and now (around 10pm) they’re ok.

  • Bathroom Work

    Finally, I got a good day of work in on the bathroom today. Basically, I built the wall by the sink. Here’s what it looks like.

  • My Strange Goal

    I’ve had this thing that I’ve wanted to do for a while. I don’t know why I want to do it, but I do. I’d like to say that I’ve ridden every bus or el line in Chicago. And not just taking a ride so that I could say that I’ve ridden it. I want to actually go places which require me to ride every route. I know it’s nuts and I don’t know why I want to do it, but I just do. I’ve ridden a number already and I’m going to create a single page listing all the routes I’ve ridden. Then, as I ride a new bus route or el line, I’ll add them to my list. Today, I rode the #12 Roosevelt and the #9 Ashland (though I’ve ridden that one in the past).

  • Bathroom Floor—Happiness

    Here’s what my bathroom has looked like of late.

  • Running

    This Sunday, I ran 3.25 miles and felt ok afterwards. Maybe I can do this half-marathon after all.

  • A Crazy Idea

    So, my friend Laurie Strahinski emailed me the other day, asking if I wanted to run a half-marathon with her in August. Now, as I’m easily 50 lbs. overweight, this seems to be a ridiculous idea. But, because I am an idiot, I agreed. I have been going to the gym off and on (more off than on), so it’s not like I’m starting from scratch. My first week, I could run two miles pretty easily. Now, I’m up to three miles in just under 40 minutes. So, I’m not breaking any speed records, but I’m doing ok. I’m trying to run three times a week, though I’m not sure how my knees will hold up.

  • Work Continues…

    Tonight, I finally got off the old cast-iron drain from the tub. It was connected to the main stack with lead. So I had to drill some holes into it and then just chisel it out. I broke one drill bit (9/16″ RIP) and also cracked the screwdriver that I was using to pry it out. But, after about 2 hours, I got the pipe out. So, I’m very happy that’s over.

  • Fixed Bedroom Electricity

    So, as I was going to bed last night, I plugged my laptop in the outlet by my mattress and poof, lights in the room went out. I thought I had blown the circuit, but then turned and found that the stuff plugged in on the other side of the room was still on. I went to the basement and found that the circuit was not blown. I figured that whatever was loose in the box that I put the cover on the other day, must have finally separated. Since it was around 11pm when I discovered this, I decided not to try to fix it immediately. (I don’t ever work on stuff when I’m tired because that seems to be when I make truly dumb mistakes.) I shut the breaker off to the room, just to be on the safe side and went to bed. I got up around 6am and decided to check the wires in the one box. After retwisting them together, I put the cap on and some electrical tape for good measure. When I turned the breaker back on, everything worked fine. So, small problem fixed.

  • Removing the Floor

    The last bit that I need to remove from the bathroom is the floor. Rather, the sort of vinyl top and plywood floor that’s over the subfloor. This is a royal pain. Why? Screws! The vinyl (it’s not really vinyl, but I don’t know what it is) floor is covering the heads of the screws, so it was really hard to get up. In fact, I only took up half the floor. I used my circular saw to cut it into pieces and then had to pry the pieces off. This was really hard and my back is pretty sore. It’s just proving to me how much better screws are at holding things than nails. Tomorrow, hopefully, the rest will come up and I’ll be done gutting.