Monday, December 26, 2005

SPT: Reflective Surface #4

To avoid putting up my reflection in an ornament, because it's almost come to that, here is a nod to Kath Red with a little of my own wander lust.

I'm in Salt Lake City. Beth's driving. It's snowing and we're stuck behind a plow trying to catch the tail end of the kids' ski class.

We didn't make it in time to see them coming down the bunny hill. However, Chloe was all smiles, bouncing up and down showing off the stickers on her button. Tomorrow we'll check into a lodge for a few days of skiing before meandering south. Hopefully, all in one piece.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


I arrived about 40 minutes early for my doctor’s appointment this morning. I was grateful for the opportunity to wait. There is this hat that I’ve been working on that I looked forward to completing. It has been started and unraveled several times from when the first frost came until today.

At the beginning of November, Chicago turned from unseasonably warm to unseasonably cold all in a day. I scrounged the house and was disappointed with what hats I had remaining from previous years. How do I get through the seasons with such absurd fashion ensembles? Every time the weather changes, I am baffled at what I wore the previous year. But I’ve never been up-to-date or stylish. Walking into a store to purchase the latest trend seems more uncomfortable to me than it is to wear a goofy hat. The scrutiny and disapproval of the salespeople is intimidating enough. But the selection? How do people have the time to scour all those stores to find just the right thing? It feels soulless.

The amount of time it would take to shop for just the kind of hat I want, I could probably make several. Except I don’t have a pattern, nor could I read one. I only know very few stitches. But I set to work, experimenting, unraveling, experimenting, and unraveling some more.

It’s a strange shape, the new hat that I’m working on. It will have a pointed top (I’m not sure with my height and long face if that will be attractive) and flaps over the ears. I’m working on the flaps. If it were just one flap it would be simple. But to make two shapes where I decrease at the right rows, with the exact number of stitches, well, I lack patience to keep track. It’s a good experiment at best.

Back in the waiting room, I thought that I was only a few rows from completion, when a boy interrupted my thoughts and asked me if it was “fun”.

“Huh? Come again?”

“That.” He points to my stitches. “Is that fun?” I heard a Harummph from a large man sitting next to me. He must have found it amusing that this 13 year-old boy should be interested in crochet.

“I don’t think I would call it fun. I find it relaxing.” The doctor I am waiting for is a psychoanalyst. Today is the second time I will see her. Yesterday was the first. I sought her out for my anxiety.

He stood up and moved next to me, a little too close. My stomach lurched as I realized I was under examination. Panic. I looked into his face, took a deep breath, and asked if he’d like to learn.

I’ve never taught anyone to crochet before. It’s just something that I know how to do. I’m not even sure if I could remember learning it – probably at a Young Woman’s class at church. It was one of those essential Mormon life skills that trumped financial planning or safe sex instruction.

I didn’t realize how difficult it was to keep the yarn in the right place with the right amount of tension to make a simple chain. With an extra hook and a small ball of yarn, I held his large hands to direct his movements. His slow, deliberate attempts calmed me. The yarn failed to stay put. His knots were too tight to slip over the hook.

He kept trying, his hands fumbling with the thread. My hands touching his. I thought for a moment that someone might find this inappropriate, me touching a stranger’s hands. A kid, no less. Where was his mother? Father? He was here, waiting for a doctor, alone. All eyes were on us, me and this boy. But we were focused on the loops, the knots, the hook and the wool.

“How long would it take to make that?” He pointed to my hat.

“Well, if I didn’t keep taking it apart, probably about three hours.”

“Can you make one of those?” He pointed to a statue.

“No, I’m not a sculpturer.”

“I mean his hat.” His eyes were twinkling. It was a bronze bust of a bishop, or cardinal or something. It wore a skullcap. Hmmm, it looked similar to a yarmulka.

“Yeah, I suppose I could.”

“Could you make one for me?” He asked.

“Oh, no, I’ll be leaving in just a few moments. But you can have my yarn, and the hook. Maybe you can find some good instructions on the Internet.” At that, my doctor came through the door. “Good bye. It was nice to meet you.”

In her office she asked if I was feeling the same tension and anxiety as I did before. “No,” I smiled, “I really feel much better.” And I did.

Monday, December 19, 2005

SPT: Reflective Surface #3

Here I am, again, on a reflective surface. I had stopped for lunch after spending the morning at Marshall Fields on State Street. I should have been Christmas shopping, but whole process seemed overwhelming and insignificant at the same time. With camera in tow, I snapped up photos of some of the beautiful architectural elements while passing through.

Fields on State has the absolute best sales woman in the lingerie department. She saw right through my padded bra and sized me up perfectly, "Hmmm, 38b. Come with me, honey." And into the changing room she brought me along with 10 perfectly fitting bras. "Try them on, kid. Come on, let me see them." It's about like undressing in front of your grandmother. I so appreciate the true sales professionals. Unfortunately, it seems they are about as replaceable as say, the Fields' name.

I stopped here at Potbellies, for lunch and ordered the "wreck". Felt a little like one, too.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Some Whine with my Tea

This is my second cold/sinus infection whatever of the season. Blah. Yuck. Eh. I'm in my pink bathrobe and pajamas next to a pile of used tissue and cup of echinacea elderberry tea. All I need is some big, fluffy slippers. What's your favorite cold remedies?

I want to move to someplace warm and reserve the beautiful, snow laden trees to a vacation experience.

(Do people in the South get sick less?)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Narnia in Color and other Technological Wonders

Chloe is very excited to see The Chronicles of Narnia. We tried to get in last Friday, but of course, most of the shows were sold out. She was so very, very disappointed.

I told her that this weekend we will go see The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (she makes me say each word, abbreviating the title is not accepted). The anticipation for this is building into something greater than Christmas. Each day on the way home from school she asks excitedly, "Mom, is it the weekend yet? Are we going to movie today?"

"No, it's only Monday (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday). We have 5 (4,3,2) more days to wait."

Yesterday, after I put her off again, she burst into tears as we were crossing the street. "But, but Mom," her lower lip quivered, "it won't be COLORED then. Waaaaaahhhhhh."

??? "Huh? It won't be colored?"

"It will be old and turn to BLACK and WHITE!" she wailed.

Five-year-old logic, but good logic nonetheless. She's seen a black and white movie, asks where the color is, and I tell her it is an old movie. Therefore, if a new movie becomes old, it will lose it's color. And the tragedy is, which she really believed, if she doesn't see The Chronicles of Narnia right away, like TODAY, it might become old and she'll only get to see it in black and white. I could barely suppress my chuckles as I soothed her in my arms.

Imagine this, while our children may occasionally see a black and white film when their grandparents get nostalgic, they will never know of a time when the Internet did not exist. (Unless Armageddon really does come to bring about the end of the world as we know it - or worse - the Internet.)

Back in the day, my father was somewhat of a computer maverick. As a young girl I remember visiting him at work to see IT - an enormous piece of machinery the size of a New York City apartment that spit out punch cards. Today, my laptop the size of a notebook, has probably over 100 million times the computing power than that magnificent machine. "Big deal, Mom." I can imagine my daughter saying in about 10 years.

During his last visit, my dad gave me a beautiful memento - my birth announcement. It was made on one such computer. It says,

"It's true computers are here to stay;
and, Thea Jon (my sister) has found a way
for automation to help her say
her baby sister arrived today."

That was more than 38 years ago.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

SPT: Toaster

Marriage isn't always bliss. After working out at the gym, I sat on a stool in my kitchen and ate Pirate Booty (kind of defeats the purpose) pondering my marriage. I found it amusing to see how the distorted image of myself in the toaster reflected the anger that I should have been feeling.

Instead I felt depressed.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Big Truck

Originally uploaded by Dominique Alyce.
I was waiting for the light on Congress and Dearborn when this truck slowly approached. Two little dogs dressed in red and white santa sweaters were yapping like crazy at the window. He rolled down his window, smiled and waved as I snapped this photo. I'm sad it turned out blurry. Didn't have time to adjust the settings.

During the same walk I was experimenting with photographing reflections (for self portrait tuesday). A rugged guy (scary at first) approached, stopped and stared. After watching me photograph myself several times in the library window, he broke out into an enormous toothy grin. He stepped closer and began a series of amusing poses. When I turned my camera on him, he became shy and shuffled away.

I'm thrilled when total strangers ham it up to get their picture taken.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Dancing Dreamer

Originally uploaded by Dominique Alyce.
Today was Chloe's much anticipated ballet recital. It started with the three girls sleeping. One girl would yawn, stand up, dance about and sit down again. Then the next, and finally Chloe's turn.

The first girl's skirt was stuck under Chloe. She had to poke and nudge Chloe to get her butt off her skirt. This confused Chloe which got her irritated, but continued "sleeping". The next girl did her little dance and sat down. When it was time for Chloe to get up, her skirt was stuck underneath both girls. Oh the sadness and confusion. Finally she boldy stood up as her skirt was torn off. She grabbed it, ran off stage, got fixed up and returned quickly to finish her dance.

My heart nearly burst in my chest as I saw her panic. I remember when I was little and in a Montessori school performance. There was a big number when all the classes were combined. I got my turn on stage - right in front of the school. At one point in the routine, we were to stand with our legs planted firm as we reached into the air. My hands shot up as my skirt fell to the floor. I ran off the stage in tears. Someone's parent pinned me back together and pushed me onstage for it to happen again. I never forgot the embarrassment, but still continued to get on stage for various performances throughout my life.

In spite of Chloe's little faux pas, she completed her performance with all the smiles and grace of a bumbling 5-year-old. And again my heart nearly burst from pride and love.

Backstage, she was excited to see me. Only when we were finally alone did her composer melt as she sobbed in my shoulder. My sweet, sweet girl.

PS: I had to do everything to contain myself as the good Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, sat behind me in the audience. George was nudging me to go talk with him - knowing my great admiration for the man and his work. No. He was there as a devoted parent like the rest of us. Surely he would like to enjoy his family without celebrity.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Sunday, December 04, 2005

It's Coming.

This disturbing short article today in the New York Times reminds me of my Christmas angst. Shopping, wrapping, packing, sending, spending, spending, spending, spending. What the hell does all this have to do with the birth of Christ? I ask.

I am frustrated that I still don’t know how to celebrate Christmas in a meaningful way. I had hopes that I’d have it all figured out so I can pass on some lessons and traditions to my daughter.

There are only about 20 days left until Christmas so I need to figure it out soon. The easiest way out is to simply sit down, make a list and go shopping. By doing so, I promote the aspect of Christmas that disturbs me the most. Crazy, huh? Yet, even when I've sent out that message in the past that I don’t want to play that game, I am met with harsh criticism and people insist that they are still going to give me gifts no matter what because they like to. This year, I’ve been in denial. I haven’t said anything. I haven’t asked what anyone wants. I don’t want to know. I don’t know what I plan to do. Which means that I’ll probably end up at the last minute rushing about in a frenzy because I don’t want to be the mean mother/wife/daughter/sister/aunt/friend/employer, etc.

What is most important to me is seeing my family and enjoying time with them. My family is scattered all over the map. There will never be one time to see them all so I try my best to space it out throughout the year. This year I’ll be in Utah on Christmas to spend time with one side of the family. I’m thrilled that Chloe will get a chance to bond with her grandparents, play with her cousins, and ski with the dad’s while my sister and I have some uninterrupted time to spend with each other.

Christ’s birth is important to me, but not at the top of the list. I am not a practicing Christian. Yet, I still find there are many rich and valuable lessons to embrace in some of their stories. That and Chloe is obsessed with baby Jesus so I try to teach her what my understanding of Christ is, rather than let the retailers, cartoons and commercials form her beliefs. Ultimately, I’d prefer her obsession over Christ rather than Santa Claus as long as she doesn't start thumping bibles. I’d rather talk about how Christ’s profound message to the world was about loving and serving others. Not going to a shopping mall, spend all your money on things that people don’t really need so you aren’t an outcast by showing up empty handed.

While I muse over all this, Chloe is outside playing in freshly fallen snow with one very good friend. This is what I enjoy most about this season.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Whenever my husband's family gets together, we always end up at a bowling alley.

This is Chloe's first time. I love her technique. And darn if she couldn't keep those pants above her hips.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Pillow Talk

He nuzzles into my neck.

"Mmmmmm, you smell good.
What is it?"

"I showered."

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Self Portrait Tuesday - Consumer

The day after Thanksgiving I planned to deliberately observe Buy Nothing Day (thanks to another fine blogger for the reminder). Unfortunately, I was in a strange town when I got my period. I had to get supplies. We drove around and around looking for a small drugstore. I would have burned a tank of gas if necessary to avoid the local mall. But alas, the smallest store I could find was a Fred Meyer. I've never seen this before, but it is not unlike a Wallmart or a Meijer's. The store was decked out in full Christmas gear. Huge signs promising great deals obstructed many isles. Free coffee and donuts was being served and lines built up around the registers. I picked up my few essentials and stood in line for what seemed like an hour.

A very friendly, chatty woman looked at my sparse basket and exclaimed, "Good God girl! How did you get through here with just that tiny, little basket?"

"I'm observing Buy Nothing Day, but I got my period. So, you know, I had to buy something." I replied.

Her bright smile turned into a look of deep concern. "Oh, I see." Concern that I got my period while on vacation? Or concern that I was really crazy and wasn't planning to do any Christmas shopping?

Home Again

Whew. Back home safe. Flying into Chicago tonight, the winds made it a very scary landing. As I was trying to conceal my fear, Chloe was bouncing with enthusiasm - so excited to get home to see Lucy, Edwin and her forgotten stuffed bunny. Now I can't rest because I'm still on Pacific Coast time.

This is my favorite shot from the trip. I'd passed through this intersection several times without notice. And then the clouds parted to lend beauty to what was otherwise mundane.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Self Portrait Tuesday - Identity

Of the graphic designers I know, it seems that having cool frames is a job requirement. I wanted to be one. Not for the look, but for the work. I was hoping to get into something creative that paid. I took a few courses at the New School but never pursued it seriously. I continued to be consumed by my cubicle job and put off my aspirations.

Today I picked up my new frames. Can I pass?
The painting in the background is by friend and artist, Bill Dawkins.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Harry Potter and the Magic Quilt

(This is the rug I made to go with the magic quilt.)

Against all reason, I took my five-year-old daughter to see the new Harry Potter movie this last weekend. It was George's idea. But I can't blame him entirely. We were in Indiana and didn't have a babysitter. I wanted to see it, too, and the house was cold. It was no surprise to me that the theater was filled with senseless, desperate adults (like us) towing their young’uns along, including infants, to what they knew would be a terrifying movie. We would never get away with that at the Esquire on Oak Street. Nor would the Esquire ever show a Harry Potter movie.

She was terrified and watched the movie with her head buried in my armpit – similar to how I viewed “The Blair Witch Project” several years earlier. Shame, shame, shame on me because I knew it would be scary. But she insisted on staying.

Later that night, in bed, tucked under her quilt, I retold the story of how baby Harry was saved from Voldemort by his mother’s love. It went something like, “Lord Voldemort was a bad wizard who wanted to kill Harry’s mom and dad. But when he zapped Harry’s mom..”

“What happens when they’re zapped?” She asked.

“Ah… Hmm… Well?” I stammered.

“I know. Do they turn into those blue light things?”

“Yes, that’s right (safe!). They turn into blue spirits.

So when Voldemort was about to zap Harry’s mother, she made the most powerful spell… that if anyone tried to zap Harry, he’d get zapped himself. That’s why Harry lived and Voldemort died, sort’of, because his mother protected him with a special love spell.”

Her mind was spinning with magic, spells and mothers. Before she fell asleep, I told her that when I made her quilt, I stitched some of my own momma-love-magic into all of those little hearts. Whenever she had a bad dream, she could touch her quilt and know she was protected by my spell. She examined the quilt, touched the thread.


Really, really.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Rocket Science

It was one of those days when all the elements came together.

Three friends, a field, and a rocketship.

Blast off.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


For the Three...Beeeoooootch.
Originally uploaded by tread.
I've been wondering if it is more pretentious to say something, or to be cool and discreet as though it were nothing.

George played hoops against Michael Jordan last night.

Me? I took Chloe to ballet, cooked dinner, and tried to organize my studio.

Before I indulge in self-pity at my simple existence, there is nothing so cool as when my five-year-old begs and begs and begs for me to play Lego's. I finally relent and bend my creaky knees to get on the floor with her. She flashes her beautiful smile and says, "Mom, I really like playing with you."

Later, my heroic-basketball-playing man came to bed. I wrapped myself in his long limbs for warmth and mused, "do you think Michael Jordan wakes up with creaky joints?" Then drifted off to sleep.

I am so in love. With both of them.

Postscript: The photo is not my own. Click through the image or one of the links to see more of Tread's excellent work.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Corner in Pilsen: Gulliver in Wonderland by Hector Duarte

During the last few weeks, I've been tearing the guts out of my closets as I've moved rooms about in my loft. While I've been considering paint colors and organization containers, this is what my friend's husband did to her home:

This is a far cry from the Victorian "painted ladies" found in Oak Park.

But seriously, I find this to be a fascinating mural. Strange at first sight, it has left me pondering his meanings and motives for days. Like a rare, good movie, I can't get it out of my head.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


My friend, Krista, emailed this recently. This is one of my favorite photos. I'm the Amazon in the middle holding the cute, young pup. Krista's the one with the fabulous retro bathing suit. To get to Long Beach, we caught a subway to the LIRR and took that to the last stop. Had brunch at a diner and crossed the street to the beach. In New York, you can commute to anywhere. That was a beautiful day.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Just Another Happy Kid on a Swing

Just when I thought I would never, ever leave my house and feel sunshine on my face again (because Chloe was still at home today hacking up phlegm), our fabulous babysitter offered to take her home with her. Overnight.


My house is clean and...

Today I had lunch with a friend.

Tonight I'm going on a date with my husband.

Tomorrow I'm going to a Museum with friends, and on our way to lunch will finally see Hector Duarte's mural painted on the side of his house.

I am giddy as a happy kid on a swing.

(The sweetest thing is that Chloe is just as giddy to have a "sleepover" at Ewa's house.)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


I tried many ways, yesterday, to take a self portrait without a tripod. One of which was to carefully balance my camera on a cupboard shelf. My daughter is now five and a half years old. Think I can get rid of this stuff, yet? I guess I've been hopeful. But the food (and my uterus) has passed its expiration date.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Self Portrait Tuesday

My coat is what I wear to cover my dowdy stay-at-home-mom appearance.

I once wore it to a Halloween party at a friend's new suburbian house. One of her new neighbors asked me what I dressed as. Hmmm, myself. She was embarrassed at her mistake and swiftly switched to other friendly small-talk topics. Perhaps she saw through me. It is my "City-Self" costume.


I know that I've spent too much time indoors with a sick daughter when I begin to look forward to watching certain cartoons.

I like "Charlie and Lola" and "Connie the Cow." They both have rich artwork and chipper English accents and the characters are sweet in a tolerant sort of way.

How long can this cold last?

Besides cartoons, we have also rearranged and sorted the Dominoes in every logical pattern.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


After playing basketball Saturday morning, George came home with lunch for me and Chloe. Very thoughtful. However, I immediately noticed that he wasn’t eating with us so I asked if he’d already had lunch.

“Yes – at the gym.”

“I thought you were going to come straight home. Right away.”

“I did come home right away.”

“Who did you eat with?” No reply. “You ate alone?” Still no reply.

“George?” I entered the office where he was playing Age of Mythology, “Why don’t you answer me?”

“Because you are asking crazy questions. “

“I am not.” He continued playing his game. “George?” I shouted.

He turned and carefully asked, “Did you eat your lunch, yet?”

“What?!?" I yelled. I couldn't find the words to express my indignation. “This does not have to do with my lunch!!!” I marched into my bedroom and sobbed. After a few moments, I came out, ate my lunch and made out with my husband. So much better.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Glenda the Good Witch

Chloe made the crown. I made the dress. She wanted me to also make a bubble to float around in. I had to explain that my sewing machine didn't have that feature - the bubble floatation creation attachment. It must have been lost along with my zipper foot and buttonholer.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Baby Super and Her Flying Machine

Complete with perfectly balanced platters of crudites and a flower petal propellor.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Congratulations Chicago. Now Please Let Me Sleep

Okay, so the White Sox have won the World Series (I've assumed from the hundreds of people screaming and honking horns and noisemakers in the bars, lofts and on the street below me). All the fun makes me wish I was a sports fan, but I'm not really. It is amusing, though.

I suspect there will be much celebration.

Other news today: 2000 US soldiers have died to date in Iraq. Peace rallys were held across the country. I wonder which gets more press coverage?

They are now breaking bottles in the street. This city has gone mad.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Originally uploaded by Wannashrink.
Or perhaps she can go as Ozzie Guillen. Now where did that mask go?


We are getting a lot of mileage out of last year's costume because it is less than a week until Halloween and I still haven't made her a new one.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Lost in Flickr

A tapping sound interrupted my aimless browsing. I emerged to investigate. Small, pea-sized hail is falling from the sky.

Thirty minutes later, I am interrupted by trucks with sirens stopping at my building. Probably a tripped alarm, it happens frequently. I always look because I am surrounded by aged, dry timber. A window washer is repelling from the roof. The firemen stop him, and then go away.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Originally uploaded by Wannashrink.
To get her into the bathtub, it takes a strong adult to drag her by the foot as her fingernails screech across the slate floor. But once submerged, Chloe is happy.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Anatomy of a Quilt

It began sometime back in the eighties in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota. As a young girl, I had purchased sale fabric to make a bedspread as one of my personal progress goals (a Mormon thing). It was planned to be one of those frilly, calico numbers with many, many ruffles. Unfinished, thank god, it found a home buried deep in my hope chest.

Several years later, my father personally delivered this chest, complete with all of its forgotten contents to me in New York. I then lived in a 6-floor walkup, cold-water-flat on the edge of Alphabet City. The bathtub was in the kitchen, the toilet was in a closet on the other end of the flat, and gates secured my windows. I had no money for furnishings so discarded boxes improvised for curtains, giving my home the lovely effect of a crack house. I did, however, have a sewing machine. With a casing and hemmed edges, the unfinished bedspread soon replaced the dark and dusty cardboard.

Yards of fabric still remained. A found scrap of wrapping paper with an image of an antique quilt became my design inspiration. I had no television at the time so I often spent evenings listening to a local jazz station while hand-sewing hearts onto squares of fabric. Packs of those small squares traveled with me everywhere, on the subway, in the breakroom at work, and on park benches. It was years before I had completed enough squares for the quilt top. By then, my taste had grown up and out of hearts and calico. Again, it was buried at the bottom of the chest.

Where was I when I had finally sewn the pieces together? I’m not sure, but it may have been in the small, Brooklyn studio I occupied between relationships. It was there that I would rebuild my soul before corrupting it again through empty relationships. Loneliness is great motivation to work a project. While not proportionate, the completed dimensions would fit a double bed, although at the time I slept in a twin. I must have felt optimistic. Alas, I ran out of fabric at about the time a new man came along. Neatly folded, the unfinished quilt returned to storage.

Years passed, as did the man with his trendy, Upper East Side apartment. Rejected and broken, I returned to the simplicity of Brooklyn with its big, shady trees and wide sidewalks. Quilting stores were in vogue along Seventh Avenue and I would often wander in to touch the fabrics and drink in the patterns and colors. I had started and completed many other projects, yet the quilt remained unchanged.

It moved with me from apartment to apartment. I married, moved, moved again, bought and moved into our first home (an apartment). Had a child. A daughter. Oh joy, the quilt should be for her. I took out the old quilt top only to consider it briefly. I returned to its dusty place as I went back to school to finish my degree and took care of my baby girl.

A year later my small family and I packed our belongings once more, including the forgotten quilt. This time we moved out of the city, out of state, where we have settled in Chicago. This new place was disorientating. Sometimes it still is after four years. But as Chicago becomes more like home, I know New York less and less. We gutted and renovated a loft in an old machinist building as my daughter was almost ready for her big girl’s bed. My first task in decorating was to finally resurrect the old quilt. It was cleaned up and with new flannel for the backing and cotton batting, it was set up on stilts in my center room. The work took months, but stitch by stitch, it was finally completed.

The colors are dusty and outdated. Because of this my daughter has not fallen in love with her hand-sewn quilt (not nearly enough pink). The fabric from my youth has now found its purpose as decoration in a vacation home. It is mostly forgotten.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Watering the Cat

Much to my displeasure, Edwin will not drink from his dish.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Speaker Wire

Tried to hook up my stereo speakers today, but left it all in a tangle. I think I think that I'm going to give it all up and get one of these. Feedback anyone?

Snagged this from Muse. Go to Google and type "(your name) needs". Include the quotations marks. For example, if your name is James, type "James needs" and press enter. Pick the five funniest ones.

Dominique needs:

- to find 145 machines.
- to take a more aggressive role in the boat...
- to work a bit more on her classes (flash back to Grade School, Junior High, High School, BYU, etc.)
- to go down.
- a breast job. (I swear, George didn't write this.)
- no introduction. Her sex appeal is sizzling.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

More on the Subject of Water

This was taken at Crown Fountain in Chicago. A watery image is projected on a tower of water that is reflected in the pool of water below.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Oh, there are some days that seem simply perfect. Beautiful, autumn day. Dried leaves on the ground. Chloe joyfully running around the playground with new found friends. Park bench in the shade. Utne Reader in hand reading Garrison Keillor.

Cell-phone-mom then crosses the entire length of the playground and chooses my bench to sit on. There are three other lovely, shady and unoccupied benches with excellent views of the kiddies. Why? Why must she sit by me? My peace is shattered as she argues with whomever about whatever. I don’t care. I really don’t care. I want to watch my kid play. Read my magazine. Listen to the crunching of dried, fallen leaves. Luxuriate.

What do I say? I want to ask her to move somewhere else, please and thank you very much. Yet I don’t. I’m certain that will add contention to my otherwise peaceful day. Without comment, without a glance I pick up my stuff (poncho, backpack, snack, water bottle, tote bag, books, etc.) and moved to a vacant bench. This time I was inconsiderate and spread my belongings out across the bench to ensure this won’t happen again. She didn’t notice nor did she care.

Within minutes a new mom approaches (mother of one new friend) and we enjoy a long conversation. For this I move my bags, snacks, magazines. “Please sit,” I say. And she does.


This was taken about a year ago at a block party. The fire department turned on the hydrant and hung out while kids crawled into, onto and all over their fire engine. As my daughter's lips turned blue (that water is near ice), my mind wandered back to a time (little more than ten years ago) when I lived in Harlem on 123rd and Lenox. There were a lot of kids there, too, running through open fire hydrants. But the arrival of the fire department wasn't something to celebrate. The younger kids scattered, while the older ones jeered at the firemen as they shut off the water. As soon as they were gone, a large old man with a very large wrench managed to turn it back on again. Instantly the kids were back. Hah.

I post this for Mama Says Om. Beautiful site. Beautiful women.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Morning Exchange

(The painting above my desk is by one of my very favorite Chicago artists, Marketa Sivek. See more of her amazing work here.)

I stopped at Starbucks after dropping off my daughter at school. I’d already had my morning cup-o-joe but I longed for a connection with other adults before returning to my empty home, if only for a brief consumer exchange.

Starbucks is one of those major franchise operations that I despise on principle, but secretly enjoy. There is a hip, privately owned coffee lounge in my neighborhood that I want to love, but don’t. They have a bigger space, local art on the walls, comfortable seating, and healthier food options. I go there occasionally, but it is usually filled with smoke and the employees are sometimes too cool to be nice and too hip to bathe. The smoke isn’t intolerable. I am an ex-smoker who quit long ago but still love the smell and the sensual curling trails off the end of a butt. I just don’t want to carry it with me for the remainder of the day. Nor am I a clean freak – I think our country has an unhealthy obsession with hygiene. For myself, I’ll settle with a whore’s bath and some lipstick. However, for the morning coffee stop, I find it unappetizing to see the crack of the barrista’s ass because his hipster jeans have failed to meet his hips.

At the local Starbucks, the folks are clean, make eye-contact, and most seem genuinely friendly, at least they try to be. This morning I arrived at the end of a rush. I selected a bag of beans to be ground and ordered a medium pumpkin spice latte. I usually have just coffee – reminiscent of simpler times when coffee light with two sugars and a buttered roll went for a buck fifty. And I refuse to order my coffee size by Tall, Grande, and Vendi. These words still hold little meaning to me. Cute, young, twenty-something with exquisite blue eyes asked how would I like my coffee ground. On some days this question would be really annoying – ground? Isn’t that the answer?

“Paper cone,” I answered.

“Would you like anything else?”

Mmmm, just to wallow in your eyes. “Ah, no.”

“That will be $15.44.” I handed him a twenty. “Let me grind your coffee first.” He returns with the bag. I hand him the twenty again. My hand jitters from my earlier coffee buzz – or anxiety. “Are you in a hurry?”

“Oh, ah, no. Heh (nervous laugh). No – just used to being quickly processed through this place.”

He smiles. “But there is no one behind you.”

“You’re right, what’s the hurry?” He hands me my change. “Just to rush home do the dishes.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean. Yesterday was laundry day. Hey, have a good day.”

I smile, “You too.” This was what I came for, what I paid for - just enough contact to ward off the lonely birds. I gave the homeless guy two bucks for the new Streetwise issue and went home resolved to write.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


Because of this, my life is rich.

First Adult Conversation of the Day (Saturday)

Thought I could get the paper while still in my pajamas without much ado. I was wrong. There are people showered, shaved and dressed, hair combed and teeth brushed, walking dogs all before 10am on a Saturday.

e: Hi Dominique.

d: Hi E.

e: Who'd you have to run over to get those pants?

Snippet of said pants (ewe):

Thursday, October 06, 2005

I'm a What?

You are a

Social Liberal
(71% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(18% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test

No big surprises here. My husband announced that we are exact opposites. He's wrong, because then he'd be a fascist. We're both pretty socially permissive and opposites on economic policy. That makes him a Libertarian. This reflects on our personal life... he makes money and I give it away (he always agrees, though, so maybe he's not as much of a Libertarian as he thinks he is).

And last night, giving was never so much fun. House of Blues in Chicago hosted a hurricane relief fundraiser. For a substantial donation to the American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity we got tickets to see Pearl Jam. They are not a favorite of mine, but I was along for the experience.

The cynical side of the night...

Getting out of the cab I thought that perhaps we had the wrong night. The look of the crowd didn't reflect the ticket price. But once assured that they were all anxiously waiting for Pearl Jam, I thought how cool it was that these kids managed to scrape together the cash, or managed to convince their parents that it was essential to donate to the Red Cross NOW! I had good feelings. Then some wiry, old guy marches to the back of the line shouting on his cell phone, clearly intending to be heard by all, that there was nothing but a bunch of teeny boppers in grundge on Mommy and Daddy's dime. Hey buddy, this is for a good cause - did you really think your feeble donation (it's all relative, huh?) was going to buy you a private room with your favorite rock star? Folks were visibly uncomfortable. Someone kindly explained to him that for one hour fifty tickets for $50 were made available to subscribed fans. Cool. Silly that a nerd like me who had to Google Pearl Jam to remind myself what songs they're known for should enjoy this without a true fan base. I almost wanted to donate my tickets to a couple of very dejected guys who were two too late for the fire sale. But I really wanted to go to this.

House of Blues is just the kind of concert hall that I'd normally avoid - no seating. Above the stage is a sign that reads something to the effect of everyone is equal. However, for another $2 Grand one can enjoy the Foundation Room on the upper level. For yet another undisclosed sum, you and your friends can have a box complete with your own bar and sumptous seating. Even the bar stools scattered about had names taped to them. Twenty minutes into the warmup band (Robert Plant, no less), it was clear no one was going to claim their hard wood, backless stool. Yet we were still admonished by a security guard to remove our bums. And then, of course, there were all those out-of-luck fans waiting outside hoping for a break to get in.

The really cool part of the night...

Fans are great. I think they're more entertaining than the act. I was wedged between two fanatic Robert Plant/Led Zeppelin fans. Both guys were in their mid-forties I would guess. I missed the whole Mega Rock Star worship thing (except maybe Bono), but it thrills me when someone can rattle off meaningless trivia while punching the air at all the appropriate beats and yet still shout every word to every song.

I missed so many great photo op's because we'd left the camera phone at home. My favorite was of an attractive, stylish forty-something woman, tired of standing on her kitten heels, neatly tucked them in each back pocket of her jeans and knelt on one of those forbidden wood stools. Whenever anyone passed they had to dodge her gyrating tush for fear of getting a heel stuck in the eye. Nice shoes, too.

Ears buzzing, my hair extensions reeking of pot, we dodged out of there around midnight, long before the concert was over. We gave our tickets to a hopeful fan and went home to relieve the babysitter. It was a good night.

Monday, October 03, 2005

"We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it..."
George Eliot