Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Women (and Men!) Who Blog

Randy and the girls dropped me off at the BlogHer conference Saturday morning and went on to have a fun day. They rode the merry-go-round on Navy Pier, played at the Chicago Children’s Museum and Randy rented a family sized bike to tool around with the girls.

I was sorry to miss all this, but I was busy with some fun of my own, the grown-up, smarty-pants kind.

I initially approached the conference as a chance to get some writing tips and network a little. It morphed into something that was more about the love and the issues than the craft, although I did nab a very useful handout How to Write a Protest Letter by Jennifer Pozner.

I met lots of great people, including some bloggers I’ve been reading for a while. The whole conference was fun and relaxed and it was so cool to see all the beautiful diversity of the women (and men!) there – all ages and hues and shapes and abilities and backgrounds. I met women from Oregon and Arizona and California and Philly and Canada. . . And I loved seeing all the beautiful babies the mothers brought! Yeah!

Here are some of the awesome people I met:

Kim Moldofsky is so cool and friendly and a great food writer with more than one blog!

Veronique Christensen at Little Elephants married a Dane, owns a merry and frequent laugh and blogs about creative and fun things to do with her kids, like fishing off the balcony with a stick and string. I’m going to try this with the girls today!

I met Leah Jones in an interesting session "Book to Blog and Back Again!" Leah writes about her conversion experience at Accidentally Jewish.

Catherine McNiel is lovely and a fellow Chicagoan mom blogger. Read her at Everyday Life as Lyric Poetry and Chicago Mom Blogs.

Kristin Park’s story of postpartum depression packs a wallop. Her blog helps women with PPD and those who care about them. I felt instantly connected to Kristin; she also lost a brother in a car accident and has a family member with a long denied mental illness.

Glennia Campbell blogs about travel, kids, politics and the American Idol tour! (Listing is such a blunt tool, isn’t it?) The cool name of her blog, “The Silent I” refers to the pronunciation of her own name.

Shannon Hutton had a trying time just getting to Chicago!

Cynthia McCune, a college media educator, works on balancing the public and the private in her blog, McCunications.

N.F. Hill rocks!

Gayle D. Weiswasser excerpts and links to book reviews in her blog Everyday I Write the Book. How super-useful is that!

Lori Shapiro is a mommy blogger (oh wait, do all women who blog about parenting use this title? – I’ll call her a mom who blogs) I met at the lunch with AOL Family coach Kathy Peel.

Peel is an adorable little cheerleader who exhausted me just by saying hi. When she asked if anyone had clutter issues and I threw my hand in the air, she offered the idea of trading jobs with a friend. Friend cleans my clutter, I offer my talents in exchange.

“What do you do well?” asked Cathy, fishing for a swapable skill.

“I can go to dinner like nobody’s business,” was all I could think of. Of yeah, and I blog. And I love playing with kids. So good luck with all that. We’ll be at the park.

Danielle Wood is director of editorial at the cool brand spanking new site education.com.

Kyran Pittman writes cute and soulful at Notes to Self.

Jeremy Pepper says he blogs for three people – himself, a good friend and one of two others, depending on who is in his good graces that day. Nice guy, his blog is Greek to me.

Judy Coates Perez creates amazing hand painted quilts. Go look at these! Beautiful!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ten (?) Second Introduction


I blog weekly, adore my funny husband, cherish my curly-headed daughters, grieve the loss of mother, father, sister and brother. I escape in shutter flicker and pages, return to reality in my own writing. I've worked proudly as a mom, teacher and waitress, not so proudly in offices. Love apricots, Joni Mitchell, passive gardening, pie making, Montana.

This cool clock says you can read this in eighteen seconds. Edit, schmedit.

See you Saturday at BlogHer.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sweet Tooth

My name is Cindy and I am a music dork. I got the taste for treacle early, cutting my music teeth on John Denver, Barry Manilow, the Cowsills and the Partridges. "Seasons in the Sun"’s syrup? Not too rich for me. “Patches” too sourly maudlin for you? Love it.

Mmm, Bread.

Typically kids with immature tastes experiment with excess – have you seen the extreme flavors in candy lately? But while I did eventually expand my palate, I never really outgrew the sweet. I may have posed as a Dylan and Lou Reed hipster in college but it was often the confections of Dylan’s widely panned Down in the Groove and Reed at his most upbeat that I gorged on.

I watch American Idol.

Clay Aiken was my favorite contestant.

I love his Christmas album. You see?

“We don’t have any U2 CDs,” I complained to Randy a while back. “No Simon and Garfunkel! Our collection is all spice and novelty. Where are the staples?”

“We don’t have any DaveHootieTraveler either,” he replied. “I may have a U2 album in the basement.”

Of all the yin and yang in our relationship, Randy and I swing farthest in regards to music. We have enjoyed some memorable concerts together – Prince at 4 am, Tom Waits twice, Neko Case opening for Nick Cave come to mind. Pepe Romero played a song Randy had cut into a Dove commercial. Caetano Veloso at Ravinia. John Brion from the front row.

But much of Randy’s musical preferences is strange and discordant to me. He has every Fall album ever recorded. Who? Yeah, exactly. He sings Ian Curtis to my Dolly Parton, who by the way, has two, count ‘em, TWO songs about dead babies on her lovely Little Sparrow album.

“They’re moving toward a mathematical theory of rhythm,” he said, trying to describe the Slint set at last weekend’s Pitchfork Fest. He spent an entire Friday night cutting one of their song for the website.

“Ick,” I replied. “Give me soaring vocals and discernable lyrics. With a narrative.”

Wednesday was a day I neither cared to hide nor control my dorkiness. Thanks to Melody (yes, Melody) our babysitter, I took the train into the city to a glorious matinee of The Light in the Piazza.

Oh, I feel like swooning, just remembering it. Christine Andreas’ voice had the density and glow of heavy velvet. Even her quiet lyrics were strong and pure, a silver wire suspending the gem of the melody.

The dazzlingly handsome David Burnham fell to his knees and tore at his shirt while singing to the rafters “Il Mondo Era Vuoto,” a song that is at the same time funny and sincere. And entirely in Italian! I bawled at the passion, at the mother’s conflicted love for her daughter, at the complex beauty of the melodies.

“It’s about a mother, a protective mother,” I cried later as I tried to describe the show to Randy, half considering asking him if he wanted to go with me to the final performance this weekend.

And true to dorky form, after the show, I waited in the alley to get my program signed by the callow leads. Actually, being the obsessive fan didn’t initially occur to me. I was walking down Michigan Avenue, still trying to compose myself after the last number (oh I weep now, just remembering it) “Fable.”

(“Love if you can and be loved/May it last forever Clara,” sings Andreas.)

Then I saw Senor Naccarelli coming out of an alley in shorts and a t-shirt. I ran up to him and shook his hand. “Thank you so much! I really enjoyed that.” He smiled, said something gracious, then it dawned on me to fish a Sharpie out of my backpack and get some signatures.

Burnham’s teeth up close were blinding. Katie Clark can’t be more than twenty-three. Andreas walked by in true diva form, transformed out of her character’s proper Southern lady in I Love Lucy suits into a Soho cherub in vest and jaunty hat over her close cut curls. I was not going to press her and I didn’t really have anything to say that she hadn’t already heard. After three signatures, I walked on, satisfied.

An hour and a half later, the rain clouds were loaded up and flying low as the Decemberists started their set with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion. Happy crowds under umbrellas, on picnic blankets. Lots of tattoos, sundresses, nerd shirts, some children.

I found a prime spot dead center. I could see the dot of Colin Malloy strumming. The first cool drops fell as the strings and horns swelled up behind the delicate lyrics of The Crane Wife Parts One and Two.

It felt like an Event was starting. One of those you-had-to-be-theres. The concert of the Moment, ironically starring a quartet that dresses like Victorian dandies, backed by an orchestra well versed in prior centuries.

But I felt lonely. A family with two young boys was sitting behind me. Watching the packed ground carefully as I stepped over picnic dinners, sleeping bodies to reach this spot, I had caught a glimpse of a woman’s hand wearing an engagement and wedding ring. I thought of all the debates going on around me, all the various levels of commitment to this hard won, hard defended patch of real estate on this special night. “Should we stay?” “Taxis will be impossible.” “I can’t miss the encore!” I wanted to share that conversation, share the experience with someone. Cause that’s the sweetest connection of all for any music lover, of pop or pap or whatever, finding those who join you in relishing it.

After two songs, I walked on.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Family Jokes and Family News

Where does the bear keep his roar? In his DRAWER!

What kind of bagel does a weasel like? POP!-pyseed!

Why did the chicken cross the road? Elephant under a rock!

Where does the zebra keep his stripes? In his garbage!

Why is afraid six afraid of seven? Because one two three four five six seven eight nine ten!

In the wading pool, the girls squat and drop golf balls into the water behind them. The familiar plop in the water makes them burst into arpeggios of laughter.

In the car we play Sing-a-Different-Song. Daddy insists on the same “deedle-dee dee dee duh-dee dee” from the Internet gophers every time his turn comes around. “It’s Nora’s turn!” but I don’t hear anything. I turn around to see her grinning, frozen, paralyzed with glee.

And now for our news:

Nora wears big girl underwear now! No more diapers!

“I’m peeing!” cheers Nora from her little potty seat. “It’s lemonade!”
Mia corrects her, her voice heavy with disbelief. “You can’t see it.” We call it a good pee when the urine is pale; the color of dark apple juice tells us to drink more water.

We have a chipmunk living under the stove.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Painted Veil

I first got into the short stories of Somerset Maugham when I was in my twenties, intrigued by his strange mix of the sentimental and the cynical. A Maugham collection helped me pass the hours on a move from Iowa to Boston after grad school with a bellicose boyfriend, our chocolate Lab and a trailer of our stuff. On that long trip, Maugham’s "Winter Cruise," the story of a captain’s table of men conspiring to silence a chatty old maid by getting her laid struck me as somehow sweet. I was in that kind of a place then.

I reread some of the stories a few months ago and was put off by the racism, the sexism. I wasn’t in the mood to travel to the colonialism of early last century.

But a movie version of Maugham on Tivo? I’m on board! I love period dramas, or as our friend Brent calls them with a bad English accent, Pants and Possibilities! Merchant-Ivory, movies from Jane Austen, that kind of thing. There’s a tame bondage-y thrill in all that polite passion, corseted behind social mores and strictures. Fancy speeches, beating hearts behind the lace and embroidery.

The always interesting Ed Norton and the consistently good Naomi Watts both produced and starred in the recent adaptation of Maugham’s novel, The Painted Veil, directed by a relative newbie, John Curran.

I’ve been continually surprised by Watts – in Mulholland Drive, I Heart Huckabees, even King Kong. For each of these roles she milks her delicate blondness, then jumps over your expectations much as her steely Anne Darrow did backflips in front of the giant ape.

Norton plays a medical researcher visiting London on a break from his work in China who meets and quickly woos Watt’s Kitty, offering her an escape from a hopeless family situation. Bored in Shanghai, Kitty has an affair with a married government official (played by Liev Schreiber, Watt’s real life partner, who reappears in the film's moving coda) which Walter discovers.

Walter’s deceptive mildness transforms into something fiercer when he confronts Kitty over her infidelity. He offers her a choice – divorce him or accompany him as he doctors victims of a cholera epidemic in the rural provinces.

His offer and her acceptance bring up all sorts of interesting questions. Why would a party-girl follow her marriage of convenience husband into a cholera outbreak rather than divorce him – and why would he suggest this choice? Does he take her with him to punish her or to possess her alone in the only way possible? Is he mad with jealousy, desperate with love, intent on vengeance or some combination of these?

All these possibilities are revealed in Norton’s voice. The actor is always compelling to watch and in this film, he is especially interesting to listen to. “I don’t hate you, Kitty,” he calmly intones. “I despise myself for loving you.” Okay, that’s a little purple, but he adds shades and interest to a character who ultimately turns noble – and you know the doom that spells.

The macabre details of cholera
include a rapid and painful death, suffered in the final stages with the horror and indignity of its victims turning blue. Norton and Curran are up for the challenge of keeping us focused on Kitty's love and Walter's humanity, even in the violent throes of the disease.

What was most interesting to me was to watch the arc of a marriage that recovers and reinvents itself from the lowest point – a contract for double suicide. Marriage can devastate as fully as it can save – Kitty and Walter’s thrashing against each other takes them deeper into the pit than either could sink alone. I couldn’t help enjoying the green idyll on the river as Kitty and Walter begin a newly found passion that is more precious for its brush with mutual hatred.

However. Maugham was a man and a writer of his time, yes, and yes, this story is primarily a love story between two Westerners, but the anonymity and marginality of the Chinese people is difficult to take. China is treated as a beautiful and exotic backdrop. None of Dr. Fane’s patients have personalities or identities. “This is no place for a woman,” says a character, ignoring (or worse) half the population. Curran frames the shots of Watts hurrying from an angry mob on her chair as if she floated above the rabble on her British superiority, rather than the work and sweat of the men who carry her.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Throwback Thursday

Here is Becky my niece (or, if you are a stickler for this kind of thing, Becky my cousin-once-removed) sitting on Aunt Ruth's lap. Her sister Andrea is behind with Uncle Phil. 1987? or so?

Becky got married to her beau Kevin on Saturday in Vegas. 7/7/07 - What a rockin' anniversary date! Congratulations, Kevin and Becky!! All the love and happiness in the world!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Family Matters

Last Monday morning, with no swim lessons, no babysitter and no playdate plans, I got the girls dressed and loaded into the car to go – anywhere. Certainty of our journey's necessity came from longtime experience with late morning bickering and shoving matches between my bored and restless girls. The hour felt late, even though we had no deadline and it was not yet ten.

I pulled the hybrid out of the garage and suddenly realized -- it does not matter where we go. It was a thought with the potential for both empty despair and the fullness of boundless potential.

Empty Despair? Here’s the kind of thinking that sends me down that pitted road: A wealth of choices can stifle the desire to do much of anything but lie on the couch. What’s that proverb about idle hands? And I know from experience that some of the overfull calendars that today’s moms are accused of creating may be frantic structures built to create purpose and worth -- scaffolding across the void.

But Monday was a beautiful July day, with humidity still days away. I had a feeling we were headed down the Boundless Potential path. I knew wherever our road led we would most likely find some simple fun and air and sun and maybe some conversation with new friends. And we did.

(A patch of oak savanna, a historically significant jungle gym and a playmate with Nora’s name whose mom worked for In Style magazine – seriously, we just lucked into all this.)

Where we went that day did not matter. What did matter? That we were together and that the needs of the girls – for the outdoors, for plenty of runaround activity, for some new venue in the company of familiar loved ones -- came first.

I’m really struggling these days with what used to matter before I was a mom and now doesn't matter, what didn't and now does. It’s a variation on the motherly theme of sacrifice. On “don’t sweat the small stuff.” It’s the shifting of priorities that motherhood asks of you. It’s the sense that our stories matter less when we have children. Not because we are diminished as their parents, but because now their stories matter too.

All this hit home last weekend when our little family of four joined a crowd of other families at a shared lakehouse. There were ten kids running around, ranging in age from fifteen down to two. Potty training was in full swing; meals had to be made and cleaned up; a boat and jet ski needed wrangling. My little fits of pique had no place there. Did that keep me from sinking into a mood over Randy skewering the mushrooms, over his joke at my expense? What do you think?

As a mom, you sometimes reject and sometime embrace being sucked into the great mass of humanity – a kind of communism, in a way – that moves you away from the cult of the individual.

Your own neuroses, habits, demands, navel-gazing? It does not matter.

The kids fed and rested, slathered with sunscreen and suited up with lifejackets, watched constantly to keep them from throwing rocks at each other or from falling into the lake? Matters.

Truth is, I love chasing them around. I love multiple versions of Itsy Bitsy and his buds, the Great Big Hairy and the Fast and Tickly Spiders.

And truth is, no one can completely disappear into her role as mother. Maybe Meryl Streep. I’m not that good an actress. I will still sneak away (like today, to write this) to take little journeys of my own.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Independence Day

Fireworks are past bedtime around here, but the girls did get to have some carnival fun with ponyrides and ice cream and one of those bouncy inflatable things that is like toddler crack.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

July, 2006

Mia and Divia help me unpack the new fairy garden furniture. There’s a wide empty space about eight feet square under the maple tree, bordered by hostas and ferns. We arrange the diminutive wheelbarrow and pots, the beehive and trug, a tiny birdhouse and tools. The girls fill the fairy bucket and watering can with water from the bathroom sink and pour a few drops in the fairy birdbath. We pick white clover heads, a few pink flox blossoms. I clip two sweetheart spray roses and some viburnum blossoms, the palest green. Divia pulls off the purple ends of some Russian sage and calls it “violets.” With all these flowers they decorate the small pots and urns. I’m charmed. Nora tries to help, but really only wants to push down the little lean-to house we have made of sticks, roofed with lichen colored bark.

“Baby Godzilla!” we call out when she bats it down.

Divia chatters on about a rainbow tiger she brought home from the zoo and bosses around the happy-to-comply Mia.

“No, put the violets here, where the fairies can see them!”

Divia’s family is moving to New York. Keyshore, her father, will perform surgery at Mount Sinai on the upper East Side.

I bring out two big bowls of soapy water, one warm to wash their hands, the other cool for their feet. They go back and forth between the bowls. Nora tries to stand with both feet in the round foot bath. I would dry their feet with my hair, were it longer.

Divia’s wavy black hair is to her waist, Mia’s new haircut has bounced her ends into Shirley Temple curls. We have a snack of the pie I made yesterday from the last of the farmer’s market apricots, raspberries and peaches. Mia says, “yuck!” at the pie but eats goldfish crackers and pb and j on slices of the free sourdough boule left over from a commercial shoot at the village bakery yesterday.

When Mia starts gnawing on a cut end of the round boule, I tell her if she hollows out the soft middle, I’ll make her a hat out of the hard crust. She laughs. Nora stands on the bar stool seat and drinks a baby cup of juice, tipping back her head as she grasps the handles with both hands. Later, she pats the plastic cups in the dishwasher rack rhythmically and babbles gutterally, deep in her throat, practicing her Tuvan throat singing and baffling us. “Why is the baby doing that?” we laugh.

We walk Divia out to the front and she says she can run home so the big girls hug and she takes off down the sidewalk, her long hair swinging. We watch her all the way down the block, to the seventh house away. Mia says, “she’s cool,” as Divia turns to wave and yell, “Bye!”

Mia yells, “Tell your mom about it!” and Divia replies, “Okay!” and turns up her walk, disappears. We stand for a minute, still watching and yes, Lakshmi appears, hurrying to the sidewalk to wave to us. She knew we could be watching and waiting. We understand her wave. It says Divia arrived safe and she’s back with her mother.

We turn back to the house.

Looking back, reading these words I’ve written about this morning, this catalog of pleasures, I don’t feel queasy at the whimsy of the garden, the pie. The preciousness is tempered, for me, by a streak of sharpness cutting through the sweet. Because even in the middle of bubble-blowing through a wand with the tiniest of star shaped holes that throws out a flurry of fingernail-sized soap spheres, I fade away. The girls are busy catching the bubbles that glide slowly in the still, humid air and perhaps it’s my lightheadedness from blowing, or the slightly abbreviated sleep last night or even pleasure saturation, or even boredom, but I fade for a moment back to what? Memories? No, nothing even as well formed as that, just a slight touch back to something unnamed, grief perhaps. I sense something that is not here, the dark sense of something lost and then I’m back. Here they are, my two curly haired big babies, three years old and eighteen months, in the most beautiful and most angry summer of my life. Time to go in, wash up, play, nap.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Mythology for Four Year Olds

Mia says, “Mommy? Tell me the story of the girl who ate the seeds and her mommy.”

“Okay! Once upon a time there was a girl named Persephone. And she had a mommy who loved her very much. Persephone’s mommy was named Demeter and she had the job of making things grow. Sooooo, uh, one day, Persephone was outside and the god of the underworld saw her and he fell in love. So he grabbed her! And he took her down to his kingdom under the earth.

“Meanwhile! Demeter, Persephone’s mommy, is so sad. She misses her daughter SO much that she can’t do her work. So all the trees turn brown and the grass and the leaves fall down and it gets cold. Does that remind you of some time we have had here? Right! Winter! Not like now, is it?

“Now all the people are hungry and cold cause there’s no food! So they go to Zeus, who is the king of the gods and they say, 'We’re hungry! We’re cold!' So Zeus goes to Demeter and she says, 'Zeus, I want my daughter! Help me bring back Persophone!' So Zeus says, 'Okay, I’ll send a messenger, but if your daughter has eaten ANY food while she was in the underground, she has to stay!'

“So Zeus sent his fastest messenger, The FTD Man. He is a naked guy with wings on his hat and wings on his feet. Mercury! And he flew flew flew really fast.

“But while he’s flying, the god of the underworld is saying to Persephone, 'Come on, just one bite! You’ve got to eat something! Here, try this pomegranate. It’s really yummy.' So Persephone says, 'Okay.' And she eats SIX seeds of the pomegranate. When you eat a pomegranate, all you eat are the seeds. They are tiny little seeds, but they are really beautiful, like little jewels.

“So when Mercury sees this, he goes back to Zeus and Demeter says, 'Come ON! They were only little seeds! Please!' And she’s so sad, and all the people on earth are so hungry that Zeus says, 'Okay. Here’s the deal. Persephone can come back to earth for six months each year,' and Demeter says, 'Yay!' 'But then she has to go back to the underground for six months.' And Demeter is sad and that is why every year we have six months of darkness and cold. The end.”

Mia loves this story and I do too, now that we share it. It is the truest thing I have ever heard.

Is this a myth about contentious custody battles? Yes. Difficult mother-in-laws? Sure. I can see this story resonating for every parent who ever felt chilled to the bone as her baby drove off on a first date with a tattoed, skull-accessoried mumbler in a black t-shirt.

Does it speak to us about the inevitability of grief and loss that come like slow seasons? Absolutely. But for me it is most about mother love and how it is powerful enough to make trees burst into blossom and barren fields explode wild with growth. And today, in the heart of summer, those tiny seeds speak to me about the rosy curve of each precious day, enormous when we are within it, tiny once it falls behind us.

But I still have questions about the myth. Why does Persephone finally eat? Is she ignorant of Zeus’s prohibition and defying her captor on her own? Did she become so hungry she finally could no longer resist? Or does she fall into some kind of Stockholm trance – becoming used to life underground, unaware of the mother’s frantic work to release her?

And why does she eat so little – the seeds would be so delicious and sweet, but hardly satisfying. Is this measured savoring the only way to make worldly pleasures bearable? Perhaps the bursting of the tiny seed between her teeth, the tang of a drop of juice on her tongue filled her with so much sensation, it neared pain.

I am reminded of Rilke’s description of Eurydice, nearly brought back from the dead by her musician lover, Orpheus.

“But now she walked . . . uncertain, gentle, and without impatience. . . . Deep within herself. Being dead/filled her beyond fulfillment. Like a fruit/suffused with its own mystery and sweetness,/she was filled with her vast death, which was so new,/she could not understand that it had happened.”

I dreamt of my sister Nancy last night. We were the size of children, but the time was that seamless mix of the knowing Today and the unconscious reality of Years Ago. Nancy walked out of a school building. She moved slowly, her eyes on the ground before her. I went up to her and hugged and kissed her lips as Mia kisses mine. I knew this dreamtime with her was fleeting, but I was in a hurry - on my way to a date with Walter Thompson, the yummy and nice ninth-grade King of the Katchina Dance. After our hug, I hurried away.

The Choo Choo Restaurant

For a few minutes on Saturday afternoon, the happiest place on earth. At least in our little booth, that is. Luscious onion rings with thick slices of sweet onion. The coffee with “rich whipping cream” sounded very temping, but I changed to a Diet Coke at the last second – got to balance the hot with cold, the greasy with acidy carbonation, ya know. The veggie burger was huge and oval shaped – reminiscent of those platter-shaped pork tenderloin sandwiches you can get in Iowa diners. Two perfect little cupcakes topped with train engine whistles tasted like they were baked that morning.

The whole place buzzed with joyous clanging and merry music – just enough to keep the girls jazzed, but way below frenzied. A tiny train rolled out from the kitchen, bearing baskets of burgers and fries. It circled the counter, much to the delight of the kids crowded around the perimeter. A waitress pulled a cord to hoot a train horn and a loud recording of “Happy Birthday” sang out over the speakers. And Mommy and Daddy got a kick out of the wardrobe-sized antique air conditioning unit.

The Choo Choo Restaurant, 600 Lee Street, Des Plaines, Illinois