Sunday, October 31, 2010

Really Rally

The J.Crew catalogue showed up last week. Normally, I'm a Container Store/Ballards/Shih-Tzu Today kind of gal, but I was kind of intrigued by the fall clothes and paged through pictures of girls who clearly haven't had a sandwich in this decade.

And then, I came to this:

Allow me to be your bifocals and blow this up a bit:

Slim, Stick and Skinny.
Really, J Crew?
Wrong in any demographic.


Margaret Hamilton wishes you a Happy Halloween
(and your little dog, too)*

*with thanks to Marilyn for a great invite and a witchy good evening.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

4 Days Late

Naperville Now is officially one. And 4 days. (It should come as no surprise to those who know me that I don't do numbers well.)

Again my thanks to Julie Powell, who apparently is no longer blogging. (And divorced from Eric, much to my dismay. Loved him in Julie and Julia.)

Also my thanks to Kristin Espinasse, author of French Word-a-Day, who has blogged about living the writing life at votre inspiration, Kristin, merci merci merci.

In lieu of cake, which I dislike, let's celebrate, shall we? Grab a flute. Guy in tux optional.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Naperville Neutral

When we moved to Naperville from Atlanta 23 years ago, the phrase Naperville Neutral was in vogue. It meant that the whole house vibe -- paint, carpet, kitchen -- HAD to be a safe beige, so when the owners were transferred to Detroit or Cinci or Dallas seven months down the road, the house could be sold lickety-split. Sans color, sans character, sans everything.

Which puts me in mind of the scenery around Whalon Lake, which is being drained of color at an alarming rate:

Love the plants and people who defy the rules.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunk Indeed

Fourteen years ago, our youngest daughter wrote "The Shih-Tzu Report," which proclaimed in no uncertain terms the 10 top reasons why our family had to get this breed of dog.

We read it. We argued it. We bided our time. Shortly thereafter, Bandit, 3, was dropped off by his owners at the Hinsdale Humane Society, where we visited one day later. After much sniffing and general reconnoitering, he jumped up into Anna's 9-year-old lap. "You're sunk!" our eldest whispered to me.

You know how this ends: in a matter of days, Bandit had his own chair at our dinner table. (We're not very educated in the dog-owning department, just the dog breed itself.)

And so to our 17-year-old Bandit, who enjoyed a walk yesterday on the Whalon Lake bike path and sniffed every wildlife hazard along the way, Happy Birthday. According to the Internet, that makes you somewhere between 81 and 84 years old.

You look half your age, buddy.

Friday, October 22, 2010


For the first time since 1981, I've been invited to a Halloween party. I lurve Halloween. Always have. Candy? Fabulous. Free candy? Signed up since 1957. Being someone else for a night? Hand me that broom.

So, in the interest of being a good guest, I am asking my faithful followers to send in suggestions (recipes helpful) of what I should prepare for this witches party. I was going to slice up different kinds of apples and make pumpkin dip (cream cheese, marshmallow creme, pumpkin, spice), but alas, someone else has claimed it as her contribution.

Think cocktails. Think theme. Think easy for an indifferent cook who wants to only look like she slaved over a hot cauldron.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I don't know what it is about October, but I get sick EVERY year at this time. Blecch.

Naperville Now will be in bed trying to breathe until further notice.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

BAT -- End of the Road

I had several posts in mind for today, but due to a new computer and a sore throat, I think I will postpone these in favor of stealing emails from my intrepid sister-in-law, whose 3300 mile journey up and down the U.S. culminated in a significant birthday today.

In lieu of a present, Johanna, this is the best that I can do.

Jodie will celebrate her natal day in an RV Park in northern Georgia today, ambling along a creek with her faithful Shih-Tzu, Rudy, and return shortly to the glory and glamour that is the Emergency Room of Chandler Hospital in Savannah.

I have spent many of my birthdays in beautiful, serene places.This spot has to rank up at the top.The sky is bright blue, the leaves are red, gold and orange, the creek is clear and gurgling over the rocks. The relaxation factor is a 10. Rudy and I hiked all the way up to the big waterfall this afternoon and both of us set back on a log and took in the kind of scenery you usually only see on computer screen savers.

The Birthday Adventure Trip has elicited much soul-searching, along with two critical observations about the world. This is #1:

There are very few small motorhomes on the road. Most all of the motorhomes in all my campgrounds have been those big giant bus size things. First, those things cost a couple hundred thousand dollars to buy not to mention getting 2 miles to the gallon. Is there something wrong with me that I don't even envy a motorhome that you have to worry about fitting in a parking spot anywhere? 

I don't know about you, but I take parallel parking very seriously, so no, I would never have RV envy. Ever.

Observation #2:

The posted speed limit everywhere is simply a SUGGESTION -- not a LAW. If this country wanted to raise some major revenue, they would start fining and enforcing speed limits. I am so anal that I just can't bring myself to exceed a posted speed limit. I am the last of a dying breed. Go ahead -- make fun of me. I'm elderly, I expect it.

(As a youngish rule-follower, I get that.)

Tomorrow, Johanna will pack up her peignoirs, batten her hatches and head south to home.

I miss my family and friends but am very sad about this trip coming to an end. When I start the engine tomorrow morning to head back to Atlanta, it will be with tears in my soul. Just to keep me from getting too maudlin, I plan to stop at the Dawsonville Factory Outlet Mall for some retail therapy tomorrow afternoon.

Thank you, Sue, for including me in your wonderful blog. Thank you, Will, for providing a great week at Camp Will.Thank you, Sarah, for taking care of my house.Thank you,Tom and Lara, for packing, unpacking and transporting me to and from the RV place. Thank you, Rudy, for being the best traveling companion I've ever had.

Until I can be back "On the Road Again."
Love to all.

PS to the birthday girl: please learn how to upload your pictures to the Internet. These posts would've been way sexier with pictures of those campfires and that shirtless guy.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


My snake-killing, RV-driving, majorly intrepid sister-in-law is back in Georgia, having nearly completed a motoring excursion that would make Jack Kerouac beg for mercy. Jodie is indefatigable. Plus, she has managed to entertain us with email summaries every few days. Naperville Now has been quite pleased to glom those travel observations for the past month.

She left Sault Ste. Marie and son Will many days ago, headed toward Indiana and Amish country:

The sign of the day was a sight of the day. In front of a Chinese restaurant there was a 2-horse buggy hitched to a pole. Guess the family was tired of chicken noodle soup and homemade bread.

Next stop was a campgound in (I am not making this up) Rising Sun, Indiana:

My campsite is on the banks of the Ohio River. If I were so inclined, I could spit in the river from the back of my RV. All day long I watch the barge traffic and tugs go up and down the river. I have discovered that the barges blow their fog horns all night long as the fog gets thicker. Like trains, their signal is 2 longs and a short. It's so neat that I don't mind being awakened as they go by!  I have become the Waving Girl of the Ohio River (those of you who know Savannah know all about Florence Marten, the Waving Girl) as I wave at all the river traffic.

Of course, every vacation, even a Birthday Adventure Trip, may have a glitch or two:

My computer decided to stop connecting to WiFi 2 nights ago. As usual I called (son)Tom for computer help.He gave me the name of a computer repair person here in Rising Sun. I called him this morning and, just to point out how nice people are all over our country, this cute young guy made a house call to my camper here at the campsite.
He fixed my computer and charged me a grand total of $60. So there is some guy named Brandon (who works in the steel mill here but would really like to do computers full time ) to whom I am very grateful. I am now back online.

If I were any more relaxed my fingers would be too limp to type! I really, really love this lifestyle and have decided to find a way to adopt this way of living until I need assisted living ...Time to pour a cold beer and pull my chair up next to the river. Life is good.

From the RV Park of the Rising Sun, she has motored south and east to Kentucky (and through Rabbit Hash, population possibly 40) and Tennessee.

Yesterday was one of those days that reminds you how wonderful it is to travel and be on the road. I got up early, unplugged my power and water lines and drove to the Kentucky Guild Fall Craft Festival about 5 miles east of Berea, Kentucky. Sue, I thought of you the whole morning because you would have loved this. It was a juried show -- no tacky toilet paper holders made of tulle.
There were some beautiful things and the prices were (I thought) reasonable. I had to keep reminding myself: You do not need more stuff for the boys to clean out some day. I did buy a metal sculpture for my front porch, but it is so pretty that I am sure Will will want to inherit it.

And I wanted a tulle TP holder bad. Knitted ones are just so 1955.

Then I took the motorhome up the Cherohala Skyway out of Tellico Plains.  That road hadn't been built when I lived there and is now a scenic drive connecting Tellico Plains, TN and Murphy, NC. It was incredibly beautiful.The WOW factor of fall colors hit me again. If you are ever looking for a completely noncommercialized mountain drive, try this one! 
I am so sad to report that I am now in my last campground. Rudy has come full circle and we are back in Georgia. I drove over the mountains into North Georgia today taking the backroad, scenic routes. I am out in the middle of nowhere between Hiawassee and Helen, Georgia. I have a wooden deck that is just mine built out over the stream right out the door of the motorhome...

I have some work to do for work that I haven't touched yet this trip so will spend these last days catching up. I have onsite WiFi so can always watch You Tube if I get bored. I can also read the emails I hope to get from my family. I need some cheering up. I got an email today from a company that says it can get me a motorized wheelchair at a bargain price.

Now that is shred-worthy information.

Jodie and Rudy will hang around the campsite a few more days before heading to family in Atlanta, where they will probably have to pry the motor home from her cold, dead hands. Honey and I think she should just buy the thing, plan the next trip and be at peace. I'm sure there's a stretch of river where the trout are tumbling about, just waiting for her to pull up and light a campfire for the night.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Honey and I went a little cocolocomo and had dinner at The Distinctive Cork* on a week night. Our delightful son-in-law presented us with a gift certificate just before he and his family moved in with us back in May. (The addition of three people, two dogs and many, many possessions to our house seems like a thousand years ago. Feel free to relive those days via the Naperville Now archives, located on the right. Gripping stuff. But I digress.)

The food is quite tasty at The Distinctive Cork, they serve flights of wine (now we're talking) and they offer something called a Napertini. I thought the name was so cute, I'm reproducing it here for all you cocktail fanciers. However, I cannot quite recall the proportions, so just keep pouring until everything looks and tastes right. And if that takes several tries, I say, so be it.

Pomegranate Vodka
Pomegranate juice
grapefruit juice
Tripe Sec

I'm toying with the idea of changing the name of this blog to Napertini Now, though it sounds like an imperious, bang-on-the-bar call to action. And I'm way more polite than that.

*located in the shopping center at Gartner and Washington in Naperville. (And no, we weren't comped the meal in exchange for a fabulous write-up in Naperville Now. Wish I'd thought of it, however.)

Monday, October 4, 2010

NCHS -- Is That You?

Naperville Central hosted an open house Sunday so the Ancients could see what $87.7 million in renovations looks like. For me and mine, I'd say pretty darned cool.

Love the swoopy new entrance. At least, I think it's the new entrance. It's how we got in, anyway.

Of course, we ran into everyone we know. (After 23 years in the same town, I should hope so.)

Demo-ing the Interactive Kiosk. (I think I saw this on Grey's Anatomy.)

The cafeteria. Is this a cool space or what?  I forgot to ask how the screen will be used.
All My Children? Real World? Animal Planet?

Mr. Dennison greets a member of the Class of 2026, who enthusiastically endorsed the chocolate chip cookies.

Curvilinear! Hip! Great aesthetic! Go, you.

Love that this portion of the original facade was saved.

Two views of the LRC. Glass, wood, steel -- great detail.

Bookcase endcaps. Awesome.

Just one of many classrooms with a dry erase wall, corkboard on top and a Smart Board, which projects whatever is on the teacher's laptop. Touch the board with a finger or pen, and the board interprets it as a mouse-click. No chalk dust here.

We were invited to try out the dry erase wall. Hopefully, we haven't set a bad precedent for you-know-who.

Yes, we wrote that together. And I must say, we have excellent penman, uh, markership.

Great view of the football field from the new Gymnastics gym.

Where would we be without education?
Go Hawks.