Sunday, February 26, 2012

More Cowbell

We are hugely fortunate to have great neighbors here in our little corner of Naperville.

Beth brings us homecooked goodies. Jill walks our ancient dog, Bandit. Marilyn keeps my finger on the retail pulse (handy with the upcoming wedding). And Donna gives us nearly-new toys on a weekly basis.

Zach has been the beneficiary of all of the toys, of course.

A colorful tool set, complete with buzzing drill and full-size hammer, has been his fave. He has a thing for hardware, and the more accurately represented they are, the happier he is. (His dad owns nearly every tool carried by Home Depot, so there is a definite father-to-son hardware synergy thing working.)

Donna dropped off a few things last week. Zach was particularly captivated by this music machine:

If you aspire to be a one-boy band, this is the toy for you.

The best part was the card that came with it:

Followed by this exhortation:

After an inaugural concert, it was reverently hidden tucked into Zach's diaper bag and driven to his house. For future concerts. That may require early departures.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


My Minneapolis cousin has been sorting through his life.

Recently he sent me our grandmother's book Before the Dawn of Dinosaurs. (We think she probably used it to teach her junior high kids in the Wellston School District. And if my cousin were here, he'd most likely crack wise and say she was teaching in the classroom just minutes after the last Triceratops beat feet out of St. Louis. I wouldn't say that, of course. She was sensitive about her age.)

His further excavations yielded this:

A collection of silver plate that probably belonged to our family. The servers on the right were rumored to come from Germany, the natal home of 98 percent of both sides of my tree. (I'm thinking our grandmother picked them up when she sailed there to "close the estate" of her father, who had died when she was very young and living in Mexico. In writing that, I realize we are more complicated, geographically speaking, than I first realized. I'll stop with the genealogy before I lose too many of you.)

The serving fork is my favorite:

I like a grape cluster when dishing up sole meunière. It's pretty and completely over the top.

The only other pieces that match this one are seafood forks. No spoons or knives, leading me to believe that silver, like land and hearts, is something to be broken up and passed on to family and friends. (Or tossed inadvertently down the incinerator chute in one's New York apartment.)

I've been a bit too busy to polish up the collection to see it in its most extravagant form. When I do, we'll have a show and no tell.

Until then, thanks to John for sharing these treasures. It means a lot. Thank you.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


"Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can."

A little inspiration for your Sunday afternoon from John Wesley, the 18th Century evangelist, prolific writer and founder of Methodism.

With thanks to the Rev. Clint Roberts for sharing Wesley's widsom this morning.

  I think I needed that.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Paint N Party

At my last post, I left you with a darling baby. For several days.

I knew you wouldn't mind.

I've been in Savannah, GA, since Saturday night.

Eating barbeque.

(Not really.  I don't get barbeque. So messy and red.)

Not even drinking sweet tea. (Plain with lemon is my preference.)

I've been visiting family.

Thawing out.

And painting.

Because one must have acrylic paint in one's life.

I am bidding au revoir to my water colors (which dried out some time ago) and turning a new leaf, thanks to a group of chix who drank their way through Savannah's Local Color Paint 'n' Party, hosted at a frame shop just down the road from Moon River. Yes, that Moon River.

We got to use brushes and everything.

Also some paint.

Becky Frame was our teacher.

She is a saint.

"Listen, now, everyone. Listen! Listen? Y'all are not listenin'."

Did I mention Becky's a saint?

The artists/participants bring wine. And hors d'oeuvres. (Love me that baked brie with pecans sauteed in brown sugar and Kahlua.)

We had a blast the minute we started to sketch the reference points for our herons.

(Savannah's on the ocean, 'yall.)

I stood to paint.

Everyone else sat.

It seemed too momentous to sit.

Becky gave us blue paint. We did a preliminary sketch.

Then she gave us some white paint. We used our painterly brush strokes to create the sky.

I think the sea grass was next. Green. Yellow. Verticals, but wavy-ish. Tall grass closer, short grass farther away.


More heron.

Great fun.

More Kendall-Jackson? Yes, please.

Is the brie all gone? It was divine, thank you.

And I loved how you did those feathers on that bird.

His legs are too short, so elongate, please.

What do you mean it's 10 o'clock?

Get you some acrylic paint, a brush and a canvas.

The world awaits.

I am changed forever. So, too, will you be.

(With thanks to Linda for inviting me to join her and her pals at the Paint 'N' Party. I think we rocked this whole art thing.)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Now I Know My ABCs

Next time won't you sing with me.

(Or at least make a quilt just for me. Because this one is my brother's 
and our Mommy is using it to teach him the alphabet.)

Will do, sugarplum.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tropical Pink

Sometimes, there's nothing for it except Tropical Pink. And a vicious beating by the pedi guy.

My Vietnamese is poor, his English, similar.

I have tried to explain about my double foot surgeries, but he really likes to beat my legs and insteps into a pulp. Not sure why, except maybe he once attended massage therapy school and likes to use what he knows on legs and feet.

"That hurts," I say.

"Sorry!" he replies, then repeats the entire bang/slap/grind on the other limb.

"That's kind of hard," I remind him.

"I forgot," he says. "Sorry!"

Sadly, I've had this conversation with him more than once.

I know, I know.

But the prices are reasonable.

And my toes are polished and ready for those Uggs, more's the pity.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Three Points

Naperville Now's been busy not writing this week.

And now, because Who Do You Think You Are? is on TV (yay!), this will be a short post on three points:

1.) Thank you for the sunshine that has poured down on us this week every bit as much as the snow did exactly one year ago.

I can do cold. I can do snow. I just can't do gray.

So, thank you, sun powers that be. I needed that. Chicago needed that.

2.) We laid to rest a sweet old dog with long ears tonight. She'd had a good life, enjoyed whatever she fancied these past two years of bad health and tough choices for her owners. I made the mistake of playing with her when I first met her, so today was hard.

(I like to imagine her sweet soul bounding up out of her tired old body and galumphing across the living room to whatever is next. And then I start to cry and have to imagine everyone in the room naked in order to get a grip. This doesn't always work. Note to self: do not bond with hospice dogs. A heart is only so resilient.)

3) We get to play ALL day tomorrow with Zach and Charley. So, sun or no sun, it will be a great weekend. We will play trains and towers at home and then meander down to the Clow Airport restaurant to watch the planes take off. We will eat hot dogs and fries and talk about everything. Later, we will discuss whether we should take naps or watch Dora the Explorer. (Grandpa and I tend to lean toward the nap thing, Zach less so. Charley is content with any scenario that comes her way, though rice cereal ranks #1 on her list these days.)

Hope your weekend is filled with treasure, too.