Pulse: Valentine’s Day at White Castle
From Sun staff and freelance reports February 20, 2013 6:44PM
This Valentine's Day, Angela and Mike Lesniewicz tempted their tastebuds with a visit to White Castle. | submitted photo
Updated: March 23, 2013 6:14AM
Card? Check. Flowers? Check. Sliders? Why not.
Curiosity got the better of Angela Lesniewicz last week. After years of seeing messages about Valentine’s Day dinner reservations on White Castle signs, she decided to combine her husband Mike’s love of fast food with the year’s most romantic holiday.
The couple met 24 years ago at a bowling alley in Naperville, which Angela recalled appropriately enough as “a meat market.”
“I lived in Westmont, and he lived in Geneva, so we drove an hour to see each other every day. I suppose we could’ve met somewhere in the middle, so we only had to drive a half hour but we were teenagers, we didn’t think like that,” she laughed.
After six months of commuting, the couple got an apartment together. Their first Valentine’s Day was marked by a big blizzard that started while Angela was picking up a 4-foot-tall “hot air balloon bouquet.”
They married two years later and are now the proud parents of Alyssa, 18, and Zach, 13.
Angela describes herself as “a total mush” while her husband, although good with gifts and cards is “the most unromantic person (she’s) ever met.”
But his wife said the unromantic guy is also hardworking, and she knew all his buddies would be jealous if she made reservations for burgers.
So at 7 p.m. Feb. 14, the Lesniewiczes made their way to the “Love Castle” at Theodore Street and Route 59 in Joliet. They wore jeans.
“Mike brought flowers home from work with a funny card, and I had a funny card for him,” Angela said. “Though I was expecting a mushy card.”
A maitre’d brought them to a table for two and lighted a candle. Angela said it was odd to have a waitress while the double cheeseburgers were plated in their standard cardboard sleeves.
“There was a long line, and I was surprised at how many families were there with kids, I expected more couples,” Angela said. “It was corny, but it was fun.”
Mike lucked out when his spouse paid, but Angela had no complaints about his chivalry.
“He’d snuck a bag into my car when he got home and brought it in the restaurant. He’d gotten the mushy card to go with the diamond earrings,” she said.
After filling up on burgers and popcorn shrimp, the Lesniewiczs skipped the dessert tray. And Angela has no plans to try again next year.
“It was a one-time thing, but it made it one of our more memorable Valentine’s Days,” she said. “Something we’ll have to laugh about for years to come.”
City’s singles earn cheeriest outlook
Naperville has found its way onto yet another best-of list, and we can only guess it’s feeling positive about it. At least, those in the dating set must be.
Biological anthropologist Helen Fisher asked, on behalf of chemistry.com, about singles’ levels of hope and positive attitudes about life. And it turns out there are just three towns in the U.S. where the unattached are more optimistic than they are here.
“Singles in these cities are particularly confident that things will work out; they never enter any competition expecting to lose; and when they do lose, they focus on how they can do better next time,” Fisher said in a press release. “The dopamine system is linked with a sunny personality, and as I expected, those living in most of these 10 cities are explorers, men and women who are highly expressive of the traits linked with dopamine. Explorers are natural optimists.”
Finishing ahead of Naperville (we know you’re wondering) were Santa Fe, N.M., in third place and Redondo Beach, Calif., finishing second. The most optimistic town in the nation, according to its singles? Hoboken, NJ.
We are not making this up.
Drummer lands gig
of his own — new CD
Naperville resident and professional musician Jack Mouse, 65, has been playing other people’s music for years, appearing alongside such jazz giants as Stan Kenton, Art Davis, Kenny Burrell and more. And now the jazz drummer has finally recorded some of his own music, done the “Mouse” way.
“Over the years, I’ve written a number of tunes for many people and figured I had enough of my own songs to do a CD,” Mouse said. “We got a quintet together of some of the collaborators I’ve worked with over the years, and we recorded a 10-track CD last June. We knocked the whole thing out in a day and a half.”
Mouse recorded on the Seattle-based Origin label, which Mouse’s wife, Janice, said “is a respected independent jazz label.” She said the label will be handling promotion of the album and that the group will probably play a few gigs here in Chicago with a possible release event at North Central College.
“The band members live all over the country, so it’s not that easy to get everyone together,” she said.
Mouse said the band member’s familiarity with one another allowed them to record quickly and that overall, he is happy with the results.
“At this point, all I’m hearing is the warts, but when I step away from the recording for a few days and listen to it again, I think it sounds pretty good,” he said. “Improvisational music is where the process becomes the product.”
Check out the release, “Range of Motion” at amazon.com, or iTunes.
Up, Up and away
Hot air balloon crew coming to Welch Elementary School
It may be cold outside, but it will be hot inside Welch Elementary School today. The south Naperville school is hosting the RE/MAX hot air balloon and its crew for a fun day of interactive learning.
“We are looking forward to hosting this event so that our students can learn about the science behind hot air balloons and the history of the development,” said Kim Zidek, third-grade teacher at Welch.
Inside the gymnasium, the 75-foot-tall balloon envelope will be inflated with cold air, and students will have the opportunity to walk inside of it.
“We are excited because it will give students who may never otherwise get this opportunity a close-up, hands-on experience with a hot air balloon,”the teacher said. “After viewing the program, we are hopeful that the next time our students see a hot air balloon high up in the sky, they will be able to teach those with them something new about hot air balloons.”
More than 400 students are expected to attend, leaving Naperville with plenty of hot air balloon educators.
Novice driving mistake
I hate when that happens
Someday they’ll look back on this and laugh.
Every novice driver’s nightmare came true earlier this month for one young man on Naperville’s far northwest side.
A written Naperville police report indicated an unidentified area man went out for a drive about 12:52 p.m. Feb. 9 with his teenage son. The youth had “obtained his permit this morning, and dad was letting him drive,” the report read in part.
The teen eventually made a turn into a parking lot near Diehl Road and Bond Street “and hit the gas instead of the brake,” the report stated. The vehicle “went off the road and struck a tree.”
Neither father nor son was injured.