Thursday, July 31, 2008

Horses and Hounds in Ireland

Back from Ireland and tired...
Picture is foxhounds ready for the hunt on the grounds of the castle where we stayed.
Gotta take a nap, cheers!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Off to Ireland!

I'll be waking up in Ireland tomorrow morning, won't be posting for a week.
Here is a glimpse of what I'm looking forward to experiencing in the Emerald Isle.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Got Bags?

With the outrageous cost of checking bags on flights these days, the art of light packing is more valuable than ever. On a wandering trip through England, Wales and Ireland back in 1997 I spent weeks living out of a hiking size backpack. It's really amazing how much you DON'T need. I learned how easy it is too wash a few items in a hotel (or hostel in my case) sink when you really need clean socks! I haven't done the hostel/backpacking method of travel since I was in my 20's but my light packing has gotten even better with each trip.
For a great video on packing light for weeks of travel check out this video:

Or visit their website at Packing Light:
My bags for Ireland are packed and I got 2 adults and a teenager in 1 checked and 1 carryon bag.
Happy packing, happy trip!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Party Tip

I hosted my sister's baby shower this weekend, busy few days in between multiple trips to the airport and working 9-5 Saturday. By the time I had everything ready on Sunday morning and was ready to hop in the shower guests started to arrive... EARLY!
Seriously a pet peeve of mine. A few months ago I hosted a dinner party and a guest showed up 30 minutes early, I was still running the vacuum!
So my party tips for guests, if the event starts at 12 then show up at 12 or even better 12:15. Just don't show up early, in all likelihood your hosts are still scrambling to get ready.
Anyway, hope you all had a great weekend, only a few more posts for me before I head to Ireland, as you can tell from my snappy posts, I so need the vacation.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Must Read Summer Book

My must read summer vacation book this year is Bringing Home the Birkin: My Life in Hot Pursuit of the World's Most Coveted Handbag by Michael Tonello. Tonello's tales of high end shopping thrown in with stories of his past life as an Ebay reseller, hairstylist and makeup artist, he becomes the go-to-guy for acquiring coveted Hermes Birkin bags. Check out his blog and other great links from the website:
What woman wouldn't love to own a Birkin? Last time I checked Ebay, there was a lovely Birkin crocodile bag going for the bargain price of $70,000.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Favorite Reference Question

When I am working at the reference desk I hear all sorts of questions. When I explain my job to people I usually tell them that librarians are a lot like bartenders, they hear lots of stories, get asked to solve lots of problems and often give tons of free advice.
Today's first question of the day was the perfect example:
Patron:"Hi, I read this book...I don't remember the title and I don't remember the author... but it was about these explorers in America"
Shannon:"Was the book about Lewis and Clark"
Patron: "No it was about explorations from Florida to the coast"
Shannon:"Ah huh..."
Patron:"Can you tell me where in the stacks I can look for the book, maybe a number where I can find it"
Shannon:"Umm sure, why don't you start in the 900's, you can find books on America, Explorers, Geography, Discoveries etc"
Patron:"Great, thanks..."

A minute later he had found a book on display and never made it to the stacks. Oh well.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dazed and Confused

Ok so some things make me very happy including:
Watching the new baby goslings walk across the road from my library to the lakes
Cold beer
My friends babies (I can have all the fun and then they go home)
Fresh summer cherries
Packing for a trip (already started for Ireland and I don't leave for a week)

And somethings just leave me dazed and confused and often pissed:
People who don't use their turn signal
Women who wear pantyhose with sandals (seriously?)
Anyone who doesn't stand up on a bus or train to give their seat to someone older, a mother and child, a person with packages etc
People who still write checks in the store line (are you kidding me, this takes FOREVER, get a check card and save a tree!)

Thanks for reading my ranting, it's been one of those days.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wii Have a...

So now that our basement remodel is almost complete (still waiting for the marble counter for the bar) we are escaping from the heat and having a great time playing with all of our new toys. My favorite new game system is the Wii and specifically Wii Sports with bowling and tennis. So far everytime we have guests over we end up downstairs playing some silly Wii game and have completely ignored the pool table and ping pong.
My friend Steve showed us a hysterical website about the dangers of playing the Wii, specifically all the things that can break during rowdy games. Check out the website Wii Have A Problem at:
My favorite is the guy who threw the Wiimote through his skyscraper window.

Monday, July 14, 2008

My Summer Music Obsession

So I had a busy weekend, Girls Night on Friday, a wedding in Evanston on Saturday and major yard work on Sunday afternoon before we hosted a bbq for friends. Today I arrived to work and there had been no power in the building since yesterday and when ComEd finally restored the power something sparked a fire and after the fire department left, the library was shut down. I am happily enjoying an unplanned free day. With tons to do before my family arrives for my sister's baby shower this upcoming weekend, I am keeping my energy up with my latest summer music obsessions. Between Katy Perry (I Kissed a Girl) and Chris Brown I am constantly pumping their music throughout my house and garden. The video linked below is on my ITouch and I am addicted to it, I just love to watch him dance!
Chris Brown's Forever at
Click here for Katy Perry's I Kissed a Girl

Friday, July 11, 2008

Happy Weekend!

Here is a chuckle for the weekend.


To hoom it mae cunsern,
I waunt to apply for the job what I saw in the paper.
I can Type realee quik wit one finggar and do sum a counting..
I think I am good on the phone and I no I am a pepole person,
Pepole really seam to respond
to me well. Certain men and all the ladies.
I no my spelling is not to good bu t find that I Offen can get a job thru my persinalety.
My salerery is open so we can discus wat you want to pay me and wat you think that I am werth,
I can start emeditely. Thank you in advanse fore yore anser.
hopifuly Yore best aplicant so farr.
PS : Because my resimay is a bit short - below is a pickture of me.

Employer's response:

Dear Bryan,
It's OK honey, we've got spell check.
See you Monday.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

"Mom Look What I Made!"

While in Door County we went to a wonderful art studio where you can create just about anything you can imagine. Located on a rural farm there are multiple studios you can explore including painting, mosaics, metals, glass and pottery. The first day we were there I created a mosaic bone with hooks to hang near my back door for the dog's leash and collar. The next day we were there I created a gift for my sister's baby shower which I am hosting in 10 days. We spent about 3 hours each day at the studio and after you complete your art the works are glazed and fired over night to be ready the following afternoon. There are farm animals wandering about, a place to purchase lunch and other activities for both adults and children.
I had such a great time finding my inner pre-schooler and am quite proud of my art.
For more information check out the Studio's website here:

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My Little Reality TV Addiction

I am not a television addict, I don't watch a single sitcom or drama but do like to veg out late at night to anything on HGTV (House Hunters and House Hunters International are my favorites).
Lately I have become completely addicted to the most bizarre shows, and REALITY programs at that. I really blame it on the hundreds of channels we have now on the new flatscreen in the remodeled basement. Tori and Dean Home Sweet Hollywood is fascinating to me and I have actually started DVRing every episode. Tori Spelling might be the oddest fish in the LA pond and that is staying something, it's like watching a living cartoon character with a bad boob job and an annoying voice, but there is something absolutely endearing about her marriage to hotty Dean and watching them parent their son Liam and multiple dogs all while she is pregnant with their daughter. Frankly I think it's a riot to watch them and have added them to my fictional list of "If you could invite anyone to dinner..."
To check out their show click here:
On a trip to LA a couple of years ago I got hooked on late night episodes of The Girls Next Door, I just love those ditzy Playboy bunny girlfriends of Hugh Hefner (Bridget is my fav). Check out their site here:
This is one show my husband will pause to watch every time he walks by the tv and he watches ZERO television.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Dairy Breakfast Anyone?

So on Sunday morning we went to a dairy breakfast on a working farm in Door County. Hundreds of people were there to eat scrambled eggs with ham and pancakes with maple syrup and cherries under large tents set up on the grounds of the farm. We were greated by a milk fed midwestern lass complete with tiara who apparently was Ms. Door County and then filled our plates with hot food being prepared in the largest skillets I have ever seen (see picture).
There must have been dozens and dozens of volunteers, mostly Boy Scouts and others from local organizations because as soon as you emptied your plate someone brought by a plate of hot pancakes or steaming scrambled eggs. After we ate and drank excellent cherry juice and cider the barns were open to view the dairy cows, pigs, ipacas, small ponies and baby cows. I have never seen a dairy cow up close and they are absolutely the largest animals I have ever seen outside of elephants in the zoo. HUGE! I pet my first pig, very bristly and smelled that "dairyair" and all in all had a great morning. Picture below is of the cow "entertainment" in the barn.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Up at the Farm

So this week I will be blogging about my farm adventures over the 4th of July holiday weekend. I stayed at the farm house of friends Kathy and Thom and their daughter Amy in Brussels, Door County Wisconsin which is about a 4 hour drive north of Chicago.
For me it was a weekend of firsts including:
1. My first trip to a dairy farm (dairy cows are HUGE, picture coming soon)
2. I pet a pig
3. I learned how to create mosaic artwork
4. Ate fried cheese curds (delicious!)
5. Learned how to drive a tractor (see picture above)
More pictures will be posted this week.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Road Trip and Audio Books

I'm leaving tonight to drive to Door County Wisconsin to spend the 4th weekend with my friends Kathy and Thom at their farm house.
Road trips for me are about stocking up on snacks, taking some left over takeout in a tupperware container to eat on the road and listening to audio books. Usually when driving to our boat in Michigan I take a couple of audio books for the road and can get through a few discs once I turn off AM radio after leaving Chicago. Tonights drive is an hour or so longer and I'm hoping to get through a complete book.
Last road trip I listened to Austenland by Shannon Hale which was one of the better audio books I've listened too. I prefer a narrator who can distinquish the characters by different voices and those with female readers for romances. For tonight's trip I have, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, The Devil Wears Prada and Angels and Demons. I have listened to The DaVinci Code on audio and loved it and am hoping Angels and Demons is as good or better.
My all time favorite audio books are the Harry Potter's. Jim Dale has been the reader throughout the series and I have never heard a better audio reader. He manages different voices for hundreds of characters and you can distinguish each one as easily as watching different actors in the films. Brilliant!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Laughing so hard I cried


Two women friends had left for a girl's night out.
Both were very faithful and loving wives, however they had gotten
over-enthusiastic on the Bacardi Breezers.
Incredibly drunk and walking home they needed to pee,so they
stopped in the cemetery. One of them had nothing to wipe with so she thought she would take off her panties and use them. Her friend however was wearing a rather expensive pair of panties and did not want to ruin them. She was lucky enough to squat down next to a grave that had a wreath with a ribbon on it, so she proceeded to wipe with that.
After the girls did their business they proceeded to go home.
The next day one of the woman's husbands was concerned that his
normally sweet and innocent wife was still in bed hung over, so he phoned the other husband and said:
"These girl's nights out have got to stop! I'm starting to suspect
the worst. .. my wife came home with no panties!!'
"That's nothing" said the other husband,
"Mine came back with a card stuck to her ass that said.....
"From all of us at the Fire Station.
We'll never forget you.''

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Tastes at the Taste of Chicago

I enjoyed dinner at the Taste of Chicago last night. It was a beautiful summer evening and surprisingly not as crowded as I expected. The Taste is a 10 day food festival on the City's lakefront complete with over 60 restaurants serving their specialties, musical entertainment and family activities. Admission is free and food is purchased with coupons, $8 will get you 12 coupons and portions range from 4 to 10 tickets each. The Taste is famous for the diversity of restaurants as well as the favorites such as Eli's Cheesecake.
Some restaurants definitely offer better options for your money that others. For example, you can get a large slice of chocolate chip cheesecake with a scoop of ice cream for 7 tickets at Eli's while at Billy Goat Tavern, 8 tickets will only get you an overcooked bland burger (according to my kid). My favorite at all the places we sampled was the french fries with curry sauce and vinegar from O'Brien's Pub, absolutely finger licking good.