09 September 2011


Lovely day for a housewalk. Gorgeous fall weather as we begin around 10:00am. Whoops! As we approach the first house we discover a neighbor is having an estate sale so we subtly divert our attention. A very successful diversion. LL buys a bachelor's chest in  burled walnut for a mere $75. Beautiful condition, and it finds a perfect home in her great room.

My first purchase is a gift for MA. A very cool mid-century modern "thing" which I'm keeping a secret until next Saturday when I arrive in Omaha. MA's birthday was three days ago--also his first day on his new job with Epipheo Studios. Then, I bought a beautiful crystal drinks pitcher, complete with a crystal stir stick--maker to-be-named-later. I found a pie-crust table in gorgeous condition for our morning room, and negotiated the price down about 15%.

And, I bought two lamps--a stand-up lamp with a brass tray, and a large pottery urn. Both in dire need of new lampshades. (By Sunday I've acquired a perfect white silk scalloped shade for the brass lamp, and decided that the grey-blue urn lamp will shine with a coat of concrete paint and a bit of "weathering." I'm thinking a Provincial terracotta-look. I lust after those pots when we're in France, but the shipping costs and customs are prohibitive so I settle for knock-offs.

A surprisingly great start to our girls-day-out!

We tour two houses with mixed reviews--although the floral arrangements in the first house are gratis The Twisted Stem and are absolutely outstanding. I must get back there soon and order something. They are now my go-to floral choice. The first house is huge and rambling. Somewhat impressive, but also very customized to the particular tastes of the family. The second house is far more modest, but lovely. A Cape Cod in an older part of town that has been spruced up spectacularly. There is obviously a love of reading in this house, as vintage children's books are prominently featured. The backyard is surprisingly generous. A perfect family home.

We meet JZ for lunch at Benedict's La Strata in downtown Crystal Lake. I'm starving. Somehow managed to head out for the day without eating. We are tempted by some beignets, but quickly learn that breakfast is over and there are no beignets after 11:00am. I eventually end up with a delectable vegetarian quesadilla, that I choose to enhance with some grilled chicken. I savor every bite. Delicious. JZ has a grilled cheese with tomato and bacon, LL chooses an Eggs Benedict, and DV goes for the crab, shrimp, and red pepper frittata. Four very satisfied diners. And, the coffee is Intelligentsia!

After the third house--another in downtown CL that's been completely renovated--we stop by LL's where I retrieve my car and head home. DV is coming over soon with some fabric choices for the Ethan Allen Chippendale camel-back sofa we're recovering for our loft, and final measurements for the gorgeous draperies for the morning room.

I actually manage a 15 minute nap before DV arrives. She's brought some brown velvet samples, along with a purple tapestry that co-ordinates with a gorgeous yellow-gold/pink fleur-de-lis. We're using the purple for the sofa and the fleur-de-lis for some toss pillows. Spectacular! I also have to decide on a replacement tassel trim for the blue ottoman, as the original choice is dis-continued. Easy.

While this day should be over, as soon as DV leaves around 3:00pm I head to Tuesday Morning. Today is the first of a three-day clearance sale--take an additional 40% off and I've pre-selected some Christmas gifts for the grandchildren. Great deals. I actually make it to three TM's--Crystal Lake, Fox River Grove, and Lake Zurich--in record time.

 On my way home, CA checks in and we decide to have dinner at Wool Street Grill and Sports Bar in Cary. I've eaten several times at Wool Street in Barrington and CA has eaten lunch here a few times, but we've never eaten at Wool Street together. They make their own bread products, so the homemade bun puts their hamburgers into the stratosphere. I opt for the burger topped with a fried egg and bacon, finishing just 1/2, as it's accompanied by sweet-potato fries. A great lunch for tomorrow!

A fine day, ending with some time with my honey... A rare commodity lately as he's so busy with teaching full-time and coaching soccer.

I'm loving this retirement.

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