Thursday, June 28, 2012


When you think home repair, of course, you think Naperville Now.

Gorilla Glue -- not recommended for holding the toilet paper dispenser in place.

Scratch that. Gorilla Glue is the perfect adhesive for holding the toilet paper dispenser in place until you want to remove it in order to strip the scary wallpaper that's been hanging in the powder room at least 10 years.

Archaelogically speaking, this has been a fascinating renovation. Look what I found behind the light fixture:

Ah, the 1980s, or so I'm deducing.

But if you think that was ugly, look what I found under the foil wallpaper:

Remember stenciling? I do, though not in this color combo. Just not my preferred palette.

So what, you are no doubt asking, is next for Naperville Now's powder room?

White. Oh, and more white. Followed, possibly, by white.

I have spared you a picture of our (wait for it) pink fixtures.

Yes, I said pink.

Hosting a wedding does wonders for one's renovation motivation.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


My pal Kaki and I ventured up to an art fair at The Growing Place on Saturday in order to check out the art (loved it!) and learn how to capture the garden with a digital camera.

Walt Anderson, a photographer with the Morton Arboretum, was our instructor.

He is such a down-to-earth guy, he even talked about how to use an iPhone camera. I like a person who doesn't recommend a $42,000 Hasselblad H-4D60 right off the bat. Moreover, he does not eschew the point-and-shoot.

                                                                            Andrew Gould

After a sit-down on camera basics (If you can find a symbol that looks like +/- somewhere on your camera, you will be able to lighten or darken your exposure. I'd like that button in my life, actually), we strolled the property. That's Walt on the right. He was great. (And thank you, Andrew, for sending pictures of our afternoon in the garden. Naperville Now is most appreciative of audience contributions.)

My camera knows how to do way more than I know how to tell it to do, which means I need a lot more camera classwork. But it is hard to resist taking pictures of the gardens at The Growing Place.

A bug was taking a nap inside this rose.

Fox Glove -- enchanting name, no?
Spiky water plants. Couldn't quite manage to capture the shot. Or the exposure.
Artists were everywhere, en plein air painting. Love that.
Kaki and I learned that we need more practice. And, possibly, better memories, so when we are out shooting in the garden, we can remember which buttons help us make the best of it.

Sounds like another good life button, too.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

e-note from home

Naperville is 745 miles from where I grew up. (Wouldn't this distance calculator been handy for those ridiculous word problems of our youth?)

I am rarely able to get "home." The Midwest is a chunk of America away. Our parents have been gone forever. It's just not 1960 anymore.

And yet.

Last week, we were near home for Kevin and Stephen's wedding. Rather than chew my nails about the rain pouring down all the livelong day (the sun popped out 90 minutes before the ceremony began and the weather managed to behave all night), we drove down to sightsee in the village I grew up in.

It's a mile square.

It has changed very little, though Best and Company is gone from the main street.

Steinman's jettisoned its counter and green stools for running shoes and lycra.

Roberts' Toy Town sells those machiolattesoftwhipextradrizzle drinks.

Woolworths is a Walgreens.

And, of course, the cars don't have quite the same finned presence.

But I recognized the florist shop, the bookstore and the bakery. And the street I grew up on.

It all felt a bit dreamlike, a little strange. (I might get the whole space-time continuum thing better if I'd been more about Star Trek than Lost in Space.)

About the postcard above. (I apologize for the poor quality. It IS old, afterall.) On the left, there is a woman holding a child's hand, crossing the street. I have the whisper of a memory of my mother telling my father, "When we were downtown today, some man took our picture."

Now, this could be a fragment of a TV show or a figment of my faulty brain. As it is, a million memories later, I found this postcard on eBay. There was just something about it.

Is it my mom and me? I don't really know. 

As it is, it is enough to know that I love the straw bag she carries in her left hand and what she is holding fast in her right.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Blandon Belushin Photography
no sooner looked but they loved,
no sooner loved but they sighed,

Wishing Kevin and Stephen a lifetime that continues to be filled to overflowing with dear friends and family who love them.

Nicolas Feuillatte champagne, mariachi bands and clear skies a bonus.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Town Car

"What do you mean, you're lost? The salon is rightbymyhouse!"

"Honey, I don't know Aurora at all. Except the mall. I think I know where that is."

"What street are you on?"

"Eola? Maybe?"

"What do you see?"


"Mom! Is there a nursery on your left?"

Looking left, seeing scraggly trees, doubting it's a nursery.

"Not so much."

"Mom! The salon is minutes from my house."

"Got that."

"What direction are you traveling in?"

Realizing that the compass has been left at home (and all is lost): "I'm not sure. Look, I've already called them and said we should reschedule. The stupid iPhone told me where the salon was and it lied! And it took me twice as long to get here. Where did all this traffic come from? Is everyone getting a pedi today?"

"Mom! Focus. What street are you crossing now?"

"No sign on that one."

Hyperventilating coming from phone.

"That one is Liberty Street. That's where Dad worked, right?"

"The next street should be New York. Turn right."

"Turning. How's your day been?"

"Mom! I'm on a horse right now and shouldn't even be on the phone!"

"I see it! Next to Starbucks."

"Rightbymyhouse, like I said."

This episode of Lost in Aurora brought to you by me and the Soleil Salon and Day Spa of Aurora, which is on New York Street. Trust me on this.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cook Mob

Philosophically, I am more book store than cook store. This should come as no surprise.

However, my pal Marilyn is the kind of gal who keeps a keen and creative eye out for cook/crafty/creative stuff for her many endeavors (PEO chapter, family gift inspiration, her lovely home, Pinterest, our daughter's wedding shower). And she is why I was at the Wilton Tent Sale last week, having my ankles wonked by frantic shoppers with grocery carts exploding with kitchen-related stuff.

Ever been to a tent sale? Wear ankle boots. Comfortable ones.

This was the line. Think Disney World. Think endless wrap. Ask why.

(And again, my apologies for the crummy pictures. The iPhone is a poor substitute for a digital camera.)

After schoonering through several miles of spatulas, cake totes, stickers, baking pans, bundts, teapots, fondants, sprinkles and cookie sheets, we waited 4 minutes shy of an hour to pay for our treasures.

And what, you might ask, does one do in line for an hour? Make friends, of course, with Karen of Hinsdale. Marilyn and I became bffs with Karen, a woman who knows how to make wedding cakes (for fun) and buys squeeze bottles so she can applique pesto onto a plate. (You mean you don't do that?)

We were in line so long, she had buyer's remorse on her metal cupcake dessert tower, and this lovely Wilton assistant ran the 17 miles back toward the tent and emerged triumphant with the ceramic version.

That's Karen on the left. She is a peach.

Her 96-year-old Mom waited by the tent with Karen's husband.

So, we got the scoop on her cooking and baking life and have become better human beings.

This is Karen and her husband as we were 40 minutes out from the cashier. At least the sky had begun to clear.

Of course, the burning question (little kitchen humor there) is what does a non-cooking/baking person like Naperville Now buy at a cook's tent sale? Bubble wands for the August wedding. A few pounds of pastel almonds and silver scoops for the candy bar. An ice cream scoop for our son-in-law (his was dishwashered to rust by daughter No. 1, though there is some controversy about this). And some white tulle. Just in case.

While I hope to become many things in this life, a good cook is just not on the list. There are too many books to be read and besides, there are people like Karen and Marilyn and the 14,000 other people in line last Friday covering for me. And, occasionally, inviting me to dinner. Thank you.