It’s the Good Life at Ravinia

The Good Life with Astoria Prosecco |


This may come as a shock to some of my readers, but I had never been to Ravinia prior to last weekend. There are a few reasons why the outdoor musical oasis had eluded my patronage. Firstly, I had no idea of where it was or how close/far Highland Park was. Yes, I’m aware there are maps and these maps help show distance. The music I like hasn’t always aligned with the musical sensibilities (or lack thereof) of my friends. I am a mosquito magnet. I can procrastinate when it comes to concert tickets. All of these issues were wiped away when Leann surprised me with tickets to see a legend, Tony Bennett.

Backstory: In high school I hosted a jazz radio show. Mine was the only show that played jazz. Perhaps you can imagine the high esteem that this put me with my peers. The show had listenership upwards of 4-5 relatives depending on the day. One of the handful of calls I received from listeners in my three years hosting was from an older woman who wanted to give me her record collection. I gave her the station’s address and awaited the grandmother-load. Her records never came, which made me wonder if she died en route to my high school or just liked toying with young men who fancied syncopation.

Tony Bennett was on heavy rotation when I was a DJ. I grew up listening to Tony and purchased a few of his CDs once I had cash from working. He is beyond compare as one of the best. His only Chicago concert dates for the past several years have been Ravinia. The most recent dates were with Lady Gaga and I never pounced on tickets. Continue reading It’s the Good Life at Ravinia

Harvesting Tomatoes – Garden Update

Harvesting tomatoes was the main reason behind starting a garden. After one plant was stricken with some sort of bacteria, getting to the final stage with one of the tomato plants was a huge personal victory. When harvesting tomatoes, you want to make sure the orb is red/not green. The cherry tomatoes turned more of a purple-ish hue. To pluck them off all you do is lightly twist the sphere and it should pop off without much effort.

Enjoy this week’s video!

Authentic Texas BBQ Deep in the Heart of…Chicago?

Best BBQ in Chicago

There was a void in my mouth, stomach and life after coming back from Texas a few months ago. Like most travelers, food is toward the top of the attractions list when visiting a new city. Similar to other BBQ meccas, barbecue is a way of life in Texas. To get food at the best spots in Texas, diners line up hours before the restaurant opens. Once the food is sold, that’s it. Returning home, I have been on a quest to find the best Chicago BBQ.

Chicago has some good BBQ spots, but after touring a few I noticed there was something missing. I expected a big smoker out back, but was surprised to find large electric smokers that resembled phone booths. The electric smokers are called Southern Comforts and allow you to regulate temperature and get smoke flavor from wood pellets instead of wood logs. Continue reading Authentic Texas BBQ Deep in the Heart of…Chicago?

Take Jesus on Vacation

That’s what the sign said outside of a church near my house.

I imagine Jesus waving from the porch as His family drives off in the minivan without Him.

With most of these church signs, I repeat the message in my head for a block or so. Then someone cuts me off and my thoughts turn less religious. But this sign got me thinking. 
Where would Jesus want to go? Does He like beaches? Mountains? Rolling valleys? Which of His creations brings Him the most joy?

If He flew, do you think Jesus would check a bag at the airport? Would the TSA make Him take off His sandals? I imagine Jesus would travel light, just the good book and some water.

What if you took Jesus on a road trip? Would He take the wheel? Would “One of Us” be in “Jesus’ Jamz” playlist? What are His road snack preferences? 

Would it be awkward if you go to a museum with Jesus? Is that His way of looking through family portraits?

“Raphael really botched this one. My mom wouldn’t be caught dead wearing that blue. She was more of a fall complexion. Amateur.”

How would He feel about the long lines at amusement parks? You know you’d be tempted to ask for an intercession.

“Hey Jesus, any way you can make this line move faster? You don’t happen to have an express pass? You know…being the son of God and all…”

Did Jesus ever even have a vacation? In 30ish years, did He ever take a holiday? Forty days in a desert doesn’t sound like much of a respite. Even when He went to a wedding He had to work it. Whenever He tried to be alone His disciples followed like, well, disciples.
If Jesus worked in an office, what would His out of office message look like? Who is His backup?

“I am currently out of the office through August 15 (the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary). 
If you require immediate assistance, please reach out to one of my 11 associates.


The Christ”

As my mind wandered through all these questions I realized I was parked in my driveway. I doubt Jesus would want to vacation with me, but if He did, I can guarantee you would read about it on a church sign.

Tomato Watch – Weekly Garden Update 7/12

We start this week with a moment of silence for the early girl tomato plant that has been laid to rest. Last week I noticed black spots on the tomatoes and yellowed leaves. I had hoped reading the plant bedtime stories and crushing old antibiotics into the soil would nurse the plant back to life. Alas, neither proved to be a formidable solution against what the Internet tells me was bacterial speck. 

The tomato plant was put to rest tonight at 6PM central time. Visitation will be the remainder of the week. 

Enjoy the rest of the video highlighting the other plants in their efforts to avoid the plague.