Friday, June 10, 2011

What I love about Plainfield

Normally I complain when I'm not at the Cabin in summer. But in all reality? Life in Plainfiled is not too shabby.
Not too shabby, indeed.

Some facebook friends recently commented on a "salad bowl" available at Menards. The idea is to chop off what you want for a meal, and the container continues to provide an abundance of greens the entire summer. Intrigued, I meandered over to the local Menards to find that apparently, there are no salad consumers in Plainfield. No - we stick to the disgusting local fare which consists of anything fried, Irish or Mexican in culinary taste. Ugh.

So I created my own salad container from various lettuces and herbs I found at a local greenhouse. I'll post more pictures throughout the summer on how my lunches develop. I hope this works and continues to thrive - along with an assortment of herbs, tomato and pepper plants I put in the ground last week.

Oftentimes over coffee on a lazy Saturday morning or while enjoying a glass of wine in the early evening, Mr. Musky and I waller in the spoils of our children's choices in extra-curricular activities. See, our kids are not the overachieving athletic types, and we didn't push them in any particular direction when they were younger. We simply let them be, and encouraged them to try anything they found interesting. This ultimately led us to a smattering of adorable ballet recitals, one detestable season of softball, an "I will never do this again" travel cheerleading disaster, a couple of tearful, dreaded baseball efforts, three lackluster basketball seasons and two half-hearted spring soccer attempts. Suffice to say that our children are not overly fond of extremely competitive team sports requiring exhaustive cardiovascular effort or excessive traveling in order to participate. Score one for the parents, and tally up many fun weekends with our kids doing whatever strikes our fancy - cabin excursions, weekends exploring Chicago, sleepovers with friends, plenty of family mealtimes, visits to a kick-butt water park, dinners at trendy restaurants so they can try oysters for the first time, weekends at Grandma and Grandpa's with NO PARENTS, etc.

Instead of vying for future Olympic medals, they excel academically. Something that is not optional in the Czupek household. All are required to achieve intellectual excellence. Except for the canine. He's just required to provide us with entertainment, which he achieves unceremoniously, particularly when it comes to catching bubbles on beautiful summer evenings.
Seriously. Could she GET any more beautiful?

And while these kids are so kind to not invade most of our blissful evenings or coffee-laden mornings, we do enjoy the activities they have chosen. Hockey for the boy...
...and Horseback Riding for the girl.

Summer nights are magical at the barn, particularly when the owners introduce the newest member of their family.  Meet Bentley.

Nope.  Plainfield is not too shabby at all!


Friday, June 3, 2011

I'm Back, and am on Emotional Overload

Hello, little blog. I'm sorry I abandoned you for five months. Please don't feel too neglected - I rejected many other loves in my life during that time as well. Photography. Friends. Family, at times. Exercise (shocking). Shopping (ok, I don't really love shopping, but I ditched spending in an effort to save money). Why, you ask? I could come back with a million excuses, my day job being at the top of the list. But it all comes down to priorities. And you are back near the top of the list now.

Moving forward, I reunited with my playground in May. I do love winter at the cabin, but nothing captures the magic better than the sunset flirting with the birch trees across Echo Lake in Spring.
Or spying a magnificent bald eagle scouting its next meal on a ride through the channel with my parents.
We enjoyed a beautiful, albeit somewhat chilly, Memorial Day Weekend with my sister-in-law Jen Czupek (same name as me...odd, I know) and her beau, Pat. What a lovely couple.
We hiked. With Miller. He played up the role of sad, pathetic puppy in the hopes of scoring a square of cheese.
No luck with Mama, he tested his persuasion tactics on his new friend Pat. 
Aunt Jen detests animals of any kind. I saw her grimace no less than seven thousand times over the weekend. Indifferent to facial expressions, Miller valiantly attempts to win her affection with an impressive slick of drool. At least a six incher.  
Horrified, she retreats as he takes claim to his self-appointed throne at the back of the boat
Pat endeared himself immediately to my food-focused family with the dinner he provided - salmon caught the prior weekend in Lake Michigan on an excursion with his family and friends. While it's not necessarily the Northwoods variety, it was delicious and fun to cook over the campfire.
Jen followed suit on Saturday night with some delectable gourmet tacos complete with homemade guacamole and salsa. Pat encored Monday with breakfast. Clearly, they can bring their culinary skills back anytime to our cabin!

We ended the weekend with a fabulous bottle of wine and an intense game of euchre with the kids. Sadly, girls lose.

While the weekend was fantastic and exceeded my expectations of relaxation and decompression from an exhausting work schedule, our return home was met with devastation and buckets of tears at the sight of our dead kitty in the basement. I sobbed over the shock of finding her and the extreme sadness my daughter experienced. In dealing with our grief, I of course wondered if owning a pet is really worth it.

Of course it is.  We miss you terribly, Madison.