Archive | June, 2013

Sunday: Home Safe and Sound

10 Jun

Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.
Robert Frost

One word says it all…HOME! It was great seeing Mom, my boys, my sister and my friends, but, “there’s no place like home.” No place like McKinney!


I don’t like airports, planes, and flight delays. Where is the teleport and transporter when I need it? Beam me up, Scotty!


Saturday: Cityof Broad Shoulders

9 Jun

My brudder wuz gonna go ta da store, so he axed if I wanded ta come with. He goes, “Wanna go grab some brewskis and some pop bafore da game?” We cut true the gangway an seen a couple two tree guys from da old neighbahood at da Jewels, over by dere. Now, day don’t know we seen ’em, so don’t go sayin’ nothin’ if’n youse see ’em on da street. We don’t want no trouble. We ain’t got no extra brahts er Polish. Jeeze, da Sox er playin’ da Cubs in da Crosstown. So, shud up already, willya?

My last day in Chicago. (Sigh!) If you can’t read the paragraph above, den you ain’t from Chicago. The Windy City, Chi-Town, Second City, or the City of Broad Shoulders, any way you look at it or any name you give it, it’s “My Kind of Town.”

photo: smart

Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:

They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of women and children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse, and under his ribs the heart of the people,
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.
Source: Poetry (March 1914).

Friday: Friends and Family

8 Jun

(Disclosure and disclaimer: I left my glasses upstairs, so please disregard spelling errors. I’m squinting and too lazy to run up and get them.)

Just a couple of days left in ChiTown. I was so excited when Lin called this morning and asked if she could visit before I left. Does a bear…? Oops! I mean, why that would be wonderful. We went to Nick’s Pizza for lunch.(You can never have too much Chicago thin crust pepperoni pizza.) After lunch, I asked if we could stop at Walmart to pick up an iPhone stylus for Mom. The key board is difficult for her to maneuver . Then, Lin mentioned that there was a Culver’s just down the road. That used to be “our” special place. We’d go for Tuesday turtle sundaes almost every week. (Real friends don’t let friends eat ice cream alone.) Pizza, shopping, turtle sundaes, and best friends…doesn’t get better than that.

When I got home, I called my sister and asked if she still wanted me to help her clean out her garage in order to make room for her new car. It’s been rained on several times already. Oh no! I figured there weren’t too many hours of daylight left to work, and not much energy left in my old tank. To make a long story even longer, we huffed and we puffed and we moved a ton of stuff. Now her shiny new car is sleeping happily inside the garage. She was very pleased and eternally grateful.

Now, when I’m done posting this, I’m going to go back up to Mom’s, warm up my leftover pizza, (I already told you, you can’t have too much pizza) put my feet up, and watch mindless reruns on TV.

I’ll leave you with this neat retro phone booth that was at Nick”s Pizza.I was trying to call YOU! “And this is crazy, but here’s my number. So call me, maybe?”


Theme Song Thursday: Happy Birthday to Mom

7 Jun

Today was the big day, Mom’s birthday. I got up early to bake cupcakes and make frosting, and my sister bought a beautifully decorated chocolate cake for our 10am celebration with all her friends in the activity room. Mom’s usual coffee clutch friends were already waiting for her by the time we came down. Friends sprinkled in during the course of our three hour tour.(Gilligan reference.) Happy birthday was sung many times, as well as Las MaƱanitas. (Traditional Mexican birthday song.) A good time was had by all!

In the spirit of family nostalgia, I spent a couple hours browsing through family photos after dinner. Mom’s maiden name is Aguirre, so I thought the Addam’s Family theme song would be appropriate for theme song Thursday. I used literary license and changed the name to The Aguirre Family. Hum along if you don’t get the YouTube video. And yes, her family is kooky, spooky and ooky.(Not really creepy, but that’s just my opinion.)

The Aguirre Family………………….

They’re creepy and they’re kooky,
Mysterious and spooky,
They’re all together ooky,
The Aguirre Family.
Their house is a museum
Where people come to see ’em
They really are a scream
The Aguirre Family.
So get a witches shawl on
A broomstick you can crawl on
We’re gonna pay a call on
The Aguirre Family

The Aguirre Family (Mom is the oldest child in the middle…many more followed)

Happy Birthday, Mom!!! You’re the greatest!

Wednesday: Words of Wisdom

6 Jun

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.

Each day is an adventure, as well you know. Some days I have endless stories and exploits to share, and other days, well, not really a lot going on. Today, while I was rummaging around through Mom’s many bins and boxes of craft supplies, I ran across this little craft project that I made for her many years ago. It was stamped, painted with water colors, laced with ribbon, glued on scrap fabric and a. brown grocery bag background. I adorned it with real buttons and a twine hanger. The craftsmanship is not the focal point as much as the message it shares. I’m pleased that she still has it.

Mom has always touched the hearts of others as angels do. She is an angel here on earth. Words to live by.

Tuesday Tips, Trends and Traditions

5 Jun

I’m still here in Elgin visiting with Mom. The birthday countdown is T minus 2. Her 87th birthday is Thursday. We’re not having a fancy party or big hoopla, just some of her lady friends that she normally meets every morning for coffee clutch, and anyone passing by. Last year we got caught short-handed with cake, not realizing it was visiting nurse blood pressure day. Everyone got cake, but a little tiny slice. This year we will be prepared. Tip Number One: always have more than enough cake for seniors. They like cake.

Now for trends. Mom got an iPhone for her birthday last year. Very trendy, right? She calls and takes photos, but sometimes forgets how to text. I told her she just needs to practice. So, yesterday, we sat side-by-side for about an hour and practiced texting messages and photos. Tip Number Two: if you give a senior an iPhone, be patient and teach them how to use it and practice with them. This goes along with Tip Number Three: get unlimited family texting. If you tell them to practice, guess what, they practice 100 times.


Traditions are important to me. When I come to Chicago, I spend a couple days with my boys. Matt and I eat massive quantities of Chicago style pizza.(I lied. I eat massive quantities, while Matt is lucky to get two slices. I’m sorry. You can’t get great pizza in Texas.) Joe and I have a traditional day at the Art Institute where I make him pose for the mandatory “Ferris Buehler’s Day Off” picture.

Ferris’ best friend, Cameron, stares at Seurat’s painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte from 1884.

Joe waits a long time for the other visitors to clear a space for me to get my photo. He was very patient. Tradition and Tip Number Four: be patient with your mother when she is a nut.

And my last tradition and tip for today: have fun with old friends, always a standard. I had lunch with my friends Kathy and Debbie. We taught junior high together way back in the late 70’s-early 80’s. We still keep in touch, reminisce about the old days and catch up with the latest family adventures.
Friends and family: great traditions, great fun, LIFE IS GOOD!


Monday Morning: A Foggy Day in Elgin Town

4 Jun

It is not the clear-sighted who rule the world. Great achievements are accomplished in a blessed, warm fog.
Joseph Conrad

The morning fog and mist was amazing this morning. I jumped out of bed to capture the moment before it disappeared.



George and Ira Gershwin-“Foggy Day”. It’s suppose to be in London Town…I changed the town…

A foggy day in Elgin town
It had me low and it had me down
I viewed the morning with much alarm
The Field Museum had lost its charm
How long, I wondered, could this thing last?
But the age of miracles hadn’t passed
For, suddenly, I saw you there
And through foggy Elgin town
The sun was shining everywhere

A foggy day in Elgin town
It had me low and it had me down
I viewed the morning with much alarm
The Field Museum had lost its charm
How long, I wondered, could this thing last?
But the age of miracles hadn’t passed
For, suddenly, I saw you there
And through foggy Elgin town
The sun was shining upside-down!

Sunday:Everything’s Coming Up Roses…Again

2 Jun


I’ve been a busy gal, but not physically busy. I spent hours yesterday sitting and painting some vases for Mom. I brought the enamel paints from home. Most people carry their little shampoo and healthcare products in those small ziplock bags in order to get through security at the airport. Not me. I had five 2 oz. bottles of paint. Mom loves my roses, so I figured I’d paint a dozen or so clear glass vases for her to give as gifts. She likes to give homemade birthday gifts, so this will be perfect. I just hope she doesn’t give them all away the minute I leave. She is very generous, and she has a lot of friends.

I thought I’d take a quick video of Mom admiring her new vases. After the third take, this is what was captured. The previous videos said things like, “Is it on? Am I suppose to talk now?” She is so adorable…

Whenever I’m with Mom, “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.”

Sittin’ Around Saturday

2 Jun

I’ve been visiting at Mom’s for a week now, and I’ve noticed one detrimental physical result. The more I sit, the more I sit! Does that make sense? Well, I am thoroughly exhausted, and I haven’t done much of anything strenuous all day. When I’m home, I go to Zumba, play tennis, visit with friends, clean, chase the dogs around, go to lunch, do laundry, bake massive quantities of brownies, and cook. And that’s usually before 3pm on any given day.

Mom lives in an independent senior complex where the majority of things are done for her. Strenuous activities involve bingo and coffee. I’m exhausted! By 3 pm, I’m ready for a nap.The only thing that comes to mind is ATROPHY:
1 : decrease in size or wasting away of a body part or tissue; also : arrested development or loss of a part or organ incidental to the normal development or life of an animal or plant
2 : a wasting away or progressive decline

To keep my sanity and mental acuity, this morning, I went down with Mom for her 10am coffee clutch. But, I decided to do a glass painting demo on a rather large clear glass vase for her lady friends. They were mesmerized. It was so quiet you could hear the clock ticking.(Or was that a pace-maker? OK, that was a bad joke, but totally possible.)
The ladies are charming and adore Mom, and rather fond of me and my daily stand-up comedy routine. Nothing professional, but life can be pretty hilarious, especially the way I look at the world.

Mom and her lady friends. Mom is the only “natural” red-head in the place.

While I was painting, all I could hear was ooooh, ahhhhh! I love a captive audience.

I completed the large vase in about 40 minutes. Now what? Time for a nap I guess. Almost noon!
Just while writing this post, I believe my right leg has fallen asleep, my back is aching, and I hear a strange buzzing.(Probably fluorescent lights, but ya never know.) As described by Mr. Webster, I believe my arrested development is causing a progressive decline. Oh, well! Wheel of Fortune and Golden Girls are over, time to get ready for bed.