Monday, August 30, 2010

"Mr. Watson! Come Here. I Want To See You."*

Deux called with news of her latest acquisition: an Iphone that pretty much does it all -- Internet, GPS, texting. Even calling. A computer in her pocket, as it's been characterized to me. Which got me to thinking about 20-somethings and how texting has supplanted the desktop (and, verily I say to you, even the laptop) in terms of communication. Want to talk with your kid? Forget email. Forget Facebook. And blast mail, while we're at it. It's text, or dwell under the Cone of Silence.

Planning activities requires a few thumbprints on a cell phone and voila, it's off to the movie, to Great America, to Marshall's, to the bars, to Veronica's. No need (heaven forbid) to call everyone to make plans. Are you nuts? That would be intrusive. Texting, however, is just the ticket.

Now I will admit, I've been in love with computers since 1975 and haven't been without one since 1984 (precocious child that I was. Am.) In fact, our son-in-law is in the process of creating a new desktop for me that he guarantees will blow the bangs off my forehead every time I sit down in front of the bodacious 23-inch monitor. Folks, I can hardly stand the suspense.

But the phone thing? Not so much. Glad the kids have a means to call, uh, text home. Any way you slice it, that's what counts. As for me, I'll stick with email. I can see the keyboard without squinting. Usually.

* Purported to be the first words Alexander Graham Bell said over his wondrous invention. At least, that's what Don Ameche said in the 1939 classic movie. And no, I wasn't at the premiere of "The Story of Alexander Graham Bell."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


"Wow, Mom. That camera takes really good pictures." 
Daughter No. One


"Mom! This camera is amazing."
Daughter No. Deux


"Dang, girl. That camera Charlie gave you is incredible."


"You know, Sue, those pictures I took in Naperville turned out great."


Back At It

Kids, I hope you remembered your lunch, your No. 2s and an apple.

Wishing all my teacher friends a year filled with apples. Thanks for all that you do.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Night Cap

While I must confess that our liquor tastes run more toward Chardonnay than Ketel One (I had to google how many Ts in that one), we needed some vodka for a recent party. Can't say I've bought likka in the last 20 or 30 years (I expect everyone to enjoy the wine I enjoy. Sorry, everyone. Why didn't you say something?)

In any case, there I was in the Jewel, hyperventilating at the width and breadth and flavors of the vodka. Russia. England. Tennessee. I mean, it's a vodka jungle out there. I closed my eyes and chose Absolut because it advertises in the most magazines I read. And if I erred in vodka judgment, don't tell me.

When I put it in the cart, I realized there was some sort of plastic hat on the top of the bottle. Looking back at the shelves, I realized all the vodkas had hats. Or at least, the more expensive ones. Heck, they've been security tagging clothes forever, so I guess tagging vodka makes sense. It just freaks me out a little that I hadn't noticed this huge shift in the liquor paradigm.

I need to get out more. Or drink more. Possibly both.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

And They're Off

The street is packed with cars and into the basement flows a stream of every changing college T-shirts worn by unbearably young, darling, newly-minted graduates who will very soon head to college.

Good luck. I'll miss you. Text me. Stay with me. Did you hear? They are going out. Yes, they broke up. Thank god for Skype. Nearly packed. Well, actually, not so much. I have tons of laundry to do. Can you believe it? We are out of here Wednesday. Illinois. Thursday. Hope. Friday. ISU. Next week. Rush? Yes. Maybe. Not for me. Next year. Gotta work. In the library, second floor.  I'm thinking matching bedspreads, if my roommate agrees. (Now there's a girl conversation if I ever heard one.) Can I photocopy this picture of us? Thanks for the snickerdoodles, Mrs. H. They're awesome.

And I think back to my 100-year-ago college self and I'm remembering this: ready. And also this: joy, freedom, dizzying possibility.  And there is Susan and Joyce and Terry, who will enter my world at school and stay foreverafter. All these years later, I cannot imagine this life without them.

Having danced the collegiate dance twice, I feel compassion for these kind and loving parents. They are a bit anxious, feeling a bit displaced on this night of tributes and well-wishes. If I could assuage their sadness, I would say: remember. Remember when we were them? How exciting that time was? All of those glorious possibilities just waiting to be played out?

It will be fine. They will be fine. We will be fine. I promise. 

Meanwhile, pass the wine. I need a little uplifting myself.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Read and Release

A few nights ago, we were at the Fire House Grill in Evanston for dinner and had an amazing encounter in the Ladies' Room:

(I'm not lost! a booklover left me here
 for you to find & enjoy -- See inside
 for more info --

This was definitely my first random literary encounter in a public restroom. Kinda cool, kinda unhygienic. But hey, an encounter nonetheless by a furtive organization called

My friend Carly actually snagged the book (one hopes not from the top of the tank) and will present a book report on The Starfollowers (yes, one word) of Coramonde in this space just as soon as she is able.

Until then:

Gil was blown back with enormous force by a ball of swirling transplendence. The entity, freed from the seal, sizzled and lashed out, knocking him sideways. The thing floated toward the baby. Suddenly, the sword of Blazetongue flared incandescent.

Carly tells me that fantasy writers are passionate about using the "Find Synonym" option in their word processing, inventing vocabulary as necessary. And they rarely miss an opportunity to name inanimate objects, such as swords and comets (in this case, Blazetongue and Trailingsword.)

And while I am not a devotee of Fantasy, I do love to read. And I think the Read and Release program is brilliant. Here's hoping the program fares better than the free bikes of Paris, which at last count were pretty much all in Bratislava and Bucharest.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

In Good Company

We've had quite a bit of company these past few weeks. More arrive tomorrow. And it's been truly fabu because:

I got to do a little redecorating.

I've had a chance to tour Naperville with my houseguests. (I cannot believe how many new stores have sprouted downtown. Couldn't find CeeBee's, however.*)

I've done a little experimental cooking. (Thank you, Sarah Jp, for all your assistance in the Low Country Shrimp Boil department. And Den, thank you for your muscle and culinary acumen.)

I've met lovely people from South Africa, Australia, Scotland and England. Also, Milwaukee.

I've loved seeing our grandson play peek-a-book with his great grandmother.

One of these days, we're closing this inn and finding smaller digs elsewhere, as you will recall from previous posts in this space regarding The Plan. And when that day comes, we will be so downsized, the dog will have to find alternative living arrangements.
So until then, I'm going to relish the hub and the bub of company. Reservations recommended.

* (Yes, I know the grocery store CeeBee's closed in 1996. It's where we bought Wonder Bread to feed the ducks on the Riverwalk, which now has warnings posted AGAINST feeding ducks or risk imprisonment. The world is indeed a curious place.)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Not Yet

The Jewel.

My grocery store since 1987. 

Home of the beloved Deli Ladies (who saved Bandit's life with constant offerings of liverwurst).

That once happy destination just west of Dominick's has turned itself into Fermi Lab because it is accelerating summer.

I do NOT want to see Back to School anything, especially sketchy-looking cookies. It is too soon. I am still trying to get the stupid Wave petunias to grow in front. I refuse to move along and be all Fall-ish. I am not ready.

So I say to you, Jewel, put your spiral notebooks and your crayolas and your Back-To-School sketchy cookies in back and keep them there until Labor Day. (And if anyone knows why the petunias have wilted, leave me a note. This has been a most discouraging garden season. But it ain't over until I say it is. And it ain't. Not yet.)

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Let's face it: going to work usually sucks, but sometimes, if you're really lucky, you get to walk through some pretty nice scenery on the way to the second floor.

Nice going, building management people who hired the gardeners to do all the work.

And thank you.