Thursday, May 28, 2009


(Meaning we have two threes for the number of our years in wedded bliss.) Yes, it is that time of year again when we are reminded of the committment we made before God and witnesses at North Park Covenant Church in 1976. Because it was also the 200th birthday of our county then, we received a few gifts that made note of the fact such as Liberty Bell shaped bookends and red, white and blue housewares - and many crockpots and coffee mugs as well.
This is an unknown couple celebrating the Bicentennial - aren't they adorable? It would have been fun to have them as our wedding mascots. (Making me wonder if someone has taken a picture of the two of us recently and one day we will appear on their blogs as the "seasoned" ones!)
It just feels so wonderful to have had these years together. And being blessed with Anne and John and later, Jed and Kari is but the frosting on a very tasty cake with a few unexpected morsels thrown in every now and then. Life, sweet married life. Happy Anniversary, Wes!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Guys away. Girls play.

Over the weekend, our guys (plus many of John's friends) headed north to open up the cabin for the summer. Meaning there was no way we wished to join them. Anne and I (we missed you, year?) stayed in our city nest and took in a movie, a play, ate out and window shopped. It was a lot of fun!

What really made me get excited is that while out window shopping, Anne and I spotted an adorable apron and she mentioned she would like a little project! Project? I love projects! We headed back to our other place where the sewing machine, fabrics and such make their home.

It was fun to "shop" the shelves of my fabric stash. I enjoyed watching Anne selecting her choices that matched her gentle disposition with rosy tones and a sweet little print. My choices were, well, shouting with color and print.

This project took a little longer than Anne thought it would...and our guys were soon to arrive home. She and I made a deal that I would take the few last stitches on her project and she would clean up the mess we made: a win/win propositon.
We both finished our aprons just in the stitch of time...and though dinner wasn't made, or laundry done, or other chores one would think an apron-wearer would complete weren't done, we could model our finery for the guys. What do you think? Do we look like the perfect housewives? Ha!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

City Stories #2: Where I Got in Trouble!

A person can get into trouble in the city for a lot of things: writing graffiti on walls, crossing the street at a non-crosswalk part, not wearing a bicycle helmet, talking on a cell phone while driving in a car, shoplifting, public indecency...just to name of the few reasons why. However, I was recently busted myself in a place you would never expect: the public library!!! And, of all places for me as I am employed by one myself! Before I tell you why, I want to take you on a little tour of the "incident." However, I will not name the library by name as this could get me into further trouble. Let's just say this is near our new little city nest and leave it at that!
This friendly (?) face greets you as you come in the door. And, yes, the building is named after him.
Isn't this just gorgeous with the expansive ceilings? Our hometown library doesn't look like this.
I loved the stained glass window hanging from the Children's Department ceiling...and all the colorful displays on top of the library stacks.
Here's the Circ Desk...and the guy working there was wearing a backwards baseball cap and jeans...dress code, anyone???
The stairway was pretty impressive as well...this is just half the way up. It is so light on this second level due to the many glass domes overhead.

Can I just say that I love, love, love this big clock on the second floor?

What is different about this library than my hometown library is that this place has strolling security guards. And towards the end of my photo taking, I noticed one seemed to be following me. turns out that you are not allowed to take pictures in the building. Who knew?

This happens at our library all the time! Of course, I know not to take pictures of people directly. I, however, thought taking architectural photos would be fine. Just fine. I complied with the request, and luckily retained my camera and my new CPL library card.

So, consider yourselves warned. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

City Stories #1: Only Drive-Thru for Keys in the U.S.A.

Due to the recent change in status of being part-time city dwellers, I am going to begin a series much like that of the Pink Suitcase Chronicles. This is the first installment! And it's a good one for learning about what we find in our new neighborhood. you have it: the only drive-thru key (and watch battery) kiosk in the U.S.A.! (Maybe even in the world if you believe our "guide" Dave.) He's been recently relocated here from the confines of the Sears store less than a block away and he likes it just fine in his new digs.
We fielded him - my sister and I - many questions about the place and he was happy to give us details. Such as that this little building was shipped in from Arizona after the filming of Back to the Future where others just like it were featured. And he willingly posed for a picture that I got permission to share with you all. Here he is, according to his nametag The Key Expert Dave.
Not only was he an expert on kiosk history, but he cuts a fine key! And also replaces a battery with professional precision as well. Diann and I celebrated with sister "power" by donning our own style - she just happened to have a moustache in her purse, and not to be outdone, I inverted my sunglasses to look 'stached' as well. Dave took our pictures and we parted as two satisfied customers.
Want to hear the funniest part of the story? He told he's he'd like to go out for "beverages" with us, but he had too many hours still at work. He thought we would be fun to hang out with. He's apparently got that number right. We do have our fun!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Keeping the Memories Going

At this time of year, time seems to be moving at a very fast pace. Graduations. Showers. Mother's Day. There's a lot going on. Many memories are being made on a daily basis.
An unexpected delight this past week was going to see children's author and illustator Patricia Polacco at the Skokie Public Library. For the hour she talked about her books and her life, time seemed to stand still for those in her audience. How she loved her grandparents and the stories they told her as a little girl. We were transported to the time before TV's were in every household and storytelling was the tie to bind generations together.

To date, Patrica Polacco has writtten over 70 books. Many of them have an underlying theme of righting wrongs within the school or community - bullying, prejudice, poverty, disabilities. But with her wonderful, vibrant illustrations and colorful text, you are gently guided towards a fair resolve without even knowing you are learning tolerance and love in the process. She also writes books about family times: baking Thunder Cake when a storm is brewing, her older brother with red hair, her best friend getting cancer.

One of Ms. Polacco's most well-known stories is one titled The Keeping Quilt. It is about immigrants leaving the old country and never seeing those left behind ever again. But with scraps of the clothing of the parted relatives a quilt is made...and to future generations their stories are told. And, yes, this is based upon Patricia's own true story.

As she was talking about the making of this book and the generations before hers, many of my own memories surfaced: how Grandma R. was a baker with heavenly orange-frosted rolls, how Grandma N. raised a flock of seven as an early widow, how my Mom changed her clothes before Dad came home for dinner, how we packed up to go to an early breakfast in the mountains. However, my attention quickly refocused when I heard her voice asking, "Would you like the see the real Keeping Quilt? I brought it with me!"

Oh. My. Goodness.

Would I ever LOVE to see the real Keeping Quilt! And she pulled it out of a very ordinary looking bag, all folded up like it was something you could see every day.

It is an over 60 year-old quilt and is certainly showing its age, but it is breathtakingly beautiful. And I am thanking my lucky stars for the memories shared by this certain author with her hair twisted in a funky knot on top of her head and that I could be here this night.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Home Tweet Home last a little update on our city nest. We are pretty much settled there now and have actually had a lot of visitors since we closed on April 28. I have been asked to put some pictures of it on this blog, so here goes. You have also asked about what the building looks like - it's certainly not that impressive, but just right for old gutted rehab with high ceilings, big windows, great-grained wooden floors. This is the front of the building and we like the flowers and trees in bloom.Here's what it looks like once you climb the stairs to get to our place. This is the view as you enter: the living room to the right, the kitchen to the left, center two doors are the WC and the bedroom. You enter into the dining room.

Let me just talk a little about the colors here in our nest - they are different! The dining room and kitchen are a chocolate lover's dream with two browns: milk and dark. Once you go through the chocolates, you enter the living room with a honey of a gold color with just a little splash of key lime pie thrown in. Here's where you can see the coffee table and side table that were my Mom's and now painted black...what would she have thought about that?

Now you are looking back at our kitchen from the living room. We are loving having a place for barstools and being able to chat with others as things are cookin' in the kitchen! Speaking of the kitchen, we received these wall words - Faith Hope Love as a house-warming gift from Kass and Don and we placed them above the kitchen window. On to the bedroom. The walls are a blueish/greenish blend and a perfect background for the Hawaiian theme we went with in there - hey, if we can't live on the islands, we might as well bring the islands to the city! The antique brass bed is from Wes' parents. It has just a lovely patina. And, yes, some of my suitcases had to come with me to join in the city life. We think we'll be especially happy here as nesters. Let us know if you like to come on over to our Home Tweet Home. (Sorry 'bout the pun.)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Quilts X Two = Shower Gifts

Just about three years ago now, Anne and Jed had their shower at our church. My Mom was well enough to come, and it was such a treat to have her there for the unveiling of a quilt we made together. My Mom loved to cross stitch and she started these white embroidered squares when Anne was still a young girl. It was my job to make the quilt! Fast forward three years to John and Kari...and I just couldn't put a quilt together for them with
the blocks Mom had left behind with either Sunbonnet Sue or butterflies! (My son is manly, you know! And, besides these embroidered blocks would be just right for a future little one if we are so blessed.)
As the lovebirds have not chosen to have a long engagement with enough time for me to start a quilt from scratch, I offered several options to John that I have made that have never been used.
This is the one he thought he and Kari would like:

The on-point square "checkerboards" are antique blocks that I found in St. Louis, Missouri. Using reproduction fabrics (Really! That's what they are called when they are based on old fabric patterns from the past and made new again) the quilt is made to look like one from the 1880's in the "Strippie" style - meaning the way the blocks are set in rows with a striped fabric in between them. I actually machine quilted this one, based upon the wavy lines on the backing black fabric.
At the shower, I was asked to go and stand by the couple as they held their gift quilt. Must be that imp in me that made me fall into their laps - when am I going to keep myself under better control??? Sorry, guys...I'll try to behave better at the next shower!
May this bring you much comfort as you begin your lives together... Love Ya!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Showers of Blessing #2

This time the church shower was in our town at the groom's "place." Kari's Mom and many of the relatives also attended. It was again as sweet as they come -for those of you who aren't familiar with church showers they are the best! Women of all ages gather with gifts in tow, dishes of delectable foods in hand...but most importantly they ooze love and support for the new couple starting out their marriage journey. A welcome starts off the shower (thanks, Suzy!), followed by a message (beautifully done, Chris and Kate), then the food spread (thanks, all!) and lastly the package opening. This one needed a slide show.