In the midst of all of this chaos, birds are still singing, flowers are still opening up, and the sun keeps faithfully rising.
Last night we revived an old classic…a movie that harkens back to the very best of an 80s childhood. E.T. Glorious!
Continue reading “A Throwback: The 80s, E.T. & Virtual Rides”
My street has been lined with moving trucks. Our neighbors (that we loved) have moved out. New neighbors (that we hope to love) have moved in.
A friend recently made a fascinating observation about me after she saw photos of my living room (don’t worry, that is not my living room pictured above).
She said, “You live like such a minimalist…yet you dress like such a maximalist!”
- We’re doing a mini-upgrade to our home office and debating two wallpapers: a soft neutral or a silver blue. Everyone seems to love the neutral- the blue is so uplifting though! I shared this on Instagram and turns out, many are uplifted by that blue too. So what’s your vote?
- There is a restaurant in Minocqua, WI called The Boathouse. And The Boathouse has the most amazing soup around: Hungarian Mushroom. It’s so good that I eat hot bowls of it on 90-degree July days in the thick of summer. I found this recipe and not only is it quite simple, but it’s nearly a perfect duplicate of The Boathouse speciality.
- My kids are ice skating like crazy. Wells skates at the outdoor rink at his elementary school (during January, this is what the kids do for P.E.). Gus has been skating at an indoor rink in Winnetka- reliable because it’s not dependent on our fickle winter weather. Best tip for new skaters? If you are wobbly bend down and touch the tops of your knees to regain balance.
- New stockings to welcome the newest family member (Putter the dog)
- Annual holiday party, with candied bacon winning again for best bite
- A Home Alone-themed party in which Fitz dressed as Gus Polinski, polka king of the Midwest (he took clarinet lessons, people. CLARINET LESSONS)
- Hot tea, green juice, water, repeat (also: prayers for my immune system)
- Taking advantage of that free gift-wrapping service at Nordstrom
- An amazing hosting gift: the Saveur cookbook! I made this ham, egg, and lemon sandwich on brioche for dinner on Tuesday.
- No snow. Bummer.
- Lots of twinkle lights. Delightful.
- Frasier Fir candles
- Carols are great but do you ever listen to Christmas jazz? (*swoons*)
- 4th place in chess championship for Wells, ice skating lessons for Gus
- Off Campus Writers Workshops for me, paddle season for Fitz
- Shivers for Putt-Putt, who does NOT like the cold (she is from Mississippi)
- Menu planning for Christmas Eve: maybe baked ziti and roasted salmon with dill sauce
- Holiday tea with my sis, U Club with the A-team (solid city escapes)
- Lightscape at the Botanic Garden
And a partridge in a pear tree!
Each morning, around the 8am hour, my car curves around a corner and I see the same familiar sight: two people out for a walk, clad in matching red parkas.
It was 23 degrees this morning. The chill was of no concern for these two friends on their stroll. Clouds of breath were visible in the frigid air but still, the sun was shining and welcoming the start of a new day.
Our mornings often follow a strict routine. Along the way of brushing teeth, showering, changing clothes, eating/drinking, there are also little pieces that fit into this routine puzzle. There are dogs that are walked at the same time each day. There is a cyclist doing dedicated laps around the hilled streets. Construction crews are arriving and removing tools from their trucks. School buses heave with exhaust as they begin their dutiful routes.
But there is something very interesting about this couple in their red parkas. My children have noticed their dedicated morning walks over time- walks in the warm Spring sun, walks in the crisp Fall, etc.. But it’s fascinating to them to witness such consistency in these wintry months.
I’ll confess- I love this notion. Sure, it takes a little motivation and pep talk to get psyched about venturing out into the cold. But nature has always been restorative. It’s accessible and soothing for stress. We just have to get ourselves moving. It helps if we also approach this with the right layers. You gotta bundle up in the whole shebang: gloves, scarf, hat, boots. Yes, this is a groan-worthy bunch of extra effort. Yes, you still have to do it if you want to be comfortable (and yes, bonus points are awarded if you have to dress young children; it’s practically an Olympic sport wrangling snow pants, coats, and mittens onto a tiny human).
I once read that in Scandinavia, families are encouraged to get outside everyday, rain, snow, or shine. That in doing this, one can experience stimulation that can’t be replicated indoors: fresh wind on skin, the crispness of a snowflake, or the crunch of boots against the Earth. This act might feel really daunting, especially when temps plummet to single digits. So why not start small? Why not start with something easy and free? Something like a walk in your neighborhood.
A few years ago, I made the decision to wake up before the sun and start going to a 6am yoga class. As a sleep-deprived parent, this was NOT easy nor enjoyable at first. But I was consistent and made it a part of my morning routine. I am soothed by this practice now, even though it took time to get my footing.
I imagine it was the same for the folks I see each morning, rounding the corner, two bright spots of red. Yes, our weather and seasons are changing. Maybe a little consistency can soothe that.
City Girl Confessions is my recurring column in The Glencoe Anchor.
I love the escape of theatre. I love that I can pause my life to steal away into a dark room, watch art that will spin my brain around, and return to my world feeling transformed. And I’m so very lucky to have a world-class theatre right here in Glencoe.
This past week I was invited to take in a performance of The Niceties at Writers Theatre. On an evening so cold the air stung my cheeks, I grabbed three friends and walked into the show, ready for whatever the experience held.
A professor’s office
A conversation on American history
Your first thought might be…that’s not exactly riveting. But oh, the simplicity of this story should not be overlooked. For one, the dialogue is sharp- I got the feeling that writer Eleanor Burgess placed every syllable of this play with purpose. At first, these women are chatting, then suddenly they are deep diving, threatening, accusing, worrying, chastising, provoking, and revealing. It’s a game of verbal volleyball. And you will feel bumped, set, and spiked.
In the show program, there was a paper insert. In it, the theatre broke the fourth wall: ‘you might find yourself tempted to choose a side. We urge you to resist that temptation. There are no heroes and no villains in this play.”
This is entirely true. The audience is also a part of the show. Just listen…you will hear cheers, jeers, guffaws, whoops, and even stunned gasps among your fellow viewers. It’s as if we were all crammed in that professor’s office together. You will get the sense that some of this uncomfortable dialogue has been waiting to be let out for hundreds of years. You will be shocked as you consider your own understanding of history- what are the parts you celebrate? What are the parts you don’t know? What are the parts that have been swiftly erased altogether?
As for the verbal volleyball game…it’s emotional as well. You will fret that as soon as you identify with one character, you quickly align with the other. You will be puzzled, concerned, and dismayed. You will realize that a happy ending is not coming. You will sit in silence when the lights go dark, and you will listen. And keep listening. And think that listening is the best thing you can do right now.
I walked into the cold night transformed once again. The conversation among my friends was wild- dissecting bits that stung, rehashing the dialogue that stayed. As we split off to drive home, we hopped on phone calls to marvel about the show. Then woke up this morning to do more of the same.
So why do we watch a story that confront uncomfortable truths? I will borrow a powerful line from the character Zoe: “We want to know the pain was worth it.”
I remain grateful for the chance to see The Niceties. I hope you see it, too.
Editor’s note: I was gifted four complimentary tickets to the show and encouraged to share my opinions, whatever they may be.
City Girl Confessions is my recurring column in The Glencoe Anchor.
My weekday mornings begin in the dark. Under a pitch black sky, I slowly drag myself from a warm bed, throw on some clothes, fill a water bottle, and drive to Reach, our local yoga studio. The drive is less than five minutes, but there is always some kind of action to keep things interesting.
For one, the wildlife is running amok. I see it all: skunks, coyotes, raccoons, and foxes. It’s a jolt every time to spot the nocturnal zipping around, and to notice them when they are used to going unnoticed.
There is the occasional taxi or Uber, lingering to take someone to an airport, their headlights illuminating a dark street.
There’s construction projects and street cleaning as well. I’ve even see water main repairs and workers lowering themselves under the ground, headlamps shining.
There is such stillness in these early hours- any small movement is magnified and ripples throughout. In a way, it’s a gift to see the world before everyone wakes up. To watch solitude settle on the houses, the roads, the businesses is very soothing.
This past week, I’ve encountered something surprising when I’ve turned onto Vernon Avenue: the trees are illuminated and glowing. In the quiet dark, Village of Glencoe Public Works methodically place cords and wrap twinkle lights as needed, adjusting the bucket trucks to reach new heights. Though Halloween may be on the calendar, clearly, the Village is planning ahead.
Now, I’ve attended the ‘Light the Lights’ event in our town before. It’s festive and filled with community cheer. But I’d never really seen the work that went in behind the scenes to the big lighting reveal. After what I’ve witness this week, let me just confirm that the work is time-consuming, meticulous, and a lot of patience is required.
This little realization stretched further for me. For it made me recognize all the times that our community workers were hard at work while I was fast asleep. It’s one thing to appreciate our little town, it’s another to see how every bit of effort plays a role in creating a community.
In late November, we will have the chance to see all of this early morning diligence pay off. Light the Lights will take place in downtown Glencoe, complete with family activities, shopping specials, beer and wine stroll, etc.. In a matter of mere seconds, the lights will turn on and months of hard work will come to fruition.
I’ll confess, there is always something beautiful to take in when you rise before the sun. Maybe it’s stillness, maybe it’s a yoga class, maybe it’s a lighted tree. Or perhaps it’s something that causes you to stop and pause for just a moment. But in that moment, whatever you see or experience, is yours to hold onto.