Ornaments on my mother’s tree

My mom is feeling better. Slowly. And I narrowly averted the nasty flu after being surrounded by her and Scott for two straight days. Of course, I’m knocking on wood while typing this because I know firsthand how easily a person can catch those cooties.


Merry, merry

What they report on the news is true. The flu is infecting everyone. Including my husband and my mom. Unfortunately, mom’s version was a bit more severe, which put us in the Bronson Hospital emergency on Christmas Day. They pumped an IV into her and gave her various medicines while I sat with her for four hours in a grey-walled room. Sure, it wasn’t quite as much fun as exchanging gifts, noshing on cheese and crackers, and listening to Bing Crosby, but at least we had cable TV to keep us company. And she looked a heckuva lot better after the IV. It will be one of those Christmas moments that we can remember fondly for years.

How old are you???

Aunt Nancy’s holiday spread (note the snowmen everywhere)

I’m nowhere close to 22. I haven’t been for a while. So my family’s holiday party was raised to the status of must-attend event when this year two of my uncles declared me to look very young. Very young.

When Bud, my mom’s oldest brother, asked me my age and I responded with the truth, his retort was, “No way. I’d put you at 22.” Thank you kindly, my now-favorite uncle (who also somewhat curiously was telling everyone I looked like Courtney Cox. Wha?).

Of course, Gene one-upped him slightly after he kept squinting at me and shaking his head during another age discussion, and said, “You look the same age as Lacey [my cousin], and she’s only 15.” (Note: she’s actually the aforementioned 22, so I figure there must be some truth to this assertion if the two of them, age and diminishing eyesight certainly not a factor, estimated me at the same exact age.)

Well, you can imagine what big hugs these two uncles got on our way out the door. I informed them that they were both my favorites and the other two had some work to do if they wanted to compete.

How I love family gatherings!

The one in which I wake up with an unexplained hangover

Leaving Billy’s and returning to the vehicle

I’ll be the first to admit when I deserve something. Say if I drank way too much, got tipsy and annoying, and then woke up the next morning with a hangover. I would think I deserved it. Sure.

But the fact is, on our outing last night I had three glasses of wine over a four hour period. Accompanied by at least three glasses of water and a big Indian meal. I only for a split second ever felt slightly tipsy during the entire evening. When I returned home and chatted up the hubby, I couldn’t even tell I had had a drink at all.

Yet come 8:30 this morning, I had a pounding headache and a very queasy stomach. What gives, eh? I let the dogs out, took a shower, then had to go lie down again until the nausea passed. Ugh, ugh, ugh. I really didn’t deserve that at all.

Shopping in a winter wonderland

Chicago: May 2003

I loved Chicago in the summer. Scott and I used to walk everywhere, exploring the different neighborhoods. We biked along the lake, I sometimes sneaked ice cream cones when I disembarked at the Addison el stop, we sat outside at Southport Lanes after softball eating grilled cheese on Texas toast, we sweated without an air conditioner during the heatwave of 1995. There was all sorts of summery goodness in the city.

I loved Chicago in the spring when the tulips sprouted along Michigan Avenue. I loved Chicago in the fall when I trudged through the leaves on sidewalks along Fullerton and Southport and various other avenues.

But I really pine for Chicago the most in the winter. No, I don’t miss the freezing cold. (Although I’m slightly nostalgic for the 20 degree blizzardy day that I had to wait 30 minutes for one bus to take me to the connecting stop where I had to wait another 45 minutes for the second bus, and by the time it came I had to pee so badly that I winced and prayed as we crawled down Lake Shore Drive. That was a great winter moment!)

What I miss is the holiday season in the city. I would step out of the office at 5:30 to be greeted by darkness that was lit by twinkling lights. By bustling shoppers. By the jingle of the Salvation Army bells. The snowflakes seemed more romantic as they wafted down between the concrete buildings. People were skating on State Street. I loved all of it. And I really miss experiencing even a small part of the fun.

Which is why I’m so excited that Tiffany and I will be driving to the city in December. Cameras in hand, we’ll hit Michigan Avenue along with the busloads of midwestern shoppers. I can’t wait!

I beat Kip!

Countertop display at The Coffee Beanery, Woodland Mall

I know…it’s bad to gloat. But I’m so absolutely clueless about the ins and outs of Fantasy Football. And yet I still kicked butt! Beating the league commissioner, no less. And, ahem, the score was 121 to 61. I got suckered into two of these leagues this year and I’m never going to be able to keep track of all of the players, who I should drop/add, etc. I’ll just savor this off-to-a-good-start week while I can. I’m sure I’ll sink pretty fast. (Although I do have Priest Holmes and Jeff Garcia on my team.)