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2 kids. Memories of Wolf and Boo. Many dear friends. Three siblings. Two parents. Samarra the crazy dog. The Player and Pi the Cat. I love you all!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Green Chicago

The Player and I just got home last night from a whirlwind trip to The Windy City.  We left early Monday morning on Amtrak (environmentally friendly not driving our private greenhouse gas producing vehicle, thus green!)  We stayed at the Palmar House (expensive but booked on Hotwire very much the opposite of expensive and thus saving us some greenbacks!)    Yes I know my punctuation is wrong in those sentences but where does the . go with the exclamation points and parantheses for competition?  Help!




I did not take my camera. So this blog will not be punctuated with personal photos, but maybe a few Google Images will appear. You never know what might happen next! As Kung Fu Sammy says, "Expect the Unexpected."

Kung Fu Sammy does not end sentences with exclamation points, being a centered kung fu master of a skunk.    Also he probably has a copy of Skunk and White's Elements of Style.

The trip was a joy.  It was so wonderful to share some of my favorite haunts in Chicago with The Player.  One of the highlights was going on a Monday night to The Green Mill where we listened to great jazz provided by The Patricia Barber Quartet.  (More green!  More punctuation worries!) The music was great, the people watching was fabulous, and we met the owner of the Mill, Dave.  I knew he was the owner because everyone else was dressed in the dark clothing required of jazz club patrons and employees (oh, wait I was wearing a light beige shirt...oops) and he was wearing hunting gear.  Specifically a red and black checked flannel shirt, jeans, and a hunting cap.  No apparent weapons, though.  

The music was sublime.

People-watching highlights included 2 sisters (possibly twins?) who I nicknamed Morticia and Medusa Kardashian.  They were all about the people-watching in a reverse sort of way, as in they were there to be seen.  Medusa had blond streaks in her wild dark wavy mane, and wore a poncho made of some poor little animal that she had probably just found and killed and skinned herself.  She spent most of the evening looking at herself in the mirror behind the bar.  And holding her stomach in.  I wonder if she noticed there was world-class music being made around her.  Morticia was less self conscious, probably because she wasn't worried about snakes coming out of her head or animal guts still stuck to the inside of her new poncho.  I wondered where little sister Minerva was on Monday night?  Possibly out on a date with Mayhem. 



I googled some images of Medusa and then decided I'd rather not frighten you all.

The Player fantasized that Patricia Barber would talk to us and like us so much that she would invite us to her house the next day for lunch.  Unfortunately even though the Green Mill is small and intimate, we were sitting at the bar in the back and could not even see her. 


Except a view like this as we came out of the bathroom which is practically on the stage. 

She could not see us, and so we did not meet her or talk to her or even get to wink at her.  The owner of the bar did buy us a drink, though.  



Only seeing the Chagall mural topped that!








Sunday, December 25, 2011

Festival and Farewell

On Friday night we drove over to East Peoria to participate in a traffic jam!  It was delightful, especially in my car with manual transmission, on a big hill, for well over half an hour as we waited to get into FELOPI!!  The FEstival of Lights Of east Peoria Illinois.  Here are some scenes from this years display:


I love the Lightsthip Enterprise!


We debated whether good guys or bad guys were in this Star Wars vessel, finally deciding by popular vote that it was definitely not Santa's sleigh.


This looks like a riverboat but as it turns out, you can use it to go whale-watching, too:


Thar she blows!



Sisi TV arrived last week with a special new show that I think will probably get syndicated, Kung Fu Sammy:







Amazing what that little stuffed skunk can do with "the element of surprise."



This morning the kids flew off in a jet plane with their dad for 2 weeks in Ecuador.  I have not been away from them both that long before.  I've been somewhat melancholy this morning.


I cried at home, before I took them to the airport where I did not cry.  At least not to the point of sobbing and needing someone to bring me kleenex.



I will miss these guys something fierce!  Counting the days until January 6th, Epiphany!! 



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pie S U

Part One-A:

On Monday evening I found, on the floor of the living room:  12 pieces of cat food, 11 scraps of paper, 10 dirty socks, 9...oh nevermind.   The interesting thing I found on the floor was a little square of paper that had a little girl's handwritten note that said "Rule One:  Never say 'I hate or I don't like pie."

Hmm, I thought to myself.

Part Two:

On Tuesday evening the kids, The Player, and I went to the ISU men's basketball game.  They played a team from Little Rock, Arkansas.  The other team started the game looking like maybe they had found some very tall extraterrestrials who looked like humans but had never seen a game of basketball before.  Or maybe they had taken a little shooting practice but had no concept of the idea of defense and especially of rebounding.  To put it more eloquently, they stunk.  After about 11 minutes of play the score of the game was ISU 30, ETs from Little Rock 11.  Being a math-minded kinda gal, I estimated that at this rate ISU could possibly score almost 120 points.  I wondered aloud if that would be a record of some kind.  Of course it might have an asterick  next to it in the record books since the game was possibly played against extraterrestrial life forms.

Then, something happened and human beings who knew how to play the game or probably to listen to their coach appeared on the court and the game changed dramatically.  I think that some of the ETs also took possession of the referees, as they began to call foul after foul against ISU.  Then they called a flagrant foul against one of the ISU players and another charging foul against ISU immediately afterward. 


Then the devil must have gotten into Tim Jankovich, the usually-pretty-calm ISU head coach, and he erupted out of his seat with poison darts flying out of his eyes and hot lava shooting from his ears...headed for the refs!  His assistant coaches surrounded him in a group hug and the refs gave him not one, but two technical fouls, ejected him from the game, and the other team got 4 free throws. 

This all in the first half!!!

J-dude was fascinated by the whole thing and said to me, "Wow, this is going to be all over the news!".  He was correct, of  course.  Go to www.pantagraph.com and see the story on page one, er, whatever you call it online.

In the second half the Little Rocks from Planet Arkansas actually went ahead 46-44, but then ISU woke up from their hypnotic pissed-off trance, played better basketball, and won the game 72-65.  Rah rah rah!

Part One-B:

Home after the game, little people fed bedtime snacks and heading to bed.  I go into Sisi's room to say goodnight.  She is making a list.  I ask her what is the list.  She says "It's the rules for my new club."

What's the club?  I ask.

The PLC, she answers. 

What is PLC?  I ask.

The Pie Lovers Club, she answers.

I know some people who are going to join that!  I say.

So as it turns out there are 27 rules, in addition to Rule Number One, which I think we should call The First Commandment of the PLC:  Thou Shalt Never Say I Don't Like or I Hate Pie.

Amen!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Another Walk Along the River


For the 3rd Sunday in a row The Player and the kids and I went to Parklands for an afternoon walk along the Mackinaw River.  Today we walked on the South Trail which took us to the opposite bank of the river.  The access to the river itself was trickier, but we eventually succeeded in getting down to the water so the kids could play in it with sticks and rocks.  And their boots and each other. 

\





This side of the river has a forest of mostly oak trees.



The light was beautiful and the reflections in the river of trees on the opposite bank were spectacular.




Just as I said, please don't throw a rock in the river, I'm about to take a picture, J-dude practiced his selective hearing. 



If not exactly what I had in mind, still pretty stunning.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I Did Not Win

A couple of industrious coworkers made  their ugly sweaters.  That is, they took solid colored sweaters and decorated them to a state of hilarious hideousness with Christmas items such as ornaments, garland, bells, reindeer heads protruding from the back, and lord knows what else.  I couldn't look at them for long, as it was like staring into the sun.   I put my sweater on and then another of my coworkers said she did not think it was all that ugly.  After a few days have passed I will suggest she get an eye exam. 

I did eat a couple really good cookies. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pretty Ugly

Tomorrow is our office Christmas party.  I work for a Catholic organization that actually celebrates Christmas (though we never get Easter to count as a work holiday, go figure.)  There are crucifixes in offices, examination rooms, and probably even by the MRI machine (though not made of metal) if I were to take an official inventory.  Our insurance does not pay for any birth control.  We pray more at meetings at my office than we do most Sundays at my church.  But for our office Christmas party we are having:

1.  a cookie exchange (I am not participating, thank you very chubby.)
2.  a gift exchange (also not participating thank you very cheaply.)
and
3.  an Ugly Sweater Competition.

I am entering the 3rd activity above, because after visiting every danged thrift store in town that carries clothing items, I finally found a truly ugly sweater to wear.  If you are the person that donated this to the Mission Mart, thinking it would be put to good use, then thank you.  If you thought it was a really nice sweater, then...thank you and also I am sorry.  If you like this sweater and want me to give it to you tomorrow for something other than an ugly sweater contest, then you are welcome to it and I am very very Very sorry.  (Susan?) 



If I win, I will actually model the sweater here on this very blog for you.  But I don't see any reason to be captured on film wearing this item with ...black beads, green and red cherries, squares that make me dizzy and oddly colored unidentifiable flowers, unless there is a prize involved. 

Happy holidays to you,  and to all a good night!