Saturday, March 31, 2012

In The News

At the risk of your thinking Naperville Now's head is getting too big for her britches, I'm sharing a link you may want to follow, courtesy of my new pal Jasmine Young.

A freelancer for The Naperville Sun, Jasmine contacted me a month ago about doing a feature on Naperville Now. Our interview was strictly electronic (NN is a much better interview via keyboard than face to face).

Charlie once again provided his fabulous photographic styling. (Clearly, we are the total package, journalistically speaking.)

The story ran in Friday's paper, so if you would, save me a copy so I can send one to Mom.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


There has been a seismic shift in how our family celebrates children's birthdays.

Last night, our grandson celebrated his third year on this glorious planet by inviting the 200 children (and their parents) who live on his cul-de-sac for cake and ice cream. 

At 7 p.m. on a Tuesday.

No party dresses.

No bow ties.

No goodie bags.

No organized games.

No scary clowns.

No (wait for it)....


Isn't that brilliant?

Just a dozen kids ramping up on cake from Costco and scoops of vanilla ice cream. And something called Fruitables, which is juice mixed with kale or shallots, possibly. (I may have read the label wrong, but it's definitely some sort of revolutionary blend-in-a-box.)

But what I loved, loved, loved about the party is that after dessert, the kids ran around and played with each other in the last of the evening light. The din was remarkable, but not the usual angina-causing chaos that has reigned at nearly every party we've ever hosted.

A bit of sugar, a ton of fun and many friends. About as stress-free of a party as you can imagine.

Happy Birthday, cherished Zach.

And way to go, daughter of mine, for going t0 the heart of the birthday -- celebrating a child's most special day surrounded by family, many friends and enough dinosaur cake for everyone.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring Break

Whether your spring break is in sepia or glorious technicolor, have a fun and restful week.

And send us a postcard.

Naperville Now likes to know where her friends are vacationing, even if she is staycationing.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


For the first time in a long while, I haven't read the book we will be discussing at book club. The first chapter is about a teenager about to "age out" of a group home and on to the street.

It is beautifully written, but too heart-stopping for me.  I just can't do children in peril.

Instead, I shall concentrate on the friends who have returned after a long absence, the delightful champagne and the glorious French Brie (and seriously, doesn't it get any better than Brie? Did you know in France, it's considered bad form to lop off the tip of any cheese? Somehow this topic was never covered in any French civilization class that I took. And I took but one, and that from my Dad. I'm thinking I must have been absent on cheese etiquette day.)

You may have noticed the lemon tart is incomplete. I wanted to make sure it was up to the standards of the Lit Chix, who are just back from Boca Grande, Florida.

I started a list of what I was reading some time ago. See it on the right, just below the darling and wonderful followers of Naperville Now? In truth, my ability to stay up late reading deconstructed about a year ago, so it's taken me longer to finish a book than I'd like. (Isaacson's book about Stephen Jobs is fascinating. I'm still plowing through it. I kind of put Mark Twain aside for awhile. There's not nearly enough autobiographical stuff. And the print is teeny tiny. But I love Mark Twain, so return to it I shall. One day. Soon. Probably.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Be Heard -- Vote!

You were planning on voting in the primary today, right?

Only do presidentials? C'mon, it's a piece of cake. You tell them which party you belong to and you get that ballot.

Fill out the ovals with a black pen and voila, you've contributed to the best political system in the universe.

I was voter number 142.

I'd like to think there will be scads more after me, so stop surfing the web and hie thee to your polling place.

Thank you.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

March 18? An Unlikely Story

There are thumbs, and then there are thumbs.

These fields of beauty are brought to you by my neighbor.

And for the record, I believe Chicago has gone from winter directly to summer. It is 82 degrees today. We are all stumbling around in shock, unfurling hoses and hunting rakes.

Some of us planned on watching basketball because everyone knows you can't win your brackets unless you are actually watching the game. In real time. So there is just the tiniest bit of grumbling going on.

(Anyone know what these little guys are called? I have them every year, seeded by birds, I'd guess. The blue is so true. I love that.)

I cannot believe how beautiful this week has been. It has been a gift of hope for the winter-beaten, as were the Girl Scout Cookies we scored outside Trader Joe's this morning.

Thin Mints. Daffodils. Sunlight.

What restores your spirit?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

2 Nearly Done

Chicago is enjoying spectacular weather. It will be 78 degrees today, making the prospect of sitting under my second quilt and binding it less than appealing.

But I promised myself I would carpe quilt and finish what I'd started in the (eyes scrunched) 1980s.

This quilt, a delightful, completely hand pieced Bear's Paw quilt was made by my grandmother-in-law. She had mad sewing, quilting and cooking skills, which she used to great success during most of her 99 years on this earth. (She also survived the Tri-State tornado in 1925, holding two babies in her lap. She was the force to be reckoned with.)

I've used the quilt top at the base of several Christmas trees through the years. And a few years ago, I had it machine quilted with a red backing. I know Grandma would've chosen bleached muslin (she was a purist), but I thought the red grid was unexpected and jazzy. I hope she is at peace with the unconventional choice.

Taking a page out of my friend Joyce's book, I decided to really walk on the wild side by mixing a new green fabric with the red to create a random binding.

So now, you've seen Naperville Now at her most wild and crazy.

Of course, there was that time in college....

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Last night, I had planned on watching 9,000 hours of television, all taped over the past month. (Granted, these shows weren't taped, but isn't taped a snappier word? So are clicker, icebox, and heater, which I continue to use because it takes too much brain power to come up with remote, refrigerator and furnace.)

The Kendall-Jackson was chilling.

A carton of Kung Pao Chicken was calling my name.

After a quick check of my email, it would be a Masterpiece Theater, American Pickers, John Stewart, The Good Wife, Modern Family, Outnumbered, American Idol kind of night.

Except the Internet connection was emblazoned with a skull and crossbones.

A mad dash to reboot various black boxes resulted in nothing.

The upstairs computer was similarly crabby.

Stupid Internet.

I would just have to start my TV bacchanal a little earlier.

But the cable was out, too.

As were the phone lines.

(Cue creepy alien invasion music.)

My out-of-town husband assured me that the Comcast bill had not only been paid but in a timely fashion.

I called the company (from my cell phone, obviously).

We are currently experiencing technical difficulties in your area. We expect to resolve this issue by 12 p.m.

So I went to the movies all by myself. A first, I think.

Charlie made me promise to not laugh at my usual decibel and frighten the audience.

I loved The Artist.

The Jack Russell terrier was my favorite by far.

(And I'm happy to report that no one changed seats.)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

One Down, Two To Go

I am not usually braggadocious, but today I'm making an exception.

I finally bound this throw quilt.

I won't tell you when I started piecing it (because I can't remember). And I won't tell you when I had it machine quilted by an exceptionally talented woman who lives nearby (because I can't remember).

But I can tell you this: it it took me two evenings two bind, and I am ashamed of myself for letting it languish for so long. (This is a good theme for me this spring -- languish not.)

Daughter #2 took it back with her to St. Louis this afternoon. She says she will try to convince her long-haired cat and perpetually shedding dog not to curl up on it and save it for her personal siestas.

Meanwhile, I  need to write a label and applique it to the back so our descendants will know this:

"March 3, 2012: This quilt was inspired by my best friend, Joyce, as a project for my mother-in-law, Betty, whose loving hands have made so many exceptional things for her family. When she was unable to complete it, I started to piece the blocks and assemble the lattice, knowing it would be finished in this lifetime only if it were machine- rather than hand-quilted."

My mother-in-law, an artist and a purist, would probably raise an eyebrow over a machine quilting something as personal as a bed quilt. I daresay her mother, also a quilter, would have been in complete agreement.

Being a rebel (and lazy), I set upon this course.

The overall quilting is lovely. (I did make the binding and miter the corners, so there is that.)

Now, there are just two quilts left to bind.

Ready, set, sew.

Check back in a few weeks for an update.

Meanwhile, tell me what are you inspired to make and complete? Do you have textiles/watercolors/sweaters/collages/etc. yelling at you from the next room?

Friday, March 2, 2012


A little hope, brought to you by Naperville Now's backyard.