May 31, 2010

Let the summer begin!

Last night was our first s'more of the season.  It was so beautiful out that C-man and I even slept in tents in the backyard.  Well, at least we did until 2 a.m. when a thunderclap woke me up.  I debated for about 30 seconds what I should do until I saw lightning streak through the sky.  That's when I got up, threw C-man over my shoulder and put him in his bed. It's one thing to chance a lightning storm when you're miles away from home, but it's quite another to be that dumb when you're just in your backyard. Needless to say, he was NOT happy with me when he woke up in his bed this morning. The good news is there are a lot more summer weekends to try again.  What a fabulous long weekend.  It's too bad it's almost at an end.

May 30, 2010

He's all gradgumagated

He's come a long way from the naked Barbie sword-wielding, tutu-wearing little kid.  Congrats and good luck!

(All my photos of the event are here.)

May 29, 2010

Church of Nikon

You know how you buy something new, and immediately after, you start to see it everywhere?  That's how the topic of spirituality has been for me lately.  It seems everywhere I turn, someone is discussing what spirituality is and how you find it, obtain it, keep it, etc.  I'm not talking about church or organized religion, but that sense of well-being and balance, where you feel peaceful and whole.

It started last week when I went to an ayurvedic healing consultant. (I'm still not ready for full-blown western medicinal intervention, so I figured, what the hell.  Why not throw some money and time at the Indian methods of doing things?)  Of course, there was a whole portion of the 2-hour consultation dedicated to my spirituality and where I find it, etc. So when she asked me where I find that, I had an immediate answer... I have a camera.

And the more I thought about it, the happier that answer made me. Because I love looking at things around me and seeing the details.  I enjoy watching light bounce around a room, and waiting for it to hit just right.  I love the rush of snapping a picture and knowing I've just struck photographic gold.  I'm just glad I've got a husband who puts out his hand before I even know I'm going to be stepping on a tipsy chair to get on top of a rocky wall in 4" heels to get that one interesting shot. And I think it's awesome that I have a son who finds me in a crowd by looking for where the best photo vantage point is, because he knows that's where he'll find me.

I guess if Peter Griffin can start the First United Church of the Fonz, maybe I can be a part of the Church of Nikon.  (Father, Son and Holy Shutter?)

May 28, 2010

Junior Olympians

I spent the morning at C-man's school helping out with the school's annual Junior Olympics.  After a few summers of running a Cub Scout camp, I felt a bit like a vet flashing back to Vietnam; except instead of maintaining my lines, I wanted to shout "BUDDY CHECK!" every 15 minutes.  It was a really cute event, and the kids all had loads of fun.  (C-man was on the red team, if you couldn't tell)

May 27, 2010

School Spring Concert

Last night was the school spring concert. There was dancing and costumes and instruments galore. C-man starred in 4 different songs.  He was so happy, that little smile just radiated from the group.
In one classic, "Sticks on the Bus", he even played the time-treasured "sticks".
On the way out, a couple of parents remarked how much C-man had enjoyed the drums. (He's just to the right of the middle) If you find his little white bopping head below, you'll understand why it was so funny. 

Click HERE to be able to see it full screen. Blogger is being uncooperative today

May 25, 2010


Lately, we've had nothing to do and everything to do all at the same time. The calendar has been full, and I feel like I'm futilely racing from one place to the next, dealing with what seems to be only disappointingly selfish people, and never really getting ahead.  Almost as if to prove my point, there is a never-ending pile of folded, yet un-put-away laundry in the living room that continues to grow, as if mocking my complete ineptitude.

And then this morning happened.  It was nothing out of the ordinary for our crazy house: me bleary-eyed after another sleepless night, C-man sobbing because I won't let him eat the sugary, food-dye laden Trix sample that came with Sunday's paper (I'm suspecting he's going through another growth spurt with this constant hunger and unoccassional mood swing), getting in the shower only to remember that Beerman needs to turn the water on (because the tank started leaking all over the basement again last night), and not liking any of the clothes I own, thereby changing my shirt 3 times only to return to shirt #1.  The usual chaos.

But as I was getting C-man's uniform out of his drawer and laying it out, he decided while just in his underwear, that it's hug time.  And he leaned in to put his warm, round little face in the crook of my neck, and nuzzled it there for probably 5 minutes.  And then wehn he was done, he quickly grabbed his shorts, looked at me and said, "Now are you feeling better?"

And the great thing is, that yes, it was exactly what I had needed. Thank God for the wisdom of a 5 year old to make it all better.


May 24, 2010


Millennium Park

Wabash Avenue Bridge near Trump Tower

Chicago River Water Taxi

Chicago River staircase railing

I was at a learning conference in Chicago last week.  In one of the sessions on experiential learning (the woman was attempting to drive home her poorly contrived point by teaching us to draw a face), she asked who in the room was an artist.  Out of about 300 people, 5 probably raised their hands.  And that struck me as sad.  Because when I went to C-man's classroom, every single kid in there feels s/he is an artist.  They were so proud of their beautiful work, and how well they'd all done at painting their mothers.

At what point do we lose that inhibition to create?  At what point did I become so self-conscious about what I could see and imagine that I could no longer define myself as an artist?  When do we doubt our abilities to do something new? Is it because it's not considered humble to refer to yourself as something so lofty? Is the term "artist" just too anomalous in our well-defined world?

I'm not sure the answer to any of these.  But what I do know is I like to take pictures. A lot. I know I find serenity and thrill behind the lens of my camera, no matter how many times my son flips between, "Stop taking my picture" and "Mom, take a picture of this. This is awesome!" And I laugh every time Beerman has to remind me it's inappropriate to climb up on THAT in those heels.  I get a thrill finding a new perspective behind my lens each time, no matter how many stares I get that I'm taking a picture THERE. And I know it's something that feels so tangible; almost like a stamp that says, "Jennifer was here" with each click of the shutter.

So maybe the word artist is too much for what I am.  But the next time someone asks who in the room is an artist, I'm raising my hand anyway. And you probably should too.

May 23, 2010

Lost Saturday.

In one of my doctor's visits this week, because I've been so sleep deprived, I was given some Ambien.  And I lost Saturday. I went to bed at midnight on Friday and woke up at 3 p.m. on Saturday.  Somewhere in the middle, while C-man and Beerman were at golf lessons, I got myself to the store to get a birthday present for the party Beerman took C-man to later in the day. I must have been acting completely batshit crazy, because the lady in the store, in a very concerned way, came over to take the gifts out of my hand while I picked out a card.  The card I'd already dropped on the ground 3 times or so while I'm positive I was weaving. Clearly, I shouldn't have been driving, because I went back home to bed and was comatose for another few hours.

I missed the annual herb sale I love to go to. I missed golf lessons. I missed the birthday party. I totally lost Saturday.  What a weird feeling.

Needless to say, I will not be taking another Ambien anytime soon.

May 21, 2010

More random thoughts

  1. We're going to see Rigoletto tonight.  An opera about a clown. Oh boy.
  2. My 365 project is tougher than I thought.  I take a ton of pictures, but some days, I just don't feel very creative.  So having to pick up my camera sometimes feels like a bit of a chore.  And so many others on the site post these amazing and creative photos.  So I have to keep reminding myself I'm doing it to document my year and learn a bit about photography, find some new perspectives, and not to get a photography job out of it.
  3. I finished Girl With the Dragon Tattoo last night. I'm still sticking with my earlier claim that it's entirely overrated, predictable, and even unnecessarily gruesome. Not to mention, after all those pages, I should have felt something for any one of the characters, and shouldn't have been hoping they'd all die just for it to get interesting.
  4. I thought I had the book City of Embers to read next. I don't. I bought the wrong book. It's still got good reviews from people.
  5. I think I'm going to start The Girl She Used to Be instead. The woman at the local bookstore, whom I trust, raved on and on and on about it.  If it sucks, I have 4 more in reserve waiting to be read.
  6. It's the last season of 24. And I've got to say, the last episode was by far, the best one ever. I realize it's time for the show to call it quits. But it's going to be a sad, sad day when Jack Bauer bites the dust, damnit.
  7. The Brewers actually won one last night, and I'm thrilled.  Seriously 1-9 and I'm thrilled.  You know things have gotten desperate.
  8. I have a morning meeting and then 2 doctor's appointments to get to. So much for Friday being a laid-back day.

May 20, 2010

Random Thursday Thirteen

La Jolla seal
  1. This picture of the seal makes me laugh every time I look at it.
  2. I finally watched Avatar last night. Who were those people who loved it?!? Because they need a swift kick in the ass.  The storyline was asinine (Fern Gully meets Dances with Wolves meets Lord of the Rings), the blue people with their weird tentacle pony tails made me gag, and there wasn't even an unpredictable ending with him riding Toothless the giant dragon-bird and the Ents Triceratops-things coming out to help. I absolutely hated it.  In fact, half-way through it, I turned to Beerman and actually said, "I hate this movie."
  3. I'm almost done reading the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  I've restarted it 3 times because all the Vangers and Wennerstroms and Swedish town names got me all bored. I'm about 60 pages from the end, and I don't like any of the characters.  I'm holding out for a wild twist ending, because so far, it's been pretty predictable.
  4. I don't foresee me reading the next two books in that trilogy.
  5. City of Embers is going to be my next book. It has gotten rave reviews.  Then again, so did Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  But I've got high hopes anyhow.
  6. Beerman and I are heading to the opera tomorrow night. I've been to the opera and never really grooved on it. But hey, 3rd time's the charm... maybe.  If nothing else, it's a night out together doing something different.
  7. C-man has his 5 year old pediatric appointment tomorrow.  Our scale says he's over 50 pounds, so we'll see what he officially weighs in at.  (You'll remember last year he was 42 lbs x 41".)
  8. C-man has a birthday party to go to on Saturday. It's an Army Man theme. Am I the only one who thinks that's odd for a 5 year old's party?
  9. I'd better buy a gift for that kid.
  10. A major study came out yesterday linking Rheumatoid and Psoriatic Arthritis with depression. I could have saved them a lot of time and money. I mean, seriously, inescapable pain and long-term chronic illness reprecussions causes someone to be depressed? Inconceivable.
  11. I went shopping at Zara while in Chicago. I love Zara. However, I restrained myself and only got 2 shirts.
  12. I also bought some mate tea from Teavana. While in Argentina, I learned to drink mate. It was like grass with a steel straw through it. This was not that kind of mate and had vanilla in it. Yuk. And it definitely does not replace coffee.
  13. I really need to go get myself a cafe latte.

May 19, 2010

To infinity and beyond

Today is my 9th wedding anniversary.  In so many ways, I don't feel old enough to have been married for 9 years.  But at the same time, I can't believe it hasn't been longer. That's because it's hard to imagine my life without him; hard to remember who I was before I became this person.

So despite loving to get gifts, I'm not very good at the whole anniversary thing.  I never know what to do, or say, or give.  What do you give to someone who has been your whole life for the past 9 years?  What do you say to someone who has given you the most amazing child the world could want and been an incredible father to him, too?  What do you do for someone who has stood by you, through thick and thin, putting you before himself over and over again despite how many times you've asked him to do so?

No marriage is ever perfect, and I won't pretend ours has been.  But for the past 9 years, I haven't wanted it to be with anyone else.  I often wonder how I got so lucky.  And for that, I can't be thankful enough.

Happy anniversary, my love.  I'll always love you the most.

Make that 97 things left

I started the night at Xoco, successfully crossing off #23 on my list.  I had a torta and churros and amazing hot chocolate. It was everything I'd dreamed and more.
But I also got to hang out with a dear friend from college I haven't seen in years.  And the thing about old friendships is that they're kind of like good restaurants.  You hear they're good, and you know they're good, but until you go actually go to them, you forget what all the fuss is about.

My cheeks hurt from laughing so my soul is smiling instead.  What a great night.

May 18, 2010

#21. Check.

I had to elbow a couple of Japanese tourists to do it, but I have successfully taken my photo in the Cloud Gate bean in Millennium Park.

Only 98 more things to go.  Guess it's time to start working on those splits.

May 17, 2010

Where's Waldo?

Family time

The girls of the family:

The main event:
And uncontrollable church giggles caused by two little words: Salt. Peter.

May 16, 2010

Full day

It was Saturday, which meant more golf lessons.

It also meant we had tickets to see the Brewers game and sit in the Air Tran Landing Zone.
You get a window to the opposing team's bullpen, so there's a convenient sign telling you the proper way to heckle them.  I particularly enjoy the one with the father holding up his daughter to do the neener-neener.

It was a great spot to watch warmups and all the little stuff that goes out on the field during the game.

Despite a really sucky game, the Polish Sausage won.  He's my favorite, so it at least made up for something.