My Birthday Recap

As we close out the month, I thought I should recap that I did in fact have a birthday. That’s right I am merely a few months from officially being the LP age. Since the thirteenth, I am only thirty-three. Moreover, it was the best one in recent memory, thanks to Ali. Being keenly aware of many of my longing for certain aspects of Chicago, she made a special order in anticipation of the day. Of course these longings have nothing to do with Boston. However, certainly everyone has a special place in their heart for things reminiscent of where they are from. For me, a lot of these longings center on food. Chicago is the place with all kinds of food that will undoubtedly send you to an early grave, but it’s so good. What’s more you just can’t find many of the tasty treats outside Chicagoland.

Of the many delicious treats I miss is the Italian beef sandwich. Everyone that I know that has moved away from the area secretly desires the exquisite deliciousness of this Chicago delicacy. Ask for an Italian beef anywhere else in the country and people look at you like you have grown an extra head. This requires all of those that have left the area to devour one whenever we have returned. Ali knows this, for she frequently remarks on my need to satisfy my cravings when home. In a gift of pure genius she had a kit of Italian beef sandwiches shipped in for the occasion. Here is the moment of realization.

Photo: Box of Italian Beefs

While my favorite vendor of the beef is Carm’s Beef No. 3, the box from Serrelli Street was a delectable treat that was every bit as good. I had never been to place, despite having lived so close to it when I was near North and Harlem. I guess I never really stretched much further than Johnny’s which was only a block or so away. Yet, I cannot recommend Serrelli Street enough for the out of towners. It is cheaper than Portillo’s and is even more scrumptious with its jars of peppers and giardenera. It was awesome, as you can tell.

Photo: Preparing to Eat Beefs Photo: Box of Italian Beefs

Bay State Blizzard ’05

It seems as though I, spend more time writing about how little I am writing on ye old fritzwinkle. So, in a kind of New Year’s resolutions, I am henceforth dismissing all urges to do so.

Well as my fellow New Englanders know, we are buried under a two plus foot blanket of powder that has brought things to a virtual stand still. Despite the snow having ceased Sunday afternoon, school has been closed for the past two days as everyone continues to dig out from under the storm’s showing. The overall density of the area and the narrowness of the streets makes for an interesting dilemma. While it is a massive amount of snow, the real trouble is, out East, there is no place to put it all. In Boston, they have what is called snow farms, where they truck winter’s waste to get it out of the way. The best part is we are supposed to get another four to five inches tomorrow.

Photo: Where Do You Put All the Snow?

With most of the Bay state at a virtual stand still, at least we have the Patriots. With another playoff punishing Brady and the boys continued their post-season dominance. It is such a profound difference to live in an area on the verge of garnering multiple championships. Growing up in Chicagoland where the eternal mantra is, “Wait ‘til next year,” I have only ever seen one major triumph in baseball and football. If it weren’t for Da Bears of ’85 the combined lack of winning is enough to completely cripple any fan’s hope. Yes we had the Bulls run with MJ, but Chicago is a Bears town first and foremost, with the Cubs a close second. After that every other team is just standing in line, hoping to sell tickets. Yet, here I am in the Hub and, after the Red Sox triumph, winning is becoming almost expected. It is a stunning turnaround and one that a sports fan, like me, can only relish.

Photo: A Drive-way Cleared?

My Holiday Absence

With the Holiday crush of activity, I found myself overwhelmed with work and Christmas preparations. Add a trip back home to the Midwest and there were few opportunities to actually sit down collect any thoughts, not to mention posting them. It was as if the last three weeks happened in one.

The schedule for my students rendered the week before Christmas as the middle of the quarter. This meant that I needed to produce the dreaded progress report for the second quarter. It is not exactly a nice Christmas present for any of them. Understanding this, I tried to give everyone an opportunity to submit any outstanding work and resubmit anything with which they were unhappy. Unlike most teachers, I generally have a fairly liberal redo policy. In my prior teaching stints it was never a problem. I generally issue a warning that I do not want people waiting until the last minute to resubmit their work. However, this time I got deluged with all kinds of redone assignments. It was so problematic I nixed the policy altogether in one class. Nevertheless, I was grading a mountain of work in preparation for the reports.

No sooner had I found the bottom of the stack when I needed get my things together for the weeklong trip to Chicago. Aside from the general travel items, I had a boat load of gifts to be distributed to friends and family. The combined loads from Ali, Keri, and me nearly left us without room to sit in the rental car. That’s right we drove the 1000 miles from Boston to Chicago. Three of us and the dog, Zerbert, headed West on a non-stop nineteen hour road trip. Since I had to work the 23rd, we did not arrive until the afternoon of Christmas Eve. From that point it was a full Holiday fervor.

Before I could catch my breath, we were back at work in Boston as though we had never left. The exception to this is that I am exhausted and sick. It seems my allergies to dust and cats were more aggravated then I thought in my vacation accommodations. All this has lead to one of my seasonal sinus infections. I can’t seem to get through a year without getting at east two. I guess this is number one for 2005.

Hopefully, I’ll have the stamina to touch on the Holidays in greater depth in future. Plus, Ali is requesting a kind of year in pictures, full of photographic highlights that were not previously posted. We shall see.