Friday, January 30, 2009

New CMB Post, New Windows, New Friends

My latest post, "The United States of Mom" on Chicago Moms Blog talks about the split personalities motherhood makes you take on.

Oh, and windows update! The new ones are pretty as can be and so energy efficient, we no longer feel cold ghostly drafts when we look out at the snow. We saved all the old ones and when I put up a notice on Craigslist, I couldn't believe the response. Tons of people wanted them and I made a few happy, including a sweet couple from Michigan, Chad Proctor and Danika Murray. Chad and Danika run an organic fruit and vegetable farm called Lake Breeze Organics near Benton Harbor. They're planning to use the windows for the new barn they're building and even took the storms for cold frames.

Chad and Danika offer a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) out of Evanston. During the summer and into the fall they offer over 40 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, fruit Purple Passion asparagus, herbs and a huge variety of other vegetables.

Last year, for instance, their box the first week of October included Golden Delicious apples, baby bell peppers, purple serano peppers, a mix of cherry tomatoes, basil, edamame and Swiss Chard.

You can get more info about Lake Breeze Organics and the CSA at (312)451-7358 or (269) 762-0992.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Updike's Answer to the Question, "Why Are We Here?"

"Ancient religion and modern science agree: we are here to give praise. Or, to slightly tip the expression, to pay attention. Without us, the physicists who have espoused the anthropic principle tell us, the universe would be unwitnessed, and in a real sense not there at all. It exists, incredibly, for us. This formulation (knowing what we know of the universe's ghastly extent) is more incredible, to our sense of things, than the Old Testament hypothesis of a God willing to suffer, coddle, instruct, and even (in the Book of Job) to debate with men, in order to realize the meager benefit of worship, of praise for His Creation. What we beyond doubt do have is our instinctive intellectual curiosity about the universe from the quasars down to the quarks, our wonder at existence itself, and an occasional surge of sheer blind gratitude for being here."

John Updike, March 18, 1932 - January 27, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

Superlatives Part 3

Cause I'm still flying high from a lovely birthday and the happy coincidence that I share 44 with the man who has been busy with so much good work in his first few days.

Most thrilling moments from a thrilling week:

During the We Are One concert, Bono taking a seat on the stage to sing, "Blessings not just for the ones who kneel..."

Bruce Springsteen and that old commie Pete Seeger leading everyone in the full version of "This Land is Your Land."

The little angel in pink sleeping behind Obama.

The first glimpse of Michelle in beautiful yellow on a brilliant Tuesday morning.

Aretha's hat, perfectly proportioned for the majesty of her song, who she is, and what this day means.

"As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake."

"Our patchwork heritance is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and non-believers..."

"To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds."

"Those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiousity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true."

"What is required now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task."

Garrison Keillor describes the thrill of watching Bush's helicoptor take to the skies.

Joel Stein gives a shout out to Partners in Health.

Happy Birttnciaq to Me!

My very own Wreck!! Courtesy of dear husband and Carlos' in Highwood. The creme brulee (on the right) was fabulous and the wait staff harmonizing on my ditty just as sweet.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Superlatives Part 2

"Best Dinner Ever" Thursday night was DIY pizza from the Whole Foods squishy bag of raw pizza dough, shredded cheese and premade sauce. We didn't really know what we were doing. The dough was cold rather than the preferred room temperature, I had no cornmeal for the cookie sheets cause I've thrown out most of our old dusty staples since the construction, and the round flat plate shapes we were trying to form with the dough turned out more blobby than anything. I even accidentally turned the oven off in between two batches. BUT. Chewy, yummy, fantastic.

Last Monday, the day we drove home from Michigan, is supposed to be the worst day of the winter, according to the Brits. But we were flying. We drove home through thick flying snow, then on to clear blue skies and the gorgeous Chicago skyline. The next day was Inaugural Day and everything was fine.


"Aunt Sally is my favorite person in the whole world," says Mia and knowing exactly where the sentiment comes from, I only tease her gently, asking if Daddy, her former First Love, knows.

Sally and Erik were our hosts last weekend in Saugatuck. Remembering the fun and beauty and laughs and ease of it all makes me sigh. Because once again, as every time when I've walked into their home, I'm amazed by the order, in the most serene sense of the word, and the beauty of clear surfaces and witty pretty ornament. Every corner is a still life which I would gladly share with you had I bought a new battery for my old battered camera that hung out in my pocket all weekend, hoping energy would materialize. Too bad, the pictures will all have to remain as memory and the energy is all mine after three days of smiling at happy girls, playing in the fluffy lake effect snow, eating bowls of delicious soups (who knew lentil and lemon could go so well together!) and rice porridge swirled with the English lady neighbor's sweet tart raspberry jam and talking relaxed and interesting grown-up talk late in the night.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Turtles Eating Strawberries

The finest work Optimus has ever created.

Our Wonderful Michigan Weekend

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

This is the view out Sal and Erik's front window. Beautiful lake effect snow, soft and thick.

Mia makes Broken Glass Jello. Sally found the recipe at The Crafty Crow; you can find it here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


The view down the toboggan run at Steitz Resort.

The girls on the beach at Ormond, on Florida's northeast coast, two weeks earlier.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Lovely Ladies Falling Down!

from dear cousin Sal. Cracks me up.

Moving Day

We're going HOME-home, as the girls are calling it since they've slept in about twelve different beds since Thanksgiving, even though the work is not complete (who is surprised?) and we'll be sharing space with dusty workmen til who knows when.

It's been crazy and the crazy will continue but I did find time to post these pieces to Chicago Moms Blog. This Valentine was inspired by our trip to Steitz Resort yesterday to toboggan until we were wiped out and Mia's poor feet and shins were red with cold. And this post I managed to send out from a dicey connection in a Disney lobby at 11pm or so.

Good to be going home.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Happy New Year!

I'm LOVING all the things I can do when I'm not writing, like keeping up with the laundry and giving the girls my full attention and making a little birthday party for Eleanor's fourth yesterday. She came into the bedroom first thing, before we had opened the curtains and asked in the dark, "Is today my..." forgetting the word for a moment. "Yes!" the three of us chimed, Mia having climbed in some unknown time earlier. Then we sang to her and hugged and kissed her even though the actual technical anniversary was around noon, almost to the minute of her older sister's arrival.

The new year's resolutions are to pull back the shoulders, pull in the gut and work the smile muscles. They really do help, as will the 30 minutes of walking I've been doing most days, loving the endorphins. Everything else, house, book, family, will fall into place, I have great hope and confidence. The endorphins again. And the November imagery that has gotten me through so much, let me tell you. Cause the firework arcs to all we desire are within our grasp. And everything we need is right in front of us.

Even though I linked to it in my last post, "American Tune" bears looking at again, even with Dick Cavett's dithering at the end. I listened again today and the song is so much about our America right now, I cried.