Sunday, April 29, 2007

Wonderful Weekend

Yesterday was a spa day for me. I had a prenatal massage. Since my back had been bothering me all week, the timing was good for that, and it was nice to relax for a while. I also had a couple of other beauty treatments and got my hair cut. I probably won't have much time for the spa after the baby comes, so it's better to have my hair taken care of now and not have to go in for a while. Later, Eugene and I went out for dinner with some friends of ours. Both the food and the conversation were excellent.

Today we got together with another friend of mine, Heather. We went to Navy Pier, where we took a boat ride, saw an IMAX show, and walked around for a while, enjoying the weather. Later, we went out for sushi, though of course I couldn't have any. But by the time we returned home, clouds were coming. It's raining now; I hope Heather got home before the storm hit.

I have pictures from the boat ride but don't feel like posting them now. Perhaps I'll upload them tomorrow.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Time for an Update

I've been slacking on the blog this week. Some nights I had a good excuse for doing so. For example, Monday night was the Billy Joel concert. Eugene and I went with Betsy, a friend of his from vet school, and her husband Ray. We had dinner beforehand and lingered so long that even though we were only a few minutes away from the venue, we had a hard time finding parking. We wound up having to take a shuttle bus from another parking lot. Good thing concerts never start on time. It was an enjoyable show; Billy Joel was at ease with the audience, and he played a mix of hits and some more obscure songs. I have to admit I was a bit more tired than I realized, so it was harder for me to get into some parts of the show. We didn't get home until about 11:30.

Tuesday we had one of our childbirth classes. It's part of a six-week long course, and we're about halfway through. We have breathing exercises to do (well, it doesn't matter if Eugene does them) and other things we're supposed to practice between sessions. I never knew pregnancy would require so much homework!

The last couple of days I've just been busy with other things, like working on my writing. Some info about that is posted on my other blog. I won't bother to go into it here, however. But there should be some other things to report on this weekend, so I'll try to post them sooner.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Few Pictures....

One of the swans at the garden.

Eugene takes time to enjoy the flowers.

One of the many flower beds.

And of course, what trip to the garden would be complete without an Oscar picture?

Back to the Garden

At last we had a gorgeous weekend, so Eugene and I went back to our favorite spot, the Chicago Botanic Garden. It was very busy today, as there was an antique/garden show going on. One of the first things we saw when we entered the garden was a pair of swans. We took a few pictures of them before seeing another pair being fed a little farther down. Eugene let me use one of his cameras, so I practiced taking some photos with it. I may try to post them later on after I finish installing a new card reader. Some of the fruit trees were in bloom, so I enjoyed sniffing the blossoms. The bulbs were going strong, but of course it's too early for roses.

We only stayed at the garden for a couple of hours and tried not to walk around too much. I sat down every chance I could. Even so, my back was killing me by the time we left. I guess that's only going to get worse the farther along I am.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

We're Baaaacckkk....

Finally, our Internet at home is up. We had to place a new order for Internet service, as the one call that I thought would take care of both the phone and Internet didn't work. We're gradually getting some other things sorted out as well. We've bought so many bookshelves at IKEA that we should get one free. ;) Once we get the nursery emptied out, Eugene will be able to assemble the crib and other furniture.

Speaking of home furnishings, we had planned last week to pick up some vacuum storage bags (the kind that you can pull air out of to condense bulky clothes) but couldn't find them at Target. While I was running errands today, I stopped at the Container Store and bought some. When Eugene came home from work, he also had a bag from there. I guess great minds really do think alike. We should be able to use them all, though, so we don't have to return them.

I had a request to report on how the meals from Dinner by Design turned out. We've eaten all but the beef brisket. Overall, we enjoyed them. The shrimp scampi was a little disappointing in that the shrimp were small and the shrimp/pasta ratio was too low, but it was good and garlicky. The pork chops and lasgana in particular were quite good. We plan to go back next month and possibly make more dishes.

Writing: I should probably put this on my other blog, but I have started to rewrite one of my books. I've also started revising a synopsis for Lennon's Line. I'm not sure yet when I'll start sending it out; it should probably go through one more edit/revision first, but I'm getting close to the point where I just want it done and out of the door.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Dinner By Design

Net Update-Still not up at home. Our land line works only intermittently due to a damaged phone jack. Our apartment complex will take a look at it on Monday to see if they can replace it. I hope we don't have to call the phone company to have it fixed; who wants to pay for something that was already damaged when we moved in?

Anyway, on to the main topic for the day....

I found out about Dinner By Design through one of my online forums. It's a franchise where you can prepare meals to take home and cook. (You can freeze them until you need them.) All of the food is already chopped up or (in the case of the meat) premeasured for you; you just have to assemble it. I've heard other people rave about this place, so I wanted to try it for myself, partly to get out of my own "recipe rut" and partly to have some meals stocked up for when the baby comes.

My first session was last night. (You have to sign up in advance so they know what ingredients to have on hand.) One other customer was supposed to be there, but since he never showed, I had the place all to myself. In some ways, that felt strange (and I felt bad for the people running the place), but it was also nice not having to share space with someone else. There were five stations set up to prepare food (each with a recipe and all the ingredients), and some of them were set up for two entrees, so I can see that there could be a wait if the place was too crowded.

The employees were very helpful. One of them explained how the setup worked to me. He would have walked me through a couple of meals if I needed him to, but I've done enough cooking to feel comfortable enough doing it on my own. They assisted me in other ways, however; they brought me melted butter for some dishes that needed it, they gave me apple juice to substitute for wine in the shrimp scampi, and they cut up a panni sandwich so it was more manageable.

The process was pretty simple. I had selected six dishes in advance. They had a list ready for me, so I went up to each station, read the recipe, and collected any utensils I needed from a rack in the back. All of the ingredients were at the station. The meat was already prebagged in the amount that I needed, but the other ingredients, such as veggies and spices, were set out with measuring cups and spoons. Most of the dishes went straight into foil pans for freezing and baking, though there was one dish (a beef brisket) for the crockpot. The meals were easy to assemble; I think the hardest part was trying to roll up a stuffed flank steak. I just tied it in several places instead. When I was done with each dish, there were preprinted labels with cooking directions to put on each pan.

The whole process took about an hour and a half. I made shrimp scampi, a veggie lasgna, a beef brisket, Greek stuffed flank steak, a panni, and pork chops with peaches and stuffing. They had some premade side dishes in the freezer, so I picked up some vegetables and a brunch dish as well. I'm not sure how the cost worked out for the sides, but the main dishes came to about $3/serving.

It was a interesting experience. I wish Eugene could have been there, but they have to limit the number of people there to control space. (Guess that wouldn't have been a problem last night with the no-show.) Assuming we're pleased with the meals, we'll do this again. Eugene is already picking out possible entrees for next month. Maybe next time he'll play chef too.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Child Care Class

Our Internet still isn't set up at home; heck, neither are our computers. Hopefully Eugene can take care of that this weekend. It's frustrating being without the Net at home.

Last night we attended a newborn care class through the hospital. (We're also signed up for childbirth, CPR, and breastfeeding.) They talked about various things such as what the newborn will look like, how to hold the baby, how to give the baby a sponge bath, and so on. We had dolls, so we could practice doing these things too. Eugene has more experience with babies than I do, and it showed. This will definitely be a learning experience for me!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Quick Update

Yes, I'm blogging on my lunch hour.

We finished the move by Sunday evening. The main part of the move took place Saturday, when Eugene and his brother moved the rest of the furniture. We still had piles of smaller stuff to transfer, plus we had to clean the old apartment. But it's done, and I turned in the old set of keys last night.

Now we just have to focus on setting up the new place. There's not much I can do (or the Proud Paternal Pregnancy Police will let me do), so Eugene has to bear that burden. I already have my own. ;)

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