Saturday, June 27, 2009

Looking for a Gift Suggestion? Part Two.

A friend and I were recently shopping in downtown L'ville at The Present Moment when we came upon a fun item on display: The Buddha Board. A bluegray board is propped up easel style and a paintbrush and dipping well are attached. All you do is dip the paintbrush in water, paint away, and in minutes the water evaporates and you are left with a clean slate to paint afresh. For my usuallly practical, cerebral husband I thought this might be the perfect gift for Father's Day.'s not the usual tie, shirt or pen kind of gift!
Looks were directed my way, once the gift was opened, which asked the question, "Are you crazy? This is reaaaaaallly weird for EVEN you!" Until, one at a time, they created their very own evaporating masterpieces and listened raptly while the painter explained his/her "work" of art.

And Wes? He's painting daily now, illustrating parts of a book he is reading about the parables.

As well as surprising me with random sweet, fleeting notes of affection and humor...this is but ONE of them.

Funny how this little simple board draws our visitors in to create or write. This weekend Kass and Don tried it out (these are Kari's parents in for a city visit).
Seems like a no-brainer to get one of these for your home, too. Far better than text messages, I'd say.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Looking for a Gift Suggestion? Part One.

Charles Harper (Charley) created amazing silk screens for Ford Motor in the late 1950's. Then, in clever prose, he wrote a paragraph about each bird such as:
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Hummers can fly backward, vertically and pause in midair. This is handy when you do your housebuilding in a tree. Mr. Ruby-throat checks out after the honeymoon and something tells Mrs. to start building the tiny attached-saddled nest, glued by salivary secretion to a down-sloping branch. It's made of plant down, lichens and silk borrowed from a neighborhood spider, whom she later has over for dinner -- hers.
Why did it take me until the summer of 2008 to discover this artist and his unique artwork?
It all started with this library book: I was hooked!
Zip forward to a recent issue of Country Living where a memory game featuring cards of animals (mostly birds, but a turtle, fish, and others are included) by Harper was highlighted as a gift idea. Right then and there I knew this game was meant to be had by the reader and I ripped the page out of the magazine, handed it to John and said, "This is what I want you to get me for Mother's Day!" And, bless his heart - that's just what he and Kari got for me - and I love the game! Perfect for adults and kids alike...and as we age, we should be playing games to increase our memories, right? Even the box the game comes in is a treat!
Here's a sneak peak of some of the playing card squares.
The "kids" seemed to enjoy playing the game with us...and I know we will play this when friends come over, too. So fun! Artistic cards and boosting memory capacity? A win-win opportunity!

(And, I didn't even mind being the loser each time we played.)

Thanks, Kari and John!

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Pink Suitcase Chronicles #18: Memory Lane

It's been some time since Pink took a trip~and we're freshly back from a long weekend with her in the North Woods /Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Once again, we found ourselves conducting family business and working hard on a project. Near to our work site, Wes spent much boyhood time at his Grandparent's cabin. During a break, we took a little walk and Wes told stories about his summers there as a boy. I invite you to come along with me via this blog to go back in time...down Memory Lane if you will, to catch a glimpse of this passed past.
Between the broken tree on the left and the middle tree is now a tight, thick growth of pines. This used to be where the Granparents had their cabin. Time shows how nature returns to nature given moisture, winters with heavy snowfall, and vacancy of owners. However, in the background still remains a building from the past: the playhouse! Word has it that the Grandparents paid nearly the same for this playhouse to be built as what they spent on the cabin. Maybe playtime puts happy vibes into the wood? The playhouse has been repainted by the present owners of this property. And, by peeking inside, it looks like the building is still a special place for short people who like to garden. At this point, please allow me to digress a bit from the Memory Lane story. I wanted to show you our recently handed-down dining room table with a fresh coat of white paint. Wes' Dad crafted this table from the wood of his parent's cabin and it was used by the young Lindahl family in the late 60's, 70's and 80's. Wes spent many hours climbing this huge willow tree. Now it is but a huge stump. Near this tree, the lake goes on to form the start of a river. Now that the kids are grown up and gone, the beavers have had time - and peace - to build quite an impressive dam. Around the lake there was a path for the young boys to ride their treasured mini bike. Ahh, those were the carefree days. Now the path has been taken over by trees, plants and flowers. What a reminder that life passes quickly, and before you know it you are an adult. With a blink of an eye, it seems you have your children turning into adults themselves. And all you can do is pass along the stories and memories and hope that you will be remembered long afterwards by future generations.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Library is Moving

(Click on the blue part if you want to see live action.)
Well, it goes without saying that I enjoy my job...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Spit Spot.

Mary Poppins has always fascinated me. Quite a gal...and to think of her as a nanny delighted me. Of course I loved the books. Pamela Lyndon Travers aka P. L. Travers penned the first Poppins book in 1934, with many others following. Lucky me to have found a first edition of Mary Poppins A to Z in a St. Vincent de Paul thrift store in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for something like a quarter.

The book is illustrated by Mary Shepard. I love these drawings of the nanny and her charges...did you know Jane and Michael Banks had two younger twin siblings - John and Barbara - along with a baby sister Anabel?

Of course it was a given with the musical production of Mary Poppins coming to Chicago that I should go. Wes gave me the tickets for my birthday way back in January, and we recently saw the show. The performance was totally enjoyable. A breath of fresh air as it deviated just enough from the Walt Disney movie. Mary, Bert and the Bank's children are complete charmers..and yes, there are even special effects that make you wonder, "How did they do that?" Just as Mary Poppins did when she turned two naughty, sourpuss children into well-mannered little children. Go if you can before this musical floats out of our fair city just as Mary is carried off into the clouds by clasping onto her parrot-handled umbrella...

Saturday, June 06, 2009

City Stories #3: THE CHAIR

This is a tale about a good deal, new chair and a small car. But, first you need to know about what was just not quite right in our little city nest...or as we sometimes call it now, our little treehouse due to being on the second floor and seeing tree leaves out our windows.

See that black chair to the left of the faux fireplace? It just wasn't right, even though it is a fine chair. We both looked at the space and pondered what to find to replace it - and Wes had an 'aha' moment when he thought a leather chair might be just right. However, he is a bit on the picky side and also wished for the leather chair to be a recliner and a swiveler to boot. Meanwhile, I am thinking UGLY! We hit an impasse.

Fast forward to a play date with my sister when we decided to explore a Marshall's in the city. With a free parking garage and a nice, big, clean retail space we set about to conquer! And, wouldn't you know it, just inside the door Diann spotted this beauty.

And the price was really really good for a leather chair! However, it still was enough of a purchase that Wes should have a say. Plus, it had no swivel or no reclining feature. What to do?

I know: I'll keep looking and thinking while I shop! I went back and forth to the chair between the clothes racks visits, the housewares department and even the shoe area and books. An hour later, Diann and I met and conferred: Yes, I'd get it and give it to Wes as a SURPRISE wedding anniversary present! Our only obstacle now was how to get the chair home in her fine, but small, Prius. We left our carts behind and went out and measured the car dimensions in the parking garage...and concluded that it would work.

The purchase was paid for and over the store intercom a call was made for stock help to come and help us get the chair into the car. She showed up and was on the smallish, but apparently mighty-ish side and she hefted the chair onto the shopping cart and away they went.

Take a look of the city view that the chair had on its way down to the parking garage.
Someone has to take the picture, right? Diann is a strong sister, I must admit. And the chair DID fit with the back hatch open. We set off on our way through the Wrigleyville neighborhood where folks were in the spirit of the Cubbies...and we laughed all the way "home."
SURPRISE!!! Do you think that Wes looks pleased with his gift? He's trying it out. The ottoman is an attempt at the reclining part, and perhaps the swiveling will be possible by manually moving the chair into the desired location? Feel free to give an opinion.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Compare and Contrast

For our anniversary we went to two places within just steps of each other:
#1 Quaint. Quiet. Menu in French.
#2 Loud. Boisterous. Menu suspended from a tent roof.

Both places had people enjoying the "beverages" of the house. Perhaps more refined (and expensive) at one place than the other.


#2 In place #1 we were treated royally and in place #2 we encountered royalty:

How we are enjoying the culturally rich experience in our new neighborhood! However, all this tasting and eating is certainly going to make us rethink elastic vs. non-elastic waistbands!! That's where our true compare and contrast may come into play...