Sunday, January 25, 2015

TGIF...WHY?

I'm having a comfy Sunday.  It's freezing outside, so I have an excuse to stay in and catch up on work, purging the stuff that mysteriously sticks around after you no longer it, and watching basketball.  I've had a fun, busy weekend.  I planned to have a fun, busy weekend. 


On Friday, someone sent me a note that started with, "TGIF!" I thought about what that sounds like when you're sitting in prison. Who cares if it's Friday?  There's nothing to look forward to.  How sad. I didn't have anything to look forward to either.  But I'm not in prison. 


I called my mom late in the day and told her I'd take her to see a movie.  She was in shock.  We ended up picking up her friend who was looking forward to another Friday night watching television.  She raced out to my car as though she was afraid I'd leave her behind.  When she got in she said, "I can't believe how much fun it feels to go out on Friday night."  When did Friday night change from deciding what club to go dancing and now it's a hot bath and book? 


The movie was perfect.  On Saturday I worked, but called my daughters and sister-in-law to make plans to go out to dinner.  If I didn't plan it, I'd be doing nothing.  Such a great night.  I met my daughter's new boyfriend.  My other daughter looked so cute in her new coat.  We brought our own wine.  I brought my own corkscrew.  The waitress laughed and said, "Boy you came prepared." 
Yes I did.  I planned it! 


This is living.  Enjoying dinner and time with your family and friends.  A simple pleasure that I know eludes Blagojevich every Friday afternoon.  When the waitress asked about dessert, I told her to bring it on!  TGIF!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Blank Photo Album...Memories

I own a great little phone.  It takes the best pictures, even better than an old Leica.  I took it on vacation when I celebrated mom's recovery from heart surgery last year.  We climbed the rocks in Sedona.  There she was standing so proudly.  My brother joined us there.  I took video with the camera of his first reaction when he saw the Grand Canyon.  Photo of my daughter and my mom at her 80th birthday party.  Hugging my son after he signed his letter of intent to play baseball at a Division 1 college in the fall.  Oye.


Last week the phone wouldn't charge.  I'm told the photos can't be recovered.  New phone.   How did I let this happen?  Why didn't I just spend 2 minutes at the drugstore downloading these?  Why?


Over Christmas, my daughters watched videos from their days as little girls.  There was their grandfather dumping leaves over them as they squealed.  My son turned and asked where the videos of him are.  I had to explain that when he was a toddler, he took the video camera and smashed it on the front porch.  I just never replaced it.  What a pity.  All those little moments in his life.


I used to be the best photographer and no one was more organized at keeping photos in order.  I even worked at a photo lab when I was a teenager.  I couldn't wait for the roll of film to be complete so I could have it developed.  Then these "scrapbooks" came along and with it came "scrapbooking clubs" where you would get together with friends and clip photos.  Instead of a cute picture of my daughter in the tub, I felt compelled to take 10 pictures of her in the tub, so my scrapbook page would have a theme.  Those books involve stickers...like ducks....around your daughter in the tub.  It was just too much.  So I stopped taking pictures. 


One of the best Christmas traditions in Chicago is scoring a table for lunch under the Christmas Tree in the Walnut Room at the old Marshall Field's store, now Macy's. On the last Sunday before the end of the holidays, and the day before the tree was going down, I called my mom and told her we were heading to the city for lunch in the Walnut Room.  That morning I was happy to just tidy up the house, but remembering Blago in prison, I knew what had to be done.  Create a new memory.  I had yet to miss a Christmas in the Walnut Room.  Why start now. 


The shock of the day was that no one was standing in line.  The wait is usually over 3 hours.  We were escorted to the BEST table in the room.  We had a great lunch.  We were so happy to end the holidays on such a high. The tree was gorgeous.  I took a picture.  It's gone. 


I'm trying to make sense of it all.  From now on I'll process the photos.  But those pictures mean so much.   I have vivid memories of those special moments, but I realize it's just not the same.   Take your photos.  Cherish them.  Put them in a simple album.  You don't need stickers! Get them off your computer.  They bring you happy thoughts.  If you're Blago, your album is blank.  No memories. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Snap out of it! Exploring Through the Eyes of Youth

The other night I found myself leaving an art exhibit at Northwestern University and on my way to the Ed Paschke Art Center in Chicago.  My son needed to visit art galleries for a school assignment.  Of course the assignment was for over a period of weeks, but leave it to him to hold off until the last day.  Not funny.


We mapped out the best route, picked up coffee, and left with open minds and a, "we can do this," attitude.  It was later when we arrived at Northwestern.  I wasn't expecting much, but there in the middle of this small student gallery, was an extraordinary exhibit.  Even better was turning to see the look on my son's face. He was clearly thrilled.  When we stepped outside, he pointed out the beautiful view of Lake Michigan.  He told me to look at the architecture of the buildings on the campus.  I've been there.  I've seen it.  I realized I had taken for granted how beautiful our city is. 


We drove to the Ed Paschke art center.  I smiled when I told him to go on ahead.  I would park the car.  I knew when he stepped inside it would be the first time he would ever have experienced true modern art in such a small setting.  I had never been to the gallery, though I've always been intrigued by this late Chicago artist.  I loved it.  He loved it. They moved Paschke's original art studio and recreated it at the gallery, down to his odd notes and phone numbers tacked to a door.


There was one last stop and that was back in our own small suburb.  We didn't care if the gallery was closed.  It couldn't come close to what we saw.  Yet, we walked in and the walls in this gallery were covered in unique graffiti art.  We never knew this gallery was even here. 


I thanked my son for this day.  Had we not gone exploring, I would have been perfectly content staying home.  I had no idea there was so much to see that I had not seen.  If I was traveling to another city, I would have managed to see all the sites, but here at home, not so much. 


After the holidays, we went to visit my daughter who lives in an older section of the city.  There's a traditional German restaurant that's always been popular.   Our daughter walked in and said, "god, no.  Follow me."  A new restaurant opened down the block.  We had the best burgers ever.  


I'm getting older.  I can feel it.  I didn't think this would happen.  Me being complacent.  Waiting in line at an old German restaurant because I had been there before.  Not looking for the new place in town.  Settling in at night instead of visiting a gallery.    I didn't realize it until I watched my son react to everything around him.  I had an inkling when my daughter dragged me out of that old restaurant!    Time to snap out of it.  I'm grateful that I still have the freedom to explore.



Saturday, January 3, 2015

Grateful Not To Be Teresa Giudice ...New Jersey Housewife.

I love a good drama and nothing makes for better drama than The Housewives of New Jersey.  It's what junk television looks like.  My husband walked through the room once while I was watching.  An hour later he walked through and I was still watching.  "Are you still watching that crap?"  Yes.  I. Am.



The housewife that I love to hate is leaving the show to go to prison on Monday.  Teresa Giudice will spend a year without her extensions or a decent manicure.  All because she and her husband came up with an almost brilliant plot.  They faked their income and income sources so that the banks lent them millions of dollars.  They built a mansion in Jersey.  They threw lavish parties.  She was always at the spa.  She was filmed paying over $100,000 for furniture.  In cash. 


At the end of that first season on television, Teresa declared bankruptcy, claiming that the income dried up.  Jobs lost.  (There were NO jobs.) 


It turns out that the I.R.S. was watching the show and wondered how this Jersey housewife paid so much cash for furniture.  Caught. 


On Monday, January 5, she will kiss her 4 young daughters bye bye and will spend 2015 in prison with women who either love her or hate her. 


I always resented Teresa for handing over $100,000 for new furniture.  But on Monday, after I watch her step into prison, I'm going to head out and buy a new sofa. I've needed one forever. Sure.  I might pay cash just for the heck of it.  Then on the way home, I'll be grateful that I'm on the way home. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

"It's Over." Baseball College Letter of Intent Signing...Without Me

I missed my son's once in a lifetime signing of his letter of intent to play baseball in college.  True.  I didn't want my older daughters' to miss it, so I volunteered to pick them up downtown, then turn around and get them to the high school by 7am.  Up at 4:30.  Downtown at 6.  I gave myself plenty of time. Stuck on the expressway until we received that message from my son.  "It's over."  Damn.



Night before I went with him to select the perfect shirt to go with his new baseball cap.  We stopped for dinner to enjoy the moment.  His only request was, "Can we go to breakfast after the signing?" 



Dad took him to school. Kills me to think that cameras were there and I wasn't.  But the boys on his high school baseball team were there and they all took a picture with him.  The smile on his face lit my heart.  He was so proud.

I pulled up to the school expecting lots of drama, but my son just wanted me to see the pictures.  He looked at his sisters and said, "Let's go out to breakfast." 


I couldn't let the disappointment take away from the fact that we were together celebrating this moment.  We took our picture together with the letter. 

It's been a long summer going from baseball camp to baseball game to colleges.  This day was the end of that journey.  I'm the one who took him to the showcase where he met the coach who knew he had found his first baseman. 



Last night I thought about the sick, heavy feeling in my gut when the hour rolled around when pictures were being taken. Thought about the pain in my face when he sent that message.  "It's over."   Pictures that I was missing.  The event that we all looked forward to since t-ball days.  I'm grateful for being able to hug him afterwards.  For sharing the day.  But to miss these once in a lifetime moments is too painful to think about.  How many has Blagojevich missed over these years and how many more will he have to endure? 

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Long Road to the ACT Results

My son's ACT results were available on line.  I held my breath as I clicked.  You know the feeling.  This is the fork in the road.  He'll either go here or there depending on that number.  I paused and thought of all the work that went into this number.  Literal baby steps.  Reading to him at night as a baby, teaching him to recognize letters, walking with him to pre-school, the school that was chosen with such care.  Making sure he was up and ready each day for school from kindergarten through high school. 

I clicked and you could hear me scream from down the block.  He did great.  Better than he thought.  When he left to take the test that morning I made sure his pencils were sharpened.  I gave him a good breakfast.  We stopped at Starbucks on the way for a shot of double espresso.  So grateful that I was able to have been on this road with him.  I can't imagine not being there to hug him later that night and to congratulate him. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Deep Freeze, Cherry Pie, and Privacy

We're in the middle of the craziest deep freeze.  How is it possible that when the temperature reaches 3 degrees, it feels balmy.  I'm loving it. 

If I'm locked in my house, and I'm really not able to leave because of the intense cold, why is it different from prison?  Privacy.  Love being alone for most of the day.  Even if I'm working from home, there's no one here.  I have an excuse for not leaving.  Too cold. 

I'm so grateful for being in isolation.  They're calling for record lows, so I stocked the fridge with Cherry Pie.  Free!!!!