Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Hands down, one of my all-time favorite food items.

As far back as my memory can take me, I've loved these big, red, luscious things. I'm sure I was introduced to watermelon by my grandmother, Budgie, who raised me since I was ten. She loved it and would just get like a giggly school girl whenever one was cut open. I'm sure I picked up on that, as Budgie and I have been best friends since the day I was born.

At family picnics or get-togethers, we'd always have a watermelon. Budgie would call down to the local market and ask them to put one in their cooler so it would be cold when we'd pick it up. Small towns are like that.

Then, the time would come for the "watermelon unveiling." I'd hop up next to the table and a large knife was inserted. You could tell if a watermelon was ripe by the way it would craaack! open ahead of the knife blade, like a fissure opening up in an earthquake. Then, the two halves would fall apart, revealing the deep, red fruit.

Budgie would always let out a little scream of delight at that point.

Then we'd dig in. Budgie would always exclaim, "Oh, this is the best one we've had this year!"
And we'd always say, "Budgie! You always say that!"
And she'd reply, "Well it is!"

Budgie and I could polish off an amazing amount of watermelon. Seriously, we'd eat half a large one. No problem.

When I would come home from Austin or Dallas, my drive always took me through Luling, Texas, which is the watermelon capital of Texas. I'd always stop there and buy a famous "Luling Watermelon" from one of their many roadside stands and bring it home for Budgie and me.

We'd spend the afternoon with our watermelon, just the two of us. Eating watermelon together was a sacrament for us. The rest of the family knew it and would stand back, giving us plenty of room.

Budgie also loved sherbet. Every night, she'd have a big bowl of sherbet while we'd all be gathered around the TV, watching Mary Tyler Moore or All in the Family.
Those were such good memories. . . .

Now, I've developed my watermelon sorbet recipe (see below). I've eaten four bowls of it tonight and I keep thinking how much Budgie would have loved it. It's like a watermelon sherbet. Her two favorite things.
(Well, besides me, that is).

Here's a pic of Budgie and me at "watermelon-church", taken about ten years ago.
Sheer ecstasy.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Watermelon Sorbet

Since I don't have any air conditioning in my apartment for the forseeable future, (see previous post) I've developed a tasty treat to keep me cool.

Watermelon sorbet.

Watch it. It's addicting.
And soooo easy to make.

Cut up a seedless watermelon into chunks and freeze it. (A seedless watermelon makes things much easier).

Fill a Cuisinart 1/3 full of the frozen watermelon, the zest of half a lemon, the juice from the aforementioned half a lemon and 2 Tbs sugar.

Blitz it.
Serve it.

Watch out for ice cream headaches.

Like I said, this stuff is addicting.


Still no air conditioning

My air conditioner won’t be fixed for another week. Possibly two.

It’s an ancient air conditioner that was probably an original unit from when the building was completed in 1964. My landlord wants to have it repaired rather than replaced, so the repairman came and removed it on Saturday.

Of course, he arrived right as I was all soapy in the shower. Naturally.

Now, he has to take it back to the shop and see if he can get a new squirrel cage for it. Whatever.

Anyway, the repairman only does house calls on Saturdays, so if the new squirrel cage doesn’t come in by then, it’ll be the next Saturday before I have a/c.

It’s supposed to be in the 90’s this week. I’m mad.

But, I found a pretty clever solution. I noticed that the hallway was air conditioned and the a/c vent in the hallway was right across from the door to my apartment. So I bought a big-ass fan and have it in the front doorway, sucking the a/c in from the hallway. By opening the door to the balcony, a very strong, cool cross-wind is created. I’m comfy.

My friends, Jack and Steve (who own Portia) are going away for two weeks on a cruise to Italy and Greece. If it gets too hot or someone leaps in the open door to murder me, I can always stay at their place.

Miss Healthypants and Iwanski are also going on vacation next week. I’ll be tending to The Cats while they’re away. While MHP and Iwanski are frolicking on sandy beaches, I'll be keeping their cats' litterbox clean and tidy. If it gets too hot or someone leaps in the open door to murder me, I can stay at their place too.

We're good friends that way.

I’m all set for murderers or a heat wave.
Frankly, I’d prefer the former.

Bad Dinner Date

Here is part of the dialogue from a really lame dinner date Saturday night:

. . . "Yeah, I really like sushi and seafood," I replied.

"Oh, you should try Ping Pong. You'd love it," he chirped.

"Where is it?" I said dryly.

"Up on Broadway, across the street."

"Across the street from what?"

"Ping Pong."

"I thought you said the name of the restaurant was Ping Pong."

"It is."

"But you said it's across the street from something. From what?"

"From Ping Pong."

"I still don't understand. You said Ping Pong was on Broadway across the street from something. From what?"

"From Ping Pong."

"So, Ping Pong is not the name of the restaurant?"

"No, it is."

"Look, I still don't under . . . . I wonder where the waiter is with the check. . . . "

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Most Astounding Opera Diva You've Ever Heard

Opera Divas. Beverly Sills and Maria Callas immediately come to mind.

But have you ever heard of Florence Foster Jenkins?

She lived from 1868 to 1944 and the woman truly loved opera. When her father passed away, leaving her buckets of money, she began to rent out ballrooms at the Ritz Carlton in New York City and perform her favorite arias.

Word got around about her incredible voice and, soon, tickets were hard to come by. She was thoroughly convinced of her abilities and critics always managed to review her performances in a flattering, but in an obscure manner.

The woman couldn't carry a tune. Whatsoever.

That didn't stop her. For decades, she soldiered on, singing to packed audiences. Her costumes and staging were just as flamboyant and notorious as her amazing voice. Tinsel wings, headgear and baskets of flowers which she tossed into the audience were not unknown to her. At one performance, she became so carried away with the flower-tossing that the basket followed as well.

Soon before her death in 1944, she managed to record some of her favorite works and even performed to a sold out audience in Carnegie Hall.

I'm going to link you to a 1944 recording of her singing Mozart's "Queen of the Night" aria from "The Magic Flute." This aria is notorious because it has the highest notes ever written for the human voice. There are seven high F's in the piece.
Florence manages to hit one of them.

She also donated most of her wealth to worthy causes, most of which served the homeless.
She truly loved making people happy.

How many people can you say that about?

She was once quoted as saying, "Some people have said I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing!"

I love this woman!

Click here for the recording. Hold on to your seatbelts.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Happy Times at Doggy Beach

Here is Portia at Doggy Beach this morning. The waves were really big, but she body-surfed right over them. Soooo cute!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Organic Eggs

Miss Healthypants and I had our usual evening out last night: Dinner at the Raw Oyster Place and then grocery shopping. (I have a "granny-cart" which makes it easy to get the groceries back to our respective dwellings).
I was looking at the eggs and I noticed a clear plastic container of organic eggs. They were brown ones, of course. I guess brown eggs look more organic-ey, sort of like whole wheat bread compared to white.
Anyway, the label on these eggs said:
"All Natural. No Animal By-Products!"
Excuse me, but here's a chicken.
It's an animal.
Out pops an egg.
That's a by-product from said animal.
Isn't the very essence of an egg the fact that it is a by-product of a chicken?
Ovae Aviorum.
I don't think I want an egg that wasn't a by-product of a chicken.
I want to go back and buy these organic eggs. Then I'm going to call that toll-free number, you know, the one that says "For questions and comments, call..." just to hear their explanation.
No animal by-products. . . . sheesh!


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Healthy Eating. Sometimes.

I watch a lot of cooking shows. I love ‘em. I watch them the way some guys watch a football game, yelling at the TV, cheering, high-fiving. One show that has intrigued me is "Christina Cooks" which is on our local PBS station on Saturdays.

Christina is this lovely red-haired woman who cooks really healthy vegan food. I've dabbled in vegan eating and do okay with it, but like I said, it's just dabbling. Mostly, I couldn’t find much variety in that style of eating.

At first, I thought vegan cuisine consisted of little more than your basic tofu-and-broccoli nightmare. However, Christina’s really got a lot of variety going on and the woman does an amazing amount of cooking in each of her 30 minute programs.

The thing that really bugs me (there’s always something that bugs me when it comes to cooking programs) is that she has this side-kick named Jon Michael who is a singer/guitarist. Midway through each segment, we have to listen to one of his songs and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why he’s there. It’s a cooking show after all.

Also, Jon Michael obviously has a “thing” for Christina. He’s always leering at her and complimenting her in a really creepy way. I have a feeling that he’s off-camera doing naughty things with himself when Christina resumes the cooking. I always fast-forward through the icky Jon Michael segments. Thank god for Tivo.

So, I finally decided to make some Christina-esque food. Here’s a basic recipe idea of hers: Heat oil in a non-stick skillet, add brown rice syrup, soy sauce and fry sliced tofu in it. In another skillet, sauté red onion, red bell pepper, chopped jalapeno, sliced carrots, mushroom, diced mango and add chopped collard greens at the end. Put the veggies in a bowl and top with the fried tofu.

As you can see, it’s very healthy and the tofu is actually very good when fried in oil, syrup and soy sauce. I made a bunch of this and really enjoyed it. A lot.

Then, today for lunch I had a polish sausage with sauerkraut and a huge wad of French fries.

God, I need to get some balance in my life. . . .


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I petted a sloth today

Now, there's a title you won't see on the blogs every day.

But yes, today I did pet a sloth.

I was attending a job/social service fair for people with disabilities where my agency had a booth. This job fair was a Navy Pier in one of the huge festival halls and just about every agency/service provider in the city was there. It was a huge event.

Of course, there are always entertaining things for the little ones to do. There was rock climbing, play-like fishing, and a petting zoo.

I abandoned our booth for a while and made a bee-line for the petting zoo, brushing the little kids aside.

This was no ordinary petting zoo, either! It went way beyond your usual little lambs, pygmy goats, and puppies.

There were pot-bellied pigs, a couple of ferrets, a hedgehog and a sloth!
A real-live sloth. I got to pet it!
And this wasn't your inferior two-toed sloth. No siree, this was the three-toed variety.
There was also an owl, but he wasn't available for petting.

But the sloth was amazing. Gosh, what a weird creature.
After a while, I noticed he was a bit smelly. You know, that weird sloth smell. I bid him farewell and returned my attention to the hedgehog.

Speaking of pot-bellied pigs, a friend of mine back in Dallas used to have one. His name was . . . are you ready for this? . . . Hamlet. (Hamlet's parents were Otis and Sophie). They're pretty amazing little animals. If you're eating a banana, just toss the peel on the floor. . . Gone. Hamlet would get a shower every morning too. After Bob got through with his shower, Hamlet would get one too. He loved it. He'd bite at the stream of water.

Animals are cool.
Now I want a hedgehog.

Lindsay Lohan

Sure, it's easy to be critical of dear Lindsay Lohan. She was facing DUI charges from an incident on Memorial Day weekend, had just checked out of rehab when she was arrested again for DUI and drug possession charges.

What a mess.

But before I criticize her, I've got just two words to say to myself:

"Glass houses!"

I'd hate to think what I'd have been like at 21 with all that fame and money.

What a mess.


My Worst Nightmare

My worst nightmire has come true. The absolute WORST thing that could ever happen in my life has happened. . .

. . . The air conditioning in my apartment went out.

In my apartment building, we all have separate a/c and heating units. Mine began making a funny noise yesterday. Last night, it began making a loud noise that was definitely not funny. It sounded like the motor was banging around in there or a fan blade broke.

Although I can't stand being hot, I prefer that over starting a fire in my dwelling. So, I reluctantly turned off the a/c and turned the fan on 'high'.

I called the landlord this morning and he said there's an a/c repairman that knows these units inside and out. However, he can't be there until Saturday.
Saturday??? That's three days away!!

I immediately checked the weather forecast online. The highest temperature forecasted between now and Saturday is supposed to be 81 degrees.

Normally, that's not so bad, except my apartment building is solid concrete and I'm on the 49th floor. That's a lot of radiant heat below me, rising up to me. Also, my apartment faces west and has wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling glass. With no air conditioning, my apartment is actually a terrerium.

Three days without air conditioning.

I might be at the Marriott.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A funny thing happened twenty years ago. . .

July, 1987, Austin Texas

My friend, Dan, and I had some out-of-town friends visiting us in Austin. David and Mark were from Chicago and wanted to visit us in Texas.

Austin has a notorious spot called “Hippie Hollow” on picturesque Lake Travis that’s been there for decades. Hippie Hollow is a serpentine section of the lake lined with huge limestone step-like boulders, perfect for sunbathing. The water in this hill-country lake is usually pretty clear, cool and blue. (click on the pic. It's pretty)

The thing that has made Hippie Hollow notorious for decades is that clothing is optional. It’s now even an official State Park and, yes, it’s still clothing optional.
Only now you have to pay to park.

It’s popular with the gay crowd, but you can still be walking along and encounter grandma and grandpa in all their glory as well. You don’t have to go nude there; only about half the visitors do. I’m pretty shy about such things, but one time I did get in the water, slip off my trunks and dog-paddled around a bit just to say “I did it.”

So, of course, it’s a great place to take out-of-town guests. Mark loved it, but David was definitely not an out-doorsey person. As a matter of fact, he loved to play up the “Jewish American Princess” role to the hilt (his last name was Weinberg).

So, we’re out there, climbing along the boulders like mountain goats, and David is complaining. It was a typical, hot summer day in Texas and the scorching, dry wind was blowing in from the lake.

Finally, we get settled on a flat boulder and break out a few beers from the cooler. David, in perfect J.A.P. mode exclaims:
“Oh. My. God!
The last time I had windburn like this was coming down the escalator at Saks.”

Twenty years later, I still think that’s one of the funniest lines I’ve ever heard.


My Pen Pal

I just mailed a letter to my pen pal.

Yes. A pen pal.

Does anyone remember those? In this day and age of emails, texting, blogging, and IMing, it's hard to imagine having a pen pal. But I've had a regular and constant pen pal for twenty-six years now.

We've never emailed and don't even know each other's email addresses. I don't know if he reads this blog or not (he's never mentioned it).

We write letters. Honest-to-goodness, handwritten, pen-and-ink-on-paper letters, snail-mailed with a postage stamp. We've been doing that, faithfully, since 1981.

Back then, I'd just left college and was living alone for the first time. I placed an ad in a world-wide pen-pal agency and got buckets of responses. I wrote to a bunch of them, but they gradually dwindled or we became disinterested.

Jim, my pen pal, lived in New York City at the time and I was hell-bent on moving there someday. We continued writing. And writing. Frankly, writing a letter is something I really enjoy doing and he apparently does as well.

He and his partner soon moved to Provincetown, then to San Francisco and he's been there ever since, working as a squash instructor and school teacher. God, I've moved so many times since then. It's a miracle he's kept up with me, but he has. I finally did move to New York ten years ago, but that was long after he had moved to the West Coast.

I doubt that we will ever begin emailing. Frankly, I hope we don't. It just wouldn't seem right and it would probably spoil it all. Sure, I love the ease and instant gratification of emailing, but there's something really special about opening up and reading a handwritten letter that just doesn't compare.

So, Jim, if you're reading this, "hello".

If not, that's fine too. He'll be getting a letter from me soon.


It finally happened

I got up early this morning, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I and my big bushy tail went to go work out at the Crunch Fitness which is, oh, so conveniently located in the lobby of my building.

And I locked my keys in my apartment.

I even have a special set of keys for my work-out routine. The key ring contains the key to my apartment, the electronic key card to get past security and the membership bar-code-thingey to the gym. I was being so organized. . .
. . . and I forgot to tuck it in the pocket of my shorts.

Since it was very early in the morning and not normal hours, I had to wait an extra long time for security to let me in. Worse, I had to wait around with my "morning hair" which, sadly, resembles a sea creature striking a defensive posture.
Blue shorts, purple shirt.
Not a pretty picture.

And I had to pay twenty-five bucks.

Monday, July 23, 2007

It's actually going to happen. . .

As you can see, construction has begun on the new "Chicago Spire." When completed in 2010, it will stand 2,000 feet tall and have 150 stories. It'll be the tallest building in North America.

The condos go on sale in September. Instead of living on the 49th floor as I do now, I can live on the 149th floor.
I've always been fascinated with skyscrapers, so this will provide me with at least three years of entertainment as it goes up. It doesn't take much. "Oooo. Shiny things...."
And it will dwarf Donald Trump's 94-story Trump Tower which is only ninety-four stories. What a wimp.


Tammy Faye

Tammy Faye, bless her heart, was on Larry King Live Thursday night, weighing only 65 pounds and looking so sick and emaciated.
And she was dead on Friday.
Whatever you may think about Tammy Faye, I thought that timing was pretty auspicious.
Frankly, I admire the woman. She was human, with all of our human faults and foibles. She was probably the most ridiculed woman in the media, yet she seemed to be undaunted by it all, often making fun of herself. Both of her husbands were imprisoned for fraud but she remained steadfast in her faith.
Maybe it's just me, but I have a "thing" for insane, tragic women:
Tammy Faye Messner
Janis Joplin
Simone Weil
St. Therese of Lisieux
Mary Baker Eddy
Mary Todd Lincoln
I love 'em all.


My Anniversary

Ten years ago today at 2:30 pm, I crossed the Texas-Oklahoma border in a little U-Haul truck on my way to New York. I had lived in Texas up until then and was very happy to head north to new and exciting adventures.
I've had lots of new and exciting adventures since then. It's been fun.

I know I've talked about growng up in Texas a lot, but today is significant for me.

Texas is a great place to visit and it's a great place to go home to. I wouldn't want to live there again, though. I've grown too used to the clement summers in Chicago to ever go back.

But the longer I've been away from Texas, the more "different" it seems when I go back for visits with my family.

First of all, the people are mighty friendly down there. I don't think Chicagoans are unfriendly, it's just that Texans seem genuinely pleased to engage in a conversation and smile more readily.

Life is just easier down in Texas. Grocery stores are less crowded, everything is wide open, and the prices for just about everything are much lower.

But the heat!! Oh, god, the heat!

Texans are fatter, I will say that. It's because you can't walk anywhere down there. Everything's too far from everything else and it's too hot to do any walking. So, they go from air-conditioned dwellings to air-conditioned automobiles which take them right up to other air-conditioned places.

There are lots of bugs down there too. Lots and lots of bugs. Chiggers, mosquitoes, june-bugs, stink-bugs, lots of spiders and these flying cockroaches that begin with a jump and then (surprise!) fly right up in your face.

My high school graduating class of '77 is having their 30-year reunion next weekend. I won't be going. They're having it outside.
In the heat!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

After-Dinner Foot Theatre

Miss Healthypant's friend from college, Diane, came down for the weekend. Lovely, fun, smart woman. (She looks just like Carrie Fisher, by the way).

We all hooked up with Jack and Steve at the infamous Lao Sze Chuan for a gorgeous meal. Steve took this photo of Miss HP and Diane with his nifty i-Phone and emailed it to me right away. (Those i-Phones ARE impressive, let me tell you)

Our usual friend, Ken, who speaks fluent Mandarin (and isn't Chinese) wasn't with us, so we were left to order things on our own. The past meals, ordered by Ken, our usual Mandarin-speaking friend, have included this incredible shrimp dish that we just die over every time it's brought to the table. We wanted the shrimp dish again. We didn't know the name of it since our usual friend, Ken, always ordered for us in his fluent Mandarin. So we tried our best to describe and obtain it as best we could.

There are big shrimp in a delectable batter-fried coating with a slightly sweet sauce on top. I swear, you have never tasted shrimp like this before. While we were waiting, we saw this dish come out of the kitchen three times to other diners. We wondered if we got it right.

The name of this dish? -- Mayonnaise Shrimp

Yes! They are large shrimp, dipped in mayonnaise and fried like tempura. Who knew that was an authentic Szechuan food item?
But they are.

We also had fish fillets in a deep, red bowl of spicy sauce with silky tofu, spinach in dry chilis, broccoli in garlic sauce, beef in a deep brown orange sauce (very spicy), chicken in a light sauce with vegetables, and the platter of mayonnaise shrimp. Oh, and also crab rangoon and a spicy cabbage appetizer. There were five of us there. With a very generous tip, the meal still came out to twenty bucks a piece. Huge feasts at Lao Sze Chuan seldom cost more than that.

Iwanski met us soon after dinner. He'd spent the day at Wrigley Field with his buds. He'll have to catch you up on that story. It's a good one.
Iwanski is funny.

So, Miss Healthypants and Diane came over to my place after Iwanski was settled. Here is MHP and Diane posing on the 61st story roof of my apartment building:
We sang lots of songs on the piano (Miss Healthypants and I do a rendition of "The Rose" that'll make you weep -- just ask Lorraine).
We sang lots of sappy things from the Catholic hymnal. We do a killer "Close to You" from The Carpenters.

They saw my favorite i-Tunes playlist that includes "I Feel Love" by Donna Summer, and "On and On" by Abba at the top of the list. I shan't be embarrassed -- Those are incredible songs.

But did you know that Miss Healthypants and Diane do "foot theatre"?

They made me draw faces on their bare feet with a King Size Permanent Marker.

I can't draw! Then they came up with characters.
And a scenario.

So! Here, you have Miss Healthypants and her BF, Diane, from college doing foot-theatre.

Here are the cast of characters:

1. George Bush looking angry and confused.
2. Condoleeza Rice (notice her constant admiration)
3. Cheney, stepping up to the plate at the last minute
4. An Alien from a UFO

So, click here, if you dare see our wonderful foot theatre. (click on the play button if it doesn't begin right away. It might take a while to load. Be patient)
I had no idea that my friends were so talented.

You have to admit, it was a fun evening. . . .

Friday, July 20, 2007

Food in the Break Room

My workplace has lots of corporate meetings. We’ve got some really nice meeting rooms and we’re on the same floor as the World Trade Center of Chicago which also hosts a number of meetings on a regular basis.

The best thing about these meetings is that they’re often catered with fancy Continental breakfasts or various types of lunches, some of which can be pretty elaborate. When the meetings are over, this email goes out:


It doesn’t take long for it to disappear. We’re like pigeons on a city sidewalk when someone tosses out popcorn or cereal. We swoop down and busily feed until every last molecule of food is gone.

So many company-wide emails get ignored or placed on task-lists to be attended to at a later date. Even fire drills get a ho-hum response. But nothing gets quite the reaction as:


My boss is on vacation next week and has left me in charge. If I want to have a meeting with the staff, I’m just going to send out the food notice and wait in the break room.

Oh, and I'm eating a pumpernickel bagel and a fruit kebab while writing this.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Horrible Nasty Offensive Dogs

I passed by the Vietnam memorial on the way to work this morning and noticed this sign. Am I missing something here? Apparently, Vietnam veterans find dogs horribly offensive and don't want them sullying their memory.
I can see why it might be inappropriate for a dog to lift his leg on the memorial, but that can easily be averted with a little forethought. Geez!
Apparently, the possibility of dogs disrespecting the memory of Vietnam vets is so serious that it requires 24-hour surveillance.
Our taxes, hard at work.
Who are these people that surveille this place? I can just see one of those surveillance guys now, out on a first date:
His date: "So, what do you do for a living?"
Guy: "Oh, I make sure that dogs don't go near the Vietnam memorial. I used to be in charge of the Calvin Coolidge memorial, but I got promoted last year."
If I were a veteran, I assure you I would want Portia and her essence around my memorial. Anyone who's met Portia can back me up on that.

Bible Action Figures at Wal-Mart

The fine people at the Christian Post online newsletter are all happy and excited because Bible action figures made by one2believe.com will now be sold at 425 participating Wal-Marts across the country. These are supposed to offer an alternative to the horrible, pagan influences perpetuated by such nasty action figures like Spiderman, G.I. Joe and Kermit the Frog.

Now, thanks to the folks at Wal-Mart, your little one will, no doubt, suddenly become a fine upstanding Christian after playing with these Bible-based action figures instead.

Here's Samson, battling it out as a "spirit warrior."
And here's Samson again. Notice that he says "I'm fully poseable!"
Ummm. Is it just me or are these things just a weeee bit homo-erotic?

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Uncle Booger

During the 4th of July party with Lorraine, Iwanskis, and City Mouse and their families, I mentioned that my parents gave me the middle name of Buckner so that I could be called Buck. (my last name is Wheat, by the way). So, growing up, I was Buck Wheat until I left for college. When I go home, I'm Uncle Buck to my nieces and nephews.
Cute, huh?

But growing up, I'd often hear my grandmother, Budgie, reminiscing about her cousin who everyone called "Uncle Booger." I never did learn what Uncle Booger's name actually was. But I can still recall my grandmother, remembering him very fondly:

"Oh, Booger. Dear, sweet sweet Booger. . . "

I'll have to call my mom and see if she can shed any light on Uncle Booger.
And how he got that name.

Goat Slapping

I'm really not sure what goat slapping is, but apparently, it's now a popular activity where I grew up. It appears to be a kid's game where they run up, slap a goat on the rump and scurry back. Here are some pics: (By the way, that's my cousin in pic #287, a wonderful woman. Love her to pieces. She must have been the emcee for the event)

Like I said, it must be something new.
I never slapped any goats growing up.
I swear.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Evening View

The sunset from the Balcony of Terror was really nice the other night.


I see that Pope Benedict just paved the way for the Latin Mass to return.
Yeah, like we didn't see that coming.

I'm sure all the Opus Dei and anti-abortion folks are just purring over this. This is the sort of thing they live for. Latin Mass equals "conservative agenda." I can just see it now -- the Latin Mass taking place and all these neo-conservatives just kicking back their heads and leaving wet spots in the pews . . .
. . . and not understanding a freaking word that's said. Typical.

Frankly, I'm all for it. Surprise.

I converted to Roman Catholicism in my early thirties and "guitar Masses" always bugged me. Here's a typical scene. You have this glorious cathedral with a giant pipe organ, unused. Up front is a lone guitarist strumming the chords to "On Eagle's Wings" or some other vomit-inducing song. How the hell are a thousand people supposed to sing to that?

So yes, I'm all for a little dignity placed back in the Mass. Hell, I'll even convert to Islam or become an Episcopalian if I encounter many more guitar-accompanied Masses.

But the main reason I'd like to attend a Latin Mass is because I was forced to take three years of Latin while in the seminary. And I hated every minute of it. Three years of suffering through Beginning Latin, Intermediate Latin and Advanced Latin. Damn it, I want to use it!

Beginning Latin: Basic vocabulary, noun declensions, verbs. I thought I was through after that. But no. They made me take
Intermediate Latin: Translating Cicero, etc., where you have one sentence a whole paragraph long and one little bitty verb at the end that applies to two different subjects in the sentence. Oh, okay. I thought, whew! I'm done, but noooo, they made me take
Advanced Latin: Comprised of translating Latin poetry where ALL the grammatical rules I'd learned so far didn't apply. It's poetry after all. By then, an understanding of Latin was supposed to be innate. Yeah, right. Rub a lamp.

Unlike these neo-conservatives who won't understand a single word or be able to keep up with the phrases, I'll know every word and their grammatical forms. Ha!

Three years of torturous Latin classes and I'll finally be able to use it!

So, when the priest says, "Dominus vobiscum," I'll be the one shrieking, "Et cum spiritu tua!"
"Pssst! That was the ablative form of 'you'."

Maybe I should just stay home and sleep late instead. . .

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Al Fresco Dining

I suppose this topic should go under “Wednesday’s Whinings” but I haven’t done that in a while.

I really don’t like eating outside. If I’m with friends on a nice, pleasant evening and they want to sit outside, I’ll do it because I don’t want to be a stick in the mud, but I’d much prefer sitting indoors.

Quite a number of restaurants in Chicago offer outdoor seating during the summer months. I suppose it’s because winters here are so long and brutal that Chicagoans like to be outdoors whenever possible.

But if I’m paying for a nice dinner, I want a controlled environment in which to enjoy it. Eating outdoors in Chicago to me is, well, like being homeless. You’re surrounded by lots of noise, funny smells, exhaust fumes, cars blaring rap music, bugs and kamakaze pigeons.
Eating out on a city sidewalk?
Yep, homeless.

No, if I’m paying for a nice meal, I want the amenities that go with it: The air conditioning, the controlled sound system, carpeting, the well-chosen artwork on the walls and the absence of pedestrians. Isn’t that why we went out to eat in the first place, to get away from the public?

Also, I don’t want hundreds of pedestrians looking at my meal. My menu choices are a very personal matter to me. Whenever I walk by a sidewalk restaurant, I always look at the diners and what’s on their plates. I’m way too self-conscious to have the public gawking at me and my baby lamb chops.

If I'd been one of the twelve apostles and Jesus wanted to have the Last Supper outside, I would have told him, "Ummm, Jerusalem in April? With all the donkeys? I don't think so.
You guys go ahead."

Saturday, July 14, 2007


About every two weeks, some nice Amish folks set up a little farmer's market in the plaza next to the building where I work. Seeing them among the super-tall skyscrapers and business people in the middle of Chicago always strikes me as a juxtaposition.

Occasionally, I'll see the Amish on buses or trains in the city. The women, never wearing any makeup, always look so happy, healthy and radiant. There's always a peaceful countenance on their faces that's very apparent. (The men, not so much. I don't know why.)

The Amish women who operate the farmer's market are the same way. Always ready to engage in happy pleasantries, there's just something about them that's appealing to be around.

I bought two pounds of homemade egg noodles and a pint of apple-butter. Apple-butter isn't something I ever shop for, but it just seemed appropriate to buy apple-butter from these people for some reason. Perhaps it was the fact that Amish apple-butter is the absolute epitome of American food, so I bought it. (It's wonderful, by the way). The egg noodles were even better. I'm going to buy a lot more next time they're here.

I was having an incredibly stressful week at work. I had just hired eight new employees and was conducting two days of training and orientation for them. My boss was supposed to be there to conduct it with me, but she got called away to Washington DC and I had to do it all myself. Then the I.T. people totally dropped the ball with the eight new laptops. Now I'm referred to by the I.T. people as "that tall guy that was cursing." That's the kind of week I was having.

So when the nice Amish woman asked me how I liked to prepare egg noodles, I wanted to grab her by the shoulders, shake her back-'n-forth, and say, "Take me back with you. Please!!"

Living the simple life, quietly making noodles and apple-butter seemed awfully appealing to me at the moment.
I'd probably be shunned within 24 hours or the minute I installed air conditioning in a barn.

I wonder what their lives are really like, not using the things we're so used to?
Imagine that. . . .

No internet, no blogging, no emails or Excel spreadsheets or I.T. people who screw everything up.
No Tivo or paying bills online or loving the possibility of an i-Phone.
Only fifty years ago, everyone lived without these things. A long-distance call was quite an event. Men wore suits to church and baseball games.

I'm sure it's very easy to idealize Amish life. Sure, we see them looking all radiant and happy and it's easy to be attracted to a simpler life.

But I've lived in a monastic life and I've also lived "in the world." I'm sure the same human dysfunction exists in an Amish community as it does as anywhere else.
I'm sure that Rebecca Beiler has cursed at her husband using similarly inappropriate words (cursing a blue streak) the the same way I did at the I.T. guy. I've no doubt of that!
I'm sure some of them sneak away to the local library and surf the net, perusing questionable materials. Like I said, I've lived in religious life.
We humans are like that.
We have an incredible ability to pretty much sully anything that's intended to be simple and pure.

I dropped the jar of apple-butter on the floor this morning.
Shattered glass and apple-butter is a bitch to clean.


Friday, July 13, 2007

O Canada

I love talking about food. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been interested in all kinds of different foods. Birthdays often involved a trip to a special restaurant. I had my first lobster for my 11th birthday and brought the lobster claw back to school for show and tell.

So, yeah, I’m a foodie.

One wouldn’t think of Canada as a place for particular food items, but having lived there, I do find myself missing a few things that can only be acquired north of the border. Here are a few of my favorite things that I miss:

Mustard Pickles: There are these large jars of mustard that contain big chunks of sweet gherkin pickles. I always kept mustard pickles on hand – just a dollop of the stuff on the side really dressed up a meal for me. Leftover chicken, a sandwich or meatloaf was always so tasty with my mustard pickles.

I’ve tried mixing mustard and gherkins together but it’s just not the same. And I can’t find them on the internet anywhere. No more mustard pickles. We’re really missing out here in the States, let me tell you.
So sad.

King Cole Tea: I don’t know what it was about this simple black tea that made it so special. Maybe it was because the bags were big and round, thus making a good, strong, bracing cup of tea that could really stand up to a good dollop of milk. Maybe it was the tea they used. Maybe it was the fact that I first drank it during the snowiest winter in all of Toronto’s history. Walking home when the temp was minus 23, and the snow was above my head on the sidewalks sure made a big cup of strong milky tea awfully inviting. Whatever it was, I miss it.

I did find a place on the internets where one can get it. I don’t know. Shipping costs from Canada . . . hmmm. . . No, I’m too cheap.

Over-the-Counter Acetaminophen with Codeine: Not exactly a food item, but it could be. Yes, it was nice to get a little “something extra” to mellow out a headache. However, the amount of Codeine contained in the over-the-counter stuff was only half the amount as the prescription strength medication. Also, it contained a lot of caffeine so if you tried to take extra, it sort of negated the whole process. I think that’s why they made it that way.

But it made for great contraband gifts for my friends back in the States.

Illegal narcotics across the border.
Sigh. Good times. . .

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mom

Today is my mom's birthday. . . . Hi, wave . . .

Actually, quite a number of you got to actually speak to my mom last week during the 4th of July party. (I had mentioned that if I had been born a girl, my middle name would have been "Creama" because my last name is Wheat. Everyone thought I was kidding so we called my mom and handed around the phone for her to confirm that fact). So, Lorraine, The Child, The Spouse, Miss Healthypants, Iwanski, City Mouse and her family all got to say hello. My mom is an extrovert and loved every minute of it.

So, today is her Big Ta-Dahh Day. She's a fantastic, strong, fun-loving woman who raised me and my brother (along with my grandmother) since I was ten years old.

She's multi-talented as well. She's got almost fifty years of public school teaching under her belt and still works part time as a counselor in the school system. Her major field of study was physical education with a minor in biology but she's also been the speech & drama teacher, biology teacher, and sponsor of just about every school club you can think of.

Later, she obtained her licensure as a school counselor and has been in that role for abo
ut the past twenty years.

My mom loves to fish, so on top of it tall, she's been writing a weekly newspaper column for the past 26 years called "Oceans for Emotions" for a local paper in South Texas. It combines a fishing story along with a biblical scripture and a life-lesson at the end. I can't imagine writing a column for 26 years, but she's done it. Click here if you'd like to take a look.

Here's a pic of mom in a favorite vacation spot in the Texas Hill Country. She's also wearing her favorite hat. It has a fish on it. (Oh, Mom!)

So, raise a glass to a very talented and fun-loving woman.
Here's to you, Mom. . .
. . . Know that you are loved.

Raw Oysters and a Turtle

Miss Healthypants and I met for dinner last night at The Fried Oyster Place again. (Henceforth called The Raw Oyster Place). This time, we were accompanied by our good friends, Liane and her husband, Frank. Both Liane and Frank enjoy good food and are wonderful friends and restaurant companions. Liane certainly knows her way around a kitchen and comes up with incredible food ideas. Every time we meet, I ask her what she's come up with lately and I'm always surprised, if not salivating.

I got my half-dozen raw oysters again.
and I noticed on the menu that there was an item called 1-2-3 Soup Bowl. It turns out that's a soup sampler consisting of little bitty bowls of:

1. Gumbo
2. Soup of the day (spicy white bean soup this time)
3. Turtle stew

Turtle stew?
Sure! Why not?From right to left, couter clockwise:
Gumbo, Spicy navy bean, Turtle stew

It was terrific. One couldn't tell it from beef, actually, and I couldn't detect any wierd or turtle-y taste in it. The stew had a smokey flavor, no doubt from a chipotle influence that one encounters everywhere these days (not that I'm complaining, mind you).

Miss Healthypants, much to my surprise, tried the turtle stew and liked it.
Everyone, much to my relief, stayed away from my raw oysters.

Monday, July 09, 2007


January 1968
Little bitty town, South Texas

We had moved to a different town in the middle of the school year and it was the first day of class in my new school. A math test was in front of me and I didn't know any of the answers.
Nine times seven?
No fair!!!
I had only learned up to the "sixes" at my previous school. Why didn't the math test have any questions like six times four? Who could answer a thing like nine times seven for crying out loud?
All the kids around me were busily writing answers to these questions. They were factoring their little nine-year-old brains out.
I just sat there, feeling my face getting hot and my heart pounding. I think I peed in my pants a little.

I had been placed in the "advanced" class because:

1) I was white.

In 1968 in south Texas, the small-town schools were certainly integrated but only on the surface. Every grade in my home town had about 60 kids each so they supposedly placed the smart kids in one class and the not-so-smart kids in another. Therefore, each class was made up of
1) White kids
2) Latino and black kids.

It was their way of keeping segregation alive and well.

In a couple of days I was placed in the math class with the "not-so-smart" kids with Mrs. Pullin who was also my Sunday school teacher at the Baptist church. I knew there was a racial thing going on and it made me upset. The next year, I was up to speed with the math thing but the same segregation thing was going on.

Are you ready for this? I wrote a letter to the newly-elected President Nixon telling him that he should do something about racial inequality.
I also asked that he mention my name on TV.
He didn't do either, and look where that got him.

Anyway, that experience in third grade left its mark. I never did feel like I was worthy of being good at math.

Then came high school algebra and the dreaded train question:
"A train leaves a station at 1:00 pm traveling at 50 miles per hour. Another train leaves the same station at 1:30 traveling seventy miles per hour. How many miles away will the second train overtake the first?"

Good lord! I was just hoping they were on separate tracks. That's all I cared about. I liked trains but hated the train question.

The "nuts" question was the worst:
"Cashews cost $5.79 per pound. Walnuts cost $6.88 per pound. Pecans cost $7.98 per pound. How many pounds of each will it take to result in a mixture costing $6.75 per pound?"

I can't figure that out!!!

That's stupid. Just buy the nuts you want. And charge it on your Visa.

Then came quadratic equations. I kind of liked them because your answers made arcs that looked like hills on a roller coaster. That was kind of cool, but an awful lot of thinking was required that I wasn't very good at.

Many years later in graduate school, I studied philosophy and learned to appreciate mathematics. No matter what exists, mathematics will always exist and remain unchanged. Existentialism and phenomenology all combined in the fact that 9 x 7 = 63, whether any of us exist or not.

9 x 7 = 63, kiddo. Even if there is no god.
If only I had known that in January of 1968.
I could have blown Mrs. Pullin's mind away.

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Eric brought my attention to an online science quiz that 8th graders are supposed to be able to pass.
I made a B minus.
Take the quiz and see how you do. Some questions are easy and some have me cocking my head like a puppy hearing a squeak.

I was never very good at science courses in school, mainly because I found them boring and because you had to use algebra in chemistry and physics.
I couldn't use algebra.
No way.

Nowadays, I'm pretty interested in scientific thingies and often find myself watching my "geek channels" on TV quite a bit.
Also, the "Christianists" seem to be pretty horrified by the scientific method, so that's pretty entertaining for me as well.
When playing Trivia Pursuit, I try to head for the blue squares first (geography) and the green squares next (science).

Oh, and don't ever play Trivia Pursuit with Iwanski. The guy is brilliant. He quickly fills up his pie, heads for the middle and wins without anyone else having a chance to play. That's why Miss Healthypants and I had to make up hilarious new rules where one can get "de-pie'd, re-pie'd, double-pie'd", and being a "pie-whore". Being a pie-whore, of course, can cause you to be de-pie'd.

When I was in the 7th grade, my mom was my Life Science teacher (baby biology). Aside from the Horrible Fact that my mom was my teacher, she was actually a very good teacher. I remember that we had to memorize the formula for photosynthesis which is quite long. For the test, we had to sit alone at a desk in the hallway and write it down. The thing is, we were encouraged to cheat. If we got caught, we got a "zero" on the test.

She did this for two reasons: (1) Being encouraged to cheat on a test in the 7th grade was loads of fun. (2) It was a way for her to learn every possible means by which students can use to cheat.

In high school, I was a member of the Science Club.
The thing is, in my high school everyone was a member of the Science Club. The Science Club didn't actually do anything. It was just a way to get your picture in the yearbook on one more page. So everyone joined. Especially those who felt that getting your picture on as many yearbook pages as possible was the most important thing in the world.

Near my apartment is the Church of Christ, Scientist. (Christian Science Church) Iwanski says that whenever he sees that name, he envisions Jesus in a white lab coat.
That's funny.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

It's Hot

Have I mentioned how much I hate hot weather? It was hot yesterday and I opted out of a nice dinner date just because it would have involved a ride on the EL and an eight block walk. I had food delivered and watched TV instead. That's so sad.

I put away the deck chairs into my storage locker yesterday. Most people put their deck chairs out for the summer. Not me. I'm not about to sit on the balcony until September when things cool down again.

I remember back in Toronto where Celsius temperatures are used, if it ever got above 30 C, (87 F) it was hot. 30 degrees was the cut-off point between being warm and hot.

I still use that benchmark in the back of my mind. Anything above 87 F and I'm pretty much inside, hibernating in the air conditioning. Until autumnal temperatures give me a signal that I can reappear, I'm pretty much confined to my den of air conditioned safety.

I don't know how people lived before air conditioning, especially in the South. They must have been awfully grumpy; I would have been. Before electricity, they didn't even have fans.
The mind reels.

I'm thinking about vacation plans for next year. Iceland sounds awfully appealing.
Reykjavik in January.
My kinda place.

Friday, July 06, 2007

"Sniff . . . "

I just trotted home on my lunch break to say good-bye to Lorraine, The Child and The Spouse. Now that they have a good bit of Chicago in them, they're able to negotiate the Orange Line to Midway airport by themselves, duly confident of their whereabouts. They'll probably even be able to provide directions to any tourist who asks for them.

I can't begin to say what fun and wonderful people they are. They will be missed.
It feels strange. My life feels a bit Lorraine-less, Child-less and Spouse-less.
But now, so many sights and restaurants around Chicago will forever and hereafter be imbued with Lorraine-ness, Child-ness and Spouse-ness. (Especially my Balcony of Terror as JP refers to it).
And that's as it should be.

Here's some advice. Go over to Lorraine's sites. Get to know her.
You'll be a better person with some Lorraine-ness in your life.
Believe me.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Trailer Trash Party of '07

Here are some nifty pics from the Great Trailer Trash Blowout of '07. To say we had a good time would be the biggest understatement of '07. What made it even better was that City Mouse and her lovely family were in town and able to attend.

Here is "Merlene Hogswaller" whipping things up in my kitchen. Notice her red "pleather" pants. That woman can sure rattle them pots and pans.
And here is our fancy serving table, laden with all sorts of goodies. Like fried pork skins.
And here's Miss Healthypants out on the Balcony of Terror enjoyin' a not-so-healthy home-made corn dog. (She used to be real scared to go out there but she ain't no more). MMmm-mmm! Them corn dogs was so good. Just made you wanna fall on the floor and holler. And if that weren't enough, Miss Merlene made some batter-fried Twinkies with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. If you weren't hollerin' by now, you would be. (I have to admit it - - they were soooo good!) Then, I made some frozen watermelon daiqueries. You don't get much more American than that. (I didn't get a picture because they drank 'em as fast as I could make 'em.
We went on the roof to watch the fireworks, came back and sang karaoke until the wee hours of the morning.
Oh, and by the way, I'll be spending the next month at the gym.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Fourth of July Party

We had our incredible blowout Fourth of July party (which is actually held on the 3rd here in Chicago)

City Mouse, the Iwanskis and I attended Lorraine's "Trailer Trash Theme" party which was held at my place. We all had our Trailer Trash themed names.

Lorraine is "Merlene Hogswaller"
The Spouse is "Buck Hogswaller"
The Child is "Li'l Bit" ('cause we don't rightly know who her daddy really is)
I'm now "Two-Buck" since my name really IS Buck, but it's already been taken.

Again, we had THE most fabulous time!
I never thought that there could be a more enjoyable gathering EVER held in my apartment.
The party theme carried itself out perfectly.
Pics will follow to prove it.
The menu was utterly Trailer Trash.
It almost set off the fire alarm:
Devilled eggs
Jell-o with fruit cocktail
Crackers with Cheez Whiz
Home-made Corn Dogs
Frozen Watermelon Daiqueris
Battered-Fried Twinkies with chocolate sauce

Then we all went on the roof and watched the fireworks. It was incredible. I've never even been on the roof of my building to watch the fireworks before.

At one point, I told everyone that my parents really gave me the middle name of "Buckner" so that I could be called "Buck".

My last name is "Wheat"
(Buck Wheat, get it?)

That got quite a laugh until I told them that if I'd been born a girl, my middle name would have been "Creama" (Creama Wheat, get it?)

Everyone here didn't believe me, so I said, "Let's call my mom!"
We got my mom on the phone, passed the phone around to everyone and she had a wonderful time talking to everyone.
She also happily confirmed the "Creama Wheat" legend.
And that I am, indeed, called "Buck" Wheat.

We called JP and The Neighbor during the party as well. Wonderful.

Lorraine, The Spouse, Miss Healthypants and The Child all sang some very impressive karaoke (which I have on video, probably much to their dismay).

I'll post lots of fun pics and and videos as soon as my camera re-charges itself up. (We wore it out)

I still can't believe how incredibly fun this is; actually meeting, connecting and really loving our blog connections -- I doubt that many folks ever have this much pleasure in life.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Taste and See

Last night, we all went to "Taste of Chicago" which is a food festival where there are a bazillion food booths and you basically eat everything in sight. (I had a Polish sausage with saurkraut, curried goat, plantains, and mustard-fried catfish - - oink!).

I've lived in Chicago for six years and I've never been to "Taste". Not even once. It's always too hot.

But yesterday, it was unseasonably cool so we all ventured there. We hooked up with the Iwanskis and also (are you ready for this?) City Mouse! And City Mouse's family.

Miss Mouse was utterly charming and fun to be around. Loved her to pieces. It seems that's the way it's been all along with our blog friends. We just adore each other and love being around each other.
Making friends in the 21st century.
Loving. It!

But the best part was that we didn't tell The Child that there was a musical act featuring her favorite "High School Musical." Here's a pic of Lorraine and a just-a-little-bit-overwhelmed Child.
And Lorraine and City Mouse
And then here we all are at Millennium Park. (Again, I've lived here for six years and have never been there) It was a pretty cool place. Tonight, we're having the Trailer Trash Fourth of July Party.

Right now, Lorraine is in my kitchen (God, I LOVE saying that), The Child is playing video games, The Spouse is reading but I'm about to get him engaged in some serious Emerson, Lake & Palmer dialogue (we've discovered a mutual passion for ELP, so he's cool). Lorraine's making true Trailer Trash food: Jell-o salad with fruit cocktail in it, deviled eggs, tater salad, and we're about to start making the corn dogs and batter-fried Twinkies and Hostess Cupcakes. I'll also make forzen watermelon daiqueries. Then, we'll go on the roof and watch the fireworks. Doncha just love it?

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As I mentioned yesterday, The Child and I toodled around Chicago in a Mini Cooper Convertible with Portia.

I had specifically rented a Mini Cooper Convertible, but when we punched the button to make the roof go back, it appeared that the car only had a sunroof. VERY disappointing. I suggested that we go get Portia and call the Zipcar place to see if there wasn't something else we should be doing to make the roof go back.

On the way, The Child found the owner's manual in the glove compartment and figured it all out. (When the car is stationery, you punch the button to make the sunroof go back. THEN you press the button again, hold it down, and voila! You have a convertible.) Leave it to a 13-year-old to figure it all out.

When that roof went back, very enthusiastic high-fives ensued.

It couldn't have been more perfect weather. Sunny and cool (i.e. NOT HOT). And there we were in this adorable little convertible, with an adorable dog in the back, and surely the envy of all who saw us in all our fabulosity. I told The Child that I'd lived in Chicago for six years, but I'd never had a Chicago Experience quite like this one.

At one point, we were heading up Lakeshore Drive and I noticed there wasn't any traffic in front of us, so I took a quick video of The Child looking so cool in her snappy convertible, having a Chicago experience.

Portia, not wanting to be outdone, licked the camera. Here it is:


Monday, July 02, 2007

Lorraine and Family

Lorraine and her family are here!
Loving it!
Pure, unalloyed joy.

I still can't believe how much we're enjoying this. The dinner was incredible. Lorraine wrote about it on her site, so go over there and read about it.

Here is Lorraine and Iwanski looking utterly cool:

Lorraine and I did this crazy thing with her hair at the dinner table. This sort of gives you an idea of how well we've "connected."
Today, I took The Child on a fun-filled tour of Chicago. I rented a Mini Cooper Convertible and borrowed my friend's Labrador retriever which only added to the cuteness factor. Here is The Child and Portia, ready to go.
We tooled around the city, just knowing everyone was looking at us and how utterly fantastic we looked in our little convertible. Here is The Child and Portia with Chicago looking fabulous:
Then we took Portia to Doggy Beach and took this happy snap:
And afterward, I was a good uncle and showed The Child how to hail a cab. Such a Big City Girl now!
I'd better watch it. If I have any more fun with these fantastic people, I'm going to require a Thorazine drip.

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