Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Washed Up

The ole Kenmore came to a screeching and shuddering halt on Sunday. I hate it when that happens.

Aren't these stupid appliances supposed to last until you're carted off to a nursing home? I keep thinking it's part of a plan being perpetrated on the buying public by avaricious appliance designers. This could explain many things, including my sister-in-law's brand new microwave oven blowing up 10 days out of warranty. (You should see the scorch marks.)

I'm disappointed in these manufacturers for being short-sighted and creating appliances that should last, if not a lifetime, then fairly close. I also blame them for avocado green. Not a good design decision in any decade.

Charlie and I hit 17 stores yesterday, armed with a list of what not to buy, courtesy of a local repairman who does not recommend front loading anything. (But they're so spiffy! And gleamy! And red!)

The good news is they can deliver tomorrow. And because we are in that microscopic segment of the population that doesn't want a front loader, we got a pretty good deal.

At least, I think we did. Ask me in 366 days. From Wednesday.

Friday, March 25, 2011

New Content

This is my 200th post, an anniversary that happens to coincide with a most wonderful announcement:
"New content has been added to your family tree."
If you are an Ancestry.com subscriber, this will resonate hugely. If you have posted your genealogy online, you have received emails alerting you to the fact that someone out there in this big blue world has "added content to your family tree."

In our case, however, it is our daughter who will be adding new content (with a little help from son-in-law Dennis) to our family tree around the first of August. Her name, at this great and awesome moment, is 

Charlotte Elizabeth

Hello, Charley. And welcome -- almost -- to the world. We can hardly wait to meet you in person baby.

Your brother is celebrating his 2nd birthday this weekend, so we are looking very much forward to being in full woo hoo mode.

We are all about the blue and the pink, baby girl. And our hearts are very full.

Welcome (shortly) to our corner of the earth. We'll be so glad to know you.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Let's Review, Shall We?

As a rule-follower and former New Yorker, it pains me to watch pedestrians and bikers be so dense when it comes to traffic signals.

Time for review (and don't make me stop this car):

This, dear friends, means stop:

The large red hand does not mean "High five, dude, now cross the street," because if you do, you will most assuredly be killed. No, the large red hand means stop. As in, do not cross the street. As in, stop.

To review:
Red hand = stop. Do not go. Stay on the curb. Ponder life for a few extra seconds. Chill.

When it is your turn to cross, the red hand goes away (I love magic, don't you?) and this appears:

See how his legs are kinetic, implying motion? That means you! Time to cross the street. It is safe (mostly) to do so, so skedaddle on across -- on foot, with your 10-speed, pushing your baby in his stroller.

(I suppose in a perfect world our little walking man should be green, but I can't control everything.)

So, remember: red hand = stop. Little walking man = go.

Now go out there and be careful, especially at Royce and Washington.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Key Indeed

My glamorous sister-in-law, Sarah, presented me with yet another wildly innovative gift:

  "Recycling is Key" Photo Frame, made from recycled keyboards.
Go wireless with this techno savvy framed made from recycled computer keyboards.
Show off your environmental awareness and "re"decorate with some eco-friendly goods. Your friends will be "green" with envy!

I am, if anything, techno savvy. In fact, the very first keyboard that I ever used had ginormous keys just like this, along with the same icky fingerprints and coffee stains.

I peeked in Google. Two's Company, the manufacturer, also sells frames made from old motherboards. Love that.

Sarah last presented me with a frame made from wood recycled from a home in southeast Georgia, which I wrote about here.

I'm late with my thanks, Sarah. Love the frame, love the whole repurposing idea very much, although I draw the line at Soylent Green.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

At Last

Out with the old (and still on our street)

and in with the new:

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Really.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Prayers For Japan

Like everyone else these days, I am watching the news with both hands in front of my face.

The stories and pictures of Japan are gut-wrenching.

Prayers of hope and healing and safety, for Japan and for this world.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Finish Line In Sight

Chicago's crappy weather has made it possible for me to be enough of a Troglodyte to keep after this stupid basement project. Grey, windy, cold = sorting, sanitizing and toting 40 more boxes of junk.

And today, my friends, I do believe I am closer to the finish line.

But with one small snag, which sounded like this:

Daughter: "Whatcha doing?"
Me: "Washing Duplos."
D: "You mean big Legos?"
Me: "Exactly. And I found a cute plastic container to hold them so we can give them to Zach for his birthday."
D: ~silence~
M: "Hello?"
D: "Can't you keep them at your house?"
M: "Why can't we keep them at your house?"
D: "We have so many here. Why don't you keep them there and Zach can play with them at your house?"
M: "But he's not over here very much."
D: "I'll take him over more often."

I think my birthday toy plans (and depleting the basement crap levels at the same time) have been derailed.

Time for my secret weapon:

One can never have too many horses.

Did I mention there's a stable that goes with these?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


The to-be-recycled pile in my basement disappeared this drizzly afternoon.

All of those 486 processors? Gone. Flatbed scanners purchased 6 presidential administrations ago? Met their reward. Somehow. Not sure of the specifics, but presumably someone comes along to the Electronic Recycling Station in Bolingbrook, pokes through the piles and harvests enough gigabytes to cobble together a computer named HAL that takes over Will County. Something like that. And I am all for it. So much better than hurling all of this junk into the landfill, which is just too irresponsible and guilt-inducing.

My thanks to Nancy, who told me in the beginning of the Great Basement Reclamation project that electronics could be dropped off at 299 Canterbury Lane, Bolingbrook, IL.

You can drop off batteries there, too.

Is that not the best?

Monday, March 7, 2011

C is For Cookie

It's official. As of this evening, I'm off cholesterol medication. And as my memory soars to great heights over the next three months, you will be the first to know if the Pythagorean theorem comes back to me. Or makes sense. (I'm thinking this is very unlikely.)

Contraindicated in the great statin boycott, however, is this: three boxes of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies calling out to me from the freezer. And they are very loud.

Timing. It's everything.

But, I wanted to share what came with our three boxes: a thank you note, which read:

Dear Betsy's Mom,

Thank you for buying cookies and supporting my troop this year. Part of the funds raised will help three girls from my troop fund their Gold Award Projects, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. The remaining funds will be spent on a fun outing in Chicago in the spring.

Thanks again,
Tara, Troop 1409
Balance due: $12

First, I've never received a thank you note for buying Girl Scout cookies. And I am a huge proponent of thank you notes. Secondly, this appears to be a Greater Good troop because everyone's kicking in dough (ha) to help three girls reach a significant goal. And that is crazy commendable.

I feel better about these cookies already.

Let's hope my cholesterol feels similarly.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What Was I Saying?

And we're back, which may be more more miraculous than you realize, if we are to believe this morning's Chicago Tribune:

"Statin use can cause issues with memory"

Am I the last person on the planet to know this? (Crikey, have I read this before and not remembered?)

I have high cholesterol and take Simvastatin. Have for a long time. And it is no secret that I suffer greatly from Can't Remember S*** syndrome. Of course, I was under the impression that the whole memory thing was a byproduct of being female and "of a certain age."

So I've been doing this brain thing to myself, if I am to believe what I read in the column People's Pharmacy:

"My doctor prescribed Vytorin for high cholesterol. While my cholesterol went from over 350 to 190 in five weeks, I ended up having an eight-hour episode of transient global amnesia (TGA). I knew who I was, and I recognized my family and friends, but I didn't know the year. I didn't recognize streets I have drive for many years. I asked my husband the same five questions in the hospital over and over until late in the evening, when my memory returned."
The response:
"We have heard from many other readers who have experienced memory problems on statin-type cholesterol-lowering drugs...Some have shared similar stories of transient global amnesia. One man forgot how to shift his sports car into gear.  Another forgot the route to work...Ask your doctor about psyllium, niacin, fish oil, fibrates and bile acid binders. One or more may help solve the problem."
It just so happens I'm seeing my doc tomorrow afternoon for my yearly checkup.

I hope I remember to ask her about this.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Naperville Now will take a short hiatus in order to watch over Kilroy while his parents are out of town.

Between observing the planes from Charlie's Restaurant at Clow Airport and cruising the inventory at Ikea to sitting in the trolley at the Nichols Library, we have a very full weekend planned. (Okay, just kidding. I know the trolley was axed years ago. Wonder where it ended up? Anyone have a clue?)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Travel does broaden one.

I observed this last week on the door of our pet-friendly hotel in Chattanooga:

I don't recall ever seeing these two admonitions expressed together in such polite fashion on any surface anywhere. Being the rule-followers that we are, we managed to keep the Luckies and the Luger in the glove box of our car.

When my husband and I were cruising Savannah on the hunt for the Savannah College of Art and Design (which is pretty much a presence throughout this lovely city), I had a chance to revisit the Paris Market and Brocante (as seen in Country Living and a million other publications). Just inside their door, there was a chalkboard filled with scraps and letters and advice and color. (I'm thinking about doing this same thing, only leaving it on my driveway.)

Help Cure My Writer's Block! Give me a Topic.
I've Got Answers
I love people who have answers.

Wish I'd thought of that.

Le sigh, to quote my friend Carly.

There was a lot more to take in of this collage, most of it generated by an honest-to-goodness typewriter.

But all those delicious French tchotchkes were calling to me, so I left before finding out the true meaning of life.

And of course, there were those waiting for me just outside on Broughton Street.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Monday Monday

Monday morning looked like Candy Land, though I don't think I managed to quite capture the rock candyness of the trees. And while I'm all about shiny and glitter, I am so looking forward to warmth. And color. And ditching turtlenecks and down-filled coats.