Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Pictures of the Week, Porcine Style

Okay. Russ, these pictures are for you. Remember how you always wanted to see the roast pig? Well, here it is. This is the infamous Lechon (roast pig). This is just a smaller version of it. This was for my Father's 66th birthday on Christmas Day. More pix to follow.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas in Chicago -- Part Deux

After going to see the animated windows at Macy's on State Street, we went to a deli to warm up and feed our faces. I had a ruben sandwich and she had a half a roast beef sandwich with a cup of matzo ball soup. We then headed to Millenium Park on Michigan Avenue. It was named so because it was supposed to be complete in time for the Year 2000 celebrations. Well, Chicago politics being as they are, the cost overruns kept pushing back the completion date to 2004. At least they got it done.

The "crown jewel" in my opinion is a stainless steel sculpture named "Cloudgate," done by Anish Kapoor. It is called "the bean" by the locals because of its shape. As you can see, it is a photographer's dream. You can see different reflections of the Chicago Skyline during the day or in the evening. The first picture is of Sandra and Oscar. However, you can see me taking the picture in the reflection as well. The special thing about this picture is that this is the spot where I proposed to Sandra in December of 2005.

Another picture of Cloudgate with a partial view of the city skyline.

A close-up view of Sandra and Oscar at Cloudgate.

A view of the cloudgate sculpture from the West side of the sculpture.

This is the skating rink that doubles as an outdoor cafe in the Summer months. It's Chicago's version of Rockefeller Plaza, so to speak. Needless to say, we didn't go on the ice to do any gravity checks.

After seeing numerous skaters fall flat on their rear ends, we decided to top off the day by going down "The Magnificent Mile," a stretch of Michigan Avenue that's home to some pretty expensive shopping. It is also home to some pretty lights all along the mile. We went to the Ghirardelli Store and shared a Mint Bliss Sundae. MMMMMMMM..... Sundae. It was pretty cool seeing all of the hustle and bustle going on during the next to last shopping weekend before Christmas. Here is a picture of the Water Tower, one of only two buildings that survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Of course, the famous carriage rides were busy as well. We didn't have time to go on one, but I did take a quick picture of one of the horses on the corner.

This was a quick picture of the lights on Michigan Avenue. I wish that I took a better picture, but I hope you get the idea. Anyway, Sandra and I had a fun day, but she was getting a bit tired. We hopped in the car and headed back to our abode.

To everyone out there, please have yourself a very Merry Christmas with your family. Be safe and take care!!!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas in Chicago, Part One

First of all, thank you for the very kind word and wishes. We are both excited about the coming of our first child.

Now, as Sandra already posted about, we made our annual pilgrimage to Downtown Chicago for the Christkindlmarket. It is a traditional German American Holiday Market (although we did see some booths from Nepal, Mexico, and Peru).
This picture is just an example of some of the handmade glass ornaments from Germany.

These are more hand made glass ornaments from Germany. These were a little bit more on the expensive side, but we did purchase a tree topper for our tree that was fairly priced. The craftsmanship was really something to behold.

Of course, what would a German Market be without a brass band playing traditional Christmas Carols? I introduce to you the Glen Sorgatz Brass Band.

These are a display of nesting dolls from Kharkov, Ukraine. There were all sorts of nesting dolls from people to animals.

This is the City Christmas Tree at Daley Plaza. The Tree was surrounded by tons of people taking pictures and waiting in line to get into the Santa House for the traditional seat on Santa's lap. We actually ran into a family of seven while taking pictures; I offered to take a group photo of all of them together. They excitedly accepted and handed me a plethora of digital point and shoots.

Here is a picture of Sandra and our mascot "Oscar the Orca." Besides abusing our credit cards buying ornaments and decorations, we had some potato pancakes with applesauce for a light snack. I had a nice warm cup of Gluwhein (spiced red wine). Unfortunately, they ran out of the little ceramic boots that they would usually serve them in. Oh well, maybe next year. After milling around the market, we went across the street to the Marshall Field's... I mean Macy's and saw the animated windows. This year's theme was Mary Poppins. Unfortunately, it was so crowded that pictures were almost impossible to come by.

Our next stop was a visit to Millennium Park and Cloudgate. Why? You'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Picture of the Week Part II

This past Sunday, we decided to get a mini-Christmas tree instead of schlepping to my parent's house and picking up the big tree. This was a heck of a lot easier to put up and it didn't take up the whole corner of the apartment. The ornaments are from various places we visited, Beatles related, and traditional ornaments.

Picture of the Week

This picture was from our trip to London this past September. On Sunday night, we were at the Tower of London to see the Ceremony of the Keys, where they lock up the Tower of London for the night. This ceremony has been done every night without fail for the past 700 years. We got there early and I decided to take this picture of Tower Bridge.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Baking is over!!

Well, Cookiefest is officially done... as far as the baking and packing goes. I took a bunch of boxes to the post office yesterday and sent all of the little goodie packages on their merry way. Who will get one? You will find out in due time ;))) If you haven't seen Sandra's blog already, a picture (okay, it's upside down) of the boxes is posted.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Picture of the Week

Here is a picture of Sandra and I during afternoon tea in a London hotel. Let's just say that it was very satisfying.