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Unity on the North Shore; Not Eye-Rolling! Lake Bluff; A Navy Formula

For us Florida folks, the weather up here in the Windy City has been brutal – there was actually snow in the Chicago suburbs Friday morning – but fortunately, we received a warm greeting from our friends. Jay McKey and Monique Thorman from Unity on the North Shore prepared a gourmet lunch of pasta with homemade pesto and chicken, with a dessert of mango sorbet, at their home in Evanston; thanks to both of you for your hospitality and a fabulous meal, and to your son Brandon for his super photography!

That evening, we were able to kidnap our dear friend Catherine Chiesa for a dinner at Bodega Grill and Wine Lounge, an amazing restaurant in Gurnee, IL. Catherine is evidently a celebrity here, because Owner Gus Govas dropped by to chat with Catherine and sent over a very nice bottle of Cabernet. (That doesn’t happen to us nearly often enough!) After enjoying a delicious order of calamari, we all ordered lamb, and it was superb, as was the bread pudding that My Lovely Bride was lusting after. (Hasn’t she read Conquer Your Cravings?)

Just before hitting the rack (Navy terminology for going to bed), MLB asked me a question… I don’t even remember what the question was, but I violated the Good Husband’s Rule No. 643, “Never roll your eyes within visual range of Your Lovely Bride!” I almost had to set up my tent and sleep outside in 36 degree cold, wind and rain for a moment’s carelessness. Please take this rule very seriously. With today’s technology, you’re not even safe rolling your eyes while in another city or on another continent… Your Lovely Bride may have installed Facetime on your phone, and your eye-rolling could be immortalized for her and her friends to view. Talk about Trouble in River City!

On Saturday, the Drill Sergeant had Der Blogmeister and the puppies up at dawn, in spite of serious objections. The weather had warmed considerably, all the way up to 41F when I took the pups for our morning constitutional. By 8:45, we were arriving at Unity on the North Shore in Evanston, IL, for our next event. Suzanne did a “Double Header”, presenting Making the Connection in the morning and Heart Gifts in the afternoon to a large, enthusiastic group in UNS’s beautiful Sanctuary. Rev. Kurt Condra introduced Suzanne to his community and visitors to UNS. This was our second visit to UNS, and it was even more successful than the first. Both presentations were very well received. Many thanks to Bev, Rev. Curt, Jay, and Elizabeth for your help in bringing us back to UNS.

The only complaint Saturday came from Rudy and Gretchen; they found many scents of Targets of Opportunity, but they sighted no prey on this visit to Evanston. From my more elevated vantage point, I saw both grey squirrels and cottontails, but alas, our little hunters were too short for visual identification of their intended meals before they scampered to safety.

But…. the good news came on Sunday, when Suzanne suggested we drive to one of our favorite towns, Lake Bluff, which is adjacent to Lake Forest, one of the most expensive towns in the US.

I think summer arrived this afternoon; it may even last until tomorrow evening. Here we see some tulip blooms that caught Suzanne’s eye.

I love the architecture here; these were two of the homes we liked. We met a couple  my age from Santa Fe, NM, who were looking for a house here; I jokingly asked if the husband was an ice skater… he replied that in fact he was, and he had lived in a nearby town as a youngster. He actually missed the cold weather, Santa Fe being too temperate for his blood. (There are a lot of crazy people out there!)

As we were wandering around Lake Bluff with Rudy and Gretchen, we encountered a dozen of the dumbest and slowest squirrels on the planet. We would get a visual on a squirrel (in the Navy, as in British fox-hunting, this is called a “Tally-Ho”), and we’d be off to the races. On three occasions, the rodent in question was either so slow or so inept that our Dachshunds would get within a foot or two of him/her before Dog Dad had to pull on their leashes to avoid their snacking on the little buggers. Here I am showing our puppies where the squirrels had gone; since dogs don’t climb trees, they don’t have the instinct to look up when the squirrel disappears around the back side of an oak tree.

Chasing squirrels wore us out. Rudy and Gretchen needed a water break; I opted for an Amber Ale, and Dog Mom chose decaf coffee and a cookie from Wisma, a local coffee shop.

While enjoying my ale, I reflected on my eye-rolling error noted above. I recalled that in the Navy, there is a famous formula that deals with pats on the back for a job well done (called Attaboys) and figurative smacks alongside the head for errors in judgment/performance (called Aw Shits). The formula states: “It takes five Attaboys to overcome one Aw Shit!” I determined to recover by making some points with MLB: “Sweetheart, would you like a foot massage?”

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