Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My true self

Being one's authentic self.  That's a common phrase in a fast paced world and I'm not quite sure what it means because I have never had the patience to sit long enough watching Oprah to find out.  For me, being my authentic self is about reconnecting with people from the past who both tolerate and celebrate my bullshit while seeing through it at the same time.  And it helps if said people live in Florida with a guest room.  I'm visiting not only my oldest, dearest friend but her parents as well.  It's a forty year relationship that includes full knowledge of Bob and Peggy as young parents--truly haunting as this family is aware how lucky I am to have survived DeBrandt hillbilly health care.  They remember the goofy me before adulthood spirited me away and taught me not to entertain by belching at the dinner table.  My relationship with this family is as crucial and important to me as any with blood relatives and we spent so much time together as kids we probably do share some blood through injuries, food and drink, games of sport and danger, etc.  So here I am, enjoying not deciding what's for dinner and remembering and laughing about many shared happy memories of happy childhoods.  Kudos to both sets of parents for helping us make this friendship a priority.

Genetics has its place, agreed, but so does kismet or serendipity that throws all the karmic chips in the air only to have two randoms land close together to form a bond.  When there's a spark there's a spark and like an ember can smolder long after the fire is untended. And it can sit warmly waiting for the need of reenlivening that bonfire anytime with just a tiny bit of care.  So this week I reap the rewards again of that tiny bit of care being treated to the beach, dinners out and loving acceptance.  Better than my parents who still call me on my bullshit.  Who needs that on vacation? 

That being said, friendships do go in different directions and hobbies and interests will vary through the years. So when in Florida, do as the Floridians.
Hopes of fortune.  I had trouble keeping up especially on the "speedys". And if you don't know what a speedy is, then you just haven't lived.

boulevard of broken dreams

Bingo at the Knights of Columbus. I was distracted by the perfectness of the bingo hall scene.  Quiet and seemingly laid back atmosphere before the games started with nice ladies serving dinner and extraordinary homemade desserts in the kitchen, people visiting one another to inquire about health status updates, others playing cards or quietly reading a book.  The room quickly changed at 6:25pm with the start of the games and then the nanas threw it down.  It's serious business as there are thousands of dollars at stake, presumably many of those dollars from retirement and social security checks.  No screwing around.  We were shushed once and that was scary enough.     

Forty years and it's come to this.

And then just like that, three hours later it was over and those same nanas tore ass out of the hall into the parking lot headed for home. I think everyone was home and in bed within fifteen minutes of the call of the last number.  It does help that after bingo lets out, a policeman holds traffic on the highway to let the nanas out of the parking lot.  I'm guessing that has saved thousands of lives.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dane County Farmers Market on the Square 2010!

I dedicate this post to most of my friends at soccer tournaments today freezing their asses off in Iowa, Reddan and the like in blustery we-wish-it-was-50 degrees weather.  Just to let you know, I was freezing my ass off at the Farmer's Market.

It's too early in the season to get excited about a variety of local produce so this was foremost a reconnaisance mission once around the Capitol to get a line on the various vendors for the season.  I'm liking the organic hippies on the east side of the Capitol so far.

No matter what the growing season in Dane County, there are always those stalwart products that stock the market through all the seasons indoor and out... the maple syrup, the honeys, the jams and the liberal causes.

And the flowers, still a little too early to plant but very nice to consider for the coming weeks. To avoid the pitfall of bloggers at this time of year, I only post one picture of flowers.

Wish I had got my mouth watering for what I might cook starring these early starters: spinach, oyster mushrooms and green onions, potatoes.  But I just wasn't feeling it and as it was our stroll quickly became just a pleasant feast for the eyes and a search for baked goods to be eaten en route with our coffee.  No harm, no foul on family unity with Saturday's morning markets as we're usually well home before O or A are even out of bed.  Chip and I have grown to enjoy the benefits of early morning dating.

We settled on a bag of arugula, some hot-house tomatoes, a pussy willow and daffodil bouquet and fingerling potatoes.  We'll sort something out for dinner with that I think.  Maybe homemade pizza with some fresh arugula.

This little sweetie waited patiently for her adults as she contemplated the tulips.  

Everybody was in a good mood and making the best of the blustery morning, strangers occasionally reaching out to grab the tent legs as they precariously lifted with the wind gusts.  A very cooperative spirit in everyone.  Welcome back, outdoor Farmer's Market.  I'm awfully glad to see you.

Time to start buying produce locally again. Goodbye to my winter standbys....Chilean grapes, California lettuces, Central American blueberries.  Hello, local asparagus and morels, soon I hope.  For those, my mouth is already watering.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Times a wastin'!

I would love to blame all my procrastination of late, the non-bill paying, crap committee contributing, PTO ducking, friend avoiding lot of it, on my kids. Managing a family is a slippery slope of an excuse that one can trot out timelessly without pushback as an explanation for all manner of dropping the ball in other area's of life.  But in my case, my kids are rarely at the root of any problems I have with productivity.  I am like an anti-Tony Robbins, a professional time waster of the grandest magnitude who could write a book on how to live your BEST life doing the LEAST each precious day.

I'm also faced a little bit with the retiree’s conundrum of not having enough to do and loads of time to do it, inevitably just putting everything off until a string of tomorrows that never come.  My retired aunt told me she orders her stamps by mail now because she kept putting off her trips to the post office each week and kept running out of stamps.  If you want something done, ask a busy person.  Um, that isn’t me lately so probably don’t ask.  And it’s not to say that I couldn’t occupy my time more usefully.  But an epiphany in my closet over the weekend has me mulling.

A walk-in closet is almost too much for a girl from Narberth, PA.  Chip’s bourgeois upbringing prepared him for such luxury, but my half of the closet has been much like Fibber McGee’s for seven years and in my weekend revelation I realized it has been so without dire consequences to my sassy style or humanity as a whole.
There I stood surveying much like a detective might at a crime scene:
--a blonde wig in a bag from when I was Christine Cagney at a Halloween party four or five years ago (hey, where is my service revolver?)
--a teacup and saucer in a bag that even an otherwise oblivious Chip had to ask, “Why is there a teacup in the closet?”   I don’t know the answer to that question.
---a Christmas dog collar
-- an American Girl doll
--tiny green clogs
I debated making a run at it and an idea or more a philosophy kind of washed over me...nothing bad has or will ever come of my messy closet.  And with my mind blown and set free, life has seemed simpler.   I have since managed to find the notes for my meetings, pull together promised materials to a committee, make contact with friends, pay the bills and sign up for a shift at the PTO rummage sale.  Well, I'm totally lying about the last thing.  But I intend to call tomorrow.  

Let's not even talk about my jewelry box

Monday, April 5, 2010

Chicago without the kids

I asked a couple walking by to take our picture to prove that I was there-sometimes it's not obvious

When all else fails for a topic to flesh out a blog post, I can always go to the vault of near disastrous wipeouts.  Perhaps one could refer to the post last year where I almost wrapped myself around a pole while biking and carrying a coffee table.

I love the yin and yang of life that provides the extremes of experiences to keep one's ego in check.  A life full of travel and cultural experiences and advanced education tempered by experiences such as the not uncommon one today where I nearly flew backwards off the treadmill at five miles per hour completely to my surprise and the guy next to me's surprise seeing how close he came to being sideswiped and taken down as well...oh God, and the people behind me...thankfully I couldn't see their faces because I really don't want to know what it looked like from behind as I drifted left before crashing into the side of the treadmill.

And it's all Ellen Degeneres' fault as you can imagine.  Closed captioning is not a difficult task for me under most circumstances.  I do read as quickly as the next person, but it's a little tricky I came to find out today trying to read Ellen's rambling monologue at the start of her show.  In my struggle to stay with the shaggy dog story she was telling about rearranging her furniture, I had drifted slowly left and lost my place on the mat and faltered.  With a clank and a clunk and a yelp, I just barely managed to stay upright.   Eyes forward henceforth, that was the end of the Ellen show for me today.

Good Friday across a church pew

Architecture cruise

Just a few days ago, Chip and I took a quick trip to Chicago sin las bambinas (bad Spanish is my new thing I'm doing since I'm the only one in the family that doesn't know it and it really irritates the kids).   It is the first time we've left them alone to face all of my chores in addition to staying overnight alone.  A few friends made queries as to the time that the Hunter kegger might start.

Chip and I did live in that world a little bit when we were kids, but between strict athletic codes and the prying eyes of an overly social, inquiring and chatty neighborhood full of adults all up in your business, it truly wasn't and isn't a worry...this time anyway.  At least I think the vodka bottle is still full of vodka.  Maybe I should check that...

I'm moving here when I get my personal injury settlement money from Hupy and Abraham

So many happy families at the Art Institute during spring break and it just reminded me of the love and strength I draw from my own merry little band.  And the beauty of this trip was that whenever anyone started to cry or whine I could just walk away, so that was awesome.

Such commonly known and embraced images in American culture being enjoyed on so many different levels for so many different people.

Little girl whose mom had just told her she looked like the girl in the painting...which she did!

Two brothers sit patiently while their parents are nowhere to be found

A mom and her daughter share the audio

A grandmom and her granddaughter discuss Vincent's depressingly short life 

Sisters in agony while dad tries to take their picture.  

A painting in every mother's top ten I would imagine.  Certainly in mine.

A Chicago hot dog or as Chip calls it, a hotdog with salad

So, just some pictures to remind you and myself and my doll of a husband that Chicago is one of the best cities for adult entertainment.  Oh yeah baby...a museum, an architecture river cruise, a hip and trendy vegetarian restaurant, a bike ride along the lakeshore and a trip to Crate and Barrel.  My girls could not have been more delighted to stay home.

Green Zebra restaurant in Westtown.  When in Chicago you should go.

The Allerton, old school and central and recently renovated

Night before the iPad launch...the store was abuzz

Aqua, Lakeshore East, designed by female architect Jeanne Gang, her first skyscraper 

For the last time, Oprah does not live here.