Preparing for the Summer

We usually wait until mid-May to set up the patio furniture and put the canvas on the gazebo, but we had a small window on Sunday morning where we were able to get it done. So why not set the video camera up and do a little time-lapse?

This entire operation took about an hour, and you’re seeing it in under a minute.

Right after we got everything in place, it started pouring and didn’t stop for several hours. At least we’re ready for when the nice weather starts.

Christmas Tree – Harmony Park

Harmony Park Tree, Arlington Heights, Illinois

This tree is standing in Arlington Heights’ Harmony Park as I write this.

On Christmas Eve, Lisa and I were leaving our Melancholy Tavern and we came across a mother-and-son team near the tree, and we offered to take their picture.┬á It turns out they had donated the tree to the village– they planted it in their front yard twenty-something years ago, and now it was fulfilling the lady’s dream of being decorated for Christmas in a spot where everyone could see it.

We shared “Merry Christmases” and we were each on our way.

It was a very nice chance meeting for a Christmas Eve.

Supporting Metropolis — 3 New Events!

There are three new fundraising opportunities for Arlington Heights’ Metropolis Performing Arts Centre and its School of Performing Arts.┬á┬á┬á Please consider participating in one (or more) of these events!

1. On Thursday, November 10, Jimmy John’s in Downtown Arlington Heights (19 S Dunton Ave) will donate 20% of all sales between 2:00-9:00 pm to the Metropolis School of Performing Arts.┬á Just print out this flyer and bring it in with you!┬á (Although I have it on good authority that if you mention Metropolis you won’t need the flyer.)

2. Also on Thursday, November 10, Biggby Coffee in Downtown Arlington Heights (21 S Dunton Ave) will give $1 to Metropolis when you purchase any medium or large specialty drink.┬á Just go into Biggby any time on the 10th and say you’re there to support Metropolis– they’ll take care of the rest!

3. From now through January 2012, Whole Foods Market Palatine will give Metropolis┬á10´╗┐´╗┐┬ó per bag for customers who re-use their own shopping bags in the store and wish to donate their bag refund.┬á Click here for more details.

Help support this wonderful Arlington Heights institution!

Farewell, Urban Harvest

Bittersweet news: ´╗┐Urban Harvest, a gourmet food shop in downtown Arlington Heights, is closing this week. ┬á┬á (Details can be found┬áin this article from the Daily Herald.)

There are three businesses (and their owners) in downtown Arlington Heights that figured prominently in both my establishment as a newly-single person and in Lisa’s and my courtship.┬á Mary Ellen Hogan’s Urban Harvest is one of those.

In the early 2000s I used to pass by Urban Harvest’s original location every day on my way to and from the Vail Avenue garage.┬á One day I was enticed inside by a lady named Courtney who was standing┬áin the doorway,┬áholding a platter of seven-layer cookie bars.┬á Entering the store, I discovered all sorts of neat stuff:┬á cheeses, hummus, wines, cookies, gourmet lollipops, and chocolates.┬á A beautiful relationship was born.

´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐Urban Harvest became a regular stop a couple times a week and practically part of my everyday.´╗┐´╗┐ They even┬áinvited me┬áto be a part of a Labatt Beer Academy tasting, the first event of its kind that I ever attended.

One day I went into the store with the intention of getting something for Lisa, whom I wanted to impress.┬á Mary Ellen pulled a little basket from behind the counter and said, “Try this.”┬á I asked what they were, and she┬á called them the “Oh My God Chocolates.”┬á I took a bite of one and immediately said.. well, you get the picture.┬á I bought two boxes of these things and they became an integral part of our courtship.┬á┬á┬á And Lisa was impressed.

Over the years, we’ve stopped in for blue-cheese stuffed olives, pastas, and all sorts of goodness.┬á The other day we stopped in to buy a final seven-layer bar and I was able to wish Mary Ellen all the best. We’re sad to see a wonderful store closing in town, but here’s wishing┬á her a wonderful future as pursues her new dream job.

(Postscript on the “Oh My God Chocolates:”┬á Urban Harvest couldn’t get them after carrying them for a couple years, but here’s a link to someone who’s selling the original product.┬á I was told that Whole Foods sold a very similar item, and sure enough they do: here’s a link to a blog entry that reviews the Whole Foods product. The chocolates within are identical to my palate.)