Wednesday, November 28, 2012


(Naperville Now went to St. Louis just after Thanksgiving. Then she went to look for shoes at DSW, which is why she is several days late with a new post. There are a LOT of shoes at DSW.) 

In my ongoing quest for an overlooked Renoir painting (or a small fortune tucked in with National Geographic magazines), I hit quite a few antique stores while we were in St. Louis.

Daughter Number Deux enjoys the hunt as much as I do. (First Daughter has no interest and a sizable allergy to dust, mold and mildew. We nearly killed her when we took her to Charles Dickens' damp and dusty house in London, bad parents that we are.)

I love the roof canoe and Indian silhouette on this shop roof. The inside was twice as crowded, making navigation perilous.

I can't remember the last time I saw a phone booth with a holiday babe inside.

Make that two phone booths with holiday babes inside.
A little bit freaky, come to think of it, but probably an effective security measure.
While we waited in line to buy Amish jam, we struck up a conversation with a very nice person who bought the cut glass whiskey glasses I had admired earlier. She recommended we visit a thrift shop in a nearby town. A while back, she had found a small hand-carved duck there for 50 cents. She took it to a gallery in Clayton and it was appraised at $4,000. (19th century. Well-known folk artist carver. Didn't ask if she sold it.)
As readers of NN know, I am trying to cull the herd of stuff in our house. I am no longer in it to accumulate it.
But I still like to look. And hope very much to be a lucky duck.
Each week Naperville Now participates in Mrs. Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. You can check out what other Alphabetarians are blogging about here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

All I Want

According to the state of Illinois, we have unclaimed assets.

If you're related to my husband, you're snorting out loud right about now. Everyone in this family knows where all of his/her money is at any given time -- a bank or, once in awhile, a billfold. It's a DNA thing. I get it. I live with it. 

(Anecdotal history tells us this careful spending goes back lo unto pioneer days. And probably to Germany, from whence cometh the progenitor, but I haven't researched back that far. is not inexpensive.)

I found out about this mysterious fortune several months ago. (It used to be called Cash Dash, but sometime this summer, Illinois' treasurer's office must have decided that I-Cash sounded more dignified.)

You go online, plug in your surname and start the paper chase if there's a match.

Several years ago, I did this in New York, my original hometown. Turns out, my great uncle the painter left a small insurance benefit to his sister, my grandmother. It took several hoop jumps to figure out when Uncle Frank croaked because there was no one alive to remember, and his branch of the family had evaporated somewhere in the Bronx. (A story for another day.)

States are very particular about documentation, so at last, I was able to determine when he died and buy a copy of his death certificate. Eventually, the state of New York sent a nice check to my uncle, who was retired and grateful for the infusion into his Florida bank account.

It only took half a year to complete.

This time, I have great hope that the principle has been collecting interest since 1940. Because all I want is a MGB convertible. Red's good, but I would be glad for any color.  
And there's the new iPad. And a vacation in St. Barth's, though I would be very happy with two weeks on the Cote d'Azur, just outside Nice. (I know the exact place.)   

Of course, there are student loans and a few other obligations bobbing around. Not to mention the need for world peace, which we can't seem to buy at any price.

Naperville Now will let you know as soon as she knows the amount of the check -- and what our third will be. (Note to the sisters-in-law: don't buy that house on the beach yet.)

So, if you came into some found money, what would you do with it?

Naperville Now participates each week in Mrs. Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012



"This is a nice house. Too bad there aren't any trees."

"Don't worry. We'll get some."


"Those sticks are pretty pathetic. We should have started sooner. And with a lot more."

"At least there are a few pine trees to provide a little green."


"The Stewarts sold their house in one day! And for their asking price! I think we should do the same and go find a house on a wooded lot!"

"Great idea!"

Seventeen houses later...

"How anyone could ask that kind of money for a house the color of baby poo (or puce or magenta stripes or pock-marked brick) in need of thousands (or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands) of renovation is beyond me. All that money, and no trees."


"Naperville's housing market is depressing."

"How many have you checked out?"

"I've lost count. I guess it's not meant to be."


"Such a great house! We're going to love living here. All these trees!"


"Whose idea was it to move to a lot with trees anyway?"

(Since you are dying to know, the technique to get them to the street is via sheet travois.)

(Rake into pile, flip pile onto sheet, drag sheet to road. Repeat until you are numb. Or there is a windstorm that carries them into your neighbor's yard.)

The leaves love us so much around here that they have made themselves indelible on the driveway and sidewalk.

I'm contemplating a third story condo in retirement.


Naperville Now participates each week at Mrs. Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. You can read what other Alphabetarians are writing here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Healing Field of Honor

The Healing Field of Honor on Rotary Hill in Naperville.

Each represents a soldier honored or a soldier remembered. All with gratitude.

Wave after wave after wave.

World War I, World War II, Korea, Viet Nam, Desert Storm, Iraq, Afghanistan.


Some 2012 flags were assembled and set up on the hill by volunteers. Proceeds from each sponsored flag will be given to research and treatment of veterans suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome and traumatic brain injuries.

If you are interested in learning more about the Healing Field of Honor, you can learn more here.

The flags will remain until Tuesday, Nov. 13.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Back in March, I announced that I would finish up three quilts that have been waiting to be quilted and bound since the Herbert Hoover administration.

There have been a few things that have redirected that goal, like a red and white 9-patch that I found in my mother-in-law's closet (its binding was nearly done, so I finished it). And then there was a green Double Irish Chain that needed to be bound (that was trickier).

And of course, there is the Double Wedding Ring made by my grandmother-in-law, which has become a house guest in the family room. (I'm quilting it in a hoop the size of a wagon wheel. "Florence" snoozes on an over sized chair when not being quilted, a process that takes forever when done by hand.)

Doing any of this quilting stuff is a misery in the summer. But, it's been pretty darned cold this fall, so I've spent quite a bit of time sitting under one or an other quilt, sewing and listening to episodes of Jon Stewart and Masterpiece Theatre.

The Double Irish Chain, I am sure, would have been bound in green. All I had (thank you, quilting gods) was enough muslin backing to make a binding. When I finished sewing it on, 8 inches were left over. Not a huge margin of error. 

I had heard you could buy printable fabric in order to make labels. (I used to use my old typewriter to type directly onto muslin.) The local quilt store sells these (not cheap) ink jet printer sheets.  You compose your thoughts in your word processor, insert a fabric sheet directly into the printer and voilĂ  -- a label that has been spell-checked.

I appliqued this label to the reverse of the quilt. Not sure how Betty would feel about that, but so many of our nation's textile treasures bear no signature of the woman who brought them to life. I want to make sure that 200 years down the road, people will see and know our Betty for the exceptional quilter that she was.

When we went to Savannah last month to ready her home to sell, there were a couple of unfinished quilts that I found upstairs. They're keeping Florence company in the family room until I figure out what to do next.

Naperville Now participates each week in Mrs. Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. Bounce over and read what others are writing about here.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Survivor: Naperville*

We had an opportunity to watch our grandchildren for several days, starting on Halloween night. 

Here's what I think I remember.

Three-year-olds are dramatic and fickle. When Zach told me with heart-wrenching sobs that he missed his mom and dad on the first morning, I pointed out that as soon as we got home, he could eat all of his Halloween candy. He perked up immediately and never mentioned them again.

Kids are really funny. Much like my Grandmother, they don't realize how very funny they are. They are unfailingly polite as you laugh out loud at what they say and do, and they will nod and laugh right along with you. This, of course, makes everything even funnier.

Quiche erupting from a once-curious but now-disgusted toddler's mouth is, well, disgusting. This could also be called "How to clear the Morton Arboretum cafeteria in 30 seconds." We apologize for the loss in business.

Iced tea is indispensable for exhausted adults.

If you think you are going to sit down and watch the nightly news at the end of the day, you are mistaken. Besides, Mr. Rogers has been reincarnated into a show called Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. (Kind of cute, actually. But when did all of these awful commercials sneak into PBS? Sheesh.)

Speaking of profanity, Zach has been asked not to use "Shoot!" so much. Grandma, however, strives valiantly to use this word instead of a similarly-sounding alternative. I am not always successful avoiding either.

Running is about the best thing ever invented for little boys. Climbing, too. Bless the malls of this world that have carved out free indoor playgrounds. And thank heavens no one took a header off the slide. All brains managed to stay intact on our watch.

And last, I am reminded of what my mother-in-law said after watching our girls one weekend long ago: "Now I know why God makes it impossible for women my age to have children."

I get that.

As of last night, the parents have arrived home. The kids are washed, the laundry is done, we lost Howie the Escape Dog only twice and I am headed for a long nearly-winter's nap.

White Oak Cabin, one of six tree houses to explore at the Morton Arboretum.
We ran, we climbed, we fell. Best day ever.

*with thanks to my sister-in-law for inspiring the title of this post.