Thursday, December 23, 2010

Vision Revision: The annual meeting of the Builders Association

James Lindquist, president of Adjustable Forms, Inc., accepts the Corporate Citizenship Award from the BA

A tough year in the building industry came to a good end Dec. 16, when the Builders Association held its annual meeting, this year titled Vision Revision, at the Trump International Hotel & Tower.

The BA has been Chicagoland's leading trade association for contractors and suppliers, large and small, since 1906. The group has helped Midwest builders get through good times and years that were even tougher than 2010. The featured speakers, Joseph Jarboe from AGC of America and Peter Beck of The Beck Group, addressed issues of government regulation and funding, marketing and the convergence of several construction-related industries in the 21st century.

Peter Beck, managing director of The Beck Group, spoke about convergence — the possibility that in years to come firms may house architects, general contractors and several other facets of the building industry under the same roof — and the public's need for leadership from the people who create cities.

Al Leitschuh (left), president of the BA, and Howard Strong, the 2011 BA chairman, present a job-well-done gift to R. Lynn Treat, the 2010 BA chairman

The afternoon went according to plan: the Trump's ballroom was gorgeous and the food was delicious, business cards and ideas were exchanged, lost leaders were honored and old comrades made new memories...and, as builders love to hear, the project was completed on budget and ahead of schedule (by four minutes, exactly).

At the meeting's conclusion, it is back to work for the men and women who will build 21st century structures in the city that invented the skyscraper


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Home for the holidays with the Buscemis

Happy Thanksgiving to all from Peter, Deb and Jeremiah! For their family portraits, they wanted to keep it simple, and just stay in their living room. Welcome home, Buscemis.

The Buscemis proudly display works of art by family members:
a sculpture from Peter's father, and candleholders built by Deb's grandfather

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Adam and Ramia: Smoke 'em

She just wanted to talk about guns. Pistols, in particular.

Ramia ended up finding her shooting partner for life when Adam started teaching her about firearms.

Adam, a Specialist in the Army, and Ramia (if you're wondering, it's "Rah-mia," not "Ray-mia"), have actually been legally married for more than two years; Adam's deployments and schooling prevented them from having a wedding until October. The couple lives in North Carolina, but had the ceremony in the bride's native Austin, Texas.

And the ceremony was riddled with bullets, and other paraphernalia of weaponry, to show off the couple's mutual love of firearms. That is, after all, how they got together.

The two met through a mutual friend (Chris, who was Adam's best man) while they were all living in the Kansas City area in the fall of 2004. Ramia's side of the story is that they nearly drew down on each other right away.

"My first impression of Adam was that he was a big jerk," his bride said. "Very arrogant."

A few years went by for Chris, Adam and Ramia; she began to see that underneath what she perceived as Adam's arrogance was really a lot of knowledge. Including wisdom regarding a subject she wanted to know more about: pistols.

"I still didn't have positive feelings towards him, but he did have some really good advice on pistols and what he thought would be good for me," she said. "During the fall of 2006, the three of us would go shooting at Chris' grandparents' house.

"My first gun I shot was Adam's very old revolver," Ramia said.

Adam and his father, Jeff

Adam turned out to be quite a marksman — he shot her through the heart. Ramia, Adam and Chris spent every Sunday of that winter and spring at a firing range, and with each pull of the trigger, Adam was pulling on Ramia's heartstrings.

He just didn't know it.

"In April 2007, on his 21st birthday, I let Adam know how I felt about him," Ramia said. "I wasn't sure what was going to happen."

Adam returned her affection, and they started dating — when his military career allowed it. Ramia said she knew that the start would be rough, and that how it would end would be uncertain.

"I thought it was only going to be a summer fling and come September we were going to part ways," she said. "That's not what happened.

"Adam left for the Army on Sept. 20th, 2007. We wrote to each other every day."

John, the father of the bride, checks out their eye-catching cake topper. See the rest of it here.

In August of 2008, the Army stationed Adam at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina; Ramia wanted to follow him. They both knew the relationship had become serious. On Sept. 27, they had a long, deep discussion about their future.

That talk ended at a courthouse, where a judge wearing a Snoopy tie married them.

Adam has been to Airborne School, the Ranger program and Afghanistan since then, and plans for a wedding ceremony have started and stopped. The couple finally got to be united in front of family and friends on Oct. 16.

And, seeing the trained marksman her husband has become, Ramia said she was glad that she went to him for advice.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Commencement ceremony for The Crossing

For post-graduate work in social structure and chemistry, visit Chicago's newest bar (as of Sept. 30, 2010, that is): The Crossing.

Named by a graduate of the University of Kansas, The Crossing takes its moniker from a bar that long ago became a tradition in Lawrence, Kans. Located across the street from the edge of the KU campus, the original Crossing quenched thirsty Jayhawks for years.

Wrightwood Park's updated Crossing will likely be doing the same — for Chicagoans of all backgrounds — for years to come.

"We picked the location because it was three lots with an amazing beer garden area," co-owner Marc Epstein said. "The neighborhood is upscale and needed something that could be utilized on the weeknights with great pub-style food."

Here we find Dana, Kelly and Sarah partaking of a Jayhawk Fish Bowl, while being photographed by Lizze (far right) and me (top of the stairs to the balcony). All KU alumnae remember their days at the first Crossing — and expect even better things from the new version.

"It is quite an upgrade," Dana said.

"The Crossing has graduated," Sarah added.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Back 2 School Throwdown

The Back 2 School Throwdown was a community-service event at Lafollette Park in Chicago, intended to hype students up for the newly-begun academic year. The afternoon included a wave of free burgers and hot dogs, live musicians, several speakers and a long long of kids hoping to get their faces painted; the focus, however, was the spreading of information.

Parents and guardians were able to learn about and sign up for a multitude of opportunities, including banking, colleges, home improvement, health and more.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Carole and Lara: lavish

I remember something that Lara Jenkins did during her most recent Singer Spotlight performance, at Fitzgerald's Nightclub: She dedicated her third song, "Blue Skies," to her husband, Dell, and took a few moments to explain to the audience how much she loved him and what a good man he is.

I remember seeing Carole Baskin at The Singer Spotlight once before, I think in '08. The Spotlight's organizers always print programs for each show, and in those programs they give their performers some space to write a blurb about themselves, their music and such.

Carole wrote in hers that she wanted to use her singing to worship God "lavishly."

Lavishly. I've thought about that ever since then.

You don't see that kind of stuff enough anymore. People with spectacular voices, like these two, will gladly share their talent with you; Lara and Carole will gladly share their beliefs and their feelings with you.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Birthday in the sun

The Kiwiet family (birthday boy John in the green shirt)

For his 80th birthday party, John didn't have to grill — his kids did it for him, and he reaped the rewards.

The Kiwiet clan, including kids and grandkids, gathered at The Salt Creek Club — a favorite party spot for this family — to celebrate their patriarch. John, who his children say used to do all the grilling (to his great enjoyment, they added), got to sit back this time, and take great enjoyment from the grilling wisdom his kids learned from him.

And all looked like they were enjoying the love John and his wife of 52 years, Thea, passed down to them all.

The list of activities included plenty of grilling, madness on the diving board...

...and volleyball for the whole family.

Of all the diving-board pictures I've taken through the years, this one has become my current favorite.

"The dog's got me...somebody save the beer!"