Stewart Alistair Koerner

Stewart, this morning, looking regal after a spa day on Monday.  Does he need remedial help?

Stewart, this morning, looking regal after a spa day on Monday. Does he need remedial help?

I am a bit freaked out by what a Border Collie can do as seen in my previous post. This Layla is one smart dog. With Stewart, we are pretty much happy if he gets the newspaper and doesn’t knock us down by jumping on us.

On Monday, I received a message on Facebook with the video. MK and I watched it and literally couldn’t keep our eyes off the performance and were laughing hysterically as the dog went through its paces. I noticed on Youtube that it has had over fourteen million views and given the canine expertise it displays, I am not surprised.

Stewart is a sweetheart and it makes me wonder if we need to register him for extra help or maybe get him a doggie tutor.

I have called a family powwow, sent the video, and am awaiting further instructions because we need to bring Stewart Alistair Koerner up to snuff.

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A Border Collie Performance to ACDC!

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 14.23.17Un grand merci à Nancy Mathieu! Stewart, take notice!

Crufts 2016 – 3rd place – Irena Ištvánková & Layla

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Wet! Rafael and Ivan! Heinen’s! Good friends!

This piece of property is reclaimed wetland that was in the not so distant past, farmland.

This piece of property is reclaimed wetland that was in the not so distant past, farmland.

A tributary of the Chicago River, just north of the property belonging to Deerfield High School and a short distance (3 miles) from our house.

A tributary of the Chicago River, just north of the property belonging to Deerfield High School and a short distance (3 miles) from our house.

The weather continues in the 40s, okay, Chicago spring, right? We are enjoying this ‘spring’ despite the coolness of the weather and the fact that it rained pretty much all day on Saturday and the back yard is lawn-soggy and under water in its far reaches. At least the grass isn’t!

Stewie and I did our morning 5K for RunKeeper and just managed to do so before the rain. Good deal! Our new landscaping guys were over and delivered stones to put in the area of the pond in my attempt to keep mulch out and to use the stones as a filter. The idea of stones as a simple filter I got from walking behind Deerfield High School. They have a marshy area that has been reclaimed and they use stones and rocks to filter the water and to keep the nearby tributary of the Chicago River clean. It is simple and it works.

The lawn guys managed to put everything down before the major rain. I have consistently asked them if they would like something to eat or drink and during he summer months they drink Coke. The father and dad team are as thin as rails, work like crazy men, smoke like chimneys, and apparently cannot put a pound on, very unlike most of us. Thus, they drink regular coke or, when it is cold as it has been, coffee. I make them a French Press of coffee and give them some Italian biscuits. Rafael came to the door asking for sugar since the Pewter sugar bowl with a lid was empty, they use so much that I didn’t realize they had depleted it. They enjoy their hot coffee with lots of cream and lots of sugar. The Demerara sugar I had given them apparently was not to their liking; I think its brown color (and maybe a taste I am unaware of) made them ask for regular, bleached white sugar. They told Mary Kay that they were not fond of brown sugar in their coffee. Yesterday, I set them up in the garage since it had started raining, knowing full well that my offer to come in the house would be turned down and that otherwise they would sit on the cold, wet patio chairs.

We did some grocery shopping and in doing so managed to get our hanging planters for the season. Last year, we were so pleased with the hanging planters from Heinen’s Grocery store, that I promised myself that I would just not wait for the sale and purchase them from there the minute they had them. I saw the baskets when we arrived in Bannockburn and so we bought four hanging planters of ivy geraniums (like those of Alsace and Germany) and two of beautiful white tinged with pink begonias. Last year I was impressed with the longevity of the plantings’ beauty so I thought I would recreate it this year. I put them in the garage last night due to the cold, although I believe they would be just fine since they are ‘out’ at Heinen’s.

Our afternoon was delightful, with an unscheduled visit of a grandchild fresh back from a little trip to Galena. She was with her dad and they were trying to let the new mom and her seven-week charge get some rest. We had a stockpot of Hungarian beef soup going thanks to our Heinen’s visit and did not want to leave to join them so they came to us.

Following the wonderful visit, we went to dinner with delightful friends that despite the fact that they live in Deerfield, we don’t get to see all that often. As it has happened in the past, it was as if we had just seen them the other day, they looked just as young and vibrant and they regaled us with wonderful stories of new grandchildren, something we definitely have in common. Although we were catching up, we felt as if no time had passed by. I almost felt sorry for the server since we were so busy chattering that he almost couldn’t get us to order. He didn’t seem to mind and the dinner we had was most congenial and a reminder that we need to be better about staying in touch. We have some local theatre possibilities that we think might do that trick, the Citadel Theatre.

So, despite the nastiness of the supposed Chicago spring, there are bright moments that shine.

Posted in Exercise, Family, Friends, Household and yard tasks, Koi and goldfish, Theatre, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment

Friday: Hemingway, Cellar Gate, Lahiri, Saturday morning 5K

The very warm and somewhat eccentric interior of Cellar Gate in Highwood.

The very warm and somewhat eccentric interior of Cellar Gate in Highwood.

Viennese coffee that is to die for!

Viennese coffee that is to die for!

To keep track of my walking, I use the RunKeeper App. Most of the time it works pretty well. Periodically, it peters out, not recording the whole walk, something I find annoying. I had another app, a specific dog walking app, but it was even less reliable than RunKeeper.

I had signed up for the challenge, a challenge that appeared when I went to register a walk, and I thought it would be a good idea. It was just like doubling my usual walk. I ended up walking to Deerfield High School and back, a bit over the 5K.

I went earlier rather than later because the rains are supposedly coming back.

Friday found us going to the movies. We had wanted to see the new Susan Sarandon flic but ended up seeing the Hemingway movie, ‘Papa Hemingway in Cuba.’ I thought I had seen a rating of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes but apparently I was wrong, it was 8%! Here is why you need to take that with a grain of salt, I would give it a 95%! The movie was wonderful and a genuine non-dozer from start to finish!

It was a true story, written by Denne Bart Petitclerc, a writer who idolized Hemingway and who ended up actually meeting him and becoming his friendà. The story is his story. Great performances were given by the stars: Giovanni Ribisi, Joely Richardson, Adrian Sparks, Minka Kelly, and even a cameo by Mariel Hemingway. I have to say that I have never appreciated the acting of Giovanni Ribisi and this movie makes me like him as I never have before. Joely Richardson as Mary Hemingway and Adrian Sparks as Ernest Hemingway were amazing.

Seeing this movie even filmed in Cuba, using Hemingway’s actual home, which is now a museum, was wonderful. Seeing the American politics playing with a world-renowned writer was fascinating. I am sorry that this movie has been panned because it is decidedly worth seeing.

We had dinner with a gift certificate that had long lapsed, in Highwood at the Cellar Gate Wine Market and Bistro. MK’s administrative colleagues had given her this when she retired. For whatever reason, I was not overly excited about it. I was all wrong, however. We went early; found out that not only is it a wine bar that serves appetizers, but that they now have dinners. They have a very intimate set of rooms and a very nice patio seating area (separated into several different areas) that is kind of surprising when you see where it is in Highwood. We also found out they often have music so we have numerous reasons to return.

We had a glass of Valpolicella that was absolutely a dream to sip. That was followed by a shared kale salad that had a slightly sweet dressing with dried cranberries, apples, pears, pecans, and cashews. MK had salmon over pasta and I had Penne pasta Bolognese. The piping hot food was as good as the incredible wine. We followed that with Julius Meinl coffee and bread pudding.

My dessert life has been overturned of late, having seen my views of rice pudding thrown out as our friend Evelia’s mother made an ‘Arroz con leche’ that made me a rice pudding lover and now the Cellar Gate has made me a lover of my former dessert hate: bread pudding. Our hostess and owner of the establishment took a lot of time talking to us and graciously told us that the over two-year-old certificate was still acceptable. She had mentioned the dessert and I was intrigued. How could bread pudding be that good? It was. I am a convert.

The ambiance was amazing, the music from Pandora delightful, and the food and service impeccable. Our cost was approximately $100 and was covered by an old gift certificate. Needless to say, we shall be going back only next time for the atmosphere, food, etc., and music!

We finished off the evening by watching a movie I had presented for the Oakton FilmFest: The Namesake. A wonderful movie based on the book by Jhumpa Lahiri, MK had not seen it.

What a wonderful day and evening!

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Gray days continued, Meuh!

Look carefully in the center to see the deer we saw on our walk.  About thirty feet away.

Look carefully in the center to see the deer we saw on our walk. About thirty feet away.

The other day, one of our sons asked me about the infamous Koerner family story of tubing down the Wolf River, I believe, in Wisconsin. It was one of those things where you rent an inner tube, put it in some relatively slow flowing water, and go from one spot on the river to another. We did it with the boys one day and had a very relaxing experience. The reason I was asked is because it was one of those times where we saw cows as we floated by and I called to them in French, loudly saying, “Meuh”
to them. “Meuh” is the French way of saying moo. Needless to say, there were ramifications to my doing that, they all decided to saunter into the river, managing to make any ‘tubers’ following us have to get out and go around the cattle in the river.

Friday is the same weather-wise as the rest of the week, kind of gray, cool, and always looking as if it is on the verge of rain.

The pond is settling down and the sidewalk next to the garage is almost totally dry. It has taken days for this to occur. I am looking forward to being beyond the unpleasant spring weather with its overload of rain.

I will have to take a good look at the pond once we are beyond this to see what measures I need to take to get it clean.

Stewie and I have, as of yet, to take our walk, and that is decidedly on the docket. MK is spending the morning at the Social Security Office trying to figure out the Medicare issues since they are trying to charge her an abnormally high amount. I will soon have to worry about signing up for all that fun at the end of the year and I am not looking forward to it.

Okay, Stewie and I are back and we survived all of the walkers, the weather, and the gray attitude of the meteorological day. We made our own sunshine.

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