Saturday, September 29, 2012


Pottery Barn, that bastion of cool and unaffordable home furnishings, has published a Halloween catalogue filled with darling costumes.

Your baby can be a cupcake, a hedgehog, a lobster or this:

(Admit it. You have no idea.)

(Don't feel bad. I had to read the cutline to figure it out.)

(Wait for it...)

Baby Sushi.

(Halloween doesn't get any better than this.)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sweet Tippy

There are cats. And then there are exceptional cats.

Tippy belonged in the second category.

Super soft. Oozy. Purry. Sweet beyond belief. A champion snoozer. Unfazed by his galumph of a big brother, a Pit mix. (Think black and white canine the size of a Volkswagen, add in a foot-long tongue, and you have Oscar.)

Our daughter, AJ, adopted 6-year-old Tippy minutes after moving into her new apartment in St. Louis County. He had been rescued from a home whose owner had Alzheimer's. Malnourished and matted, he also suffered from a neurological deficit that caused him to bobble when he walked.

Readers of Naperville Now chimed in on the best new name for him. (Grover, Mistofelees, and Foggy were offered up. I suggested Tip O'Neill. AJ pounced on the name Tippy.)

Here is what he looked like then:

With love, veterinary care, and several truckloads of tuna, he ended up looking like the cat he was meant to be:

But Tippy's health was never quite 100 percent. He had an ear and nose thing working all the time, and it grew quickly and much worse last month. Despite the efforts of many, he went to sleep on Labor Day and never woke up. AJ and her husband were just returning from their honeymoon.

Ah, me. Life can be so joyful and so painful and all mixed up.

But I am hopeful that somewhere, Tippy is nibbling on dog tails with impunity and snarfing up tuna by the plateful.

He deserves no less.

(Naperville Now participates in Alphabe-Thursday hosted by Jenny Matlock.)

Monday, September 24, 2012


We drove 9,000 hours to the upper reaches of Michigan this past weekend.

Think Traverse City.

Keep going.

A pretty place, far, far away.

(Three hours is the limit of my staying power in a car. This trip was more than twice that. I would have made for a crappy pioneer, that's all there is to it.)

The trees have yet to come into their full glory up there, but the water is fantastically blue.

Lake Michigan is that azure and turquoise band at the center of this shot of Fish Town. The tree is what's left of a Cottonwood.

All over town are baskets of chrysanthemums. This multi-color version is completely new to me. Any insight from my horticultural pals is appreciated. (And while we're at it, thank you for creating/potting a fall mum that is not purple or yellow. Can there be a worse color combination?)

Spectacular, no?

This house had a fabulous garden of zinnias.

Clearly, Michigan got all of Illinois's rainfall this year.

I am suffering pure, unadulterated garden envy. (Also punctuation indecision. Is it Illinois's or Illinois'?)

We visited Kilcherman's Christmas Cove Farm, which specializes in growing heirloom apples. Care to bite into the same variety of apple as Thomas Jefferson? Maybe something that was blooming in the 16th century? One harvested by the Etruscans?

Orchard archivist may be my new favorite profession.

(As you can see, the owner also has a small interest in collecting soda pop bottles.)

This morning, I will deviate from applesauce-making tradition (Jonathans) for a combination of Paula Red and Duchess apples. I'll report back.

Meanwhile, our thanks to Sally, Steve, Bill, Quinn and Josie for the lovely getaway.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


(Conflicted was the name of a series of conversations I imagined up last year for a tree at the elementary school near our house. It appears it is about to face autumn again with the same split color scheme.)

Again, with the early red?

Light's waning. The kids are wearing their jackets on the playground. It's time.

I hate that time.

I know. But, face it: time is inexorable. And there's also something about carotenoids in our leaves, but I'm not entirely clear on the science side of these things.

Summer wasn't particularly pleasant. I feel like we barely got to enjoy ourselves. It was hotter than a blackbird baked in a pie.

And just as sticky. The heat was stifling. I could use a drink.

Me, too. The sky doesn't look too promising.

It is a beautiful blue, I must say. And it's nice to see the kids again, playing Four Square and chase.

You are such an optimist about everything. How can you be all cheerful when you know what's in store for us? The branch-snapping cold, the unwanted house guests, the gray and lonely.

Well, I have you, for one thing. And for another, winter isn't forever.

Feels like it.

I know.

(Naperville Now participates in Alphabe-Thursday over at Mrs. Matlock's. Check out what other bloggers are writing about the letter R.)

Monday, September 17, 2012


As a child of the 60s, my love of and wonder at technology has been singularly influenced by television (think The Jetsons, Lost in Space, My Favorite Martian, Star Trek).

All those robots. All that intergalactic transport (via plastic wrap). All those health scans Dr. McCoy performed with a magic wand the size of a Mont Blanc pen.

Mind-boggling. And most of it has or is coming true. (Uhura's blue tooth. Roombas. Aliens.) 

Fast forward to this past weekend, and I was 7 all over again.

No, that's not me. It's the grands. In a bathroom. Watching magic TV embedded in a mirror. (Anyone else as gobsmacked by this LED technology as I am?)

These TV mirrors are produced by a company called Séura. (Their website says the name was inspired by the pointillist Georges Seurat. The misplaced accent is a bit off-putting, but the TV definitely redefines how to look cool and brush your teeth en même temps*.)

The screens are made in Green Bay, WI, and available for your viewing pleasure at Lake Geneva's Grand Resort.

So, are you keeping your finger on technology's pulse these days? What's grabbed your attention?

(*That's at the same time, for the Spanish majors.)

Update: my pal Nancy says this technology was around some time ago. In fact, she saw it on a house tour right here in Naperville 7 to 8 years ago.
Raise your hand if you think Naperville Now needs to get out more.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I have an affinity for cemeteries, particularly old ones.

When I was a kid, my parents used to drive us up to New England to see the spectacular fall colors, buy early apples, take in a covered bridge or two and, at my mother's urging, stop and read gravestones.

By age 11, I was hooked on 18th century center hall Colonial architecture and dead people.

Here lies the body of Jonathan Pulter who departed this life
April ye 27th 1708 in ye 40th year of his age
(doing the math for you, that means he was born in 1668).
The stone above stands in the Ye Olde Burying Ground (I am not making this name up) in Lexington, MA. This wasn't the oldest grave there, but the carvings were fantastic for being 304-years-old. Memento Mori. Fugit Hora.

The graves were lined up in a sort of Stonehengesque pattern, so even if headstone placement was no longer accurate, the preservation of this pre-Revolutionary cemetery was stunning.

(With thanks to my pal Betsy for getting out of the van with me so we could check on everyone. She, too, is a bit of a cemetery wonk.)

In that we got a little mixed up on our departure time from Boston last week, we managed to squeak in a little more time on The Freedom Trail and the delightful cemetery that is the Granary Burying Ground. We are talking Paul Revere, Sam Adams, John Hancock and a Colonial crowd of notables. 

It was growing late as we walked up to the cemetery. The graves in the center literally were bathed in the setting sun. (The gates were locked by the time we got there, so I was unable to determine who the illuminati were.)

All of the pictures were taken with my phone, so the quality is poorer than usual. I suspect my DSLR would've picked up on any apparitions.

Boston is by far my new favorite city. We are moving there, if I can convince my husband.

So far, he is sold on the clam chowder. The cost of living, not so much.

Linking up this week with Mrs. Matlock and Alphabe-Thursday. Check out other Q contributors at

Monday, September 10, 2012


Note to self: take laptop on vacation so as not to use teeny tiny dumb phone to peck out teeny tiny words for your reading pleasure. Because, quite frankly, Naperville Now cannot see squat these days, particularly on an iPhone screen. And it made her crazy not to be able to share these (less than stellar) pix from her first-time visit to Bahston.

That being said, here was Friday's lunch:

Does it get much better than Littlenecks?
Hie thee to The Daily Catch. They have just a few tables set up in a rather grody kitchen. Very Charlie Trotterish, but without the ambience or pricetag. (Regardless, bring cash, because they don't accept credit cards. The food was fabulous.)
More vacation highlights (chowder, more Littlenecks, Walden Pond, Harvard and Mike's Pastry) to come.
But first, the laundry.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Agricultural Edition

Of course, if you're the kind of person who doesn't eat anything with a face, you wouldn't find these fellers particularly funny (or edible).

Nancy of Keller's Farmstand says Mother Nature provides the facial quirks, staff provide the eyes.

(Is it me or do you think this potato looks like W.C. Fields?)

(Kilroy, far right.)

Nancy says they try not to name their season's impersonators, given their fates.

Oh, the humanity.

After scoring some homegrown tomatoes, early Jonathan apples and local honey (said to help combat allergies. I'll get back to you on that later.), I arrived home to this guy in the front yard.

See him? Her?

He posed cautiously while I scrambled to unearth my camera.

And then he took off with his dinner.



I was thrilled to see something happening to the anarchist chipmunks that have tunneled our garden and destabilized our patio all the livelong summer. 

But when I magnified the image, I realized it was not a chipmunk, but a Robin, poor thing. (I'll spare you the closeup.)

Anyone up on their Illinois birds of prey? Naperville Now likes to know who is cruising the hood.

Joining up with Mrs. Matlock at Alphabe-Thursday this week. Check out the links.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Me, Too

You know how you're walking into Target for toothpaste and underpants and animal crackers (because there's a baby in your cart) and eye makeup remover (because your stuff expired three years ago, that's how much you wear mascara) and maybe a Cabbage Patch Baby just in case she needs/wants one and you just see all that great stuff on those shelves and say, "Gotta have it!"?

The other bibs in this package said, "Text Me"  and "Call Me Maybe." Something like that.

What we do to our children.

With thanks to Charley for posing so well in exchange for a giraffe and a lion. (Don't tell Mom. But if she asks, there was milk involved.)