my big Big Lots shopping…

unnamed (7)Used to stop at the Big Lots on Ogden in Naperville a few times a year; they don’t take coupons, but often they’d carry funky brands of jams and biscuits.  The one by me closed years ago (I think it had been closed a year before I noticed!), but decided to check out another one.  Large and sad and tired-looking.  I wouldn’t be buying stock in this company unless you’re trading up from Kmart, if you get my meaning, if you catch my drift.  Things like old-label Pantene for $2.50 or L’Oreal hair color I’ve seen at DT selling here for $4.50.

Forced myself to buy this as Suzy Qs was the only Hostess product I liked and it was the last one to return to the line-up. $2.50 feeds my personal nutritional hell…

I’m losing my lake

unnamed (13)For months now I’ve had a very nice front yard pond.  It’s a hollow, so there’s always a mini-pond after storms, but this one never dried up.  Ducks moved in and I was waiting for small mouth bass – a new side hustle.

Since draining didn’t work (kept filling up until they turned off the water to the block), the big guns were called in (lots of trucks and equipment); they determined it was a service pipe which needed replacing (pipe was connected to city water in the late 80s, before that a well).

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The cherry picker cut down large branches and other city workers did things involving tools and mud.  lots and lots of oozy mud.  the kind of mud that sucks your boots off!

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Turns out they don’t cut water off completely, because that would require a boil order when reconnected.  This hole has already been drained four times!  About 15 years my neighbor had leak issues and the department didn’t cut the water first.  A worker cracked a seal or something and water shut up so far and fast it was almost like the guy was flying up the ladder.  Who says government employees don’t move fast?  Told this story and about how the neighbors laughed and laughed; turns out the guy in the hole today was the one from 15 years ago.  He didn’t laugh.

Another hour or two and I’ll have water again.  The foreman is being kind enough to bring in replacement prairie seeds since this isn’t just overgrown lawn grass.  Unfortunately it takes years for the grasses to develop those deep root systems, but life goes on.

Visiting Plant Chicago

unnamed (11)unnamed (9) unnamed (8)PITA and I took a drive in to the Back of the Yards area today to tour Plant Chicago, a “repurposed” meat-packing building from stockyard days that is now a center for aquaponics, hydroponics and various tenants, including Whiner Beer, a coffee shop, bakery, ice factory (!) for high-end restaurants, mushroom growers — those are the tenants!.  On the roof are bee hives and on the ground are fenced chickens and another hive.  Today was the first outside Farmers Market of the year.

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The rooms have bee repurposed for many unique ideas – – the above room was turned into washrooms and changing rooms, etc.  And finally, we eat!!!!!

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Greetings from the NRA

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That’s the National Restaurant Association’s annual celebration of all things food-related.  Gluttony to go!  So far I haven’t seen any hot new food trends, but quite a few tech ideas.  As well as long lines of people waiting for a free hot dog.  sigh…

Coke didn’t have their holographic cups this year (boo!), Wild Planet has cans of tuna with no liquid, lots of fancy breads and rolls to take and freeze, shelf-stable heavy cream is very interesting to me, given all the cooking (playing around) I do.  Tomorrow is the last day, or as I like to call it The Back Up The Truck Day, since it’s cost-prohibitive for many companies to ship back much of their products.  I’ll definitely be bringing back tea and mayhap a bit of cheese.  Some rocking English jams – – rep said the Queen comes in on Fridays to make it, but I have my doubts.

Now if FirstBorn could only find pizza to fill those boxes…