Jim Green The Wandering Endorphin Plays Algonquin Library

Jim Green commonly known as The Wandering Endorphin delighted crowds recently at the Algonquin Library. His distinct style of playing includes strumming, plucking, picking and percussion which he calls percussive guitar. Jim hammers the guitar strings like piano wires and Jim uses the entire guitar neck and all sides of the body. Visit Jim’s website  to view free lessons and learn how to play his style.

I when I asked Jim what he loved about playing music, he said Michael Hedges summed it up best with “Because I can dream out loud.”

Growing up in Sauk Village, Jim quit his day job and moved to Chicago to launch his music career. Beginning with open mike nights he later became a Chicago street musician. He can also be found writing digital piano reviews in his free time. His travels led Jim to Israel for 10 months where he lived, played and wrote music in Tele Aviv. Jim is heading back to Israel for four more months.

Jim Green the Wandering Endorphin plays guitar and harmonica

Jim Green the Wandering Endorphin plays guitar and harmonica

At Jim’s performances delighted the audience, both children and adults, with his engaging style. This show included singing, guitar, harmonica and a Native American Love flute. Jim still plays his first guitar, an Aspen, at his gigs and a Martin guitar for studio recording.

The playlist included mostly original tunes inspired by the outdoors, wind, sunset, beaches and fireflies. Several songs included train sounds. Jim played a beautiful cover of Don McLean’sVincent” inspired by Vincent Van Gogh‘s famous painting “Starry, Starry Night“. The show ended with the lively Endorphin Jig.

Follow Jim Green’s Wandering Endorphin Facebook page for news about upcoming shows and music.

Jim Green the Wandering Endorphin plays percussive guitar

Jim Green the Wandering Endorphin plays percussive guitar

Morkes Chocolate in Algonquin for Chocolate Parties

A visit to Morkes Chocolate Algonquin is a treat! Chocolate in every shape and size envelopes the senses from your first step in the door. Morkes Algonquin owner Claudia Kendzior gave us the grand tour of the candies and party room. All my favorites were there including fudge, peanut brittle, English toffee and orange peel. The giant sweet or tart apples dipped in caramel or chocolate topped with peanuts, pecans, Oreos, candy sprinkles or more chocolate.

Aprl M. Williams and Claudia Kendzior owner Morkes Chocolates Algonquin

Aprl M. Williams and Claudia Kendzior owner Morkes Chocolates Algonquin

We tried the Dark Chocolate Breakfast Toffee with a bit of mocha oil for a delicious roasted nutty flavor. Crunchy, nutty and sweet!

Pick your favorite truffles, nuts, mints, creams, fruits and chocolates or an assorted mix as a gift. All purchases leave the store decorated with a colorful complimentary ribbon. Gift wrapping is available for small fee.

Morkes Algonquin features seasonal items during the year. Cute chocolate ghosts will bring a smile to your little goblin. Other sweets you will find during Halloween include chocolate Frankensteins, eyeballs, skulls and brains as well as Pumpkin Fudge.

Additional specialty items include delicious chocolate award statues, party favors and birth announcements. Order a chocolate chess set for a special someone or a pair of high-heeled chocolate shoes.

Ready to make your own chocolate creations? Morkes party room is the place. Register for one of the candy making classes designed for children or adults. Create a Chocolate Pizza loaded with your favorite candy toppings. No baking necessary! At Morkes Candy Camp, kids make their own Cake Pops and Push Up Pops. During Morkes Fondue & Truffle class sample a variety of treats dipped in chocolate goodness then dip and decorate your own truffles.

Morkes treats the birthday child like royalty. After the chocolate making and eating, it is time to open presents. The guest of honor is the center of attraction sitting atop the regal throne while opening their gifts.

Holiday and special occasion candy

Holiday and special occasion candy

Scouts enjoy visiting the store and can even earn a badge for candy making.

The first Morkes began making premium chocolate in 1920 in Chicago before moving to their current home in Palatine. The Algonquin Morkes opened in 2007 and is independently owned though both stores co-market and both sell items like donuts made in the Palatine store.

Visit Morkes Facebook page or stop by their store at 2755 West Algonquin Road in Algonquin just three blocks west of Randall Road.

The Powder Room Affordable Luxury in Downtown Algonquin

The Powder Room Algonquin is the place for affordable luxury, designed so women can come back more than once. Owners Krysten Boylan and Julie Bailey opened the business as a place where women will enjoy being pampered. Located in a historic pink lady in the heart of downtown Algonquin the bright rooms are painted soft pink with white trim playing off the warmth of the wood floors.

The Powder Room Algonquin Fireplace

The Powder Room Algonquin Fireplace

Krysten and Julie told me it took many hours to make over this lovely home. Julie has a long history with the house. She lived in the upstairs apartment for several years.

I treated myself to a facial with Krysten which lasted about an hour. As I relaxed, listening to soft music, I enjoyed two cleanings, exfoliation, steam, massage, mask, toner, serum, moisturizer. I can see why many customers fall asleep during the session. I felt terrific and rejuvenated! The facial is customized to each skin type and only organic and natural products are used. Other services include chemical peels, waxing, makeup services. Call to make an appointment for a complimentary makeover.

Krysten's Relaxing Facial Room at the Powder Room

Krysten’s Relaxing Facial Room at the Powder Room

I also attended a small group event where a few of us really got know one another. The Powder Room hosts many networking and workshops to empower women. Check their calendar for details.

Parking in the lot or on the street. Hours are by appointment. Call (224) 241-8242, visit their website and follow them on Facebook.

2012 Walk to End Alzheimer’s McHenry County at Three Oaks

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States today. It’s time to reclaim the future – a future free from this disease.

I’m participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s TM, the nation’s largest event to raise awareness and funds to fight Alzheimer’s disease. By joining my team, you can help end this epidemic and show your support for the more than 5 million Americans living with the disease.

In my business I see clients and their families affected by this devastating illness. My goal is to raise awareness in the community so we can band together and join forces in fighting Alzheimer’s disease. Beautiful Three Oaks is a scenic recreation area in Crystal Lakes. Bring the family and join us as we walk to end Alzheimer’s.

The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s largest voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research, and the funds we raise will go directly toward supporting their efforts.The end of Alzheimer’s starts with you. To register, visit the link below.

Will you join me?

Sunday, September 30, 2012
Three Oaks
5517 Northwest Highway
Crystal Lake, IL  60030
Check In and Registration: 8:00-10:00
Walk: 10:00
For more information about this event please contact: Jennifer Ratkovic, Manager, Special Events 815.484.1300 jratkovic at alz.org or download the paper registration forms.
Gary Wadsworth at the 2011 Walk to End Alzheimer's - McHenry County

Jon & Mary Anne Terry Left, Joy and Gary Wadsworth on right at the 2011 Walk to End Alzheimer’s – McHenry County

Chunn’s Burying Ground Oak Glenn Cemetery Fox River Grove

Chunn’s Burying Ground also known as Oak Glenn Cemetery in Fox River Grove, Illinois is one of the oldest cemeteries in McHenry County according to McHenry County Historic Preservation Commission. The cemetery named after local business man T.R. Chunn, a pioneer in the area who owned the property and buried there. Several websites say the site is an old Indian burial ground.

Chunn's Burying Ground Oak Glenn Cemetery Fox River Grove Nestled in a wooded area at the top of a hill,  the historic cemetery on Algonquin-River Road next to Algonquin Road School. Over the years the cemetery became overgrown with weeds and brush. Arnett Lines, a local historian, inventoried and transcribed the gravestones in 1944. The remaining headstones were relocated to a raised bed under a stand of trees for protection. In 2008, the cemetery was rededicated and designated a historic site. A bronze plaque on boulder at the cemetery entrance notes the historic status.

Gravestones at Chunn's Burying Ground Oak Glenn Cemetery Fox River Grove

Today the site is well maintained quiet park lined with a wooden rail fence. A sign outside the cemetery stays “Chunn’s Burying Ground Oak Glenn Cemetery.” As we walked through the park, we came upon a well-marked geocache. Geocaching is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game where players try to find hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online. We logged our find at the geocache and online.

HIstoric Chunn's Burying Ground Oak Glenn Cemetery Fox River Grove

The next time you are on Algonquin Road, take a few moments to visit Chunn’s Burying Ground Oak Glenn Cemetery in Fox River Grove. The peaceful setting is perfect for a few minutes of quiet reflection. You can log an easy geocache while you are there.

Big Bowl Restaurant in Schaumburg Hosts Summer Roll Class

Big Bowl in Schaumburg treated their best customers to a summer rolls making class. When we eat lunch at Big Bowl, we always order these appetizers. Big Bowl Executive Chef Marc Bernard taught the session, assisted by Schaumburg Big Bowl Executive Chef Eddie Gomez.

We sat in tables of four with prepared fresh vegetables in front of us. Marc described the seasonal ingredients Big Bowl uses and their mission to serve local, organic and eco-friendly foods when possible. Marc highlighted the vegetable choice for make your own stir fry meals and noted where each of these items came from.

Big Bowl Executive Chef Marc Bernard highlights local, organic and eco friendly produce

Big Bowl Executive Chef Marc Bernard highlights local, organic and eco-friendly produce

Big Bowl sources produce from four local farms and many of which use organic methods. Marc recently bought a five acre farm that he and his partner work. Some of the vegetables Big Bowl serves are grown at the farm. Big Bowl Schaumburg General Manager Sean Schorp told me the staff at Big Bowl leased a two acre farm and they work the land themselves for more local produce. “We are growing garlic, cilantro and other foods for our restaurant. The only time it is hard to get amazing fresh produce is the dead of winter,” he continued. “Some farms are installing hot houses.”

Big Bowl Schaumburg sources produce from local farms

Big Bowl Schaumburg sources produce from local farms

Marc described each summer roll ingredient beginning with the package of hard rice paper or spring roll skins. We also had seasoned noodles, pickled vegetables, carrots, bean sprouts, red bell peppers, seasonal lettuce and chopped peanuts at our tables. Marc combined flat rice noodles with sesame seed oil, peanut oil, lime juice and fresh herbs. We saw how salting the vegetables and letting them sit draws out water and condenses flavors.

Marc dipped the rice paper skins, a hard plastic like disk which softens up when dipped in water, and stretched the sheet out on the workspace. He layered the fresh produce in the center and demonstrated the rolling technique. He pulled the rice skin tightly over the food while compressing the rest of the roll.

Big Bowl Executive Chef Marc Bernard demonstrates summer roll making

Big Bowl Executive Chef Marc Bernard demonstrates summer roll making

Then it was our turn to make Big Bowl’s famous summer rolls. Each of us started with a rice paper skin and filled the sheet with noodles and veggies of our choice. We rolled the rice paper over the colorful mix with varying degrees of success.

Big Bowl Executive Chef Marc Bernard offers tips to Noel F. Williams

Big Bowl Executive Chef Marc Bernard offers tips to Noel F. Williams

At the end our class, Big Bowl treated us to their tasty summer rolls prepared by Big Bowl’s chefs and served with a variety of tasty homemade sauces. Big Bowl Schaumburg is part of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises with 31 restaurant concepts.

Big Bowl on Urbanspoon

Big Bowl Asian Kitchen on Foodio54

Hydrobikes for Exercise or Fishing on Crystal Lake

Hydrobike in Crystal Lake? My friend Paul Myers offered to take me out for a hydrobike waterbike ride on Crystal Lake. Paul assured me the bikes were safe, steady and unlikely to tip. We left the pier on the water bikes with Paul’s dog as our mascot. Paul assured me I would not get wet though, as a precaution, I wore a life vest and I left my cell phone in the car.

A hydrobike looks like a conventional bicycle attached a small platform straddling two pontoons. Riders peddle to turn the propeller and drive the impulsion system. There are no engines and the morning was nearly silent so we could easily talk as we water biked around smooth as glass Crystal Lake.

Hydrobiking on Crystal Lake

Paul and his family live on Crystal Lake and enjoy regular family hydrobike outings. Paul’s puppy jumps right on the platform for these trips. Paul likes to take the hydrobike out for exercise early in the mornings. I quickly felt ease on the water bike and the only concern was when I wandered into a shallow, weedy area. A few seconds of back peddling was all it took to dislodge the thick water plants which had wrapped themselves around the propeller.

Paul Myers and his dog take the hydrobike out on Crystal Lake

Ray Buresch invented hydrobikes, the pedal powered waterbike, in 1989. He then founded Fun Watercraft. Paul told me he can easily waterbike about five miles an hour. The hydrobikes can easily be ridden in even the windiest and waviest conditions and they are almost impossible to tip over according to Fun Watercraft. You can even fish with a baitcasting reel from your hydrobike, something I didn’t have the chance to do the first time I saw this at Constitution Sportfishing San Diego. To learn more about these fun waterbikes, follow Hydrobikes on Facebook.

ARRL Amateur Radio Field Day Ham Radio Saves the Day Again

Field Day 2012 opened today at 1:00 pm CDT. Field Day is an annual event organized by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) in Newington, CT. Many amateur radio operators, or ‘hams’, belong to this national organization. Field Day is a twenty-four hour period in which ham radio operators test their ability to set up and coordinate emergency communications in the event of disaster.

You may ask, “Why go to all the trouble when we have cell phones and the Internet?”. Well, often in times of disaster, these systems fail for many reasons. Ham radio operators are able to communicate with each other without relying upon any of these systems or even power from the electric company. This means that when disaster strikes, in many cases, ham radio is the ONLY way to pass emergency traffic within or out of the affected area.

 

Setting up our 2 meter and 440 antennas on an empty field SUHFARS Field Day 2012 Tower

 

This year, our Field Day site was an empty lot in Wauconda, Illinois. April M. Williams (N9GYG) and I (KE9AU) arrived around 9 am to help with the set-up of our club’s Field Day station. We belong to SUHFARS, the Suburban UHF Amateur Radio Society with members from McHenry and surrounding counties. Our club has about 50 members from around the Chicago area. When we got there, things were already well under way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first job was to erect the antenna systems. This was not trivial, as some antennas needed to be pretty high up in the air in order to have the best signal. We quickly assembled a 50 foot tower and, with coordinated teamwork, put it upright. Next, we strung up a 300 foot wire antenna through the trees and then set up the radio equipment.

Scott KC9TNX calling CQ on 6 meters at SUHFARS Field Day 2012

By 1 pm our emergency station, running on generator power, was on the air and making contacts with other hams across the country. Our station will be operating throughout the night, testing the ability of our members to reliably communicate with others under less than ideal circumstances.
There are more than 700,000 ham radio operators in the USA and our numbers are growing. To learn more about this great hobby and indispensable public service go to ARRL.

See all the photos on the SUHFARS Facebook page. Learn more about joining SUHFARS.

Setting up our fifty foot town on an empty field SUHFARS Field Day 2012 Tower

Setting up our fifty foot town on an empty field SUHFARS Field Day 2012 Tower

3 Easy Ways You can Change the World

How would you like to change the world–right now?

It’s actually quite easy.

You don’t need special credentials. Any ordinary person can do it.

Six ordinary families from Algonquin have changed the world, at least for one village in Kenya, and we invite you to change it with us.

Before we get to how you can change the world with us, here is a little information about what we’ve done so far. Over the past three years, through our partnership with Global Hope Network International, the village of Gambella, Kenya, has seen remarkable transformation. Here are just a few:

  • The village previously had no school, and would meet under a tree whenever a teacher would come to the village. Now they have eight classrooms, with eight teachers, and their school test scores were the best in their entire district!
  • Gambella was a pastoral community, making a living off of their goats and other animals. Climate change has had a severe impact on the area though, and it is difficult to find land for animals to graze. Gambella is now learning to farm, to supplement their income and food supply.
  • The nearest health facility was in the town of Isiolo, which is a 15 km (about 9 miles) walk–one way. They now have a wellness center in the village, where basic health education and needs are addressed.

    Gambella School Children. Photo credit “Mary Lossau”

What’s Next?

We have one last project that we want to help Gambella with, before we end our partnership (we believe strongly in sustainability, and not creating dependency). In order to help Gambella to increase the crops that they can grow, we need to find a way to help them irrigate more land. A bore hole was drilled for them, and when I was there last summer, the villagers kept asking me to help them get a pump to draw the water out. It is always windy in Gambella, so we are going to help them put up a windmill to draw the water out.

Get Involved

This is where you can help change the trajectory of an entire village! We have three opportunities for you to help:

  • We are having our 3rd Annual Garage Sale 4 Gambella, June 7-9, and we are in need of donated items to sell at the garage sale. If we can raise $1500 at the garage sale, we have a donor that will match our sales with an additional $1500. This is our greatest need, and the easiest place for you to get involved. Simply look around your house for items to donate. Learn more about the garage sale, and how to donate here.
  • We will be cleaning ambulances, and will be paid for each vehicle we clean, and would love to have you join us to help us clean more ambulances. This is tentatively scheduled for late-August. Currently, we are in the process of reading lots of handheld vacuum reviews, as we will be purchasing a few for the effort.
  • We will be having a 5K Run/1M Walk for Gambella. The entry fees will go toward the windmill. The run is tentatively scheduled for mid-September.

Learn more about us, and how you can get involved, at http://algonquin4gambella.org

Rainbow Restaurant and Pancake House in Algonquin Now Open

The Rainbow Restaurant and Pancake House on Route 31/Main Street in the Fox River Center mall in Algonquin is now open for breakfast and lunch. The diner is bright and cheery even on the grey morning we visited. Decorated in a warm toasty fawn color, the newly remodeled restaurant includes high-end ceramic floor tile with marble counters and matching window sills.

A warm muffin right out of the oven started our meal. Plenty of choices on the menu! The extensive breakfast menu includes skillets, omelettes, frittatas, eggs Benedict and more. Three full plates brought my husband’s steak and eggs meal; it was so big.

Steak and Eggs at The Rainbow Restaurant and Pancake House

Steak and Eggs at The Rainbow Restaurant and Pancake House

My potato pancakes were delicious. Rainbow Restaurant makes them from scratch every day using fresh ingredients. The pancakes are never frozen or prepackaged. This is the case with all the foods at Rainbow Restaurant.

Potato Pancakes at The Rainbow Restaurant and Pancake House

Potato Pancakes at The Rainbow Restaurant and Pancake House

John warmly greeted us at the door and seated us promptly. Our server, Jan, was attentive and friendly. Staff topped off our coffee and water glasses regularly while swiftly clearing empty plates.

After breakfast, I spoke with owner Nick Dimitrelis. This is his second Rainbow Restaurant; the first opened in Elmhurst 30 years ago. His friendliness and passion for serving high quality and quantities of food came through. His goal for Rainbow Restaurant is to serve more than just pancake house fare. Every day the Rainbow Restaurant will feature specials starting at 11 AM such as stuffed peppers, meatloaf, BBQ spare ribs, lamb shanks, and baked Greek chicken. Each day the chefs cook two homemade soups from scratch.

Two chefs, one helper and a large staff keep the Rainbow Restaurant humming. I counted at least seven servers while we were there. Service was extremely friendly and attentive to our needs.

Owner Nick Dimitrelis and server Jan at Rainbow Restaurant and Pancake House

Owner Nick Dimitrelis and server Jan at Rainbow Restaurant and Pancake House

As a vegetarian, I asked about vegetarian options. Nick said at least two vegetarian dishes are on the menu and they are happy to customize orders to meet guest’s wishes.

Krisztina and John welcome guests at Rainbow Restaurant and Pancake House

Krisztina and John welcome guests at Rainbow Restaurant and Pancake House

Carry out service is available. Currently, Rainbow Restaurant is open for early breakfast through mid afternoon. The shopping center has plenty of parking stalls.
Rainbow Restaurant and Pancake House on Urbanspoon

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