Saturday, April 28, 2007

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Yes, it's wonderful that April rains bring the bounty of May flowers. A promise of renewed life is fulfilled yet again and I am truly grateful for this! However, my blog story for today is actually more than a little ditty about months, but is a tribute to a daughter who tugs at my heartstrings, and as a mother, I must practice fairness to my kids. John had the last blog focus; Anne gets this one! Quilting is a passion of mine; also a way of "therapy" for me as I stitch and work out issues on my mind and in my heart. This quilt was begun on September 11, 2001 when I was sick with worry over the happenings of that horrible day...and that Anne was far far away in Sweden and I couldn't gather her up and hug her and assure her that all was well. I needed to make something beautiful out of something very very ugly in the world. The best way I knew how was to make flowers out of fractured pieces of fabric, representing the fracturing of our own world with the possibility of something to heal the soul as it came together to create a bouquet of beauty and peacefulness. Whenever I make a quilt, I put a label on the back telling its story and history.If you click on this label photo, you can read more details about its connstruction. A close-up of the quilt reveals that each hexagon is about the size of a quarter! There are literally thousands of pieces composing this quilt. And each one was stitched with Anne on my mind. It was the best therapy for this mother and truly was my labor of love for a treasured and cherished daughter. My April (September) showers turned into May flowers!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Our "Model" Son

We have been calling John our "poster boy" for about two years now...he has randomly appeared as a model on the North Park website, the Covenant Companion, Covenant Harbor/Point publications...and even in the U.S. News and World Report magazine! Somehow, it all got started with an offer for free food ($5.00 worth, I think) and to date, that is his total sum of money made! So, imagine our surprise when John told us he was next going to appear on a BILLBOARD! We checked it out this weekend, and made total fools of ourselves as we stood in the middle of this two-way street on Ravenswood and Peterson (by Lake Shore Drive). Thanks to the kind man who took our picture there! And also to the drivers who didn't run us over!! Ah, to be parents.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

C'mon...Take a (Visual) Tour With Me!

Meet me at my train station in the north suburbs. I'm not going to tell you right away where we're headed, just that it will be a lot of fun. You possibly haven't visited there before; I hadn't. There was quite a BIG wedding recently at this destination that a lot of North Parkers and Covenanters attended...does that give you a clue? The train ride from my town will take over an hour. Feel free to take your shoes off and get comfortable. There will be a lot of walking today. We're at Union Station now. Make a right from the Adams Street location and walk to Jackson. Turn left, towards the lake. Proceed! Check out these sculptures as we walk to our destination. Out and about now, we're loving seeing Chicago readied for the long-awaited spring with planting here and there! After a fine walk, we finally came to our destination: The Union League Club on 77 West Jackson. We've been invited to attend a Women of North Park University luncheon (hosted by the Parkyn's) with a docent-led tour of the amazing art collection that the League has collected! One work that you might particularly enjoy is this one! Take a look at the whole work (above) and then the close's made of discarded book covers! (Sarah, isn't this just too cool?) Our docent took us through most of the first six floors of the Union League Club. Here are some of my favorite paintings! There's even a Monet tucked in an alcove by the stairway, and this painting was reportedly acquired for the sum of $500.00 - at that time considered quite an astonishing sum - in the late 1800's. What a wonderful day it was to discover all these lovely paintings, and best still, to share the experience with you, the reader, AND my dear Sis! Where would you like to go next time we take a train to the city?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My Rental Car Observations

Sorry, readers, but I just can't stop writing about our Texas trip yet! I thought it might be helpful for those of you planning a trip to consider rental car options. Normally, Wes and I drive very typical, boring cars. (At least neither are silver or Buicks which would be Wes' first choice, but that's another story...) So, while debating at the rental car place in Dallas, I saw a yellow BRAND NEW PT Cruiser that just brought a smile to my face. It has a large-capacity trunk, a sun roof which sells Wes on it, too. We take it! We notice that we are "noticed" while driving this car. People look at us in parking lots, and the valet guy at the hotel always brings our car immediately to us as per our request. When we park ourselves anywhere, we are the only yellow PT Cruiser in the lot, making it easily located. In a sea of cars, that's a really good thing! Do we look like we are having a good time on the road or what? How fun is it to drive looking forward at the road with all this sunny yellow car dashboard stuff cheering you on? Even when skies are cloudy and gray? Just brings a smile to my face! Here Wes poses by our yellow PT Cruiser with the Moody Gardens pyramids in the background (Galveston Island, Texas.) So, the next time you get a rental car, find one that makes you smile and transports you to a vacation frame-of-mind. Go red!(or yellow) Go convertible! Go sunroof! Go different! After all this is a getaway from your everyday ho-hum life, right?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Beehive Book Club

Last night, it was my turn to host the Beehive Book Club gathering. Our book for this time was actually a children's book: A LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO by Richard Peck. I felt so lucky to get to "do" this month as I am quite interested in the time frame of this book, 1929 - 1948. Here's the table before the guests came. (I added more food then!) It was fun to use vintage suitcases, photos, games, dishes and linens from my years of collecting this 'n that. Because Grandma Dowdel was one who canned and preserved fruits and vegetables, I decided to have a taste-testing appetizer theme with assorted jams and such...and, no, I didn't have a thing to to with the preserving process! I purchased! At one point in the evening, all the Clubbers had the chance to try on vintage hats from that time period - whether they wanted to or not, I suppose. However, they went along with the show, and then Wes came downstairs to be our official group photographer. To protect their true identities, I have cropped their faces from these shots. Thanks, Beehive Book Clubbers, for making the evening so much fun! I will give you a group picture with faces shown at a later date...y'all looked so adorable in your vintage hats and you are such good sports to put up with my quirks. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Seriously, Is This a Texas Thing?

At about this time last year, there was excitement in our household as plans for Anne and Jed's wedding were well underway. Save-the-Date cards were sent months ago, invitations were made and almost ready to be addressed and mailed. Reception venue was arranged, flowers ordered, musicians planned, dresses arriving for the maids and flower girls, photographer hired. But, after our recent trip to Texas and seeing all these brides ALONE, I began to wonder if we had missed something a year ago! Is this what they do in Texas BEFORE the wedding to get a picture in the newspaper of the bride ALONE? Is this what they do all over the country in preparation of the big day? Sort of like a trial run with the bride and her photographer? Each bride came equipped with a plain-clothed photographer. Some photographers looked like professional "snappers" while others looked like relatives. All brides had beautiful bouquets, freshly coifed hair, and truthfully seemed very calm and relaxed. I was thinking it could NO WAY be their wedding day! Besides, where were their grooms? This is the ONLY "set" of bride and groom that I saw the entire day at the Botanical Gardens in Dallas! I'm thinking maybe, maybe they really tied the knot on this day. Seriously, did we miss something in preparing for Anne and Jed's wedding last year by not having Anne alone photographed in a lovely outdoor scene? Days before the wedding...or on the actual day? Or is this a Texas thing? Your input would be greatly appreciated.