Monthly Archives: August 2012

Hey Big Guy!

Hot dog stands are a dime a dozen in Chicagoland. Almost every street has one or two, and they all offer pretty much the same thing: Chicago-style hot dog (also known as a Red Hot, an all-beef frank topped with mustard, onion, tomato slices, neon green sweet relish, sport peppers, a pickle spear and celery salt served on a poppy seed bun–absolutely no ketchup allowed) , fries, and sometimes tamales, subs and other sausages. So when Naoto told me about a new “hot dog stand” in neighboring Berwyn–Big Guys Sausage Stand, I was happy to try it out, but I wasn’t flipping my lid over it…I mean, how different could it be than all the others?

Apparently, very different.

As you can tell from the menu, they have every kind of tubed meat available…and sausages aren’t topped with the usual mustard and onions. Big Guys’ toppings are homemade and very inventive. On my first visit I had the Cheddar Braut which comes topped with homemade cheddar sauce, chimmichurri and pickled red onions. What could normally be a very heavy sandwich was actually well-balanced because of the freshness of the chimmichurri and the onions. On my second visit (a few days later) I had the Buffalo Chicken Sausage (pictured on top). This sausage is their own recipe and it is pretty spicy, but it’s nicely cooled down by the bleu cheese and the veggies. I cannot wait to try the Italian Chicken Sausage (also Big Guys’ own recipe) and the Bacon Beer Cheese Soup (maybe when the weather cools off) and quite possibly a tamale…

As with most hot dog stands, there is a counter inside for stand-up eating and picnic tables in the back for a summer sit-down.

Needless to say, I think we’re going to be regulars here.

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under the weather

I made it through the winter of 2011-2012 without getting sick. It was kind of a miracle, since I work in retail, but also not really surprising because I normally get eight hours of sleep and have a pretty good immune system (built up from ten years of working with children!) Last week, Naoto went to Connecticut on business and came home sick (from the germ-filled airplane, of course). I tried so hard to keep myself safe from the germs–washing my hands frequently, sleeping with my face far, far away from his germ-y snoring, not allowing him in the kitchen… But then, on Sunday night, there was a slip–I accidentally drank out of his glass. I knew.

On Monday afternoon, my throat felt scratchy and by Monday night I was feeling miserable. Most of Tuesday was spent in bed, trying to sleep it off.

Naoto is feeling terrible about bringing the germs home…not that he could help it, really. When we flew home from Japan last winter, he got mega-sick in spite of wearing a “hygiene” mask. (I didn’t wear one, and I was fine.) I have told him that the next time he flies, he shall be quarantined for at least three days to ensure the health and well-being of the rest of the family (me). I think it’s only fair…

In the meantime, I will pampering my nose with lotion tissues, taking Advil Cold & Sinus (like it’s candy!) and enjoying Elvis mugs of Japanese tea.


the tiny tv

We are in the market for a new TV. Right now, we watch the tiny 13-inch television I got for a Christmas gift sometime in the mid-nineties. It was my college TV. And, it is not Hi-Def or flat screen (in case you couldn’t tell), it’s a tube TV…so basically, an antique. Also, to see the TV from the kitchen, I sometimes use binoculars…especially if I need to check the score of a game or something. When it comes time to get rid of it, I’m not even sure Goodwill will take it. (I placed a stapler next to the TV below for scale.)

Why have we lived so long with such a tiny TV? This one fits perfectly in the cabinet (which is really a wine/liquor cabinet from Ikea). It’s so convenient. (I mean, who doesn’t want to mix a cocktail and watch Law & Order?) And, I’ve been really picky about what I want to set the TV on (since nothing larger than a 13-inch will fit in our current cabinet!) I didn’t want to buy something from Ikea; I wanted something with a little more character. I originally had been searching for a decently priced Mid-Century Modern credenza, but that has proved impossible since Mid-Century is so “in” right now. Then, last month we were at Yearbook, a little designer antique store here in Forest Park, and I fell in love with a beat up old hardware store (?) cabinet with lots of little labeled drawers. Naoto noticed my expression, went right up to the counter and bought it for me! I didn’t even protest…it was too sweet! (My husband sure knows the way to my heart–vintage furniture!)

So, we didn’t have a plan for the hardware store fixture (Does anybody else out there buy furniture without a plan?) , but it is the right height for a TV and it has the uniqueness I was looking for. I hate shopping for electronics–it’s such an investment & I know nothing about these newfangled new televisions, but the search begins this weekend. It’s time to take the plunge into the 21st century!

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soaking up summer

When our neighbor friends, Brett & Stacy, asked me to go to the game with them on Wednesday, I hesitated. I had Honor Flight that day, and usually value my sleep between the 3-8am and the 7-11pm shifts. But, I decided that I haven’t been living enough lately, so I made the choice to skip sleep and go do something fun. I am so glad I did.

It was a perfect day at the ballpark…sunny and clear, but not too hot because our seats were in the shade! And we were right behind home plate and high enough to see everything and enjoy a breeze! We couldn’t have asked for anything more–except maybe a win for the home team!

For those of you unfamiliar with Wrigley Field, the scoreboard is the famed part of the ballpark. The board is still updated manually by actual humans who move giant number placards in place for each run. Don’t you think that would be such a fun job?

Speaking of fun jobs, I’ve always thought it would be an honor to be a part of the grounds crew at Wrigley. Yes, in reality it would be a hot job, and quite stressful having to meticulously maintain the beautiful grass and ivy…but how amazing would it be to roll out the giant tarp for a rain delay! (I also realize that the dead viola and fruitless tomato plant on my balcony makes my gardening resume less than ideal for a career in maintaining a well-known field.)

The Cubs usually have a famous person sing the 7th inning stretch. This time, it was former pitcher Steve Trout. See how close we were to the press box?

See how clear and blue the sky was? I’m so glad I chose to see it instead of sleeping the day away! When my head hit the pillow Wednesday night (or really, Thursday morning) I felt like I had soaked up every moment.

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