Saturday, December 31, 2011


Meet Pepper.
Of course, she could be Cookie. Or Sugar. Or Abbey Road (my vote).

She was found in an apartment parking lot in Tennessee, a rabies tag on her collar and milk still dripping from her underpinnings.

Initially, she was found by someone who took her to a vet, who gave her a rabies shot and a tag. Pepper clearly was somebody's dog, so the first rescuer took her home to her barn to await a reunion.

Pepper apparently wasn't too keen on her new digs, so she busted out and ended up in that parking lot, where she made a bee line for my friend's son.

Andy and his wife already have two rescue dogs (whose combined energy could power a sizable village) in their apartment.

Tennessee Animal Control was of no help.

The first rescuer was not forthcoming.

It was just days before Christmas and the road trip home to Naperville. No one would/could take on this sweet, intelligent and docile Staffordshire mix.

Tucking Pepper into the backseat with the rest of the herd, Andy and his family headed north, making calls from there to here. Humane Society. Family. Extended family. Home. Heaven.

A Christmas Eve inquiry at church resulted in a preliminary introduction that will take place tomorrow with a Chicago family with four (that's 1-2-3-4) Chihuahuas.

Based on Pepper's gentle interest in Bandit, our 1,000-year-old dog, I think it may turn out to be a successful meet-up.

If not, you'll help this sweet and deserving 1-year-old find a forever home, won't you?

I knew you would. Thank you.

We'll drink a cup of kindness yet. For auld lang syne.

And for Pepper/Cookie/Sugar/Abbey Road.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Ever come across a photograph that made your heart stop?

My beauties were at a wedding several weeks ago. The music beckoned, and the photographer, Dory Tuohey, caught mother and child at just the right moment -- mid-dance, just as Betsy wrapped her shawl around the baby.

A picture for all time.

Happy New Year, everyone. And thanks for checking in with Naperville Now this year. I have appreciated your kind and thoughtful comments.

Keep dancing.

Monday, December 26, 2011

What Was Santa Thinking?

Meet Oscar, the latest addition to our daughter's life. His resemblance to The Little Rascals' Petey is quite good, but with better eye makeup.

Oscar is part American Bulldog, part Labrador (as evidenced by webby paws) and 100 percent lap dog. Currently weighing in at 60 pounds, he is still on his way to adulthood, so invest in Purina while you can.

Faithful readers will remember Naperville Now's Name That Cat post in July, when you were introduced to Tip, our daughter's rescue-cat-with-brain-damage.

From all accounts, Oscar's brain seems to be sans bobble. Furthermore, he knows some commands, is house-trained and could pull a pony trap without breaking a sweat.

He also is quite respectful of poor Tip, with whom he's gone nose to nose several times.

Tip is not amused.

My question is this: why do we persist in covering ourselves in pet hair?

Have you ever adopted a pet? Was it a good experience? Bad? A tweener?

Bandit, our 18-year-old Shih-Tzu, has been with us for 15 years, a $10 purchase from the Hinsdale Humane Society.

He was a pretty good deal, I think.

He's certainly a long-lived one, thus squashing the theory that too much pepperoni pizza is a bad thing.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

As Ready As I Get

C is for the crap I didn't get done this year, like decorating, buying gifts, cooking, cards, laundry, flossing and mailing presents. Working two jobs is exhausting. However, I have now carved it down to one just before a nervous breakdown, so C is also for content. Cosmos for everyone. Make mine a double.
H is for honestly, where does the time go? I have been fascinated by the concept of time since third grade, when we studied ancient Egypt and learned about mummies. Finding time, harnessing time, losing time, making good use of time. And while we're at it, read Joel Stein in Time Magazine. He is hysterically funny and I am wildly jealous of his columns.
R is for really great blogs, like the ones listed on the lower right of this page.  Treats for the soul, they are. The world is a better place because of them and I am better for having read them. Join me.
I is for the Internet. Naperville Now is very grateful for a place to hang her thoughts, even if she doesn't do it as often as she would like. Wiki says, "As of 16 February 2011 (2011 -02-16), there were over 156 million public blogs in existence." That, my friends, is a lot of words. Thank you, 46 followers, for reading mine. (Connie signed up twice, so I guess it's really 45.)
S is for Showers of Hope, an organization that supports poor children. My friend Sue is hosting a party tonight for her girlfriends so we can celebrate the season as well as contribute to this worthy cause. Great idea, Sue. Thanks for the invitation to help.
T is for threads -- of friendship, of family and those pesky quilts I aspire to bind in 2012.
M is for the many moms in my life. How great is it to have had more than one?
A is for aspirations. Good to have, good to try out, good to share.
S is for surprise. May our days be filled with the good kind.

                                                            photo styling by Charlie

Monday, December 19, 2011


And you thought I was being humble when I said I can't cook.

As you can see (and if you live in Naperville and Lisle, no doubt smell), it is entirely true.

I come by these talents from my mother, who preferred to make reservations for dinner rather than chicken or pot roast.

In fact, she was the first mother on the eastern seaboard to purchase Swanson's Frozen TV Dinners. (Remember the taste of turkey and mashed potatoes in that divided aluminum pan? Yikes, that was awful. But novel, so points for that.)

If I win the lottery, I shall hire a housekeeper to make sense of all these complicated recipes. And then I'll write a book on how not to cook.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


If you start your shopping eight days before Christmas, the word scramble doesn't begin to cover it.

Add a dusting of the white stuff and it puts a whole new dimension to panic.

Actually, the snow calmed my world down a bit because I had to locate boots and find a coat long enough to cover my PJs while I took these pictures.

(I know, she needs a sweater -- and a home in the garage until spring. Still working on the garden relo project. So far, winter is winning.)

I think I am reining in what I do at Christmas mainly because I am tired. And perfectly content to check out these blogs for really great eye candy:

The Brambleberry Cottage: Liz has opened her blog each Thursday to links to other blogs. Six degrees of Kevin Bacon is nothing compared to this enchanting multi-level daisy chain of great ideas, great interiors and some serious decorating over-achievers. I have only recently discovered the link party aspect of blogging. Liz's button link to Time Travel Thursday is right over there on the right side of this page. See it over there just under the thumbnails of Naperville Now's friends? Personal and creative connections made by possible by the Internet. Amazing. Click and feast your eyes.

Jenny Matlock -- Off On My Tangent: Jenny does the link party on her blog three times a week via Alphabe-Thursday, Story-Time Tuesday, and Saturday-Centus (I am unclear on the meaning of centus. Google was less than helpful, and I don't have enough self-esteem to ask Jenny.) It's a fun way to "meet" other bloggers and see who (and what) is going on out there. And because of link "rules," if you post on Jenny's site, she asks (nicely) that you read at least 10 links. This, my friends, is very easy to do. Many of her readers have left me great comments (which have gone straight to my head.) Thanks, everyone. I needed that. (The Alphabe-Thursday link button is that typewriter over there on the right.)

Faded Charm Cottage: Kathleen hosts White Wednesday on her blog, where people link their blogs and mad creative skills. Lots of fun, lots of links, lots of reasons to ignore your responsibilities and yearn for the time (and talent) to do half of what is made manifest in these pictures.

Symbiotic, satisfying, sustaining. It is enough for me to see what others are doing.

Which leads me to my most favorite outdoor decoration ever. Thanks, Sheri, for letting me post your fabulous sign.

"He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME!
Somehow or other it came just the same!
Maybe Christmas, he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas . . . perhaps . . .
means a little bit more!"

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Real Smart

Smartphones are making me feel very unsmart.

I've had the opportunity to screw up use an iPhone in the past few days, to my unending frustration (and the mirth of the phone's owner).

Naperville Now's phalanges just do not pfly like they used to. And they may function about as well as this fellow's.

(But I do know the word phalanges, so that has to count for something.)

I have purposely refused to jump on the iPhone bandwagon because, to quote my friend Phil,  "I don't want to be hip or cool." I so get that. I am so that.

And of course, I expect these texting gloves will really help this winter.

(What? No texting mittens for the advanced?)

I like my phone. It's old, functional and even has a qwerty keyboard. And that is the limit of its capabilities.

Our kids all have iPhones. And they never click through to the links of hilarious stuff I send them.

 "My connection's too slow for that."
"Well, use the computer."
"This IS a computer. In my pocket."
"Fine, if you don't want to see the almost-naked guy in the French candy commercial."
"Resend that link."

Technology moves ever onward and advance we must. Adapt we must. And practice we must.

If you have any fingertip tips, drop me a note. Or txt.

Misspellings forgiven.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Dear Charlotte,

Our hearts are very full today.

You were baptized just after 9 this morning, and everyone was there to see you.

You wore the same gown your mother wore 29 years ago (a gift from your great-grandmother, Betty) and the same cross necklace, a gift from Auntie Joyce.

So many connections. So many memories. A few tears. (Maybe a few more than a few.)

Auntie Joyce hand smocked the bonnet (crazy detail. hours of work. so precious) for your mother's baptism.

Bonnets are not particularly nap-friendly, so it was tucked away.

You pretty much snoozed through the entire service.

Many friends came to welcome you.

Big brother observed you had forgotten to say "Cheese!" in the many photographs I was taking, so here he is showing you how to do it.

Brothers are really great for stuff like that.

How blessed we are to have shared this day with you.

Sweet dreams, darling girl.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lights, Camera, Nap

Raise your hand if you think it's okay if I stop the tree decking with just twinkle and bubble lights this year.

Thanks. I believe I will.

Looks good, right?

(A new book and the couch are calling my name this dreary Sunday. The decorations, not so much.)

I found a few of the old boys for the mantel.

And I unearthed these from my childhood:

When my brothers closed out our apartment in New York many years ago, an enormous truck delivered all the geegaws and doodads and blonde furniture that had been our parents'. Of all the china, glassware and 1940s-era stuff that made the cross-country trip, only the O in NOEL was damaged.

Seems appropriate it was the O. As in, "O! Kansas City? Never heard of it." (New York angels are very sassy.)

I never did find the missing bit.

My brothers, both thousands of years older than I am, took great joy in rearranging the choir each Christmas. LEON was one variation. Another:

As in, "ELNO we won't go!" Afterall, it was the 1960s.

Much, much later came the final anagram, unimaginable when these girls first were made 60+ years ago:

If you're thinking we have too much time on our hands, you would be right. I could have had the entire tree decorated by now.

Instead, we've been busy stirring the first batch of the season:

And what says Christmas more than Chex cereal baked in too much butter and Seasoned Salt?

Care to share your odd Christmas memories? I'd love to hear them. Leave me a comment.