Friday, November 28, 2008

Three Kernels of Corn

It is a family tradition that on Thanksgiving Day while gathered around the feasting table, each plate has three corn kernels placed on it for every guest to reveal reasons for gratitude this year. We then take turns - one person at a time with one kernel at a time being held in hand - to give public thanks for a specific reason we have been touched this year. Then the kernel is dropped into a communal bowl and passed along to the next person. Sometimes our comments generate laughter, and sometimes misty eyes follow these comments. Three kernels is not enough. It has been a rough year with the death of Mom, a house that won't sell, and a few health issues here and there, but the positives have far outweighed the negatives. I hope you have many reasons, too, for being thankful in 2008. Please know that your presence in my life is much appreciated.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Pink Suitcase Chronicles #11 HAVING A GUEST/BEING A GUEST

It's been a revolving door around here lately with special people coming in and out of our doors as well as gracing the doors of other special peoples' homes! (And also the occasion of Pink almost getting stuck in a revolving door at CVS in Chicago...see above picture!) But, it's sure been fun.
First, niece Jennifer came from Mississippi. We saw a great movie and topped it off with a cookie-baking marathon in our kitchen. If in doubt, USE BUTTER!!! Lots of butter - we went through nearly two four-packs of the creamy stuff making pepparkakor, spritz, and Swedish Kringla.
Next guest: niece-by-marriage, Cherith. We celebrated Cherith's birthday a tad early and her "cake" was actually an ice cream scoop served in Grandma's dessert goblets, along with Christmas cookies we baked.
Then, my suitcase is packed and we're on the road to meet up with others at Anne and Jed's place! With three teachers in the mix, there's lot of school talk going on...poor John - the only non-teacher in the bunch. Unless you count Grandkitty Oliver, that is.
Another family gathering after this for dinner at the Chicago Brahaus for a night of German eating and rollicking. The rollicking continues at Ryan's apartment with several rounds of Guitar Hero.

Sleeping over in the city is always a treat, especially when our hosts are Diann and Larry! My Pink has grown very fond of their place, too. It's important to get a night of good rest due to the day to come in downtown Chicago.

We recommend stopping by John's office on Michigan Avenue for a good time in his company! Please see him for all your Scandinavian travel plans!

Though we invited John's office to join us at the Walnut Room and for shopping afterwards, they politely declined.

King Lear was a delight to meet in the courtyard by the Chicago Tribune building.

And I think I only truly embarassed my sister and niece only ONE time when I asked them to pose with my suitcase in the Chicago section of a city CVS store.

There are worse ways to be embarrassed, right?

All this revolving door activity and it isn't even Thanksgiving yet! Whew!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Did You Get the WEAR BROWN Memo?

Pretty funny to walk in to work today and see all of my co-workers wearing shades of brown.
Must be the time of year when the changing seasons are felt and we look in our closets and all that appeals is brown.
At least it reminds me of chocolate!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Inspiring Artist

Have you ever been blown away by seeing an artist's work? This happened to me (and Marti) on this past Monday when we visited the Kenosha Public Museum. The artist's name is S.D.Schindler.

Until January 18, 2009, about 100 of his children's book illustrations from nearly 50 different books are on display in this FREE musuem. It's worth the trip.

Wisconsin is not all that far from the Illinois border. And the rest of the musuem is worth a look-see as well. There's a wooly mammoth skeleton, ivory carvings from China, life-sized dwellings of Native Americans, a fabulous hands-on work area for kids...we wished this would have been around when our own kids were younger! Next door is a Civil War Museum that warrants a future visit.

Back to S.D. Schindler: His illustrations appear in many different genres including picture books, non-fiction, folk lore tales, juvenile fiction and holiday books. Here are but a few of the titles you should check out.

Catwings by Ursula K. LeGuin

Every Living Thing by Cynthia Rylant

How Many Fish by Caren Lee Cohen

Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler

Whittington by Alan W. Armstrong

Betcha! by Stuart J. Murphy

If You Should Hear a Honey Guide by April Pulley Sayre

Johnny Appleseed by Stephen Benet

Boy, Were We Wrong About the Dinosaurs by Kathleen V. Kadlinski

I Love My Buzzard by Tres Seymour

Bat in the Dinig Room by Crescent Dragonwagon

How Santa Got His Job by Stephen Krensky

To further whet your appetite, here are a few photos taken at the exhibit. There was a sign up that photos could be taken, just no use of flash, please.

Has there been an artist who has inspired you?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

For You, Kass!

(And also anyone one else who couldn't be there on Saturday night!)

Our whole family was able to get together for a wonderful concert at Northwestern University yesterday evening. What was especially special was to have John and Kari as alumni singers with the North Park University Gospel Choir as a part of the concert! There were so many in attendance that the concert couldn't be held on the North Park campus and was moved to NU as a result!

Richard Smallwood was the guest conductor and singer during the second portion of the concert. I wanted to give you a little taste of what was seen and heard. Kari and John are singing from the upper balcony...can you find them? It was a fabulous concert!!

During a couple of numbers, these dancers performed with the choir. Chris, your S-I-L, liked them very much, too. (We ate lunch with them today.)

Following the concert, we went out with the kids to eat ice cream...a long-standing post-concert tradition with the Lindahl family. Julia and Mike also joined us!
Then, down to the business of business. In which the old becomes the new. You know what I am talking about. Thought you would like to see the contract signing between your lovely daughter and Wes! Let's hope it all works out well. Wish you could have been a part of this special evening. You were missed!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gone. But Not Forgotten.

Yes, I am talking about Marshall Field's. It has been some time now since this beloved Chicago retail giant was bought out by Macy's. I still miss Field's and rarely even go inside Macy's, let alone purchase something there. However, when I read in the paper that the tree in the Walnut Room was to be lit this past weekend, and the holiday windows were up and running, I suggested to my sis, Diann, that we go for a visit to the downtown location. Together, we had a wonderful pre-Christmas outing there this week! In the spirit of Thanksgiving thankfulness, I offer my heartfelt gratitute to Macy's for:
1. Keeping the landmark clock.
2. Keeping the magic in the window displays.
3. Still calling it the Walnut Room.

4. Choosing to keep the menu nearly the same as in the "old" days. (Especially when it comes to the Chicken Pot Pie and the Yule Log!)

5. Continuing the sale (and making of) Frango Mints.

Okay, so maybe I am softening towards Macy's as time goes by. Diann and I and now have new memories to add to our collection of adventures because of you. And your big, red star.

I suppose I should also thank the woman who took our picture in front of the store while mananging to smoke her cigarette at the same time. Now, that takes talent!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Date Night - With the "Kids"

Dinner and a play. Still one of the best dates ever, in my opinion! Who'd have thought as we were raising the kids all those years ago that we would actually choose to go out on dates with our kids in later years? Now, we are finding that those times spent together are more precious than ever!
Last night, we went out to eat pizza with Anne and Jed first, and then to our local high school to see the musical/play West Side Story. It was such a fun experience as Anne could show Jed where she spent four years of her life, and we could see many of the kids we knew in the play...from church, former preschool students of mine, and kids Anne babysat when she still lived at home.
There's nothing like the energy of youth to revitalize those of us in the older set! And, there's nothing like being entertained at the restaurant table by a daughter who did this to her finger with a pen from my purse and a discarded paper napkin ring! H A P P Y T I M E S !

Saturday, November 01, 2008

It Was a Dark, Not Stormy Night...

It actually was THE perfect night for all those Trick or Treaters! No jackets were needed to be worn, so the costumes could all be viewed with out cover-ups. As always, the kids were the high point of the day. However, one of my favorite costumes was a mom wearing her wedding dress from 14 years ago...she painted her skin green and wore a headband with little green ears and was Fiona, bride of Shrek!!
Much to my surprise, I was greeted at the door by these grown-ups!! Yes, Gene Simmons came Trick or Treating at my house - talk about how we rose on the "cool" scale in our neighborhood to have a heavy metal rocker come to our door! With him, my lovely co-worker "Witty" and their feline, Pompey. We had our first costumed cat ever!

These fun visitors practiced reverse Trick or Treating and brought us goodie bags with yummy candy and treats including these fangs!!!!!! Yeeee-owllllll! (I didn't doctor my red eyes with our computer program red eye elimination feature, so I could appear more scary.)

Also stopping by: the adorable FLASH GORDON and his mom -another former co-worker. Who says librarians aren't any fun?
But wait! There's more! Our next door neighbors invited us over for a chili cook-off in their garage with lots more neighbors and friends in attendance. It was such a fun night...and I am still saddened to hear there are those who loathe this light-hearted holiday featuring costumes and candy. It is what you make it out to be. I choose to look at it through the eyes of the child within me.