Wednesday, February 27, 2013


When our daughter was married last August, she suggested we do a candy bar at the reception.

Dory L. Tuohey Photography
We had a blast hunting down her candy requests (York Peppermint Patties and Sour Patch Kids for Anna, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups for Greg, Pixy Stix for me, 9,000 other choices for everyone else.) And while I am sure we spent way more on sugar than we shoulda, it was worth it. Just ask my dentist.

Meanwhile, one of the components of the reception was to surprise Anna with a ginormous container of cotton candy. (It is her childhood favorite, which is what this candy idea seemed to be about, and we were tickled to have thought of it.)

The Naperville candy store makes it fresh daily in the summer, so I made a special trip a day before the wedding to grab a huge bucket of the stuff.

Cute, right?

And later, when we asked Anna how she had liked her special treat, she didn't know what we were talking about.

"You know, the cotton candy we left on your chair at the reception!"

"There was cotton candy?" she replied in disbelief.

It seemed someone had absconded with her special treat.

My personal view was to begin interrogation-by-email, but was vetoed by my husband.

Fast forward to yesterday, exactly 6 months post-wedding.

In the study, on top of the tallish bookcase (that Charlie looks at every day) was a white plastic bag. With the cotton candy still in it.

I don't know which is scarier, thinking we had actually brought it to the reception or the science experiment cotton candy eventually became.

Sorry, Anna. We owe you your personal bucket of floss. June 1st. Downtown Naperville. 

Our treat.

Each week Naperville Now participates in Mrs. Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. See what others are writing about the letter O here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Brain Freeze

When my sister-in-law, who lives in Savannah, GA,  heard we were going to be slammed by snow, she asked me if I wanted her mom's recipe for Snow Cream.

I said I would love to have it. Betty was a wonderful cook.

This is what she wrote:
Don't know Mom's exact Snow Cream recipe. She used to make it in Tennessee when it snowed. I remember the contents and how good it was, but not the measurements. Mom took lots and lots of clean snow, added sugar, vanilla and milk. Healthy, no, but SO good.
Sure, leave off the proportions so I can improvise, the surefire way to splendid cooking.

(Technically, I'm not sure I know the best way to capture falling snow. Be assured, it's coming down in earnest.)

It looks like there will be enough Snow Cream for everyone, even if we have to experiment a little with the ratios.

While we are tasting winter here, a shout out to my childhood pal Cam (safe in Key West) and the fearsome icicles we snapped off the power company's roof and then licked until our tongues couldn't stand it anymore.

Clearly, ice dams were not a worry in those days, which worked out very well for us as we licked these foot-long spirals of ice and yelled out "Grape!" then "Lime!" then "Blue!"

"Blue's not a flavor!"

"How come orange is?"

"Good question. Okay, blue's a flavor."

So, if you have lots of  snow and cold, what are you doing? Looking for your sled? Cooking up snow cones? Hiding in the pantry with Cadbury Creme Eggs? Leave me a comment.

Friday, February 22, 2013


We didn't get smacked too bad last night, though there is still plenty of time to be snowed under, in and away.

It's a good day to head into the basement to wrassle family pictures into albums. I'm already on the third volume, starting with a picture taken in 1899 of a town in southern Illinois that was home to my husband's family since before the Civil War.

It may be several winters and many albums before I reach the Eisenhower years.

Have any bodacious projects looming in your basement? Let me know what you're doing to hold winter at bay (besides brownies, tortilla chips, Nextflix and wine. Not that I have personal knowledge of one of those things.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Not Exactly Candyland

100 years ago, when our girls were in middle school, Mall Madness was the only present they wanted for Christmas.

Do you remember this cardboard tribute to capitalism? Think Monopoly, but with credit cards.

I was aghast and said absolutely not.

The very next year, it was at the top of the wish list again.

"If they've asked for it two years in a row, you have to get it," reasoned my best pal Joyce. With extreme reluctance, Santa came through.

As I recall, many girls spent many hours hovering over the game board, which has a small machine that tells you which stores have a sale, where to head next, and don't forgot to stop at the ATM. 

Frankly, I'm not sure what the goal/point/moral of the game is, exactly. But I can tell you that it is enjoying a rebirth, of sorts.

Everything is still in the box, except the credit cards.

Clearly, the economy has exacted its toll.

Each week, Naperville Now participates in Mrs. Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. See what others are writing about the letter N here.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

If I Could

I'd have an unlimited budget for flowers.

They would be sent to the house starting Dec. 1 and continue weekly until May 1, the actual span of a Chicago winter.

Failing that steady infusion of hope, life and color, I'd live at Whole Foods, which is where I took these quick pics last week.

I want to climb into those vases and roost.

March 20 is the calendar spring launch.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can make it.

How do you cope with the ennui of winter? Leave me a comment on this, my 400th post.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


We were test sitting new couches earlier this week (when did upholstered furniture get to be so ridiculously expensive?) and came across this remarkable piece of bird ingenuity:

I like a bird who upcycles plastic.

I can't decide if the wind whipped the plastic ribbons out of the weave or were added later for a certain avian je ne sais quoi. (The tree is just outside Michael's, so I will leave it to you to decide whether all those crafters going in and out put pressure on the builders.)

Come to think of it, I've done the same thing with Mylar tape on the back of our house. Woodpeckers, who have managed to make Swiss cheese out of our siding, are supposedly spooked by flapping strips of silver.

I may leave a strip as an offering next time I'm by the nest. A little pop of color and woodpecker warning to spruce up the homeplace.

Each week Naperville Now participates in Mrs. Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. See what others have to say about the letter M here.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


Readers of this blog know that there are things that I hold critically important:

Sunlight (or go crazy in January).
Organization (the only way to beat back chaos).
Finishing projects before starting new ones (see above).
Washing one's hands (germs are evil).

This morning, the Chicago Tribune ran a terrifying story that has upended my germ world-view. Soap can be dangerous.

There is an extraneous chemical that has been added to antibacterial soaps (that I buy all the time) called triclosan (in liquid soaps) or triclocarban (bar soaps). It's also in some toothpastes.

Triclosan can induce hormonal changes, disrupt cardiac and skeletal muscle function and ultimately end up in the water we drink. The level of this chemical is rising in the lakes of Minnesota, so stick with vodka when you're up there.

The Environmental Protection Agency is going to take six years to review this chemical. No rush, EPA.

The FDA, however, says it poses a public health concern "and continues to pollute our bodies."

I just filled up an empty soap pump and brought it over to my grandchildren's bathroom.

I may never get over that.

Let's review -- read the labels of the soap you buy. Look for the word triclosan or triclocarban. The picture above = soaps to avoid.

The soaps above apparently are okay. (And alcohol-based hand sanitizers don't have it.)

With thanks to Chicago Tribune reporter Monica Eng for her excellent front page story.

Meanwhile, what do I do with the soap that I have no intention of using? What is the responsible way to dispose of it?

Thursday, February 7, 2013


I believe we are getting there.

Sunlight is starting to show up on these winter days.
Without the snow cover, the shadows wouldn't be quite as playful.

Or as artful.
(I'm thinking mermaid hair. Your impression?)
My friend Cherrie used to say at least February is the shortest month of the year. With a smallish leap, we are that much closer to March and the ultimate prize of spring.
Here's to the leap.
Each week Naperville Now participates in Mrs. Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. See what other Alphabetarians have to say about the letter L here.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

What Winter is All About

B. Anderson

I'm going to hang this picture on my wall so I can remind myself 1.) how much I loved sleigh riding as a kid and 2.) sleigh riding is impossible without snow = winter.

With thanks to Betsy for a great iPhone pic, two sweet kids, and the reminder.