Money Well Spent

Posted on 8/31/2012 08:23:00 AM In:
If I was the kind of person who paid for jokes on a volume per usage basis, this particular joke would be the most cost effective joke of our family. 

Caterpillar: "Knock, knock."

KingofHearts: "Who's there?"

CP: "Banana."

KoH: "Banana who?"

CP: "Knock, knock."

KoH: "Who's there?"

CP: "Banana."

KoH: "Banana who?"

CP: "Knock, knock."

KoH: "Who's there?"

CP: "Banana."

KoH: "Banana who?"

CP: "Knock, knock."

KoH: "Who's there?"

CP: "Orange."

KoH: "Orange who?"

CP: "Wow!  I'm sure glad I didn't say 'banana' again!"

Me:  "You and me both, honey.  You and me both."

My thoughts: 

Varied Interests

Posted on 8/30/2012 06:19:00 PM
Our school has a cute tradition that maybe every area school has but one that I haven't seen before so I'm gonna talk about it here.


During the first week of school, each kid gets a brown paper bag called their "Interest Bag."  Their homework is to fill it with a few things that define them as a person.  Then over the next several days, each kid gets a chance to stand up in front of the classroom, pull things out of their bag and talk about what each thing says about them.  If they like dogs, they can put a toy dog inside, or a picture of their dog.  I suppose it's just a new twist on show and tell, but it's a cool way for the teachers to get to know the kids and for the kids to get to know each other.  Plus, public speaking credits!

The Caterpillar was super excited to share her very first Interest Bag with her new class and couldn't wait to tell us about it when she got home.

"Did you show your Interest Bag at school today?"


"What did you say about yourself?"

"I told them that I like to shoot crossbows and that I play the violin."

"Well, at least people you will know you're our kid."

My thoughts: 

What Ferris Saw

Posted on 8/29/2012 10:47:00 AM In:
One of the seminal movies of my adolescence, along with Better Off Dead every movie John Cusack ever made, was Ferris Bueller's Day Off,  which has Chicago as it's fourth co-star. And one of the seminal scenes from that movie is the one when the three main characters went up to the top of the Sears Tower and looked down on the city with their foreheads against the glass.   It's cheesy, I know, but I still do this in tall buildings.  It's a view of the city you seldom get a chance to see, so I tend to take my opportunities to check it out, no matter how dumb I look.  Totally worth it.

Maybe that's why this spider chose the outside of the top floor of the John Hancock building to make his home:  the view.

My thoughts: 


Posted on 8/28/2012 09:34:00 AM
I was in Cincinnatti for really only a little more twenty-four hours and most of those hours were night time hours.  But that never stopped us and we managed to fill the time with a week's worth of events and stories.  Imagine what would have happened had we stayed two days.




My thoughts: 


Posted on 8/27/2012 09:51:00 AM In:
I neglected to take a photo of the title of this Chicago sculpture in front of the American Dental Association building.  That's how I document all my photos.  I take a photo of the Thing.  Then I take a photo of the sign that tells you about the Thing.  Then I read the sign after I get home so I can learn and/or remember what that Thing was.  But every so often I forget or there isn't a sign and then I'm left with all these whattheheckisthis photos.

A little Google-stalking tells me this sculpture is by Joseph O'Connor, however, I got bored and gave up looking before I figured out what the title is.  I suggest "Bat Man and the Elastic Woman Try to Keep Little Johnny from Playing with a Nuclear Bomb Ball and Destroying the World."  

Too dark?

My thoughts: 

Is Official. Have Lost My Mind

Posted on 8/26/2012 06:31:00 PM
Gotta keep up with those Duggars somehow.

My thoughts: 


Posted on 8/26/2012 09:03:00 AM In:
AllSaints Spitalfields is a clothing store from London that has recently opened a site in Chicago.  I want to own each and every thing in the store, but unfortunately, I don't have $400 to spend on a dress ... or the figure to carry off any of their clothing.

What I did have was plenty of time to take photos of their amazing decor and industrial aesthetic. The factory looms, the sewing machines, the exposed brick and ceiling lights made from old pulleys and chains were simply awe inspiring and they might as well not have been a clothing store but rather a museum dedicated to the Industrial Age.  In my dreams, I have a house where a whole floor is dedicated to stuff like this.


My thoughts: 

Seamonsters on the Magnificent Mile

Posted on 8/25/2012 10:45:00 AM In:

My thoughts: 

How My Kids Won the Ren Faire

Posted on 8/25/2012 08:03:00 AM In:
As one last hurrah before school started last Monday, we decided to take The Shortlings to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.  (We generally go once year, but we usually hit the Maryland one as it's much closer.)  That SCA stuff is The KingofHearts' thing, not mine, but in past years, even I've started to recognize not only the actors and vendors at the Maryland Faire, but also the people who show up year after year.  Perhaps it's time for a change. So we thought it'd be interesting to see the event in another state... plus I have a friend who works at this one so it'd be a chance to catch up with her.

I general, I'd guess that Pennsylvania's Faire is a bit smaller than Maryland's, but we loved it.  The grounds are beautiful, the actors much more fun and the whole thing was organized in a way to draw you into the drama of the day.  It was much less a dress-up-sexy-and-drink-alot-of-grog kind of day and more a be-a-part-of-the-action kind of day.  The girls decided to dress up, and that earned a lot of attention from all the actors who all stopped to say "Good day, Princess" and bow each time they passed.  They thought that was an excellent time to use the curtsey-ing skills The KoH has taught them.

We started off with feats of strength and a bit of jousting.

The Dormouse faced her opponent well.

Then we rode an elephant.

I am never going to stop thinking that's cool.

The KingofHearts ate a Scotch Egg and has now been forever ruined for all other types of eggs.

We attended a human chess game, where the main characters at the faire, William Shakespeare and Christoper Marlowe, tried to settle their differences amicably.  Each time one "piece" tried to take another in the game, the board would be cleared and the two actors would duel to decide which piece had to leave the board.  Ultimately, the Queen decided that they should settle their argument at the jousting tournament later that day with each of their knights acting for them.

Then we stopped at a jewelry counter and talked to a nice lady where The Dormouse begged us to buy her a necklace.  We'd already spent many, many dollars (though admittedly a good half of the dollars spent were probably spent on scotch eggs) so we said, " No.  No jewelry. No more presents."  Instead, we needed lunch so we went across the path to buy a deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich... and maybe also a deep fried Snickers bar and deep fried Twinkie.... just like they ate during the Renaissance.  The Dormouse finished eating before the rest of us and asked if she could go back and look at the jewelry some more and we obliged.  We looked up a minute later to find The Dormouse behind the counter selling jewelry and barking to the crowd like Billy Bigelow in Carousel.

We caught the vendor's eye and she just grinned and gave us two thumbs-up.

When we finally dragged her away from the jewelry, the vendor had given her the necklace she'd been asking for earlier.  She was offered a job, but we decided we needed to leave before The Dormouse decided to make this her life's goal and headed toward the jousting tournament.

On the way, The Caterpillar decided to find every eligible young Elizabethan man she could and flirt with him.  One such man was the actor who actually played Kit Marlowe in the chess game earlier.  He was smitten by her charms and low, low curtsey (seriously, we tried to explain you don't have to actually put your knee on the ground, but she embraced the low curtsey and never quite got it) and asked her to be his escort in the parade.  A more excited little girl you could not have found.

When Kit Marlowe realized The Caterpillar had a sister standing behind her he said, "Well, I can't have two escorts for the parade, but let me introduce you to my squires and you can pick which from among them you'd like to have escort you."  Then he led The Dormouse to a group of young men and she picked the youngest and handsomest of them to be her escort in the parade without a moment's hesitation.  Heaven help me when this girl turns sixteen.

While they were waiting, they were presented to the Queen.

 And then they led the parade to the jousting tournament.

Let me just say here, that my least favorite part of any RenFaire has always been the jousting.  I appreciate and understand that there's a certain amount of skill presented by the performers, but I find it generally pedantic and uninteresting.  I almost always advocate to skip this event, but since the girls had led the parade, we couldn't exactly go at that point.  Plus they were smitten with Marlowe and he'd told them to sit on his side of the arena and cheer for him.  So we stayed.  Which is a good thing, because their jousting tournament was more entertaining than any I'd seen.  They had audience participation, intrigue, dramatic twists, a coup, a military response, stunts and pyrotechnics... and through it all, the girls' new boyfriends were both up there on the stage directing all the action.  They had a great time cheering for them.  They thought it was all for them.

On our way out of the area, I encouraged the girls to stay close so they wouldn't get carried away from us in the crowd.

"Right," The Dormouse encouraged her sister, "We wouldn't want to get lost here and have to live here at the Renaissance Faire."

The KingofHearts was heard to mutter, "Something tells me if that happened, you two would be juuuussst fine."

My thoughts: 

Fun with Food

Posted on 8/23/2012 08:51:00 AM
I work with the teenage girls at church these days and we hold activities one night every week in addition to Sunday services.  These weekday activities tend to be in the nature of education or personal development and so far I've forced encouraged them to learn to crochet, zumba, speak extemporaneously, cook, start book clubs, visit the elderly, write to missionaries and servicemen, and a multitude of other things that they generally don't care about but I  somehow think will make them more well-rounded people one day and/or use their innate creativity. Stay tuned to home and auto repair night... oh it's comin'.

There are a few adults in charge of this group and we all take different nights to plan and lead the activity but when one of them flakes has a family emergency, it usually falls to me to figure out what to do that night, even if that person flakes has a family emergency less than an hour before the beginning of said activity.

Last week, I'd used up all my ace in the hole activities when this happened, so I looked in my refrigerator and found a variety of vegetables, cheese and tortillas.  I emptied it all into a cooler, printed out the top five songs on billboard and the first five book titles I could think of and the game of Quesadilla Charades was born. 

Basically, they each had to choose a song or book title from a hat and then depict it on their quesadilla.  The only rule was the quesadilla had to be edible when finished.  Then we baked the quesadillas and everyone had to guess what each quesadilla were supposed to be.  Ultimately, I had to give them the whole list of possibilities and let them match the title with the quesadilla.   

Below are the results.  Enjoy.

"Goodnight Moon" (This one, I think, is brilliant because of the excellent use of figure-ground perception for the moon.  Like the arrow in the FedEx logo.)

"Call Me Maybe" (I believe that's a refried bean phone.  If you ask me, I don't really see it.)

"Green Eggs and Ham"

"We Are Young" (This one had to be explained to me  - it's a torch, meant to depict a lyric in the song "We can burn brighter than the sun." Also, I am old and out of touch.)

"Wide Awake" (This one had a three-dimensional form which is difficult to depict in a photograph.  The green onion is person sitting up in bed.  I actually got this one. I'm quite proud.)

"Wild Ones" (Um.... yeah.  I can only figure that this was a concept piece.)

"Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" (My favorite.)

My thoughts: 

Java Jive

Posted on 8/22/2012 05:32:00 PM In:
While driving through Pennsyltucky Southern Pennsylvania, we took a couple of side roads and I randomly cranked the wheel and threw the van off the side of the road whenever we saw something good... or even something mildly interesting.  Who needs Roadside America?  This is how I find things like Foamhenge.  

Perhaps that's why we only made it to Pittsburgh the first day.  The next morning, Monica suggested we get back on the Interstate.  Probably because I was still driving and she wanted to make it to her conference in Chicago before the Mayan calendar ended.  

One such stop was The Coffee Pot.

The Coffee Pot was built in 1927 as a way to entice travelers to stop at the gas station which stood next to it.   Through the years it's been an ice cream place, a restaurant, and a bar.  In 2004, it was moved to its current location and is a small museum now.  Personally, I just want it to be my bedroom.  

Monica might have complained about all the stops we made, but she enjoyed this one.

Perhaps her recent love affair with coffee has finally gone too far.

My thoughts: 

If That's Not Love, What Is?

Posted on 8/21/2012 04:16:00 PM In:
The KingofHearts is a big fan of pizza and is often (perhaps too often... and in inappropriate settings) heard repeating that sage adage, sex is like pizza, when it's good it really good and when it's bad... well, it's still pretty good.  So when I carted two frozen pizzas on ice more than seven hundred miles back from his favorite pizza place in Chicago, I think I might have confused the two in his mind more than ever.  

This photo actually from the other of his two favorite Chicago pizza places, which was pretty affectionate too. 

My thoughts: 

1st Day of School

Posted on 8/20/2012 12:57:00 PM
I'm not exactly certain how I feel about all this.

I may need a moment.

My thoughts: 

Me in 3 Seconds

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Washington, D.C. Metro, United States
Married, 40ish mom of two (or three, or four, depending on how you keep score) who stepped through the lookinglass and now finds herself living in curiouser and curiouser lands of Marriage, Motherhood, and the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

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