Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ray Ban

Will whoever took the sun from Chicago please return it before my head explodes from the damp, the rain and the damn cold.

Thank you.

(Other than the occasional typo, this is the first time Naperville Now has used bad language.)

Monday, April 25, 2011


Twenty-five years ago, I set the VCR in our Atlanta home, telling our daughter that in the morning we would watch a prince marry his princess. This is heady stuff when you're 4-years-old.

In the morning, we grabbed coffee and tiara and prepared to be wowed by the wedding of Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew. But because I hadn't programmed the STUPID VCR correctly, what we got were two hours of Lassie reruns.

Our daughter wasn't bothered in the slightest, being a Lassie fan from way back. Later we would watch the wedding highlights on the news, but it wasn't nearly as captivating as watching one's very own video cassette of the event.

Fast forward (a little VCR humor there) to Saturday, when we became Comcast customers, throwing over Wide Open West for a better deal. And of course, I have no clue which of the 400 channels is which or, for that matter, how to tape anything.

Prince William and Kate are getting married this Friday.

Would someone please throw a tape in for me? Thanks.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Books, Glorious Books

Being the book geek that I am, I tend to hang out with those similarly wired. And a friend (and founding mother of) our book club is steering a book drive for Loaves and Fishes, Naperville's food pantry.

Each week, as families pick up groceries, they can grab a book for themselves and a couple for their kids.

That's the good news.

The great news is demand is exceeding supply.

So, Naperville and environs, do me this favor: Grab a paper sack, stand in front of your bookcase(s) and start to cull your literary herd. Call me or email me, and I'll make sure your books get to Barb, who will see to it that your generosity is channeled at the right time to the right people.

Fiction, non-fiction, and especially children's books are desired. (Lisa, also in our book club, bought 41 children's books at her library for 10 cents each and brought them to Barb just this week. A simple and generous investment that will fly off the shelf very quickly.)

Should it be that you don't know who/where I am (I have that problem myself, occasionally), I've left my email at the bottom of this post so we can arrange to get your books where they will be read and appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

A house without books is like a room without windows. ~ Heinrich Mann


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hopping Down The Refi Trail

My husband, the-one-in-charge-of-all-things-math, and I refinanced our house today. I think it's a good deal, from what I can tell from the 9,000 pages of documents, codicils, releases, subparagraphs and deeds that we signed and initialed for a full hour.

It was especially worth it when the guy overseeing our signingsigningsigning showed me a picture on his phone of a hole in his front yard filled with baby rabbits.

I like a Wild Kingdom spin on my financial transactions. Random, yet relaxing.

On the other hand, I was completely undone at the outset of the refi adventure when some bank woman zoomed across the lobby and asked very loudly, "Are you foreclosure?"

"Foreclosure? No!"

"No, no. I said are you here for a closing?"

"You might want to lower your voice because that's not what it sounded like," I replied. "And yes, they know we're here," you loud and zooming idiot. (That last part, you will have noticed, is not in quotes because I didn't say it out loud. I was very rabbit-like in that regard.)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Family Reunion

Through the miracle of the Internet, a 19th century photo album has been returned to my family.

Now, for those of you whose eyes glaze over whenever I bring up my dearly departed relatives (Hi, Steve, and Happy Birthday), feel free to skip over to a non-genealogical post, which is pretty much every Naperville Now since 2009.

I've been in genealogical touch with several distant cousins since Prodigy was our ISP. Two weeks ago, Larry, whose fabulous website documents much of my family and various brooks and ripples off the Vredenburgh trunk, emailed me with news that a photo album, bearing the pix of possible relatives, was in the hands of a lady in Missouri. She had purchased it at a garage sale 23 years ago. An subscriber, she recently started to troll the various member-contributed data bases to see if she could connect with the right family. Lucky for us, she found Larry, who wrote to me and our cousin, Marc.

After exchanging several emails to establish if Eunice, Lulu, Clarence et al were my family (they are, in a first-cousinly way), Wilma and her family drove up to Chicago with family and album in hand.

We met at Wendy's by the interstate.

I told everyone where we were going, who we were meeting with and why.

I even arranged for the dog to be walked in the event we were ambushed and left crumpled and confused in the parking lot.

Happy to report that Wilma is a delightful human being who just wanted to see the album returned to its family.

This is us.

We share a lot in common, Wilma and I, and not a few geographical ties. And her trip up here -- to see her grandchildren in a choir competition -- was pure chance.
She says she was on the hunt for McDonald's toys at that garage sale all those years ago and saw the album.
(My mother would be over the moon to see this.)

The guy on the right, and you're dying to know, I can tell, is my great great grandmother's brother, Horace. His wife, Mary, is on the left. I could go on with the family tree, but I realize not everyone has the same zeal for identifying dead people that I have.

The album quest has reenergized my interest in researching this branch. Cousin Marc just found out where these folks are plugged, so he and I are off on a road trip to Cedar Rapids next month.

In that Marc and I have never met, it occurs to me that he may have a few reservations about me. Not to worry, Marc, it will just be me, a geek bearing pics.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Raking It In

I promise a fairly boffo post by the weekend, provided I'm not knocked over the head with a steel pipe in the conservatory by Mrs. White.

Until then, I leave you with both the glory and pain-in-the-lower-back that is Spring, at least in our little wooded corner of Naperville.

One yard waste bag costs approximately 50 cents. Add to that $2.10 for just one yard waste sticker. Multiply that mess by 13 bags and I can tell you that tomorrow's contribution to the landfill will cost Naperville Now a whole LOT of money.

And that's just this week.

There has got to be a smarter way to get rid of all of this stuff without a) getting in trouble and b) being environmentally irresponsible.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

But He Followed Me Home

I don't get over to the Dominick's side of Naper Boulevard very often. I got mad at a grocery clerk there several years ago and took my business across the street to the Jewel.

But Maytag seems to have moved elsewhere and the pet store from across the street has relocated to the Dominick's side.

Back when the girls were little, we were at that Dominick's store nearly every day (cooking/planning menus never having been my strong suit). Getting past the candy aisle required every ounce of cunning and skill that I had. I cannot imagine having to contend with all of that furry, feathery, and watery temptation nearly next door.

"But Mommmmm! We only want to looooooook! We promise! Pleeeease? Pleeeeease? A Sugar Glider/snake/gerbil/hamster/rabbit/hedgehog doesn't take up hardly any room. Or eat too much. They are waaaay cooler than fishes. Pleeeeeease!"

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for waiting 24 years to relocate.

And thank you for carrying our 1600-year-old dog's kibble.  Now we don't have to take a field trip up Hwy. 59 to stock up.

This is Cheese, one of several kitties that are part of Naperville's Waifs and Strays Animal Rescue. While waiting to be adopted, he's in charge of patrolling inventory.

Tama is in charge of tunes.

And this one's mission is to keep the hamster population at a manageable level.

Dude, you are so busted.

The store also pet sits. I love that. In fact, over spring break, they hosted 40 cages worth of clients. At the moment, their main charge is this Umbrella Cockatoo.
Blue eyes, 38 years old, enjoys sunsets and live worms.

(Disclaimer: Pets, Etc., doesn't know Naperville Now from a Goliath Horned Worm, although in the interest of full disclosure, we did buy a hermit crab (and a luxurious condo to go with it) about 20 years ago. An instructive, albeit short-lived, pet.)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Death Thumbs

My indoor gardening skills are pretty pathetic. In fact, this is the only plant I haven't managed to water into an early death.
I don't pay too much attention to it, to be honest, as it lives in all of its self-reliant glory in a corner of the house where the dog likes to throw up.

I try not to go in there very often.

This morning, however, it occurred to me the plant might be thirsty, so drinking glass in hand, I went into the living room and saw this:

I think I've managed to grow poison ivy in a Christmas Cactus.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Bye Bye Blockbuster

By now, I'm sure you've seen Blockbuster's Going Out of Business sign on Naper Boulevard. I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to it the first 99 times I drove by. We do the on-demand thing, and I cannot recall the last time I browsed the shelves of any movie rental store (which might explain the company's financials).

But we were there on Friday night, after some Kung-Pao Chicken at the Chinese Emperor next door. Charlie suggested we go buy some stale Junior Mints and perhaps a movie or two. After reigning in my shock ("You want to go shopping?"), we went into BB.

Most of the shelves had been cleared by customers who paid attention the first time they saw the Going Out of Business sign. It occured to me I would have liked to own Gone With the Wind, The Yearling and Defending Your Life. You know, the classic stuff. These were long gone.

But there were still a lot of other titles left. And as we started to do that awkward checking-out-the-movie-shelves stroll (a cross between spastic line dancing and Walk Like an Egyptian), it occurred to me that we had done this crazy dance hundreds of times when we took our kids to the movie store to find a "tape" for the weekend. And I had completely forgotten what that "walk" looked -- and felt -- like. Scissor leg, stand, pause, consider, scissor leg, lean in, accidently bump into customer, apologize, stand. To be repeated until you had navigated up one side of the store and back down the other. Land Before Time and Belle and Sebastian. The Black Stallion and Jurassic Park. ("What's it rated?" "Mom, it's G." Not the whole truth.) National Velvet. Babe. Big. Back to the Future.

I can still recite a lot of the dialogue of those shows, but I didn't remember the walk until Friday night when we found a few "tapes" for next to nothing. And a couple of boxes of Junior Mints, for old times' sake. They were as fresh as can be.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Naperville Now may have inspired Will County to pilot a curbside pick-up of your old Betamax machines.

Per the local newspaper:

Items accepted include: computers, laptops, monitors, printers, televisions, all types of telephones, answering machines, computer mouse devices, keyboards, zip drives, computer cables, string lights, microwaves, fax machines, scanners, MP3 players, PDAs, video game consoles, video cassette players/recorders, DVD players and more. There is a limit of 10 items per service.

I am assuming if you live in DuPage County, you also are eligible for this service, but the article didn't say so specifically. (Naperville straddles Will and DuPage counties, for those of you reading this in St. Kitts and desirous of honing your geographical skills.)

We took a huge load of e-stuff to Bolingbrook last month. (You can relive every exciting detail here.) But, I daresay, as we continue the slash and burn of our horrifying basement, more e-recycling will be necessary. This time, all we'll have to do is call Vintage Tech Recyclers of Romeoville at 877-786-4715 to arrange a pick-up.

Way to go, you conscientious hate-to-see-waste-cast-into-the-landfill types over by der. Very cool. Thank you.