Thursday, September 30, 2010

Blogging About Bloggers

Confession: I read online way more than I read hard copy. We still get the Chicago Tribune and a few magazines and the usual tonnage of catalogs. But truth be told, I read online. It's fast, it's bright and sparkly, and I'm lazy.

Besides checking in with all the usual news sources, I am hopelessly addicted to blogs written by really smart women. Ree Drummond, author of The Pioneer Woman (http://thepioneerwoman.com/), is a hugely entertaining writer/blogger who has four kids, lives on a cattle ranch in Oklahoma and started her blog to keep from going crazy. She wrote a cookbook that has become a best-seller. And her online autobiography has been optioned by Sony Pictures for a film possibly starring Reese Witherspoon. (This is so not my life.)

Did I mention she has contests for cameras and cookware? Because she does. A LOT. But even better? She gets THOUSANDS of entries per contest, not to mention comments in the hundreds from her readers. Many hundreds! And I think she'd get that many even if she didn't offer up shiny new products that she buys on her own to throw into the mix, because she is that charming and funny and best-friendy. (Somewhere along the way, I heard her website receives something like two million hits a month.)

Naperville Now is feeling very inadequate at the moment and must cast about for something to offer up to you, my 23 devoted followers (actually, Connie signed up twice, once as herself and once as her blog, so really, it's only 22).
You certainly may have any pot or pan in my kitchen. (Honey and heaven know, I never use them.)

I may have to get back to you on this. Keep reading.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

BAT Part II

My snake-killing, peignoir-wearing sister-in-law made it across the Mackinac Bridge in her RV yesterday. She had been warned that wind might push her into the drink and was advised to have a Park Ranger drive the vee-hickle for her. She writes:

People were wrong. It was magnificent! The view of the water from the 5-mile long bridge was absolutely beautiful. My motorhome didn't even swerve in the wind. So it was another unwarranted trial and "woe is me." Annie Get Your Gun because I can do anything!!!

I am perplexed that Jodie is unaware of her powers. She brings dead people back to life on a routine basis. And have I mentioned the snake-killing thing? She is without peer.

The Steinbeck cum Kuralt cum Kerouac gig apparently agrees with her and her ferocious Shih-Tzu, Rudy:

I am loving this lifestyle.  Every night the people camped on either side of me come over to introduce themselves and visit.  It usually starts with, "You have such a cute little dog."  Apparently dogs and babies are universal conversations starters...I have been invited next door for wine and canapes so am off to be social.

The autumn scenery in the Upper Peninsula is spectacular, a sight that low country dwellers don't get to experience:
 
The falls colors -- reds, golds, oranges -- are so incredibly pretty here that I am fairly sure they are fake.  It took somebody a lot of time to paint all these trees.
 
Now if we could just teach Jodie how to upload her pictures, Naperville Now would be able to breathe a sigh of relief. Alas, she says she will work on the upload thing once she has finished going from Lake Huron to Lake Superior and back again via the lock system, which intrigues her no end. I don't think she's in the RV while doing this, but as there are no pictures, one can only imagine.
 
She sidetripped to Pictured Rocks in Munising, Michigan for a 3-hour boat tour of the cliffs, beaches and waterfalls of Lake Superior:
 
You have to understand that I drove through the wilderness for two hours each way today.  I mean nothing, nada, wilderness. The signs for the day were "Stronge Michigan - The Black Bear Capital of Michigan." Why in the world would you advertise it and then have a sign for the direction to tent camping? My other favorite sign was "Dog Sled Rides - You Drive."  Mush Rudy, mush.
 
Safe travels, sis. And get out the camera manual, please. Rudy can drive while you read.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hold the Mayo

I persuaded some friends to hit the penultimate Sandwich Antiques Market on Sunday. (And because I forgot my camera, I am forced to steal borrow artwork from the web for this post.)

I think we got pretty lucky: wooden folding chairs, a footstool, vintage sewing cabinet drawers, a dining room chair with a soon-to-be-remedied Naugahyde issue, a few Christmas gifts. Not a pink spaghetti poodle anywhere, sad to report. ( A relative of mine collects these vintage porcelain dogs.) And we saw a 1950s Halloween costume marked "Flame Retarded."

All told, we may have spent more on lunch than at the market. There was a time when it would actually take a full eight hours to see everything and there was zero time for lunch. Now, it seems that the economy has affected the second hand market. Or perhaps it's just easier to sell online. Maybe it's both.



Somehow, though, seeing a yellowing bottle brush tree in the flesh, uh, brush is a lot more compelling than on an auction site.



Sunday, Oct. 24 is the last hoo-rah for Sandwich, but fret not. The Kane County Flea Market rolls out the first weekend of nearly every month. A lot more tube socks and knock-off purses over by der, but there are gems to be found, should one care to look.

So, did you happen to go to Sandwich? What did you find? Naperville Now loves show and tell, so feel free to share with the class.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Officially Fall

Honey is in Savannah this week, reconnoitering winter getaways for us, bless him. Of course, I think today it's hotter in Naperville than in most places in Georgia. Anyone else recall perspiring so abundantly whilst acorns were hurling themselves full bore?

Since the children grew up and took root elsewhere, I find myself overly attuned to seasons and how sunlight filters through the trees and plays differently in fall than in spring than in summer. And especially how it hardly ever shows up in winter on whatever godforsaken parallel we live on. (What a dumb idea to sell the globe at a garage sale. Now I'll never know.)

According to my friend's niece, there are 100 more days of sunlight in the winter in Minneapolis than in Chicago. This blows my mind for two reasons: I have always equated Minneapolis with neck-high snow and a people so desperate to be out of doors, they ice fish. Who could stand to live there? I am now humbled by the statistics of sunlight, though I'm emphatically ruling out Eden Prairie as a winter getaway, even though my cousin lives there.

We had ourselves a humdinger of an autumn moon last night. Jupiter showed up, too. Bandit and I admired the night sky for a bit then growled at something in the bushes.

Here's hoping we get lucky on that little getaway. Perhaps it could look a little like this:
 
(Not five minutes after clicking Publish Post, a Boy Scout selling Christmas wreaths appeared at my door. Can't breathe. Need sunlight and cocktails -- stat.)


Monday, September 20, 2010

BAT

My snake-killing sister-in-law is on a six-week vacation in an RV with her ferocious Shih-Tzu, Rudy.

Jodie is driving from Atlanta to Sault Sainte Marie to check out scenery, visit family, smoke in peace and veg out from her crazy/busy life as an ER nurse. In short, much like Jake and Elwood, she is on a mission, officially referred to as the BAT, or Birthday Adventure Trip.

This is Johanna in her BAT mobile:


So far, she hasn't been snuffed out in any North Carolina RV parks, or at least, she continues to send us emails about her journey. An axe-murderer named Larry could be sending us daily updates, but I doubt it. Jodie is a wonderful writer. It would be tough to imitate her observational style:

Yesterday I learned to downshift. And I learned to turn hair pin curves and I learned how to spend a whole day going 30 mph. The Blue Ridge Parkway is stunningly beautiful but would be much better as a destination trip than a route to somewhere else. Rudy and I drove for over 6 hours and made just over 200 miles. We stopped at some fabulous overlooks to admire the views and leave Rudy marking in far away places. By the end of the day, we were both worn out. Arrived at our evening campground (love my GPS), cooked dinner and was sound asleep at 9 pm.

She grudgingly left North Carolina and reported this from West Virginia:

At 8:30 last night, I'm sitting in the easy chair in my RV reading and someone knocks on my screen door.  I turn on the porch light and here is this guy in blue jeans and no shirt.  I let Rudy snarl and bark and I didn't open the door and be friendly. He says, "Just wanted to ask how much it costs to rent this thang."  I gave him an evasive answer and listened politely through the door while saying to Rudy, "Quiet killer. No attack (yet)." He gives me his life story and finally goes away.  For heaven's sake, if you're going to come calling, wear a shirt!

Believe me, when Jodie tells you to do something, you pretty much do it.

My sign of the day in this part of North Carolina was in front of a little country church. "If Jesus had came 5 minutes ago, where would you have been at?" Makes you ponder the educational system doesn't it?

Yep.

She was in Ohio last night and wrote:

I had one of those experiences that makes camping so much better than any other way to travel. At about dark they built a campfire in the center area of all our campsites. Out came 2 guitars, a fiddle and (I think that's what it was) a dulcimer. It was kind of like a big xylophone. Everybody brought lawn chairs and sat around the fire and listened to music for 2 hours. It doesn't get any better than that!

I don't know about you, but I like to keep my dulcimer close by when I travel, too.

Traveling mercies, sis. Kiss Rudy for us. Enjoy those glorious clothing outlets you love so much. And above all, keep writing.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Somewhere

My high school friend, Lis, is using this graphic as her profile picture on Facebook.

Terrifying in black and white.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Loud

When we first moved to Naperville, our house was on a lot that had a whole lot of nothing on it. Even the grass was suspect. But after 15 years of digging in "soil" the consistency of cement, planting, replanting and planting some more, things began to take shape -- one day we will own a home in a wooded setting, where we will be protected from the relentless sun and grow hostas.

We found that wooded lot, here in the southern part of the city, and while we have gloried in its abundant shade, we have also slaved over the leaves that must be swept to the street. And while we have that backbreaker to look forward to in a few weeks, right now we are being battered by black walnuts and an acorn crop that will keep the squirrels at Weight Watchers for the next five years.

Such acorns! Such walnuts! It's like living in an organic pinball machine. You break your ankle walking across the little bit of lawn we do have. And you risk brain damage under the barrage of walnut hulls hurled by the vindictive critters on the roof and in the trees.

All of that noise is definitely interfering with my naps, so you can see why I'm so crabby.


Ouch.

Did I mention the woodpecker?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Night Lights

Naperville Central played West Aurora tonight on Central's brand spanking new football field.

I must confess, I barely recognized the place, it's so fancy.

The concession shack is long gone and in its stead is a real live brick-and-mortar building, where devoted parents still sell hot dogs and hawk hoodies.

Even the band was new, all tricked up in plumes and crimson and black (so we're not red and white? sorta red and not so white?).

And of course the players, all 900 of them, played well and pretty much crushed the Blackhawks.

Yes, time marches on, from grass to astroturf, gravel to composite track, bleachers to skyboxes. (Okay, there really aren't any skyboxes, but they sure look like they could be.)

And while we look forward to seeing the rest of the additions and improvements from the inside, I'm a bit wistful. It takes time to get used to alterations in my space-time continuum.




Rendering by Wight and Company

Monday, September 6, 2010

Before Summer Passes By

Starting...
Naperville Municipal Band steps out
Mayor Pradel on a vintage Harley
Paging Mr. Barnum. And the Democratic Party.
Yay for Central, Naperville's original high school
Knox Presbyterian Church celebrating 50 years in Naperville

No lack of Twizzlers, peppermints, Tootsie Rolls, bubbles, pencils, flags, dog biscuits
 and clear skies along the parade route.

Happy Labor Day, everyone.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Summervore

Honey and I threw waistlines to the wind last night and drove down to Andy's for a last lick of summer.

Is there anything better than a really, really great ice cream cone filled with frozen custard? Preferably chocolate? Preferably free (thanks, Nancy and Grace. We have enough left on our gift cards for one more round.)?

Of course, much the same could be said about watermelon. Nothing better, as long as it's summertime and in the 90s. Tomatoes, home-grown, fit the bill. Iced tea, Pinot Grigio, and steak salad also work. Did I mention Rose wine?

Blue Moon beer with an orange slice just doesn't have the same appeal in December as it does in July and August. Champagne also tastes better. (As I look at this list, I think I need to use fewer alcoholic references and more food-based delights....Thinking...)

Which all goes to prove that this summervore is dreading Labor Day and what is lurking just behind it:


So not ready.